Lyric Center opens new art exhibit behind glass

VIRGINIA — Even with orders to keep businesses like art galleries closed, the Lyric Center for the Arts has figured out a way for the community to enjoy local artwork. May 2020 sees the 15th annual exhibit at the Lyric, celebrating the onset of spring and summer in the northland.

“In a time when we haven’t been able to gather together for celebrations, family events, friend meetups, concerts and plays, it’s more important than ever that we find ways to appreciate the creativity of our community,” said Mary McReynolds, executive director of the Lyric Center for the Arts.

The exhibit, Open Water, features images of lakes, fishing, flowers and nature’s beauty. Artists Jim DeVries, Cheryl Doran, Spencer Hahne, Margie Kent, Sandra Markovich, Mary McReynolds and Jane Wertanen are participating. While visitors to the art gallery are not allowed inside at this time, anyone can view and appreciate their artwork by walking past the Lyric Center and looking through the gallery windows. You can purchase artwork from Open Water at the Lyric’s online store: Pick up times will be arranged with the purchasers.

Sheila Smith, executive director of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts commented on the shutdown: “It’s devastating. Events and gatherings are the lifeblood of Minnesota’s arts community, and every single thing has been closed down. The economic damage to arts organizations, artists and livelihoods is immediate.”

The Lyric Center has been one of those organizations affected. As one of the few arts facilities on the Iron Range, the Lyric experienced a very sudden cessation of vital activities. The Small Parts Players children’s theater had been in final stages of rehearsals for their April musical production of Attack of the Killer Grasshoppers when the stay-at-home orders were put in place. The gallery’s exhibit Group Dynamics, featuring work by Anne Wedler, was just beginning, preparations were being made for the April exhibit by Sue Raufenschels, and the weekly artist gathering was working on a traveling exhibit of paintings. Book readings, concerts and hiring a Youth Arts Program Coordinator have also been cancelled or put on hold.

The time when people can gather again for concerts, plays, and artist receptions is probably a long way off. It’s difficult to know what the longterm impacts will be to both arts programs and ongoing funding efforts for renovation of the Lyric Center. As we work through this pandemic, the Lyric Center will be trying out other innovative ways that artists and their audiences can stay in touch. In the meantime, stop by the Lyric at 510 Chestnut Street in Virginia to view the 2020 Open Water art exhibit.

For more information about the Lyric Center for the Arts, visit or find them on Facebook and Instagram at LyricCenter4Arts.

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