OAC to host pair of unique events Sunday

As part of Candy Kuehn’s exhibition this month at the Owatonna Arts Center, she and her husband, composer, multi-media artist, and actor Craig Harris, will both be at the OAC Sunday for a unique afternoon of entertainment.

Harris will play original music on the piano while digital projections he and Kuehn selected are visible behind him. Kuehn will also lead a separate fascinator workshop Sunday afternoon.

Harris and Kuehn collaborate frequently, so Sunday’s presentation will “give people a taste of what we do outside of this particular exhibit,” he said Thursday. Harris has worked alongside dance troupes for years, including—during the summer of 2017—a Minneapolis-based group that performed a dance “all about adult orphanhood.”

That show incorporated everything from final experiences with parents, processing their deaths, and dealing with life without parents, he said. Those involved with the show ranged in age from 20s to 80s.

Harris is repurposing music he wrote for that run for Sunday’s event, and his pieces evoke “all the different feeling we go through, not just losing a parent, but walking through our lives,” he said. His goal is to place audience members “in these emotions deeply.”

“Everyone knows about these emotions,” including gratitude, longing, loss, regret, and nostalgia, and the adult orphanhood concept is merely “a vector into the emotions,” he said. “How do we interpret these emotions?”

This “isn’t just for people who have lost parents,” but, rather, “an emotion gallery,” he added. “Let’s explore our emotions together in music and a visual world.”

Kuehn has curated images to match his music for the projection, and many have a natural theme, since nature is foremost in her artwork.

Kuehn is experienced in projecting stills for dance companies to use, and she tends to feel music more than hear it, she said last week. “Our idea is to set the images as a feeling forum, not so much as a story.”

“She hears music and then sees imagery,” Harris said. There’s an “infused spirituality in these images that I think is well-married to the music.”

In addition to Kuehn’s visual art in the musical collaboration—as well as her photography—her “wearables” are also on display this month in the OAC. Kuehn has been fascinated with fabrics since the age of 5, and she splits her time between photography and fabrics. Lately, she’s created several dance costumes, including for Flamenco dancers.

The headwear creation event is free, although individuals are asked to pre-register with the center for the sake of supplies, said Silvan Durben, the OAC’s creative director. Attendees are invited to bring hats and materials to create — or resuscitate — their own hats.

“We’re recycling,” Kuehn explained last month. “You can clean the earth and embellish yourself at the same time.”

Anything from “old headbands,” to silly straw hats “that deserve the hot glue gun,” to hair clips are welcome, Kuehn said last week. She’ll demonstrate “how to play and have sheer joy.”

Both the fascinator workshop and the multi-media event are slated to begin around 2 p.m. Sunday.

Reach Reporter Ryan Anderson at 507-444-2376 or follow him on Twitter @randerson_ryan.