Veterans and newcomers alike enjoy Cocoa with Santa Saturday at OAC

Santa and Mrs. Claus made their annual appearance at the Owatonna Arts Center Saturday morning to help create indelible Christmas memories for local families.

While the center is of course focused on art, it’s also a community gathering place, conducting events throughout the year like Cocoa with Santa, said Silvan Durben, the center’s creative director. In fact, he refers to the main room of the arts center as “Owatonna’s living room,” due to the number and variety of events conducted there.

'It's Christmas Once Again' at Owatonna Arts Center

The Owatonna Arts Center is looking to the past, while also nodding toward a colorful future, with this year’s holiday display, “It’s Christmas Once Again.”

The annual December exhibition in the OAC is “our gift to the community,” said Silvan Durben, the OAC’s creative director. “Christmas is about that momentary joy that travels through our hearts and lives with us forever.”

Evan Christopher to bring genuine New Orleans music to Owatonna with December 2 concert

Evan Christopher, arguably the world’s premier jazz clarinetist, will bring the traditional music of New Orleans to Owatonna during a Dec. 2 concert at the Owatonna Arts Center.

“I want Owatonna to be ready to celebrate the legacy of New Orleans,” a city that has provided deep and varied contributions that “continue to impact American life” over its 300 years, Christopher said. “I’m much more interested in telling New Orleans stories than Evan Christopher stories.”

Art from Jean Formo and Don Sundeen now on display inside OAC gallery

This month in the Owatonna Arts Center gallery, patrons can view the varied art of Jean Formo, as well as watercolor paintings by Don Sundeen, who spent his formative years attending school in Owatonna on the campus of the former State School Orphanage.