Photograph by Kathleen Huff

Painter Kurt Larsen talks with Gallery Walk patron Michael Redman at the Thomas Gallery, where the works of Larsen and Mary Connors were on display.

Downtown gallery visitors experienced all types of art, from multi media, to photography, to oil and water-color paintings during last weekend's Downtown Gallery Walk.

The nonprofit Thomas Gallery on College just north of Kirkwood, is a not-for profit gallery, where the artists put on their own shows and all proceeds go to the artists. Mary Connors and Kurt Larsen were the featured artists this weekend for Gallery Walk.

"Acrylic on canvas and water color on paper are Connors' favorite painting mediums," says Tom Gallagher, the owner of Thomas Gallery.

Connors grew up in Bloomington and teaches a class in Zen Bamboo brush painting at the Waldron Art Center.

"I enjoy teaching and sharing the treasure of beauty and painting with others," she says.

Connors has a wide base of art training, having traveled extensively to India, Japan, South Korea, Nepal, Afghanistan, Europe and Morocco.

"I wanted to see the traditional arts and contemporary arts of the world," she says. "The more I studied and traveled, the more interested I became in various art forms and cultures. Every culture has visual arts, literature, poetry, dance and philosophy. We can bridge cultures through the arts."

This training and interest comes across in her work and her choice of subject matter.

Photograph by Kathleen Huff

The John Waldron Art Center was another of the galleries participating in the Gallery Walk.

Larsen is also a painter. "Painting has been my favorite medium because I've had my hands in it for years as a former decorative painter," he says. "I know paint well, and I enjoy expressing myself with it."

While Connors' subject matter is straightforward, Larsen's is more abstract.

"My paintings are ... primarily influenced by nature and my spiritual connection with it," says Larsen.


A number of galleries participated in the Gallery Walk, including Bellevue Gallery, By Hand Gallery, Gallery North on the Square, John Waldron Art Center Galleries & Gallery Shop, Prima Gallery, tutto bene GALLERY, Wandering Turtle Art Gallery & Gifts, Baker Place Gallery, Pictura Gallery, which opened this Friday, and the Thomas Gallery.

All of the galleries are in walking distance from each other. As art lovers strolled form one gallery to the next they encountered complimentary food and drink at each stop. No need for dinner reservations.

In addition to free art and food, live music was also provided by some of the galleries.

All types of Bloomington residents came out for the event. There were young and old, family and friends, as well as some pets enjoying the eventful evening. If you did not go with someone you were bound to run into at least one familiar face. The galleries were crowded, from start, at 5 p.m., until close at 8 p.m.

The Gallery Walk offered a great opportunity for Bloomington residents to mingle with one another against a backdrop of culture. Each gallery offers a different feel and a large array of art.

The turnout was strong and upbeat. Everyone seemed to be relaxed and content. The Gallery Walk is an uplifting experience for those who attend.

"It's a wonderful way to meet local artists and see their work," says Larsen.

Many of the artists are present at the galleries. It is a great opportunity for aspiring artists or just admirers to ask questions and learn about the work exhibited, directly from the source.

Both Connors and Larsen were present at the Thomas Gallery.

"People should come out to have a great time being in the community and supporting artists and the arts," says Larsen.

Connor agreed.

"Bloomington has always had a exciting arts and music scene," she says.

Kathleen Huff can be reached at .