August 10 – September 10, 2022
Artists Robyn Olson, Lori Charest, Anne Sawyer
Gallery Open to All
Reception Friday 8/12 @ 4-6PM

All are invited to the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center Gallery between August 10 – September 10, 2022 to see artwork by Robyn Olson, Lori Charest, Anne Sawyer, and past Puppet Pageant participants.

An Artists Reception is being held on Friday, August 12 from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. and all are welcome to attend.

The Reception and Gallery are always free to see and open to all. Gallery Hours are:

  • Wednesdays 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursdays 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Fridays 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Saturdays 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • Closed Sundays/Mondays/Tuesdays
  • Available for private tours, contact

This exhibit includes drawings and paintings by Robyn Olson of Off the Wall Studio in Clitherall, MN; pottery figures by Lori Charest of The Potter Daughter on Otter Tail Lake; and a sample of masks and puppets created by Anne Sawyer, with the help of past Kalevala Puppet Pageant participants.

Artistic Director Cheryl Bannes curated this study of figures, with each artist sharing their interpretation in unique, interesting, and beautiful ways.

Lori Charest is a Potter and a Ceramics, 3D Design Instructor and Curator at Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls, MN.

Robyn Olson is multi-media 2-D artist and gallery director, and also has skills and experience in corporate art consulting & installation, event coordination, docent, and as a teacher of art and English.

Anne Sawyer is an artist specializing in puppetry from Minneapolis and has worked with groups such as In the Heart of the Beast, Artstart, Chicks on Sticks, and Lifeworks. She is the author of two books for children, a picture book for grown-ups, teens and tweens, and she has been the Creative Director of the Cultural Center’s Puppet Pageant for 11 years.

Artist Lori Charest Artist Statement:

After graduating with my BFA from The University of North Dakota and apprenticing for two summers with area potters, I started my own business called The Potter-Daughter on Otter Tail Lake.

My husband and I did this full-time for 20 years from 1983-2003. I made the pots and decorated them, and Mike did the glazing, firing and business end. We sold our work through our shop and at regional art shows.

In 2003 I started teaching Ceramics at Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls and continue to teach there. I have also had exhibits at the college and the Gallery in Fergus Falls: Experimentations and Nine Ladies Dancing.

I have been the curator of art since 2017 and enjoy bringing different artists to the campus to display their work.


Robyn Olson Artist Statement:

I am forever a student with art as my teacher. Art has been a joy, a challenge, a frustration, and a passion. My subject is primarily the face and figure, projecting the dichotomy of what it is to be female and human: a chaos of gentleness and conflict, vulnerability and strength.

When I returned to college as a 40-year-old graduate student, I was struggling with finding my place in the art world after having been a teacher, immersing myself in the college studio and volunteer work at the Des Moines Art Center while balancing the roles of motherhood and work at a local art gallery. I wanted to learn all I could about modern art since the origin of the Des Moines Art Center in 1938, including how to look at modern art, how to educate others about it, how to find meaning, how to “mine the museum.” The education and the conversation go on.

The art I make today expresses the struggle of our relationship with each other and the world we inhabit, portraits that focus on both differences and commonalities we experience as humans. I say our similarities outweigh our differences. My responsibility is, using art as my platform, to speak out respectfully in hope and belief of positive change.


Puppets & Masks by Anne Sawyer:

For more than a decade, Anne Sawyer has led the Cultural Center’s annual Kalevala Puppet Pageant, creating a dazzling array of puppets, masks, and more with the help of countless area youth, volunteers, and community members. A sample of these creations is on display as part of this gallery exhibit. Assistant Director Lisa Winter has joined Anne every year and has had a hand in the creative direction and creation of puppets and props as well.

The 2022 Kalevala Puppet Pageant workshops begin August 8, 2022.  The two performances are on August 19th at the NYM VFW and on August 20th at Finn Creek Open Air Museum.  All are welcome to be part of this creative community theater project, whether you join as a participant, volunteer, donor, or audience member.  You’ll have the opportunity to see many more interpretations of figure in the various characters of the Kalevala!  CLICK HERE to learn more about this year’s Pageant.


A Gallery Reception including Artist Talks will be held on Friday, August 12th, 2022 from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. and is free to attend and open to all.  Light refreshments will be served.  All are welcome!

Call 218-385-3339 or email with any questions or to schedule a private gallery viewing.