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Art is for all ages

From now through the end of August, visitors to the Historic Holmes Theatre may notice that the display cases on the second floor (leading to the theater entrance) are filled with original artwork.

If they look more closely, they'll see that there is a watercolor painting from 11-year-old Dana Langworthy of Detroit Lakes displayed on one shelf, while in another area, there are five pieces by Detroit Lakes High School senior Gwenia Fiskevold, including watercolor paintings as well as pencil and ink drawings.

Other displays feature the work of Kitti Kivi-Lex of New York Mills as well as Melvina Gross, Linda Baumiller and Kathy Simison of Detroit Lakes. The artwork includes pieces that use watercolor, acrylic and oil paints as well as ink and pencil.

So what do these artists have in common? They are all students of Detroit Lakes art teacher Val Voigt.

Voigt was approached by staff at the Historic Holmes Theatre about putting together an art display at the theater, so she randomly selected a variety of pieces from her students.

"My students all have different levels of experience," she said.

Dana Langworthy, for instance, just began taking classes from Voigt this summer.

"I've always been interested in art," Langworthy said. "I enjoy the different colors."

Though she has worked with both acrylics and watercolor, she chose to display her watercolor painting, "Hydrangea," in the exhibit.

Linda Baumiller's watercolor is also titled "Hydrangea," but the paintings each have the unique stamp of artists with different levels of experience.

Though Baumiller has pursued art "off and on" throughout her life, it was only since her retirement two years ago that she began to pursue it seriously.

"I'd been wanting to take a class with Val for a long time," she said, "and I finally registered this year."

Since she began taking classes, Baumiller added, she's noticed that "it makes you look at everything around you so much differently -- the colors, the detail, the beauty."

Kitti Kivi-Lex took her first art class with Voigt three years ago. She signed up after taking a floral arranging class with Voigt.

"I took my first class, and I fell in love," she said. "Val is a wonderful instructor -- she makes it so easy.

"You can get into your own little world... it's so relaxing, and you have total control. You can do whatever you want.

For instance, Kivi-Lex continued, "I love to paint flowers. You can choose the colors you want, and the details... so it's beautiful in your eyes

She also chose a watercolor piece for the art exhibit -- and naturally, it features flowers.

"It's called 'Calla Lilies,'" she said.

Kathy Simison noted, "(Val's) classes can give confidence to students, so you can be able to find a talent that you didn't know you had."

Her painting in the exhibit is called "Majestic Lily."

Fiskevold, though she has only been taking classes with Voigt for about a year, has been pursuing art seriously since she was in the fifth grade.

"Pencil (drawing) is my main thing," she said, "but I'm taking painting lessons, and I'm really enjoying that too."

She prefers to use people as her subjects.

"What I love about art is the details -- all the little things you can put into it, like people's mannerisms and facial expressions."

"Gwenia and I try to paint at least once a week," Voigt said, adding that Fiskevold and another of her students, Melvina Gross, will be exhibiting their work at the Holmes Art Show in the fall.

For more information on this and other upcoming art exhibits at the Historic Holmes Theatre, call the Box Office at 218-844-SHOW (7469).

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454