The new gallery exhibit at the Cultural Center in New York Mills will open March 6, with a reception and presentation celebrating International Women’s Day and introducing the featured artists and their artwork. International Women’s Day is traditionally observed annually on March 8, with a focus on celebrating achievements as well as acknowledging challenges which remain for women and girls. In this gallery exhibit, the concept of immigration and integration is explored through the work of two artists. Norwegian-American artist and musician Arna Rennan from Duluth explores concepts of landscape and other metaphors for immigration and integration. Iranian-American artist Leila Rastegar from Fargo explores the inner and outer worlds of women in her circle of family and friends, including what is retained and what is lost through immigration.
All are invited to the reception and presentation to introduce the exhibit on Sunday, March 6 from 2-4 p.m. in the Center’s main gallery. Cultural Center Curator Jill Johnson will begin with a welcome and introduction, followed with a talk by Cultural Center Program Coordinator Susan Kay: “International Women’s Day: Multiple Perspectives,” and an artist talk by exhibiting artist Leila Rastegar. Wrapping up the event, exhibiting artist Arna Rennan will present a musical performance: “Women In Traditional Norwegian Music.” All audiences are invited to this exhibition and presentation. There is no fee for admission. Please contact the Center with any special needs requests. About the artists Arna Rennan spent 13 consecutive years studying art and working within the artists’ community in Oslo, Norway. Upon returning to her native Minnesota, she began painting the landscape of her environment as a means to reconnect. The years were filled with images and memories of Norway, which she is now venturing to express in her paintings.
In addition to working with visual art, Rennan is also an accomplished singer and musician of traditional Norwegian folk music. She first learned from her parents who emigrated from Norway to Minnesota in the 1950s, and later through her years of living in Norway and enjoying the thriving folk music culture in Lom where she worked. Leila Rastegar is an Iranian-born artist. From her childhood she was pursuing her dreams to become a professional artist, but due to the situation of her life Leila received a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from Shiraz University in Iran in 1988. Rastegar, however, attended private art school to keep her passion for art alive. In August 2001, she immigrated to U.S. with her family, and her dreams began to become reality. She attended North Dakota State University, where she assisted in the gallery operation at the Memorial Union Gallery. She got her MFA in painting and drawing at the University of North Dakota in May 2011. Rastegar’s style is representational with direct, painterly approach, and her artwork explores the complex identities of women in Iran. She has exhibited her work extensively in the Fargo/Moorhead area, and is currently a full-time artist. For more information call the Cultural Center at 218-385-3339 or visit the Center’s website at www.kulcher.org.