“It’s almost as if the artists were waiting for this call, ” is how curator Gretchen Boyum describes, with excitement,  the quality of the art work in the monarch butterfly show,  “Kaleidoscope, ” which is just up at the Kaddatz Gallery and The Center For The Arts in downtown Fergus Falls this week.  Over 30 artists are participating and the exhibit will run through August 28.

The show is the next major activity for the new Fergus Falls Monarch Festival. The festival is celebrating one of the most iconic of insects but one which is at serious risk due to declining habitat, for both the butterfly and its alternate form, the black and yellow striped caterpillar found on milkweed plants.

The festival hopes to encourage learning more about what we can do to return this butterfly to its original numbers. “The monarch butterfly needs everyone’s help in whatever small way.  Even a potted plant on a balcony can’t hurt, but “make it a native for better nectar!  Monarchs need us,” says Teresa Jaskiewicz from Prairie Wetlands Learning Center.

In addition to the art show, an upcoming activity for children will be a workshop with artist Jean Wiersma.  The children will make butterfly wings they can wear, even dance in, using an unusual batik-like technique.  This Kaddatz Gallery workshop is July 18.  There will also be a butterfly mobile workshop in August.  Additional kids activities will be August 15 at the Farmers Market and on the Kirkbride grounds.

For summer readers, the book scheduled for the August 10 book discussion at the Fergus Falls Library Book Club is Barbara Kingsolver’s novel ” Flight Behavior. ”

The activities of the Festival, focused on the week of August 12-16, build up to the monarch tagging at Prairie Wetlands Learning Center.  The public tagging of monarchs is August 15 and 17.  “Working with arts, garden, and conservation organizations, such as the Kaddatz Gallery, Friends of Prairie Wetlands, Fergus Fall Garden Club and many individuals has been a joy in seeing the passion for the monarch butterfly,” says Tere Mann, festival manager.

In the days and weeks ahead, posters throughout Otter Tail County and posts on the festival website and Facebook page will report all the planned activities.

Many of the activities made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Lake

Region Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage fund.

The website is www.monarchfestff. com.  On Facebook find Fergus Falls Monarch Festival.

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