Life’s Not So Black and White: Opening This Friday!

Hello! I’d like to remind all of our friends about our latest show, Life’s Not So Black and White.

The show has been hung at Flow Art-Space in Saint Paul, and it looks great! Flow Art-Space is hosting an opening for us on Friday, from 6-9 pm, and we would like to extend an invitation for all of you wonderful people to join us! The show runs from Wednesday, February 27th to Saturday, March 9th. Please visit their website for hours, location, and directions.

Here is a sneak preview for you to enjoy. Of course, nothing compares to seeing the beautiful work of Interact’s artists up close and personal!








Life’s Not So Black and White

Hello, friends! I’m happy to report that our Valentines Day opening, heART, went off without a hitch. Artists and guests alike had a great time, and the success of our new sublimated items was better than we could have expected. Thank you to all of our artists, their families and friends, and our supporters, we couldn’t have done it without you.

Coming up next is our off-site show, Life’s Not So Black and White.



Life’s Not So Black and White is…you guessed it…a black and white themed show. Our artists accepted the challenge of creating art using only black, white, and one other color of their choice, and the results have been fantastic. Flow Art-Space has generously donated the use of their gallery, and will be hosting a reception on Friday, March 1st from 6-9 PM. Life’s Not So Black and White will be up from February 7 until March 9, at which point we will move the art to Interact’s own gallery.

Here is a preview of some of the fabulous art our artists have created for this very unique show.


Germanic Globe by Donovan Durham


Art by Janice Essick

Martha McCall bw piece

Art by Martha McCall

Bill Crane bw piece

Charlie Chaplin by Bill Crane

Chris Mason bw piece

Art by Chris Mason

TJ bw piece

Art by TJ Nuemiller


We hope you will join us for our March 1st opening, we look forward to seeing you there! To stay updated, please Like us on Facebook, and follow us on our new Tumblr.




Hello again, friends! It’s been a whirlwind of activity here at Interact center, but now that the holidays are winding down, we’re slowly getting back into the normal swing of things.

Interact has some exciting things in store for next couple of months. First, we would like to extend an invitation to our upcoming Valentine’s Day show, heART.



( Postcard art by Lucy Johnson)

Join us for great art, snacks, entertainment, and a special activity! It will be a great opportunity for you to snag that perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your loved one, as we will be offering everything from wall art, to cards, to mugs and other household items, all featuring the fantastic work of Interact’s many talented visual artists. We even offer our very own custom gift wrap, a unique way to make your gift stand out among the rest.


Interact Center is VERY excited to announce the arrival of our sublimation machine! After many months of planning, fundraising, and dreaming, our goal has been realized through the generosity of Interact’s supporters and friends. Our brand-new printer and heat press are set up and operational, and we are thrilled to reveal our new in-house product line at HEART. Come take a look at our new items, tell us what you’d like to see, and help us name our product line!

We’re looking forward to seeing you at HEART!



Interact Center’s Holiday Sale is here!!!!!!


Hello one and all!  It’s been toooo long! Well, we’re back in communication and I have nothing but great news!  Madame Josette’s Naughty and Nice Cabaret is taking place every Thursday and Friday at 7pm and Saturdays at 3 and 7pm until the last show on December 22nd, plus Interact’s gallery is open 2 hours before every show!  Even if you can’t make it to see this fantastic cabaret, you can come and enjoy the beautiful works of art so many talented artists created.


We have paintings ranging from $20 up to $60 (and some frames you can carry with you to view the art work in an interactive way), we have ceramics unter $25, we have scarves, cards and more!  And this year we are happy to introduce a new item into the mix, Interact Center gift wrap!  We are selling 5 sheets for $10.  Make sure to make your holiday even more fun with some Interact Center art!


It’s been a long time…..

Hello one and all!  I hope you’ve missed us as much as we’ve missed you!  Well things have been busy around Interact Center lately, thus my tardiness here with this update about Uniquinox, written by our very own Mary Collins.  And thank you to Sinjun Strom of for all of the beautiful photographs!  Enjoy, and check back soon for more:D


On Saturday September 22nd, 2012, Interact Center celebrated “Uniquinox 2012”.  This was the 2nd Annual street festival.  We hope to continue this exciting event in many years to come.  The planning and preparing for this festival started after the 2011 show was completed.  “Head Ring-Leader” was Daniel Polnau, an Interact instructor and master mind of any type of puppet you can and cannot imagine.  In the past, Daniel has been involved in The Heart Of

The Beast theater for their May Day Celebration.  Interact’s artists work closely with Daniel and other Interact staff and volunteers from the community.  Starting in mid- May the Interact studio turns into a castle of paper mache clay, paint, cardboard and bubble wrap as well as numerous other items that transform into puppets and sculptures for this unique street festival.  Starting around the time of the Minnesota State Fair, Interact Center is putting several puppets on sticks.  Then there is the practice sessions in the hallways of the Colonial Warehouse building (where Interact Center is located).  The Performing actors joined the visual artists on stage.



For the morning of the festval we were all instructed to arrive at Interact around 10am.  The street was blocked to traffic at 9am.  It took several trips by many people to carry out the puppets and other materials that would be used throughout the one day festival.  The festival was open from 1pm – 4pm.  There were short musical skits, art cars and food trucks.  Venus Demars, Desdemona and Fate’s Pallet played some awesome music.

New this year were several tables of artwork for sale.  Various Interact artists along with people from the community decorated tables and sold some terrific art.Image

The weather was, well, Minnesota.  The sun and the clouds played cat and mouse through the entire day.  For me, my favorite part of the Uniquinox 2012 was the sense of community.  All the artists and actors from Interact  that wanted to participate, where involved in the entire process.  From the paper mache to singing in the skits.  There also were several community members that had their tables set up.  From the people I spoke with after the festival “we totally enjoyed Uniquinox 2012!”.

Meet Mary Moo….

Mary Moo is a  primarily self taught artist that has been coming to Interact Center for years.  Not only does she enjoy creating something from nothing, but she is spectacular at it!  Whether it’s jewelry, painting or writing, Mary puts her all into everything and her talent comes across very clearly.  This is a poem that Mary wrote last year, she’s going to be displaying it at the Artability Art Show and Sale: Celebrating the Talents of People With Mental Illness, September 27th – 29th, 2012.

Saturday Live At The Interact Center

Cling…Clang the pipes are responding to a cold winter morning inside the Interact Studio.  Today the calendar reads December 31, 2011, the last day the Saturday artists will be together as a small group.  After today there will be no one to listen to Cling and Clang.

“Hey Mary”, comes a booming male voice.  I look up to see Tim Travers’ flamboyant smile, “long time no see,” Tim adds with much enthusiasm.  New to me is the walker Tim is navigating through the studio.  Deb remarks on how much easier Tim is moving about.

Donovan Durham questions Rosalie “did you bring rice and gravy?”, Rosalie giggles her nervous giggle.  “Not really,” she notes, “Mary was just teasing you.”

Gail comes back to the shop area, smiling from ear to ear.  She’s holding up her camera phone which shows a billboard that has her awesome artwork advertising Interact Center.  What an honer that is.  Showering guests and locals to her art on two freeway billboards.

Joel and Joni are stationed at the tables towards the center of the studio.  They are the lovebirds plus one.  They are expecting a baby girl May 5th.

Katrina is in her usual form.  She is painting with paint, cardboard and masking tape.

Rosalie looks up at me, she shakes her head side to side and points to her wrist watch: 12:12 p.m.  She appears disgusted the food isn’t ready for her 12 noon tummy.

We are celebrating our “Last Saturday” with a potluck.  If I may say “there is no potluck like an Interact potluck!”

“Oh, he’s already gone to lie down,” Joni says of Joel, her hubby.  Thank goodness for the two futons in the back room.  I have spent some wonderful times napping on those futons.

“Did everyone get a Christmas photo from me?” I bellow out, obviously not using my “indoor voice.”

Lunch is over with and all of us are back working on our artwork.  Joni has been drawing and coloring an announcement of their soon to be born baby girl.

Tim is working on a collage of his two-headed clown.  Mike Kramer is doing a portrait with chalk.  Katrina and Gail are in the outside “smoking booth” commonly known as the “stoop”.  Deb is doing some organizing, cleaning and making a list.  Donovan is very focused on his drawing in his “Donny Boy Book”.  Steve is stretched out on the opposite futon to the one Joel is curled up on.

“WOW, Holy Toledo” it’s 3:15pm.  I have my ride home scheduled for 4pm.  Today is my last Saturday that I will be cleaning up my work space.  Yes, I’ll be back here come Monday morning.  It’s a good 4 or 5 years.  Just hard for me to hold back the tears.  Now I will have to attend all those family functions that are planned for Saturdays.  I will be able to attend the art fairs and yes, I might even be able to sleep in.

Please feel free to see Mary’s poem and more at The Historic Mounds Theatre, 1029 Hudson Road in St. Paul.  An opening reception will be held on Thursday, September 27th at 6pm.

Learn more about Mary Moo and see more of her creations at!

Thank you for your generousity!!!

Hello folks,

I just wanted to extend a sincere thank you for all you have done for Interact Center during the duration of our Indiegogo fundraising campaign.  Although we did not reach our goal, the support everyone gave made it completely worth the effort.  For those of you who did contribute, you probably recently received an email from Indiegogo stating that you are receiving your contribution back (that is the way it works with them).  Well don’t worry!  If you still want your contribution to go towards the great cause of the sublimation machine, you can go to and contribute there.  It may be a little slow going, but we will get there!  Make sure when you contribute to click on the “Designate this donation for a specific cause”, then type in “sublimation machine”.

Thank you again, one and all.  It is nice to know we can reach out to our community for help when we need it:)


Interact Centers Team

Interact Centers Visual Arts needs your help!

Hello one and all.  Thank you so much for reading our blog.  Today I would like to tell you about Interact Centers visual arts current fundraising project to get a sublimation machine.  The machine itself is actually a combination of items, a heat press, a printer, different printing surfaces, etc.  Having it would enable our department to start printing the work of artists who come to Interact on items like mugs, t shirts, hats, plates, totes and more.  Our goal is to be able to start selling more for each artist here so that they can earn an income through their artwork.  Unfortunately not everyone has the money or space for buying an original piece of art, so this machine gives us the option to offer smaller items with the same work on it for less of an expense to the buyer.  Our fundraising goal is to raise $7500 for the set up we need.  That amount would cover the cost of the above mentioned items, plus paper, ink, heat plattens (the molds each blank goes on), blanks and all the little bits we need to get started.  Every little bit helps us!  If you can only contribute $5, that is $5 we didn’t have before!  Plus you’re helping to spread the word, which is just as valuable!  Every donation is tax deductible, each comes with a ‘reward’, and if you prefer, you can contribute anonymously.  If you are unable to give financially, please consider sharing our plight on any social media you are involved with (blogs, Facebook, tweeting, email, etc.).  Again, thank you so much for your time and efforts!  Follow the link below to get to our Indiegogo campaign for the Sublimation Machine, or click on the widget to the right of your screen.


Sublimation Machine Campaign

The Interact Visual Arts Studio is abuzz with activity!!!!!

ImageOur artists are busy designing and constructingImage amazing giant puppets, props and costumes for our upcoming fall festival called “Uniquinox”, which is happening between 1pm and 4pm on Saturday, September 22nd, so mark your calendars!
Last year was the first year for Uniquinox, and the street art festival was a huge success!  Well look out folks, we intend to knock your socks off yet again!

So what is Uniquinox, you ask?  It’s an original Imagetheatrical extravaganza with live music, at Imagethe center of which is the pageant – part circus, part larger than life puppet show.  Expect to see a remarkable troupe of trained bears, death defying tap dancers, gargantuan elephants, and much much more.  Any more of a description would be useless, it must be seen to be believed!
ALSO, We are desparately seeking donations of:
-White cotton sheets
-ostrich feathers
-colorful fabric

Please contact us through the contact form attached below if you can spare any of the above stated items.  We will contact you as soon as possible.  Thank you!

A look at Gail Harbecks beautiful paintings… and a chance to see them in person!



Gail is a self-taught artist from Chicago, Illinois who joined Interact in 2003.  Gail has enjoyed much “under-the-radar” success, having shown her work in numerous galleries in the Twin Cities and outside of MN, including Michigan and New York City.  Gail has received many accolades for her ink drawings and acrylic paintings and her work has been collected and shown at hospitals, churches, corporations and private collectors.  Her beautiful work has also appeared on numerous postcards, posters, playbills and local billboards.

ImageImageGail attributes her success to her work as an artist at Interact Center.  “Art has become central to my life, providing a vehicle for self expression, confidence, focus and healing.  My work as a visual artist at Interact has allowed me to negotiate the tentacles of my mental health diagnosis and has given me a connection to life that my illness often thwarts“.



Gail’s work, along with work by Elizabeth Hall, Mike Holmquist, Tim Traver, Janice Essick, Bill Crane, Juanita Umbel and Mike Kramer is being featured at the Basilica in Minneapolis with an opening this Sunday, the 15th of July, 2012 starting at 1pm:


A Sampling of Work by Artists from Interact

Exhibit: July 1-29
Pope John XXIII Gallery & Teresa of Calcutta Hall

Reception & Talk with Artists

Sunday July 15, 1:00 pm
Since 1996, Interact’s mission to create art that challenges perceptions of disability has opened doors for artists with disabilities and audiences eager to experience their work, who might never have seen the arts as a life choice, but who now see the arts as essential to their humanity. Interact is the only place of its kind in the nation: a professional-level visual arts studio and theater that supports the creative growth of artists with disabilities.

Spanning cultures and generations, the 100+ artists that make up Interact range in age from 22 to 94, and bring a wide diversity of cultural backgrounds, aesthetic perspectives and life experiences to their work.  Interact envisions a world in which the radical inclusion of the stories, dreams and ideas of all peoples is a force for healing, personal transformation, and universal well-being.

Come and join us celebrate our talented artists work!

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