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River Art Community is newest art endeavor

Nate Luetgers, Ken Hill and Donna Hill have teamed up to open the River Art Community on 323 Main Avenue. Luetgers will teach a variety of art classes. (Shannon Geisen/Enterprise)

Creativity will know no bounds at River Art Community, the newest venue in downtown Park Rapids.

Located on the corner of Fourth St. and Main, the center offers art classes lead by professionally trained artists, plus gallery space featuring up to 40 regional artists.

"We're not just catering to the people who've been artists all of their lives or are professional," said Donna Hill, who co-owns River Art Community with husband Ken.

Art classes are geared for all skill levels and ages.

Nate Luetgers, a 2000 Park Rapids High School graduate, is among the instructors at River Art Community. Luetgers has led numerous art classes for youngsters and adults through community education. He'll offer similar workshops at the new art space.

He designed River Art's logo, seeking a "playful, inviting" image to encourage everyone to dabble in art, no matter what their levels of ability.

Kids art classes will be held Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to noon.

"Mom and Dad come from the resorts, want to drop their kids off for a couple hours. They can do that and their shopping, then go to lunch," Luetgers suggested.

Budding artists will explore cartooning, acrylic painting, pencilling, sidewalk chalk art and more.

"Every day I will have a different class," he said.

Teen classes are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 5 p.m., with a focus on painting, drawing, mixed media, still life or charcoal.

Luetgers is excited to find students interested in creating mural work around town, perhaps in alleyways or to adorn bland, brick walls with simple murals, like a balloon, bear or business logo.

Adult art classes are Mondays and Wednesdays from 2 to 5 p.m.

"Those are going to be more academic," Luetgers said.

Abstract art, calligraphy, alcohol ink art, plein-air painting (a French Impressionist style of painting outdoors) and other classes are on the docket.

Fridays are "open studio" from 2 to 5 p.m. for anyone who wishes to begin or complete a piece.

Drop-ins are welcome and encouraged.

Artists may rent space at the gallery to show and sell their work, committing to a one-year agreement and a small commission fee. Twenty-two artists are interested, thus far.

Jewelry, ceramics and other smaller artwork will be displayed in cases.

The gallery will include a "tea bar," offering hot or cold tea.

"We'll have a lot of unique loose leaf tea and signatures flavors," Donna said.

"We'll incorporate it into our 'Paint and Sips,'" Luetgers added. Instead of wine, participants will sip tea while they create their masterpieces.

A small, corner stage will feature live music.

The Hills owned three pizza restaurants in the Twin Cities prior to moving to Park Rapids four years ago. Donna had mulled over the idea of opening an art gallery when she was introduced to Luetgers, and "the rest was history," he said.

Call 218-366-2199 or stop in to register for "Paint and Sips" or other specialty classes. Details and schedule updates are posted on River Art Community's Facebook page or on the store's front door.

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