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Morriscapes will benefit PRCA

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MORRIS -- This holiday season University of Minnesota, Morris art students will once again be donating their art work for a good cause. Students of Michael Eble, associate professor of studio art, have been busy painting Morriscapes--townscape paintings of Morris that will be sold to the highest bidder at the Prairie Renaissance Cultural Alliance (PRCA).

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Closed bidding begins during an opening reception on Tuesday, Dec. 6, from 5 until 7 p.m. at the PRCA (630 Atlantic Avenue, Morris MN) and ends on Friday, Dec. 14, at 5:30 p.m. Students will be available during the December 6 reception to speak with community members about their work. Eble will also be donating paintings of Stevens County landscape scenes, which are very rare works.

"I wanted to demonstrate for my students the importance of supporting arts organizations on the local level, something I hope they take with them throughout their lives," Eble says. "We need people in the arts, but more importantly, we need people who are willing to support the arts, especially in Morris."

All proceeds will benefit the PRCA, Morris's arts and cultural center. The PRCA sponsors arts and cultural events in the Morris community and provides art programming for children as well as a gallery space for regional artists to show and sell their work. The organization is run by volunteers and is sustained by the community's generosity.

According to Athena Kildegaard, PRCA president, "Although the PRCA is a small volunteer organization, we're making an impact on the economy of the area, and what's more important, we're contributing to the vibrancy of Morris. Research has shown that small towns do better when they've got a thriving cultural life."

Argie Manolis, coordinator of the Office of Community Engagement, believes that service-learning projects like these help students to think about how their talents can be used to support the community.

"This project involved students who had the opportunity to talk with each other about the value of a vibrant arts scene in the community, and the importance of art programming for children," says Manolis. The students were enthusiastic about supporting a local arts organization and learning more about the town's unique history and architectural features."

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