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A home for Woodbury’s artists

Artists of Woodbury, a new offshoot of the Merrill Community Arts Center, is a place for artists to network, gather, exhibit and share. Artists of Woodbury will be on display this weekend at the Union Depot during the St. Paul Art Crawl. (Submitted image)

One of Woodbury’s best kept secrets is the abundance of talented artists that call Woodbury home.

“There’s a lot of visual artists in Woodbury and they really have no place to go,” said Woodbury resident Becky Amble, who works in watercolors, acrylics, oils, photography, fused glass and jewelry. “They have no group, they have no cohesiveness, they don’t even know each other.”

Woodbury’s artists are finally making themselves known with a new group, Artists of Woodbury.

“I knew there were artists here in Woodbury,” said John Acosta, who works in mosaics, tiles, pastels, oils, drawing, pottery and stained glass. “We need to let people know that we are.”

Artists of Woodbury was launched by the Merrill Community Arts Center.

“We have all kinds of arts and culture in our community,” said Michelle Witte, operations director for Merrill Community Arts Center. “We’re happy that we could help bring them together. We’re excited to have them be a part of our community art circle.”

Artists of Woodbury

It was Michelle Witte, operations director for Merrill Community Arts Center, who decided to launch the idea of starting a visual artists’ group.

Witte sent out e-mails to several local artists, who took on the task of bringing each other together.

“There used to be a group, but that seemed to not stay together,” Amble said. “So Michelle contacted us and said ‘You know, we’re missing the visual artists.”

The Artists of Woodbury’s mission and vision is to “provide opportunities for artists to network, exhibit, and sell art. We seek to learn from one another and share our art with Woodbury and the surrounding communities,” according to the website.

“To be successful, you have to network,” Acosta said.

Currently, the Artists of Woodbury has 18 members who work in a variety of different media including oils, photography, jewelry, pottery, sculpture, glass, pastel, stained glass, mosaic/tile, acrylic, watercolor, fibers and beadwork.

“We represent many different mediums,” said Heather Hultgren, who works in pastels, acrylics, watercolors and oils.

Bringing art to the community

The Artists of Woodbury will be participating in its first art show this weekend, April 25-27, during the St. Paul Art Crawl.

A total of nine Artists of Woodbury members will have art on display at the Union Depot, 214 4th St E.

“I’m excited to see the people and the buzz,” Hultgren said.

Several Artists of Woodbury members will have art on display at other galleries including Acosta at the Jax Building, and Sue Swanson, who works in fiber arts, beadwork and jewelry at the Crane Ordway Building.

In fact, Acosta has a long history with the St. Paul Art Crawl having been involved with it since the 1970s when he, and a few other fellow artists, started the event.

“It was an alternative to looking at art in a gallery,” he said. “It was a chance to actually see how the artists work.”

The Artists of Woodbury have several other art shows in the works, including one at the R.H. Stafford Library this fall, one at the Woodbury Community Foundation Gala on May 17 and maybe even a show at the Merrill Community Arts Center.

“We’re looking for art supporters and enthusiasts too, not just artists,” Swanson said. “We really want to promote the arts.

“We really want to start building a community for artists.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the Artists of Woodbury should visit their website, Anyone interested in joining the group can join on the website or by contacting

 Artists of Woodbury will have their art on display this weekend at the Union Depot, 214 4th St E in St. Paul during the St. Paul Art Crawl. The St. Paul Art Crawl will run April 25, 6-10 p.m., April 26, noon to 8 p.m. and April 27, noon to 5 p.m.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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