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In art we trust (09/01/2013)
By Sarah Squires

Submitted photo
     Musicians, including Jake Manders, Noah Short, and Craig Weatherhead, performed at the first DTAP.
Down Town Art Party (DTAP) to change the way we look, listen, to art

Winona is an arts destination, they say, and the proof can be found in galleries and on local shop walls adorned with colorful testimony to the way art is woven into the fabric of our community.

The patterns of that connection between local businesses, artists and patrons is about to become more complex, more whole, with a new effort to liven the downtown arts scene and change the way we look at art, the way we listen to it, the way we enjoy and support the work of so many throughout the Winona region. Down Town Art Party (DTAP), the first Tuesday of each month, will bring music and physical art to venues across Winona through a unique collaboration among local businesses, galleries, artists, and everyone in between.

From 5 to 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month, the event will feature music, art opportunities and local art on display across downtown. The idea came about after Mid West Music Fest founder and director Sam Brown, along with Kevin Ihrke, curator this summer for Lyon Smith's Smith Studio and Gallery, decided they ought to work together to promote their gallery spaces, rather than compete to bring art lovers through their doors. They decided to work together to create an art event that would allow folks to hop between the two nearby arts venues, and soon, the idea spread.

"We are so close to Some Sum Studio [Brown's East Third Street gallery and venue space], we thought it would be beneficial to coordinate rather than compete," said Ihrke. "So instead of competing to sell art that is just a block away, we could cooperate and benefit from people seeing art downtown and appreciating it."

The first DTAP, with only two days notice, drew about 50 people to the galleries, and inspired the two to do more to expand the event. "It's a free event," said Ihrke; "a celebration of the visual arts in the Winona community."

"We're bringing people together with arts and culture in downtown," added Brown. "We're hoping to also build a culture and make art more economically viable in downtown. Economic development is a piece of it as well. We want people to be mulling around downtown businesses and not only checking out the art, but checking out downtown in general."

Brown and Ihrke said they believe the event will only grow, considering there are so many spaces in downtown Winona that support the arts, so many opportunities to collaborate. "We're always looking for new artists," said Ihrke, adding those who would like to get involved can check in with him at the Smith Gallery, or simply approach another participating vendor. "I think the more art, the better," he added.

Brown concurred: "In art, we trust."

Featured art spots:

Burke's Furniture (226 East Third Street), featuring painted furniture by Kevin Burke, live art in the street by Kevin Burke;

Burke's Family Day Care (226 East Third Street), hands on art opportunities kid and family friendly;

Ed's No Name (252 East Third Street), "Used Coats and Doors," an exhibition of salvaged medium paintings by Jamie Harper;

Point A Studio (159 East Second Street), master printmaker Dan Grimslid will work on lithographs live, other Grimslid work on display;

Prismatic Shadow Studio (213 East Third Street), TBD;

Manitou Martial Arts and Wellness Center (164 East Third Street), tea served, information on wellness and martial arts;

Jade's Community Acupuncture (103 East Third Street), art by Julie Johnston, Johnston to speak on her work and techniques;

Jambird's Handmade Collective (218 East Third Street), handmade jewelry on display;

Shannon Porter Photo Gallery (170 East Third Street), free photo booth with commemorative DTAP photos;

Smith Studio and Gallery (119 East Third Street), photography exhibit by Rick Alfaro, music by Isaac Sammis;

Some Sum Studio (168 East Third Street), visual art by Noah Short, music by Kelly Blau;

Third Eye Tatu (125 East Third Street), TBD.

For more information, search "Down Town Art Party (DTAP)" on facebook.com.



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