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Park Rapids Lakes Area Arts Council Column: And the Art Beat goes on

Summer, as we know it, is over. School is back in session. Most tourists have left the area, and our summer residents are making plans to head to a warmer climate.

But members of the Park Rapids Lakes Area Arts Council (PRLAAC) are just gearing up for one of the busiest times of year. Classic Chorale and the community band are beginning rehearsals. The Headwaters Center for Lifelong Learning just opened its fall series at the Park Theater with more than 100 in attendance, and Art Leap and the Great American Story are just around the corner.

On Sept. 22-23, Art Leap kicks off with artists and guest artists in 22 locations, including new sites in downtown Park Rapids and St. Urho Park in Menahga. One exciting new feature is the Sculpture Trail in Red Bridge Park on the Fish Hook River in Park Rapids. At some studios, visitors can expect to see live demonstrations, listen to music and enjoy treats. Studios will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Maps/brochures are available at the Park Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, the Park Rapids Library, numerous other locations around the area and at What better way to enjoy our spectacular fall colors, shop for gifts for yourself and others, and support the local and regional arts community?

On Sept. 22, spend a relaxing evening at Calvary Lutheran Church in Park Rapids where you can participate in the third annual Great American Story competition. Last spring, PRLAAC issued an invitation to Minnesota storytellers to submit a 10-minute story, from which five finalists (one is a duo) were chosen and will compete on Saturday at 7 p.m. for the title of Great American Storyteller. The five will tell their stories and the audience will vote for the top two, who will then have to tell a 10-minute impromptu story. The audience votes again to choose the winner of the title and $1,000 prize money. Local resident Mike Carroll will be the emcee and master storyteller Richard Rousseau will entertain while ballots are being counted. Rousseau is well known in the Midwest and around the country as an actor, director, playwright and storyteller. Tickets will be available at the door..

Both Art Leap and the Great American Story are sponsored by PRLAAC with funding provided, in part, by a Region 2 Arts Council Grant through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature and the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund passed by Minnesota voters on Nov. 4, 2008.