LUVERNE - Nearing its first anniversary in downtown Luverne, Coffey Contemporary Arts and the Lord Grizzly Gallery are taking part in their first Holiday Studio Tour next Saturday, displaying the works of talented regional artists.

The annual studio tour provides artists with an opportunity to showcase and sell their unique, often one-of-a-kind creations, and for the public to support the local art scene.

The Nov. 17 event features 17 artists at six studios in Luverne. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., people are encouraged to shop the studios, enjoy holiday music and treats, and register to win a fine arts prize. Free shuttle transportation will be provided throughout the event.

Cody Henrichs and his wife, Nicole - natives of Ellsworth and Luverne, respectively - are the owners of Coffey Contemporary Arts and the Lord Grizzly Gallery. Earlier this week, they debuted the gallery’s latest show, “Help Us Stay a While,” which features both local artists and artists from across the country. Each piece is available for purchase in a silent auction that will continue to Dec. 16.

During the Holiday Studio Tour, studio space behind the gallery will feature the works of regional painters Mary Petersen, Lois Young and Sam Gesch and ceramicist Jon Nibbe. McKenzie Wieneke will also have some of her artwork on hand.

“The more that you buy art and the more that you support artists in your community, the healthier, the more vibrant and the more intelligent your community becomes,” Cody Henrichs said. “I think that my drive to host the studio tour is to help the artists who are already here, because they do work hard and they have valuable and fantastic work to share with people.”

While being a host for the studio tour, Henrichs will actually have little of his own work to display during the event. As one of 10 finalists for the Jerome Fellowship, which supports early career artists, he has transported much of his work to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. There were 7,200 applicants for the fellowship, with the winner to receive $10,000, a show and artist talk at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and an artist talk at the Walker, he said.

A graduate in fine arts from Northwestern in St. Paul, Henrichs earned his master’s degree from the Rhode Island School of Design and Sculpture. He has spent the past 15 years as a contemporary academic artist.

“That ranges everything from public art projects to working in galleries,” he explained, noting that he has shown his work in New York, Minneapolis, Boston, New Jersey and New Orleans studios.

One of his most recent projects can be seen along U.S. 75 in Luverne - a pair of pheasants Henrichs designed and built in advance of Luverne’s hosting of the Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener in October.

Henrichs works in all forms of art, but said he’s most naturally skilled in sculpture work. He’s done commission work for people, cities and businesses across the country. Perhaps one of his most photographed is the bronze Mr. Potato Head sculpture he created that is displayed outside of the Hasbro headquarters in Pawtucket, R.I. He’s also done work at Boston’s Fenway Park, as well as the city park and capitol commons in Providence, R.I. Currently, he’s building a new third floor dinosaur exhibit for the Washington Pavillion in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Building awareness of the arts

Henrichs is on a mission to help other artists gain notoriety, which is why he welcomed the opportunity to be a part of the Holiday Studio Tour - and why the Lord Grizzly Gallery showcases practicing professional artists from across the country.

In the last year, the gallery has hosted shows featuring Diego Rodriguez-Warner of Denver, Colo., Doug Burns of Portland, Ore., Zach Gabbard of Boston, Mass., Lindsay Carone of New York and Rick Love of the Twin Cities.

The 2019 gallery shows are already secured, and will feature artists from Minnesota and Texas. A college open show will wrap up the year. Each show is up for two months in the gallery.

“This space is designed for exhibition, education, community and cultural enhancement,” Henrichs said. “Artists give a full lecture and talk about their work. It’s really to create a cultural space.”

The long-term vision for the Henrichs’ includes having a space for artists from all across the country to come to Luverne and create. Studio space, as well as living space upstairs, is provided for visiting artists

“There are residency models like this in Vermont, outside of Omaha,” Henrichs said. “That’s the vision. We’d always love to be hosting four artists with us.”