The Winona Arts Center presents “Sky Art,” an exhibit of kites and kite flying by professional kite flyer Robert Scott Aldrich, from January 11 to February 23. The public is invited to a reception for the exhibit on Friday, January 11, from 5-6:30 p.m.
As long as he can remember, Aldrich has had a passion for flying kites. It all amplified in Two Rivers, Wis., when he went to a kite festival in 2014. At that time, he purchased his first sled kite from the kite store Unique Flying Objects. This kite — a two-and-a-half-foot kite — serves a lifter, one that lifts off other kites in the air. These secondary kites are called windsocks, or line laundry. He now has seven different such pieces.
Aldrich considers that in 2015 he became a professional kite flyer at Kites Over Lake Michigan, a Two Rivers festival, when he brought a Killip 90 at Unique Flying Objects owned by Chow Chong. At the festival, he was trained by the Wisconsin kite flyers club on kite safety, setup and take down, and became a member of the American Kite Association. As a member, he is able to set up his kite in a special kite-flyer area reserved for club members and professional kite flyers. The public comes to watch these show kites in the forms of animals, space ships and vehicles. Many of the kites are towing various line laundry, which makes a spectacular display.
Aldrich’s collection of kites consists of various delta and diamond forms and animal kites including four cat kites and two fish kites from Singapore. An F-Stop spinner, kite banners and socks can be seen hung from his kites.
Since his first festival he has participated in Kites Over Lake Michigan, Lincoln City Oregon Summer Kite Festival, Lake Harriet Kite Festival, and Fun Flys. Aldrich enjoys sharing the passion of kite flying and gave a workshop in kite making at the Winona Earth Day event in 2017. Aldrich loves to fly kites and bring joy to the public. If you see him flying kites, stop by; he may have an extra kite on hand to gift to you.
In conjunction with the kite exhibition there will be three “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” sled kite making workshops on Saturday, January 26 — three workshops between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. given by Minneapolis kite enthusiast Barbara Friedrich Meyer. For more information about the workshops visit the Winona Arts Center’s Facebook page or pick up information at the arts center, 228 East Fifth Street. Advanced registration and a fee are required. Some scholarships are available. For more information or to register for the workshops contact Mary Coughlan at 608-525-0050 or at WinonaArtsCenter@gmail.com.
On Saturday, February 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in conjunction with this exhibit and the Winona Winter Carnival, there will be a Kites Over Winona Kite Fest. Those making kites, as well any other kite flyers, are invited to participate by flying their kites.