Exhibitions and Programming


Our gallery features artwork by professional and emerging artists from across the country. In addition to our bimonthly scheduled exhibits, we also host a wide variety of special events from pop-up shows to open mic nights and documentary screenings to street concerts.


We are the only arts nonprofit in Freeborn County that offers all programming at no cost. That’s right, everything we do is FREE to the community! No admission, no tickets, no fee.


Check out what’s in store below!

2022 Gallery Exhibitions

February-March: "Expressions of Love"

The show is focused on the theme of love and romance, coinciding with Valentine’s Day. 

We all have ways of expressing love. Perhaps it is a touch or a kiss, a letter or ode, or a portrait. This is an exhibition based on love and how we express it in our lives.

Group, virtual pop-up show running February 10-April 8 on our virtual platform

March/April: "Heroes and Legends"

Virtual Group Show

March 17-April 30, 2022

We all have our own personal heroes, whether they are personal acquaintances, famous figures, or fictional characters. We also have grown up hearing stories of legendary people and stories. This is exhibition is based on these legendary figures and heroic beings.

May/June: "Finding Hope" by Tonja Ihlenfeldt

North Iowa-based Artist Tonja Ihlenfeldt’s exhibition, Finding Hope, featured at the Freeborn County Arts Initiative Gallery. Her show features 30 mixed-media painted photographs that touch on the interconnectivity of life across the globe, based on photos from history and the artist’s travels.

Exhibition open May 5-June 18, 2022

July/August: Mini Treasures

Group Miniature Exhibition. More details TBA

Exhibition: June 30- August 27, 2022

September/October: Inkpa Mani

Solo Exhibition: Inkpa Mani

Showing September 8th – October 29th, 2022

Closing Reception 1-4pm October 29th

November/December: All Member Show- It's a Wonderful Life

Group show for Members of Freeborn County Arts Initiative

Group show on the theme of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, emphasizing art reflecting real life: the ups and downs, pains and joys of life.

Details TB

2021 Gallery Exhibitions

February: "Maskerpieces"


 A virtual exhibition, created by artists in quarantine, of partly tongue-in-cheek references to the current global situation.

a work of outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship (quite often tongue-in-cheek)
created during quarantine for the enjoyment of the public, and displayed proudly at the Freeborn County Arts Initiative

Group, virtual pop-up show running February 2- March 10, 2021

March/April: "Forest Through the Trees"

Virtual Group Show

Showing March 10-April 30, 2021

May/June: Susanne Crane

Our first in-person show of the year is Susanne Crane’s Solitude Series, an exhibition of paintings reflecting on the major issues of the last year. It features works all created during the pandemic. For more information, listen to episode 5 of ArtWatch. This exhibition was made possible by a Minnesota State Arts Board individual artist grant.

July/August: Kathy Weed

The Nature of Quilting

Quilted Collage Exhibition by Kathy Weed

July 8th – August 28th, 2021

Kathy Weed is a prolific Weed in the field of conceptual collage quilting. Her textural, multi-layered creations display the depth of her love of the natural world and humorous approach to humanity. Come and be transported into her fascinating world of color and detail. Kathy’s work is sure to inspire and captivate. 

September/October: Kid's Collaborative

Kid’s collaborative show

September 11- November 13, 2021

November/December: All Member Show- My Favorite Things

Group show for Members of Freeborn County Arts Initiative

My Favorite Things

 November 18-December 18, 2021

2020 Gallery Exhibitions

February: "Artist Soup"

The FCAI-sponsored “Artist Soup” exhibition is our first official show of 2020. It is also our first exhibition in a newly-reimagined gallery space with new flooring, hanging system, and trim

February: City of Joy Documentary Screening

Join us on Saturday, February 29th for a FREE documentary viewing of “City of Joy: Turning Pain into Power”. We will be screening this 2018 documentary as well as holding a brief discussion after. Refreshments and snacks will be provided and any donations will be used to support the work of the city of joy via GiveJOY.

Here is some information about the documentary from the City of Joy website:
“The film tells the story of the first class of women at City of Joy, and chronicles the process by which such a revolutionary place came to be, from its origins with the women survivors themselves, to the opening of the center’s doors. Directed by first-time director, Madeleine Gavin, the film provides a glimpse into the lives of the women the center serves, and the unlikely friendship that develops when a devout Congolese doctor, Dr. Denis Mukwege, (2016 Nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize), radical playwright and activist, Eve Ensler, (Tony Award winning playwright of The Vagina Monologues) and a charismatic Congolese human rights activist, Christine Schuler Deschryver, (Director of the City of Joy) join forces to create this safe haven in the middle of violence-torn Eastern Congo.” The film does include stories of sexual assault, rape and sexual and physical torture, so viewing discretion is advised.

Help us celebrate V-Day and raise awareness for women by attending this event and sharing with others. For more information, visit v-day.org or cityofjoycongo.org. 

The film is available to stream via Netflix.

March-June: "House Hunting: Suburbian Night Landscapes" by Chelsea Reeck

The series “House Hunting” ​is a study of suburbia at night. Photographing this domestic architecture I show how it sits in the landscape as a resonant–if contradictory–symbol. Capitalizing upon existing light at night, these vernacular structures are both emblematic of familial wealth and stability, while simultaneously being aberrant and unsettling. The tension coming from their seeming remoteness, which allows them to represent both safety and refuge and conversely mystery, anxiety, and potential danger because we don’t have access to the inhabitants​. ​As I approach each house I underscore these moods by keeping the viewer at a distance which they cannot close, to construct a quasi-cinematic narrative that evokes more questions than answers about the family dynamics and the presumed security provided within each structure and on each street. The unfolding of this body of work reveals our uncanny attraction to these homes and neighborhoods between our aspirations toward the financial benefits of ownership, the domestic tranquility of the remote property and the concomitant risks and falsities both expose us to today.
-Chelsea Reeck

Showing March 10-June 27, 2020

Reception: TBD


May: FCAI Virtual Open Mic Night
June: Just Mercy Online Movie Viewing

FREE online film screening at the Freeborn County Arts Initiative!

During the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, we are hosting a series of weekly virtual events. This week, we are hosting a screening of Just Mercy, a film about race and justice in America. This film is based on a true story and is rated PG-13.

The film is available to watch for FREE at www.FCAI.us/MovieNight

Watch the movie at your own leisure and then join us for a virtual group discussion via Google Meet at 5:00pm Saturday June 13th, 2020.

July: FCAI Virtual Open Mic Night 2

July-August: "In the Garden" Group Show



September/October: "Creating in Place" group show

The FCAI artists, members and friends have done it again. They have pulled themselves together to create amazing work in their individual disciplines all while sheltering in during the Covid-19 pandemic. This exhibition is a testament to the hopefulness and endurance of our struggling artists. It is open to the public for anyone who would like to check out the work of these adventurous creatives.

Banned Books Week Panel Discussion

November-December: Northern Lights Group Show


A virtual gallery offering, running November 2020-January 2021
This show features the work of ten artists from across the United States exploring the concept of Northern Lights, literally and in abstraction. This artwork is also available for sale in our new online shop.
See the show now at:
December: Home for the Holidays Open Mic

2019 Gallery Exhibitions

January-March: "Theatre of the Mind"

The year started out strong with a group exhibition featuring artwork inspired by anything literature. We acquired quite the variety of mediums and sources of inspiration, from a drawing inspired by “Diary of Anne Frank” to several paintings inspired by Chinese and Korean poetry.

March-May: "Ourselves" by Erin Sandsmark

A beautiful solo exhibition by Minneapolis-based painter Erin Sandsmark. Her large-scale nude paintings are about the human form and creating spaces for bodies that aren’t often given space to exist.

May- June: Fishing Opening

The city of Albert Lea is excited to host Minnesota’s statewide Governor’s Fishing Opener! We’re hosting a group exhibition featuring all things fishing.

July-August: Ben Wong & Craig Steinmetz

We’re really excited to host two internationally-known sumi-e brush painters Ben Wong & Craig Steinmetz. Their work explores the beauty of our world while experiencing the joy of being a part of it.

September-October: Maggie Thompson

We’re very excited to present our last solo show of 2019, “For Love Alone,” a textile and mixed media body of work by Saint Paul-based artist Maggie Thompson. Her work revolves around her Native American Ojibwe heritage and telling stories of loss and grieving. “I use textiles as a way to contain memory, to reflect, and to tell a difficult story,” Thompson explains. “This medium helps me to rebuild my textured past and learn the history of my people through making and creating artistic patterns that connect me to them.”

November-December: Home for the Holidays

Group exhibition featuring artwork made by our very own members. The theme this year focuses on winter, coziness and being near those we love.

2018 Gallery Exhibitions

January-February: ENERGY Group Exhibition
We’re starting 2018 strong with a group exhibition exploring the concept of energy. Sponsored by Invenergy and the Freeborn Wind Farm, ENERGY features work from regional artists in a wide variety of themes.


March- April: Poster Child - Solo Exhibition by Elisha Andrew Marin
We strive to offer fresh and innovative programming to our community, from Reggie LeFlore’s graffiti art installation to our Indigenous exhibition presented in collaboration with Two Rivers. Poster Child is another of those concepts. An exhibition comprised entirely of graphic design, this show is the first of its kind in Southern Minnesota.


May-June: Two Artists Squaring Off
Two Artists Squaring off is an exhibition by Andrea Blackmon (of Washington, DC) and our very own Susanne Crane. This show juxtaposes a fiber artist and a painter exploring multiple themes, all in a square format.


July-August: The Escape Artists Group Exhibition
The Escape Artists are a group of Midwest artists who create work on retreat. The Escape Artists exhibition will be presented alongside a book written by Susanne Crane and made possible by SEMAC.
September-October: Metamorphosis by Marla Olivia Klein
Metamorphosis is a concept and photodocumentary exhibition by Marla Olivia Klein. The show portrays the journey of Kylee, who transitioned from male to female.
November-December: ICE MELT - All Member Exhibition
Our all-member exhibition for 2018 features work by Arts Initiative members around a melting ice theme. Don’t you want to warm up our chilly Minnesota winter?
2017 Gallery Exhibitions
January-February: Portals Group Exhibition
Portals: Windows and Doorways into Other Worlds

The first exhibition of 2017, Portals is a juried theme show including a wide range of artistic media. The exhibition opens January 17th, 2017 and runs til February 25th, 2017 with an artist reception on Saturday, February 25th from 2-4pm. All artwork to be considered must be dropped off at the FCAI gallery on January 13th between 3-6pm unless other arrangements are made. Please contact Info@FreebornCountyArtsInitiative.com with questions.


March- April: ReBirth: Out of the Ashes - Michelle Kaisersatt Solo Exhibition
ReBirth: Out of the Ashes is a culmination of soulful work influenced by recent life changing experiences


Clay artist Michelle Kaisersatt embraces each day at her rural Minnesota studio, designing and creating handcrafted ceramic and bronze cast vessels. If she is not at her studio, she is sharing her passion for clay with enthusiastic students at surrounding schools, clay centers, and at her own studio. Asked how Michelle would describe her work, she admits that’s a bit of a challenge, due to the uniqueness of her vessels. However, she offers “nature-driven, celebratory, organic and classic” all, as good descriptors. She adds “These vessels reflect a deep respect for life and of how we live and how we love.”

May-June: Horses for Sophie
The Horses group exhibition was conceived to honor our little eight year old friend, Sophie Stultz, who was tragically killed last summer, by an automobile, while biking with her friend. Sophie was a Kid’s College student and trained gallery docent, with ambitions to become both an artist and a journalist. She loved to draw horses.

We, at the Arts Initiative want everyone to know how much we miss her and, like all of her friends and family, we will not forget her. Sophie’s favorite artist Dee Teller, of Faribault Minnesota, will be featured, and is offering a commemorative print at a greatly reduced price in Sophie’s honor. Many artists from the community have created equine art specifically for this remembrance exhibition. The Kid’s College kids will show their horse themed artwork, in the hallway, in tandem with the FCAI Horses exhibition.

The poster design for this show features one of Sophie’s favorite horse drawings created at Kid’s College near the end of her brief life. This drawing shows spirit and energy that expresses her nature beautifully.


July-August: Process by Reggie LeFlore
The FCAI is pleased to present Reggie LeFlore, an urban, street artist from Omaha, Nebraska, who will transform our gallery with an installation of street art.

Reggie is a visual artist who composes with the concepts and philosophies of Street Art and Graffiti culture in mind, using a combination of aerosols, stencils, acrylic paints and graphic design elements to produce human portraiture and illustration. The aim of his work is to dismantle the negative elements often associated with Street Art culture, as he paints with colors and techniques that express vibrancy and a complex degree of work, extending beyond the misunderstood concepts of “tagging” and “vandalism”.

Reggie’s show will be at the Arts Initiative Gallery from July 18th – September 2nd, 2017, with an artist reception from 6-9pm on July 22nd.

Reggie has participated in three of our recent group exhibitions including Going Places, the Wind Energy Pop-Up show and Who Dun-it? He is versatile in his subject matter which often includes portraiture and textual elements. His distinctive layering technique and dynamic color choices create explosive drama and he does not shy away from quasi-political themes or issues of social justice.

Reggie’s work can be found online at www.RAL86.com


September-October: Indigenous Group Exhibition

Celebrating Indigenous art throughout the ages. Featuring the work of Marlena Myles, Holly Young, and Hilary Abe.

September 14th – October 29th, 2017

Artist Reception: 7:00 – 9:00pm Friday October 29th, 2017


November-December: Evergreen All Member Group Holiday Show
Our annual all-member exhibition for 2017 is EVERGREEN. This exhibit features work exclusively by Arts Initiative artists in a wide variety of media, all around an evergreeen theme.


2016 Exhibitions
January-February: Going Places Group Exhibition
The Freeborn Co. Arts Initiative is pleased to announce its new offering for January-February 2016 entitled Going Places. This mixed-media, juried exhibition includes artists from around the country ,our region and even local to Albert Lea. According to artist Susanne Crane who helped in founding the FCAI, this show is for all those people who are not snow birds, who wait out the winter and keep things running after the others have fled the cold. She said, “We (the FCAI) wanted to give people an imaginary trip to many fantastic places, both real and imagined, all without having to leave town and in the warmth of our new gallery”.

The show opens Tuesday, January 19th and will run ’til February 27th.
Hours are Tuesday-Saturday 1-4 pm
An artist’s reception is scheduled for Saturday, February 13th from 3-5 pm
March- April: Aerial Photography - Adam Glowaski Solo Exhibition
Fly With Us – A Solo Exhibition by Adam Glowaski

March 8th – April 23rd

Artist’s Reception – March 24th at 5-8pm


Adam Glowaski resides in Ventura, Iowa.  A graduate of Iowa State University, he has built much of his photography and videography business, Box5 Media, in the corporate marketing industry.  Photography was a hobby that started in high school, and his passion for aviation was born at an early age after seeing films like Top Gun, prompting him to later learn how to fly and obtain his pilot’s license.  Over the past several years, Adam has turned those passions into a profession, refining his skills to take pictures that other photographers aspire to.  Access to the airplanes and experiences has all been through the incredible network of friends and acquaintances met from being a part of the tight-knit aviation community.  Adam is thankful and feels blessed for all those that have allowed him to be a part of this aviation world, and wouldn’t have been able to capture these moments in time without those peopleScreen Shot 2016-07-01 at 2.17.58 AM

May-June: Animal, Vegetable, Mineral - Group Exhibition
Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 2.11.33 AM
July-August: Ming Chiao - Group Exhibition


Ming Chiao, or Minnesota Bridge, signifies a link between East and West. The name reflects a connection to the numerous lakes and mighty rivers in Minnesota.

Ming Chiao is a chapter of the Sumi-e Society of America, a non-profit educational organization founded in 1963 by Motoi Oi with the mission:

• To foster and encourage an appreciation of East Asian brush painting techniques through publications, workshops, lectures, and exhibitions.

• To serve as a cultural bridge between East and West.

• To furnish information to all persons who wish to learn about this art.


September-October: This Show Rocks - Susanne Crane Solo Exhibition
rocks, Rocks, ROCKS!

This Show Rocks! – a solo exhibition by Susanne Crane

September 6th – October 29th


This Show Rocks” is one painter’s exploration of nature’s foundational building blocks.

Human civilization was built of stone. The ancient wonders of the world, the castles of Europe and the bridges that connect us, rely on the strength of stone, but according to artist Susanne Crane, rocks are most awe-inspiring when found in their natural landscape.

“I have been obsessed with rocks since I was a child, fascinated to learn the names of the stones I held in my hands. Later, I worked with semi-precious stones in jewelry settings and later still, with bricks and mortar, tile and mosaic. I also like to hike and climb and feel a very close bond with the bluffs and coulees of my childhood”, she said.

Susanne’s paintings are vast and dream-like and take you on a heartfelt journey to distant places. She has been painting for over 30 years, showing extensively in the mid-west and also leads art enrichment programs in Minneapolis and Albert Lea.

*You are invited to bring your pet rock to the building on Saturday, Sept. 10th at 5:00 to celebrate how Albert Lea Rocks!

*Show runs Sept. 6th – Oct. 29th. Artist’s reception is Sat. Sept. 10th from 5:00 – 7:00 pm.

Special features in this show include – rock gardens and cairns, some beautiful stone jewelry pieces and references to ancient wonders (some of them from our National Parks!) And according to Susanne, “some of my frames were made locally by Layne Cabinetry. They’re beautiful. They fit perfectly to the artwork.”

What’s next? – Susanne is currently working on a piece for a Smithsonian sponsored exhibition and getting ready for her MacNider show. She’s also looking forward to the Pop-Up Art event, right here in Albert Lea, at the FCAI, the first week in November.

About the poster – She said, “I don’t really play the guitar. It was play on the word “Rocks” to amuse my friends. We thought it would be fun to do a vintage looking take on a Rolling Stones magazine cover with me as a Janis Joplin-esque rock star. I’ve gotten quite a few calls about this poster art and possibly a few gigs. Maybe I’ll take up the guitar yet. They say it’s never too late.”


Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 12.49.41 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 12.50.52 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 12.51.51 PM


November-December: All Member Group Holiday Show
Guess Whodunit – FCAI’s Annual All Member Exhibition

November 15th – December 20th

For our 2nd annual all-member art show, the FCAI will test your knowledge of our membership artists. We will number the artwork (We provide a cheat sheet for those who may not be familiar with our exhibitions and/or choose not to play the game).

Study the paintings, photographs, and sculptures without their titles, prices or artist’s names. What you would call them, who do you think made them, and how much you think they cost.

Turn in your guesses at the gallery with your name and phone number. You may win a prize!



2015 Exhibitions
January-February: If Walls Could Talk – Romantic poetry  Group Show

March-April: Pets on Chairs – Julie Fakler Solo Exhibition (w/ Humane Society)

May-June: Immigrant Art – Group Show

July-August: Heart of the Heartland – Group Exhibition

September-October: Asia Speaks – Dee Teller Solo Exhibition

November-December: All Member Group Holiday Show

2014 Exhibitions
July-August:  Friends Triumphant Group Show

September-October:  Body Art  Group Show

November-December:  Night Photography  Group Exhibition

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