February 25, 2022 at 10:29 a.m.

Wyoming Area Creative Arts Community looks toward next 10 years of being a hub for arts

Wyoming Area Creative Arts Community looks  toward next 10 years of being a hub for arts
Wyoming Area Creative Arts Community looks toward next 10 years of being a hub for arts

An art exhibit celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Wyoming Area Creative Arts Community (WACAC), opens  February 17, and runs through March 19 and features an eclectic exhibit by local artists. Hallberg Center for the Arts is at 5521 Viking Blvd NE in Wyoming, MN 55092.

This exhibit is a collection of the Best of The Wyoming Area Creative Arts Community (WACAC) and was open to all artists that have participated in exhibits at the Hallberg Center for the Arts.

Opening night featured live music by founding member and Songwriters in the Round alum Andrew Spreck.

Spreck mentioned during breaks in his set at the 10th anniversary gathering, that he saw a notice in the community newspaper about the Wyoming Area Creative Arts Community being established in 2012 and he checked it out.  Spreck found many like-minded people also attracted to the idea of a group coming together. Artists understand putting your art out there and what receiving feedback means to an artist,  Spreck commented.

He was the organizer for 22 songwriter in the round/live music sessions before passing the torch and he said that opportunity was inspiring and fulfilling.
Spreck has five songs of his 10-song next CD which will probably come out next year. He perfomances can be found on streaming services, and works on recording in the winter.  His latest CD “Where  I’m From” was released about a year ago.

The Wyoming Area Creative Arts Community is an alliance of painters, musicians, performers, photographers, and writers bringing the arts to the communities surrounding Wyoming, including Forest Lake, Stacy, North Branch, Chisago City and beyond.

In 2012 this collective of just over a dozen artists began to work towards becoming an established organization.

“What started out as a small group of painters, writers and musicians wanting to bring art to a community has really turned into something amazing”, said founding member and past Board Chairman Eric Peterson. “I’m so proud of all the people that have contributed to this project and continued to build this vision. In 2012, when I got a call from Wendy Hazzard and we decided to start something, we never envisioned it evolving into what it is today.” “With the desire to create some community projects, we realized the need be a 501(c)3 corporation (registered non-profit) to enable donations that were tax deductible. This happened in 2014.”
In 2015, through generous sponsors and volunteer commitment, WACAC purchased a turn of the century church on East Viking Boulevard,  and transformed its two levels  into Hallberg Center for the Arts.  

The organization has exhibited artwork of hundreds of artists across Minnesota and Wisconsin (even as far away as the UK) in solo, duo and collaborative exhibits which changes monthly. The original dozen artists has grown to nearly 200 and what started out as a local project now regional - all done through volunteers, donations, sponsorships, and grants. Because of this generosity, admission is always free.

Major sponsors were recognized in a plaque presented February 17 by Breeze Larson and Jesse Eischens, see photos.

For those unable to visit the gallery, exhibits can be viewed with a 3D tour of the gallery via Wyomingcreativearts.org. In response to the COVID 19 pandemic, the Hallberg Center for the Arts had one of the first 3D gallery tour options and is visited by hundreds of art patrons each month.

The organization is committed to promoting arts in the community not only through ongoing first-rate exhibitions at the center but through outreach efforts such as Kids Can Be Artists Too , set up at local festivals each year. This free event encourages kids of all ages to get in touch with their inner artist and create a painting on canvas for free. Wyoming’s Stagecoach Days’ sessions have involved over 600 kids on average from 8-10 different counties.  Kids take home a free T-shirt with their newly created artwork. The Ranger Art Review is held at the Hallberg Center each spring and features the art from Forest Lake Area District Middle and High Schools.
WACAC also promotes the musical arts. Hosting “Songwriters in the Round” every other month at the Hallberg Center for the Arts; three singer/songwriters grace the Main Gallery stage playing their original compositions, enlightening the audience about songwriting and their own backstory.

Art education classes and a variety of groups meet at the Hallberg Center each month. Painting, pyrography, sketching, photography, and writing are some of the classes and groups. More information can be found on the website.

The following calendar of events opens monthly on Thursdays from 4pm to 8pm in 2022:
• Wyoming Area Creative Arts Community 10th Anniversary Show – Thursday, February 17 - Saturday, March 19
• Songwriters in The Round #27 – Thursday, February 24, 7pm-8:30pm featuring Sarah Morris, Ted Hajnasiewicz, and Cathie English
• Through Her Eyes – Duo Exhibit by Emily Quandahl & CeCe Petersen – Thursday March 24 – Saturday April 16
• The Ranger Art Review - The best art of the year from the Forest Lake Area Middle and High Schools – Thursday, April 21 – Saturday, May 14
• Songwriters in The Round #28 – Thursday, April 28, 7pm-8:30pm Songwriters to be determined
• Erin Gunelson, Jim Lamers, & Dewy Thorbeck Exhibits – Thursday May 19 – Saturday June 18.
• Quilting Blocks in Stages and Ana Musachio Duo Exhibit – Thursday June 23 – Saturday, July16
• Songwriters in The Round #29 – Thursday, June 30, 7pm-8:30pm    Songwriters to be determined
• Morgan Mercer & Derrick Burbul Duo Show – Thursday, July 21 – Saturday August 13
• The In.Art Show Seventh Annual Competition –  A juried and judged art competition with the addition of outdoor sculpture  - Thursday, August 18 – Saturday, September 17
• Songwriters in The Round #30 – Thursday, August 25, 7pm-8:30pm    Songwriters to be determined
• Kids Can Be Artists Too! – Saturday, September 17 at Stagecoach Days, Wyoming, MN annual celebration. WACAC volunteers set up tents with painting stations, aprons and easels and invite children of every age to paint for free.
• Steve Olson & Jeffery Allen Benny Exhibits – Thursday, September 22 – Saturday, October 15
• Kimberly Lindgren & Kathy Trandem Exhibits – Thursday, October 20 -  Saturday, November 12   

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