WORTHINGTON - Among the 22 individuals displaying their creations in the 2019 Area Art Show at the Nobles County Art Center are four members of a local club dedicated to exploring a variety of mediums and sharing their talents with others.

The art club has no formal name, but members gather at the Art Center the fourth Tuesday of each month for an hour to essentially show and tell, sharing their latest creations based on a challenge theme announced at the previous month’s meeting.

The group began meeting in the fall of 2017, and are always open to new members.

“Anybody can come,” said artist Kathy Kusz. “It’s open to anyone of any artistic inclination or ability.”

Three of her four pieces in the Area Art Show, set to open Sunday afternoon, are based on the art club challenges, she said.

Fellow art club members Darlene Oberloh, Sandy Ahlberg and Nancy Jo Hambleton also have entries created through the art club challenges.

The challenge is as flexible as art itself, with each artist encouraged to make a piece to fit the theme using the medium of their choice. The results are “really cool,” said Kusz, because they range from photographs to watercolor paintings to three-dimensional art.

“Some of them the theme is obvious; others are more removed,” she added.

One of the challenges was to use tea bags in a project, something to which Ahlberg said she really took a liking. In addition to her challenge piece, which included painting on recycled tea bags, she has made a few other pieces using tea bags for inspiration.

Other challenge topics have included fish, winter shadows or the use of colored pencils.

“To me, (the challenge) kind of stretches your mind and makes you try a different medium,” Oberloh shared. “I’ve usually painted in acrylics. Joining the art club, it’s stretched my talent into other areas. I’ve done pencil drawings, printmaking and now I’m trying weaving this month - I’ve never done that.”

“The one that got me going was winter shadows,” Hambleton chimed in. “You start seeing things in different ways.”

Having done charcoal and ink drawings in high school and college, Hambleton said the art club has created an opportunity for her to dabble.

“It’s been so fun,” she said. “I don’t have a favorite medium, although I find myself gravitating toward mixed mediums.”

Ahlberg’s artistic expression comes through drawings, photography and acrylics, while Kusz does a lot of paper cutting and collage, some watercolor painting, glass mosaics and weaving. She has a mixed media collage, glass mosaic and two paper collages in the Area Art Show.

In addition to the art club, the center also offers art classes from time to time and is open to suggestions on upcoming classes.

“There’s a lot going on here and we’d love to have people become members and support it,” Hambleton said.

Kusz said doing art isn’t just for relaxation.

“Adults have forgotten how to play,” she added. “(With art club), the point is you get to go in there and play - your assignment is to play.”

“Creativity comes in a lot of different forms and you can apply it where you’re at,” Hambleton added.

The Area Art Show is filled with creative pieces made by artists from within a 150-mile radius of Worthington. The non-juried show includes numerous works from hobby artists, as well as from professionals in the field - including potter Jerry Deuschle of Luverne and miniatures artist Kimberly Jansen-Kooistra of Worthington.

Merit honors and a Best in Show designation are awarded among the entries.

The Area Art Show opens with a reception from 1 to 4 p.m. and a gallery talk at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Nobles County Art Center, 407 12th St., Worthington (lower level of the War Memorial Building). The exhibit will remain open through May 24 during Art Center hours, from noon to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Those interested in joining the art club are invited to attend their meetings, scheduled at 6 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month, at the Nobles County Art Center. There is no need to register in advance, and there are no membership dues.