New Art Rocks location draws unique artists

LUVERNE -- Art Rocks chairwoman and local artist Sandra Dowie isn't shy about her "artistic vision" for Luverne. "My dream is to have a dozen galleries and be an arts community," said the Prairie Moon Studio owner. Visitors to the third annual Ar...

Art Rocks Demonstration
Area potters demonstrate the Chinese-Japanese art of Raku pottery for onlookers at the Art Rocks event Saturday in Luverne. From left are Tom Clarke of Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Dakota Potters; Gerald Buechler, of Canada; and Cheryl DePover, of Fulda. (Laura Grevas/Daily Globe)

LUVERNE -- Art Rocks chairwoman and local artist Sandra Dowie isn't shy about her "artistic vision" for Luverne.

"My dream is to have a dozen galleries and be an arts community," said the Prairie Moon Studio owner.

Visitors to the third annual Art Rocks art show at the Rock County Courthouse Square got a little taste of what that community might look like on Saturday when about 30 area painters, sculptors, jewelers, photographers- even furniture re-purposers gathered for the event --- and they weren't shy either.

In fact, many enjoy sharing the secrets of their trade with passers-by.

"You have to consider the good times you have talking to people, too. And the music," said Tom Ling of Ling Lapidary, who has handmade jewelry for more than 40 years. He features pieces made from rarities like Thompsonite (the North Shore is one of the few places it's found) and pieces made of ivory piano keys -- he carves the image of an elephant into some.


"The elephant sure had to contribute to the piano. It's in recognition of that," he explained.

The Gallery, his business located outside of Worthington, specializes in loose gemstones made into jewelry.

It was Ling's first trip to Art Rocks, which was moved this year from its usual location on Luverne's Main Street due to weather-related concerns.

"It's been fantastic, This has been our best year with the new location." said Dowie, who organized the event with the help of local artists Jerry Deuschle, Marcella Slater, Cindy Reverts, Chris Nowatzki and Mary Petersen. "The people say they love it here; not only the artists but the patrons."

And though this year's festival featured plenty of new artists, Dowie gave special consideration to a few who had never sold their wares before, offering some a free booth in the courtyard to give it a whirl, without the extra expense of buying a tent.

"I put a lot of them near me because they were unsure. I said 'Just bring your art, put your prices on it and give it a try; they have nothing to lose,'" Dowie said.

Sara Przybys was one such artist. The Marshall native, now based out of Sioux Falls, S.D., sold pottery, beaded jewelry, and greeting cards featuring photographs taken by her parents.

"It's been going great. My beadwork (has) been very popular,' she reported. "It's just been a great day for it. People are so friendly and nice, I really enjoyed it. I think I'll do it again."


At a nearby booth, artist Becky Feikema offered furniture with a unique twist. Benches made out of chairs and doors, and old picture frames repurposed as magnetic photo boards were featured pieces of Reborn Home Furnishings, which had its Grand Opening this weekend in Luverne.

"We've been doing it our whole lives, going to estate sales and garage sales and finding value in things maybe nobody else did," explained Feikema.

"It's really neat to be able to help people reuse something that's important to them but maybe not so attractive right now," she said.

"Reborn" is a family business, with Feikema's sister Abbie Fey and parents Kathy and Ron Vander Lugt helping to refinish and repaint old furniture and décor.

The event also offered local food, and demonstrations of Raku pottery.

The kiln-fired pieces are left flaming, with the fire being put out by metal pails or trashcans, an Americanized version of the Chinese-turned-Japanese art of Raku pottery, explained Tom Clarke of Sioux Falls-based Dakota Potters. He worked with wife Wanda, Cheryl DePover of Fulda and Gerald Buechler of Manitoba, Canada to demonstrate the process for curious onlookers.

A new offering this year was a sidewalk chalk art contest for children, where 27 young artists worked to create prairie sunsets and teepees, and more for a $10 prize.

About 10 artists also chose to remain behind at the Coffey Haus on Main Street, the festival's original location. And that was just fine with Dowie.


"The more art the merrier," she said. "It'll bring more people to town."

"It's been great, we've had people in and out all day" said Sarah Snyders, the artist-in-charge at the Coffey Haus. Snyders and Dowie both sent patrons to the other's site. "We've got that artist camaraderie," laughed Snyders.

Several artists received awards, with the title of Best of Show going to Chad Dykstra, Sioux Falls, S.D. Best in 2-D was Mary Petersen, Luverne; Best in 3-D and the Patrons Award went to Janet Olney, Willmar.

Jerry Deuschle and Sandra Dowie, both of Luverne; Craig Fent, Sioux City, Iowa; and Nan Kaufenberg, Redwood Falls, were named as honorable mentions.

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