One day this past year, local artist and resident Joan Finnegan was out exploring “the point,” a 150-acre property adjacent to Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center and a recent addition its campus. “The Point” is a black oak sand barrens prairie that Steve Klotz of the Minnesota DNR Fisheries calls “the most diverse, remote and fascinating piece of property left in the Root River watershed.” Eagle Bluff acquired the unique piece land this year so that it may continue to be an ecological oasis as well as an educational tool.
“I came upon a still-standing old settler’s cabin; it seemed to be filled with character and stories after weathering a century of seasons,” said Finnegan. “I followed a path along the river where the sweep of the land revealed the start of a prairie and forest edge. From the cool shadows under the tree branches yet another view revealed itself. When I looked toward the river the magic of light danced on the waters, leading me to a discovery of a rocky outcropping. I thought to myself, ‘This land is certainly filled with history and mysteries and its story begs to be painted, preserved and shared.’”
Inspired by her explorations at the point, Finnegan has painted, preserved and shared the story of the point by creating seven works of art. In honor of retiring Executive Director Joe Deden, Finnegan has donated these works to Eagle Bluff, which in turn will be offering them to seven donors who make a significant contribution to a point management fund. The management fund has been established to maintain the ecological management of the point and Deden has asked that any donation made in honor of his retirement also be dedicated to that fund.
“We are so grateful for Joni’s generosity and what it means,” said Development Director Sara Sturgis. “She is truly paying it forward through her pieces as her donation allows us to be able to thank other donors in a significant and lasting way.”
The pieces can be viewed through April 2018 at ArtWorks in Austin, F&M Community Bank in Preston, Merchants Bank in Lanesboro, and Eagle Bluff’s Dinners on the Bluff Speaker Series. If you are interested in donating to the point management fund or learning more about Finnegan’s “pieces of the point,” please contact Eagle Bluff or check out an informational website at www.eagle-bluff.org/top/art.