By John Lauritsen

RED WING, Minn. (WCCO) — Red Wing is known for many things. It’s boots, it’s bluffs, and of course, its views.

Just off of Highway 61 is a tower with quite a view. From the first step to the top is 115 feet. There’s no WiFi, no air conditioning, no cable, but you get by.

READ MORE: Anderson Center At Tower View Cited Among Top Artistic Destinations

The site is called the Anderson Center at Tower View. And it’s where artists from around the world come and stay for weeks on end.

“We host sculptors, animators, filmmakers, musicians, composers,” said Adam Wiltgen, the center’s residency coordinator and development director. “We’ve had artists from almost every state and over 40 countries.”

Artists like Gail Dahlberg. Hypothetically, he gave up golf for glass blowing. And he’s been here since the beginning.

“Meeting people from all over the world. Even if it’s just a month, I’ve made countless friends from other countries,” Gail said.

He’s teaching his craft on what used to be a working farm owned by A.P. Anderson, who developed a process for making puffed wheat and rice.

“He put Quaker Oats on the map in some ways. This was where a lot of cereal experiments went on,” Wiltgen said.

Built in the early 1900s, the farm is where Anderson’s family once lived and worked. The tower actually held their water supply.

Anderson himself was a bit of an artist so in 1995 his grandson helped transform the farm into a creative community. The family’s former living quarters now house painters and creators. Gardens once filled with vegetables are now filled with sculptures.

“This will probably take around 100 hours maybe,” said B.J. Muschet-Norman, a portrait artist in residence. She uses oil paints to make her work as realistic as possible.

“Plaid shirts are awful,” she said, joking. However, painting the Minnesota clothing staple is a small obstacle made easier because of the artists that surround her.

“Like any profession, if you are around folks that do what you do, it makes it very nice,” B.J. said.

“The whole site is really a laboratory for arts and ideas,” Wiltgen said. “Coming here is an energizing experience and really opens your eyes to these possibilities.”

Anderson Center at Tower View will hold an open house on July 24 and 25 to celebrate its 25thyear as an art center.

John Lauritsen