November 24-December 31: Lila Taft & AACA Members

October 6-November 18: Renee Sonka & Lori Tapani

August 24-September 30: Shelley Brandon & Matthew Rucker

July 14-August 19: Craig Groe

May 19-July 8: Dan Tran & Dirk Nelson

April 7-May 12: Tom Hormel & Chad Augustin

February 24-April 1: Z Puppets Photography & Austin Area Youth Show

January 6-February 18: Paul Walech-Roth


August 25 - October 1 / 2016: James Wegner

James Wegner

James Wegner taught art at the Austin Community College for 28 years and for 10 years in the Jr. and Se. High Schools in Austin, MN.

Wegner has a Master’s Degree from the University of Minnesota with an emphasis in Painting and Art History. He has done additional graduate work at the University of Colorado, Mankato, and St. Cloud State Universities. He has studied with noted artists Max Weber, Millard Sheets, Dong Kingman, Carl Morris, Richard Diebenkorn, Ralston Crawford and Cheng Kee Chee.

Awards have been received for his work in oil, acrylic, watercolor, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture and fiber.

Wegner’s work is in a number of private collections on the East and West Coasts, in the Midwest, Canada and Europe. He has exhibited at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Art Institute, Tweed Gallery in Duluth, Mason City MacNider Museum and Rochester Art Center as well as in Austin Area Art Center, Albert Lea Art Center and Naeve Hospital.

Simple forms derived from nature become my primary concern. I like to work directly with my material, allowing the forms to emerge as natural and uncomplicated as possible. The thinks an artist makes become the best testament to what he feels and believes. 

July 15 - August 20 / 2016: Beth Lowe/Krista Pumroy/Cassandra Buck

Beth Lowe

Beth Lowe’s inspiration comes from the light, flowing, and living parts of nature. She is also inspired
by the dark mysterious mortality of nature. “With abstract art I am free to explore each art piece's
own life. They each grow from instincts like nature does.”

Krista Pumroy

Krista Pumroy is inspired by the underlying energy in ordinary everyday life.
“I love to incorporate texture into my paintings. As far as materials I enjoy using anything and
everything to make them come to life.”

Beth Lowe and Krista Pumroy work together on collaborative art pieces. They also have solo paintings and drawings.

Cassandra Buck

Cassandra Buck's work has always focused on two things: expression and the feminine. She constantly strives to discover how color and texture can evoke feelings and ideas that we are unable to articulate. Color and texture are exploited and taken to the extreme. Currently her work explores the use of discarded found objects to communicate societal narratives of the feminine. Each series within this focus seeks to challenge current constructs.

May 20 - July 9 / 2016: Cedar River Watershed District

Cedar River Watershed District

Cedar River Watershed District is teaming up with the Austin ArtWorks Center for a gallery show from May 20 to July 9, which will feature the Cedar River Watershed through paintings, photography and drawings. This event will be a fun way to raise awareness and appreciation for the Cedar River State Water Trail and local streams.

April 8 - May 25 / 2016: Katie Stromlund & Beth Hamilton

Katie Stromlund

Artist Statement

I began college as an Art Major, but switched midway and graduated with a BS in Interior Design. I enjoy being able to marry my passion for interior design with the pieces I paint. The art I create is informal and illustrative, and I imagine each piece in its final installation while painting. Trying to be mindful of my ecologic footprint, I paint in acrylic on canvases created from re-purposed fabric stretched over reclaimed lumber frames.

January 8 - February 13 / 2016: Sandy Ray

Sandy Ray

Feisty Japanese Lady

In this special gallery, Pat & Gary Ray will be showcasing the work of Gary's aunt, Sandy Ray. Sandy married her husband Myron after the two met during World War II, and Sandy arrived in the United States as one of many "war brides," or foreign women who married servicemen during wartime. Sandy knew very little English when she arrived in the U.S. after the war, but took her new life in stride and went to work for Woodward Company in Rockford, Illinois, eventually becoming such an expert in the company that she trained new engineers who arrived from college. Myron worked as an Army recruiter.

Sandy loved to work in her Japanese garden and knew how to make the colors of her garden flow together, just like her paintings. Says Pat of Sandy, "She was a very witty, graceful, talented, and kind aunt, and would be very flattered and embarrassed about her work being displayed!"


October 9 - November 25 / 2015: Carole Bender

Carole Bender

Artist Statement

I was born and raised in Austin, Minnesota. My mother, Sally Groh, instilled the love of art in me at a young age. I spent hours watching her create beautiful paintings. I started painting with her when I became a young adult. After moving to Fremont, Nebraska in 1973, I took a variety of art workshops. I realized that I not only loved to paint but I also enjoyed exploring and trying new techniques. My recent paintings are on metallic leaf attached to a canvas. Another technique is reverse glass painting. I owe my artistic talent to my mother, who started the Austin Art Group with Mary Johnson and Therma Bowby.

August 20 - October 7 / 2015: Jean Formo & Mary Singer

Jean Formo

An artist and calligrapher for 38 years, Jean is recognized for alphabet design and innovative one-of-a-kind artist books. Her paintings and drawings include watercolor, acrylic, pastels and silverpoint. She has traveled throughout the USA and Canada, lecturing and teaching a variety of calligraphy and book arts workshops. She has been a 20-year faculty member at Minnesota Center for Book Arts in Minneapolis, and has taught at 17 international calligraphy conferences. Her work has appeared in lettering arts books, calligraphy instruction manuals, calendars, greeting cards. She and her husband Phil, live in Savage, MN. Since 1999, Jean has also been involved with the healing art of Reiki as a practitioner and teacher.

Mary Singer

Mary Singer’s earliest memories are of drawing with pencil and paper. When her family received their first Post magazine, Singer found her first idol in Norman Rockwell, and continued to foster her love of art through high school and into motherhood. After taking classes in Minneapolis, she began to find her stride in portraits, eventually branching out into landscapes while working with everything from graphite to pen and ink. Her current focus is oils. “Water, Land and Sky” is the name of Singer’s show--it may change in size and medium but remains rooted in Midwestern landscapes.

July 24 - August 15 / 2015: Lisa Truax & Laura Helle

Lisa Truax

Artist Statement

I am interested in the contrast between places such as parks and natural areas and modern ways of building and living. We have cultural ideas of beauty and the sense of the untouched associated with these places. Outdoor landscapes seem to be in their natural state, but are actually created, planned, built, and maintained as part of our culture. We think of nature as untouched and wild, and not something controlled or created by humans. 

I question the idea of culturally valuable versus personally valuable natural space. The contrast between the natural and man-made, and the seen and the unseen are determining factors. The effect of these elements on our lives and psyche are important considerations. 

Natural places can have positive effects on our well being, many of which we may not yet understand. The relationship we have both culturally and individually, the contrast between wildness and wilderness, and the effect this relationship has on daily living is the focus of my work.

Laura Helle

An Iowa farm girl by birth, Ms. Helle works in community development and grant writing in Austin, Minnesota. 

She is the Director of Vision Creation for Vision 2020, a community development movement making Austin a better place to live, work and play by the year 2020. She owns Laura Helle Consulting, LLC., which provides writing services including grant writing, web content and marketing for clients in southern Minnesota. Ms. Helle earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Iowa State University in Graphic Design with a minor in Journalism/Mass Communication. She continued her education with training in non-profit management through University of St. Thomas and the Grantsmanship Center.

She is the mother a 6-year-old daughter. Together, they enjoy bike rides, telling jokes and baking. In addition to family and professional activities, Ms. Helle spends time reading, creating artwork and practicing yoga.

June 19 - July 22 / 2015: Nick Sinclair & Mike Erickson

May 15 - June 13 / 2015: Joan Finnegan & Lora Lee Bauer

Joan Finnegan

Inspired by a deep appreciation and love of nature, Joni Finnegan’s oil paintings are drawn from the visual feasts that surround us.  Her wonderful command of color and light work well in painting “en plein air” with nature’s unpredictable conditions as well as in the protected environment of her home studio.    

Surrounded with huge piles of brushes and paintings in various stages of progression in her studio Joni is grateful for the gift of creativity. Her current collection of work focuses on studies from nature revealing the softer side of the outdoor world inviting the viewer to step into her art and surrender themselves to that moment.

The quiet peace of long hours alone spent creating her art are balanced with travel opportunities to incredible places and meeting fascinating new people through galleries, art exhibits and shows, and the rewarding delight in meeting collectors. She continues to expand her art through studies and workshops with painting masters as well as teaching workshops and giving private lessons.

Her award winning art has been published in magazines, newspapers and books. Her paintings are widely owned both privately and in the corporate setting.

Lora Lee Bauer

Artist Statement

When I was 4, I was going to be a dancer. When I was 11, I decided to be a guitarist and drummer. When I was 18, I was going to be a fashion designer. Somewhere between then and now, life happened and I became none of those things.

At retirement, I decided to become the next Grandma Moses. I got a slow start, but am gaining momentum. With each finished painting I get a feeling of accomplishment and hope.

April 3 - May 9 / 2015: Diane Crane & ART for Autism

Diane Crane

I grew up on a farm near Austin, where I spent my early years avoiding housework and drawing or painting on any available surface. After graduation from Austin High School (where Ione Bell was my mentor and friend) and the University of Minnesota, I had a number of art-related jobs before settling into the art department at Viterbo College in La Crosse Wisconsin, where I taught painting and drawing. Since retiring from Viterbo, I have reverted to my childhood habits of avoiding housework and drawing or painting on any available surface.

After being immersed in abstract expressionism as an art student, I came to realize that the forms and colors of the real world were more interesting than any I could invent and I continue to use the ordinary things I see around me as the subjects of my paintings. I have learned that whether any given thing is ‘interesting’ or not depends more on the attention I bring to it than on its importance in any general sense.

February 27 - April 1 / 2015: Dan Goettsch & Jon Kittleson

Dan Goettsch

Dan is the owner and lead designer at Field & Forge Workshop. Based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, they specialize in graphic design, illustration, and branding for small business clients.

Find samples of his work on his website or by checking out his show in our 2nd floor gallery before April 1.

Jon Kittleson

Artist Statement

I believe that my art represents the power to overcome any challenge, mental or physical. My story so far has brought a style inspired by the ocean of the East Coast that spills over to portray rural Midwestern subjects and portraits.

I grew attached to art after a wrestling accident in middle school left me partially paralyzed. My professor, Rhonda Deussen, said this about my artwork after my first college show in my hometown of Virginia Beach, VA: “Jon Kittleson’s style is reminiscent of Matisse and Chagall, his work is new and bold. I find his approach to his subjects to be at once original and fresh.”

Since then I moved to the Midwest to help my grandmother with the cattle farm my grandfather left behind. Soon after this, I developed Rapid Onset Dystonia Parkinsonism, which brought a huge challenge to my life and the purpose for which I moved out here.

One of my favorite subjects is pets because my two dogs, Rosco and Ellie, motivate me to stay active and keep a positive outlook. I enjoy using colored pencils as an art medium because they offer a wide range of colors and they are simple to control with regards to my manual dexterity challenges. I choose bright color combinations that work together to create movement and bring the subject to life.

Jon also works on commission: Grab your favorite photo of your pet and send it via email to info@jonkittleson.com 

January 10 - February 15 / 2015: Nick Adams & Rayna Gasteiger

Nick Adams

Embracing You: A Series on Women

Nick Adams is a three-time international award-winning photographer and owner of two Minneapolis-based businesses. Born and raised in Austin, Adams excelled in pen and ink as a high school student but didn’t discover his passion for photography until he began studying communications and journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. After working as a photojournalist for a small newspaper, he moved to Minneapolis in 2008. Adams worked as a camera salesman and photo lab technician before opening his first business in 2009--Supreme Images Photography, a boutique studio specializing in high-end, one-of-a-kind portraiture for high school seniors and weddings. Shortly after, he opened Embracing You Boudoir Photography, which has become Minnesota’s premier high-end boudoir photography studio. Specializing in intimate, beautiful, and tasteful photographs, Adams strives to create opportunities for women to look and feel their best. His style ranges from classic looks to modern photo-illustrations, compositing, and montages, and he works to create unique images that stand out no matter the subject.

In 2014, Adams was awarded “Twin Cities Professional Photographer’s Association Wedding Photographer of the Year.”

Rayna Gasteiger

About the Artist

I discovered my artistic ability at a young age, mostly spilling nail polish and melting crayons onto canvases yet to be discovered. I started selling my work at age 15, and graduated from Saint Ansgar High School in 2009. 

Then decided to pursue a degree in Art Education at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa. In a short time I gained extensive knowledge into the fundamentals of art. After a year, I decided I wanted to try out Graphic Design and Studio Arts at Drake University, also located in Des Moines, Iowa. I had the privilege to learn from world-renowned artists and local professionals one-on-one. Currently I am taking time off from my studies to focus on my work and future endeavors. 

My artwork starts directly from the elements of design. Color has always intrigued me from the bright pink of bubble gum to the dark blue of the night sky. Recently I’ve been fascinated by texture and how it physically changes how we perceive space. It pushes and pulls together forms to create images based off of organic and geometric shapes . These forms cause illusions between the true depth of the layers Most of my pieces are based upon fragmented memories, past, present or dreams that come to surface over “time.”


October 10 - November 22 / 2014: Wendy Heimsness & Willie Olson

Wendy Heimsness


"My work is my calling."

So begins the artist statement currently hanging in our professional gallery. It's a common sentiment among artists, but no less powerful for it.

Wendy Heimsness did not heed that call until shortly after landing in her 40s. Having received no formal training, Heimsness relied on her intuition and passion while venturing from commissioned murals into the world of abstracts. 

This artist has a special connection to our building—paint splatters, remnants of Heimsness's time in what was once her studio—still mark the floor of the 2nd floor lounge. Now in her third studio, she still finds her work exhilarating and freeing. The feeling is evident in the progressive and bold layering of color and texture in each of her pieces.

Heimsness paints with acrylic and other mediums on Russian Birch panels and canvas board, and has recently begun working on paper.

Willie Olson

Olson, like so many artists, makes his living outside of art. But take a  glance at his collection and you might not know it.

Perhaps the most remarkable quality of Olson's work is his range in both mediums and content; among the collection currently on display are several pen & ink / colored pencil / watercolor depictions of comic book-proportioned disasters backdropped by notable Austin landmarks, portraits of the mythic, western scenes, and striking studies of African wildlife.