Artist’s Archer House painting raises at least $3,000 for those impacted by destructive fire | News

When Northfield firefighters began fighting the devastating fire at Archer House earlier this month, Northfield artist David Allen became aware.

Allen, a noted painter and sculptor whose work is visible throughout the community, initially believed that the fire could be contained quickly and would cause minimal damage. As the fire spread through the walls of the historic building and the fire fighters in the area worked on site all night and into the next day, Allen realized that the downtown gem could be irreparably damaged.

With this in mind, and with a desire to help those directly affected by the fire, he painted a picture of the archery house over a 16-hour period from November 13th to 15th and raised $ 3,000 for those directly affected by the fire . The finished piece is being raffled, which adds even more to those displaced or unemployed due to the fire.

The 22 x 28 inch acrylic painting captures the majestic colonial exterior of the distinctive downtown facility, with a flag above and clouds above. He started painting on November 13th and hosted a 1½ hour Facebook Live session that evening and Sunday November 15th while he worked.

Everyone felt close to the Archer House. He had already painted several pictures of the hotel over the years, and the previous owner, the late Dallas Haas, was a friend of everyone.

Greg Siems, executive director of Northfield Downtown Development Corp., spoke highly of Allen’s painting, adding that the work was a reference to the building’s more than 140-year history in the downtown area.

“It was fantastic to see,” he said of the painting and the money Allen raised. “He reached out to us almost immediately after the fundraiser started.”

By Wednesday, the fundraiser had raised $ 11,970 of its $ 25,000 goal. For Siems, donations from local businesses and residents are proof of the community’s strength.

“It’s pretty incredible,” he said.

“He’s just a great guy”

Allen’s work was on display at the Archer House Business Paper Petalum, which was destroyed in a fire after it opened in January. Karen Vinar, co-owner of Paper Petalum, noted that the sprinklers used to stop the fire left 4 to 6 inches of water on the floor.

“It was devastating but we plan to reopen in a new location, hopefully on March 1st,” she said.

Vinar said she had known Allen for a long time and contacted him after being impressed with his work at an art exhibition.

“He’s just a great guy, very talented,” added von Allen.

The fate of the archery house is unknown. On Tuesday morning, the State Fire Marshal’s Office was investigating the cause of the fire. The origin of the fire was in the Smoqehouse.

After the fire, Brett Reese, CEO and managing partner of developer Rebound Hospitality, said it would be a while before the insurance specialists can enter the building. He added that despite the clear possibility that the building is beyond saving, Rebound hopes to save what it can or use any space within another building.

Allen taught art to students and adults for over 30 years. His paintings and sculptures are in public and private collections. He holds a bachelor’s degree in arts education from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Allen enjoys the nostalgia of small towns and has painted scenes that capture Northfield, Faribault, Rosemount, Farmington, and other relatively small communities.

“I like the process,” he said. “And what I like best is how I manipulate the lights and shadows in paintings and give them a kind of personality.”

“I love to paint small cities, especially those that have a unique interest in their community,” added Allen. “I try to capture the sense of timelessness and tradition that these cities offer and try to evoke the kind of nostalgia we all feel about the places we grew up in. It is a responsibility and a joy to paint something that represents pride. History and sense of community that these communities show. “

Allen, who has lived in Northfield for 45 years and raised three children in Northfield, has painted at least 10 pieces depicting Bridge Square at different times of the year, as well as the Riverwalk, Depot, Winter Walk, and a Christmas scene that captures Division Street .

“I consider it my hometown,” said Allen of Northfield. “My kids love it and so do I. It was just a warm, friendly place. “

Contact Associate Editor Sam Wilmes at 507-645-1115. © Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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