LINDSBORG — The Midwest Art Exhibition was founded in 1899 by three Lindsborg artists — Birger Sandzén, Carl Lotave and G. N. Malm — as a compliment to the annual Messiah Festival held at Bethany College. Today, it represents the longest running annual art exhibition in Kansas.
The exhibition was first held in Bethany's Old Main building. When the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery opened in 1957, the exhibition was held both in the gallery and at the Pavilion. Eventually the exhibition shifted to the Gallery.
Throughout the years, the Midwest Art Exhibition has changed in makeup. The initial show featured local artists and works from the community, but as the years passed other artists were invited to participate. For many years, works were shown by college students and regional school districts alongside those of professional artists. Currently, the exhibition features primarily works by artists invited by the Sandzén Gallery and may include three to seven separate exhibitions each year.
This year's show will be on display from March 29 through May 31, 2020. An opening reception will take place on Sunday, March 29, from 2 to 4 p.m. with exhibition talks beginning at 2:30. Exhibitions include paintings by longtime Lindsborg artist Steve A. Scott (1947-2017); enamels by former Bethany student, Fern Aspelin Cole (1917-1979); and works by James Mages of Hays.
The Sandzén Gallery is located at 401 North First Street in Lindsborg. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The Gallery is closed on Mondays. Admission is free, with donations appreciated. Docent tours for groups are available by two-week advance appointment. For more information about Birger Sandzén, the Gallery, and these exhibitions visit the website www. Sandzén.org or telephone (785) 227-2220.