LINDSBORG — What is currently an empty store front on Lindsborg's Main Street will become a temporary art exhibit as "Lindsborg Collects...Lindsborg Art" opens on March 4.
Organizers Marsha Howe and Carol Gusenius estimate around 50 pieces of art will be shown, each submitted by a different Lindsborg resident.
"You're limited to one per person," Howe said. "Every year, everybody can put a different piece in."
The idea for the exhibit, which began seven years ago, came from the realization that many people had paintings, sculptures and other items in their homes. Rather than asking individuals to open their homes to strangers, Howe and Gusenius gathered artworks along with the stories of their significance and placed them in a vacant space downtown.
"We did not have it one year because there was no empty store downtown — not that we want there to be an empty store," Howe laughed.
Institutions such as churches, schools, banks and assisted living facilities can also submit a single piece and its story.
"A lot of times, they have nice pieces," Gusenius said.
A memorial painting created by Maleta Forsberg hanging in Messiah Lutheran Church caught Gusenius' eye and she asked them to submit it for "Lindsborg Collects...Lindsborg Art."
"I was just struck when I was looking around the church — this is something I've never seen," Gusenius said.
Artwork submitted for the exhibit must have been created by an artist affiliated with Lindsborg or Bethany College, and owned by an individual residing within Lindsborg’s ZIP code, 67456.
"It doesn't have to be a professional artist," Howe explained.
Howe is submitting a piece created by her grandmother, Jeannette Burch, who was a quilter and also created pieces of fabric art. Howe's uncle commissioned an artist to paint a watercolor of her grandmother's house.
"It was very pastel-y and Grandma didn't like it. She thought it didn't show off her farm the way it should," Howe said.
Taking matters into her own hands, Burch pieced together a picture of her house using scraps of corduroy for the siding and cotton balls from pill bottles for clouds.
"She didn't throw anything away," Howe said.
Burch eventually made a similar picture for each of her grandchildren, then began selling others at the Presbyterian church bazaar in Roxbury. She would go on to create commissioned pieces, working off of photographs.
"Her art table was a couple of sawhorses that my grandfather pounded together and put a great big four by eight sheet of plywood on," Howe said. "She never had anything fancy. She did it in her bedroom and we would sit and watch her glue little pieces of fabric."
Gusenius selected a painting by Etna Peterson for the exhibit. She first saw the painting while working to sell Peterson's home after her death.
"In her basement studio, this was on her easel, so I'm assuming this is her last painting that she did," Gusenius said.
Elizabeth Liljegren is in charge of hanging the show, bringing together the various styles to form a cohesive whole.
"I say it's poetry in motion to watch her work," Gusenius said. "She gives it a lot of thought."
Each piece is accompanied by a card detailing the narrative surrounding it.
"The story part of it makes it much more than an art exhibit, because they tell why they exhibited that particular piece and what it means to them or whatever story there is," Gusenius said. "It kind of brings out people's memories of their relatives and past artists."
"There are people that come back three or four times to read them all," Howe added.
"Lindsborg Collects...Lindsborg Art" draws in hundreds of viewers each year.
"It seemed like a good time to do it during Lent because we have a lot of visitors to town in the spring," Gusenius said.
"Lindsborg Collects...Lindsborg Art" will be exhibited on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from March 4 through April 2 at 105 N. Main St. in Lindsborg. An opening reception will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. on March 4.
"We will open by special request if there's a club, group or something that wants to make that part of their program," Gusenius noted.
For more information about "Lindsborg Collects...Lindsborg Art," visit or call 785-906-0285 or 785-906-0504.
Contact Patricia Middleton by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.