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Lucas puts its spin on arts festival





LUCAS -- The first official State Visual Arts Festival is Saturday in downtown Lucas from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The idea for a visual arts festival came out of the blue, said Von Rothenberger, co-director of the Lucas Chamber of Commerce and one of the sponsors.

Visual art includes photography, fine arts, moving and 3-D images, even the printed word. Organizers were surprised to find there aren't any visual arts festivals in the Midwest, he said.

They hope to make it an annual event that features a different medium each year while incorporating past exhibits. For instance, it could become a yearly gathering of professional photographers.

"I'd love to see where this goes," he said.

As one might expect with Lucas' history, the festival will have some unique aspects.

"We're putting the Lucas spin on things," he said.

Photography is the featured art for the initial festival, and the Hays Photography Club, which has members across the state, is one of this year's sponsors.

"The drive to Lucas along the scenic byway and Wilson Lake has amazing potential" for photographers, Rothenberger said.

A juried photo contest will be judged by Harland Schuster of Morrill. Entries will be displayed in the Lucas Golden Age Center, 210 Main. There also will be a display of Schuster's work.

Other exhibits include 24 prints of Leslie Winfield Halbe's work displayed in the Lucas Area Community Theater. Halbe, who lived in Dorrance, began taking photos of the region with an inexpensive camera in 1908, when he was 15. His work features "every day shots" and includes 1,500 glass plate negatives, Rothenberger said.

Brant's Meat Market will feature photography and murals, and the local newspaper, the Lucas-Sylvan News, will have an exhibit in Leach & Naegele Hardware.

The exhibits are within two blocks of downtown, making it easy to get around, and local attractions such as the Garden of Eden, also will be open.

Two photography workshops by international photographer John Ellert also are scheduled. The basic workshop is at 10 a.m. and costs $15. The advanced session is at 2 p.m. and costs $20.

"He's a great guy to talk to," Rothenberger said of Ellert.