Art Hounds: Pandemic portraits in Winona

A storefront with artwork in the windows
Part of the Pandemic Portrait Project at the corner of Third and Main streets in Winona, Minn.
Photo by Mary Farrell

Art Hounds was off for Thanksgiving, and since our last one was released, the places in Minnesota where people gather to experience art indoors are on pause. Yet Minnesotans continue to make — and partake in — art.

Winona photographer and filmmaker Mary Farrell was struck by the Pandemic Portrait Project, on display in downtown Winona through Wednesday. The roughly 40 large photographs are all viewable from outside, spread along several blocks of storefronts on Third Street.

It’s the work of Winona State University students. Their assignment, inspired by a workshop with St. Paul photographer Wing Young Huie, was to photograph a stranger outside during the pandemic. Some people wear masks in their portraits; others don’t.

“It’s a wonderful visual experience,” said Farrell. “It’s just striking, because you’re walking along and you just stop and take notice. The fact that they’re so big and so colorful and so personal really draws you in.”

Sarah Woolever of Minneapolis shines a light on the handmade jewelry of Peter Mielech of St. Paul this week. Mielech crafts earrings, pendants, rings, pins and more out of reclaimed wood and colored resin, which he sometimes swirls to create the appearance of stone, but the material makes them lightweight to wear.

“It’s beautiful enough for the special events or for everyday wear.” Woolever said she often gets compliments on her jewelry made by Mielech from coworkers and children in her work as a musical therapist at Children’s Minnesota.

Two earrings made from wood and resin hang from a small twig.
Jewelry in wood and resin by Peter Mielech of St. Paul.
Photo by Peter Mielech

High School for the Recording Arts and Minnesota Jazz Education released an album last month that was recorded, mixed and produced from home by students during distance learning.

HSRA student Kristina Reed, 18, of Maple Grove is a student publicist and radio coordination intern. She got to watch the process of creating the album, from individual recordings to editing and production, with all the expected technological challenges along the way.

“It took a while, but the effort was well worth the wait. It is such a nice album,” Reed said.

The recording, “Experience Jazz 2020: The Sounds of Distance,” is available on iTunes and Spotify.

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