AartStravaganza Begins October 24
(See attached Photo )
An event of epic proportion occurs at the Spring Grove Cinema Sunday, October 24 from 1:00 until 3 PM. It is sponsored by the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center and Sons of Norway.    Although the tickets are free, it is necessary to have one to be admitted.  Reserve tickets by calling 203.858.7730, or by email at kbjbgray@springgrove.coop <mailto:kbjbgray@springgrove.coop> , or pick up tickets at the Ballard House on West Main Street.  Seating is limited and a free will offering will be accepted at the performance.  There is an opportunity to meet Aarseth and buy autographed copies of his books at the Ballard House from 3:00 until 4:00.
Famous Artist Travels to Spring Grove

This past May the Norwegian Crown awarded to Sigmund Aarseth the St Olav Medal of Culture as the premier painter of Norway. Aarseth has an international reputation for both fine art and rosemaling. In recent years he has focused on fine arts, but earlier projects varied from sign and banner painting to interior decoration, restoration, rosemaling and architectural drawing.

As a young man, he was inspired by old decorated interiors where rosemaling has its roots, and in his opinion “it is now time for painters to return to the interior, and for experienced American rosemalers, that is where the future lies.”

In the early years his interior work was dominated by the traditional Norwegian Rosemaling style. Since then he has developed a range of decorative styles derived from Rosemaling and other traditional decorative painting techniques.

Sigmund is best known as a landscape painter in his native Norway. He prefers to paint directly from life, so throughout spring, summer and fall he spends the majority of his time outdoors, capturing the ever-changing light and seasons of Norway on canvas.

Sigmund has exhibited all over Norway, as well as in Sweden, Iceland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, England, Spain and the U.S.

His colleague in the US, Sallie Haugen DeReus of Leheigh, Iowa, began studying rosemaling with Sigmund Aarseth at Vesterheim in the late 1960s, and is a Gold Medalist in the museum’s annual national competition. Her work is in Vesterheim’s permanent collection. Much of the accent stenciling and rosemaling throughout Vesterheim’s Amdal-Odland Heritage Center is by Sallie.

She was selected to help decorate the Norwegian Pavilion at the Epcot Center in Florida. Her degree is in Applied Art from Iowa State University. Sallie is the immediate past president of the Pella Historical Museum.

All of Sallie’s Norwegian immigrant relatives settled north of Decorah around Hesper and many years ago Sallie’s parents lived near Dorchester and were members of Waterloo Ridge Lutheran Church. They attended Sons of Norway meetings in Spring Grove.

Sigmund and Song on Sunday

Sigmund has a love of music, and it is his style to paint while listening to music. The audience on the 24th will experience this phenomenal person of exuberant joy painting a canvas that measures 5 by 15 feet.  Being in the audience is to experience a Norwegian treat to the eyes and even to the soul.  His passion for life is contagious.

Sigmund and Sallie Decorate Ballard House

Mindful of the architectural and historic details and through the magic of their brushes Sigmund and Sallie will be applying their interpretation of the Spring Grove immigrant experiences to the interior rooms as part of the restoration project of the Ballard House.

Mike Schmidt, Vice-President of the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center Board, is the manager of the restoration project.

AartStravaganza Continues October 30

Another event, one of epic ambience occurs October 30 when we celebrate the decorating of the Ballard House by Sigmund and Sallie, the opening of the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center, and local treasure Georgia Rosendahl, our historian and genealogist. Ruth Hampton of Decorah is catering the gourmet dinner to be held in the Ballard House.  Tickets for this gala will be for sale on October 24.

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