Traveling art gallery brings exhibit of local artists to St. Croix Valley state parks

Show of work by participants in environmental workshops highlights St. Croix River region’s unique lifeforms.




2 minute read

“Pollinator,” fiber sculpture made from steel armature, umbrella material, beads and crystal chandelier parts, by Barbara Bend, part of Awakening at ArtReach St. Croix’s Mobile Art Gallery.

The Mobile Art Gallery takes the show on the road with a group exhibition entitled “Awakening: Inspired by Interconnections,” featuring pieces from the What We Need is Here artist cohort and coordinated by guest curator Anastasia Shartin of The Phipps Center for the Arts.

This exhibition explores the close relationship between humans and the natural world, and suggests a new understanding of their interdependence. “Awakening” features new work by artists who participated in the What We Need is Here 2021-2022 seminar series, exploring the role of art and sustainability to create thriving communities.

The Mobile Art Gallery, a program of ArtReach St. Croix, will travel throughout the St. Croix Valley this summer and into the autumn, bringing the arts into the landscape. “The Mobile Art Gallery gives us additional opportunities beyond the proverbial gallery walls to amplify the messages of What We Need is Here and to express our symbiosis, interconnectedness and interdependence,” says Heather Rutledge, ArtReach St. Croix’s executive director.

“Awakening” is a complex and harmonized group project inspired by the participating artists’ individual responses to their experiences throughout the What We Need is Here seminar meetings and a two-day summer retreat in the Barrens Wildlife Area in the extreme northeast part of the St. Croix River watershed, near the headwaters of the Namekagon River.

Through these experiences, the artists have begun to understand more deeply the significance of the interdependence of species throughout the natural world, even those we cannot see and which may be deep underground.

Participating What We Need is Here artists are Gloria Adrian, Barb Bend, Stephen J. Gates, Deanna Grigus, Theresa Harsma, Patty Kuebker Johnson, Cheryl Maplethorpe, Lynn Pagliarini, Bonnie Ploger, Teri Power, Sue Rowe, Judy Smith, Krista Spieler, Laura Tiede, Jill Waterhouse, and Linda Webster.

Developed in 2016, the Mobile Art Gallery exhibitions change from year to year, but its purpose remains the same: to engage people with an unexpected arts experience in an unexpected place and to expand people’s curiosity about artistic resources and opportunities in the region.

An Artist Reception will take place at ArtReach St. Croix (224 N. 4th Street, Stillwater) on Thursday, July 7 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This reception is free and open to the public.

Find the Mobile Art Gallery and Awakening at:

  • William O’Brien State Park – July 8-10
  • Point Douglas County Park – July 15-17
  • Interstate Park-MN – August 5-7
  • Afton State Park – August 12-14
  • Walker Art Center – August 20-21
  • Willow River State Park – September 2-4

Visit to learn more about this exhibition and the Mobile Art Gallery, and to see specific times and information about artist-led programs at the various park locations.

Awakening and the 2022 season of the Mobile Art Gallery is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Xcel Energy Foundation, St. Croix Valley Foundation and RBC Wealth Management Foundation.


One response to “Traveling art gallery brings exhibit of local artists to St. Croix Valley state parks”

  1. Mark Hove Avatar
    Mark Hove



You may republish this article online or in print under our Creative Commons license. You may not edit or shorten the text, you must attribute the article to St. Croix 360 and you must include the author’s name in your republication.

If you have any questions, please email

Traveling art gallery brings exhibit of local artists to St. Croix Valley state parks