October 8, 2017

The Redlin Art Center-Watertown, South Dakota.

This post isn’t about writing but it is about art and, after visiting this art museum with my dear friend Jodi, who’s wanted to visit since she fell in love with Terry Redlin’s work, I found that he paints like authors write.  He paints series, something I didn’t realize because I didn’t follow his work more than seeing it on calendars and such.  Jodi knew.  As a birthday gift to her this year, she and I piled into my car for an extended girls weekend and headed six hours south.  I don’t have a South Dakota volunteer this year but I took some great pictures of our girl’s trip and developed a crush for this painter's work. 

I didn’t buy a print, I bought wine, but Jodi was lucky enough to afford a couple of nice limited editions.  And she cried when she came upon the original work of her favorite of those during her stroll through the art center-so I had to snap a picture. 

A little about the Redlin Art Center https://redlinart.com : Charles Redlin wanted to preserve his father’s original oil paintings. He wanted everyone to be able to experience his father’s works in their original form. Charles developed a plan to collect and display these paintings in a public space. 25 years before the Redlin Center opened, he planted the seed: “I told Dad I wanted him to stop selling his originals,” said Charles. “I wanted a place to display them after he was gone.”

Since South Dakota sent Terry Redlin through art school on a scholarship for disabled students, he wanted to build it in Watertown as a gift to the state and the community.  Many of his pictures reflect his experience in Watertown. 

It’s a beautiful town.  They’ve restored much of the business district to original late 1800’s as well as the mansion of the first Governor of South Dakota.  Much wasn’t open when we walked around so our view was from outside, but they were statuesque buildings.   We could hear geese while walking so we jumped back in the car and drove until we reached this cute little pond with an island in the middle.  I don’t remember if the place had a name but there’s a Lion’s Club right on the shore.  It was early Sunday morning and that wasn’t open either.  We were really just killing time before the museum opened so we enjoyed a cruise around town just to see what was there.  

The town is full of water-- hence the name Watertown.  According to the US Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 25.04 square miles of which 17.45 square miles is land and 7.59 square miles is water. Watertown sits on the Big Sioux River and two major lakes, Lake Pelican and Lake Kampeska.  We stopped several times to hike over bridges.  There was also a very cool stone bridge in a park that I just had to drive over and, when we got to the museum, we found Terry Redlin did a painting with that bridge as well as other places in Watertown.  

The Redlin Art Center is one of the coolest museums I’ve been to.  Its design is beautiful.  Its three floors of original art by one artist, a theater that shows a really interesting piece about the artist and gift shops that were happy to see us.  I dropped good money on some locally made wine.  I recommend the Chokecherry and part of the purchase of that bottle went to Alzheimer’s research.   Jodi bought a couple of limited editions and, before we went, I researched the difference between prints, author proofs and limited editions.  

I also emailed the art center to make sure they had both author proof and limited edition of Jodi’s favorite because I felt if she traveled all that way, she ought to have something the guy actually signed.   We were probably the second getting to the art center at opening and they were closing up when we left—but they didn’t kick us out.  Big thanks goes out to the two women in the gift shop for helping us with the prints and to the other two or three patient enough to wait before they turned all the lights off upon closing at 4:00.  
On the way up to Watertown, we stopped at the Dam Fish Shack. https://www.facebook.com/Dam-Fish-Shack-134220576987287   It’s an interesting little outside place by Yankton right off the Lewis and Clark Reservoir and then also at Madison, another cute town. 

 On the way back, we made it as far as Crofton, Nebraska before we stopped at Jeanie’s Antique Store. http://www.jeannesantiques.com   We were the only ones there and one of the proprietors helped us find some cool old stuff.  

Every South Dakota person we encountered was wonderful and welcoming from the business people to others who happened to be near us at the time.  All in all a great weekend away, a dream fulfilled for Jodi and a bunch in between. 
(Some material downloaded from listed places websites and pictures provided by Annette)

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