Marine Art Museum displays “Spiritual Offerings”

Allison Mueller

Gina Scott / Winonan

The Minnesota Marine Art Museum (MMAM) is approaching its 10-year anniversary. The museum has filled its years open with different exhibitions, which makes Winona a center for culture and arts.

Currently, the MMAM is displaying three exhibitions including Douglas Beasley’s collection of photographs, titled “Spiritual Offerings.” The collection features highlighted photographs from this St. Paul photographer, teacher and author.

Beasley is the founder of Vision Quest Photo Workshops, which teach photographers of all skill levels the art of creative expression through photographs. Currently, the workshops include travel experiences to Japan, and several places across the U.S.

Many of his photographs feature images of various landscapes. Keeping with the tradition of the MMAM, his collection displays art inspired by and portraying water.

Despite the many landscape photographs, Beasley’s pieces are meant to portray much more, and he does not hesitate to show to his audience.

His photograph titled, “Self Portrait as Empty Boat, Norway” shows an empty rowboat gliding across rushing waters.

“This is a metaphorical self-portrait,” Beasley said. “It is, to me, a self-portrait because… I recognized an aspect of myself in the empty boat being pulled by unseen forces.”

Beasley describes his photographs as poems vs. novels.

“A novel gives you all the details and facts,” Beasley said. “But the poem conveys the feeling of place with the fewest details.”

Beasley has traveled across the world, taking photographs of the places he sees. His photograph “Akaka Falls, Big Island Hawaii” features the amazing waterfall in this location.

“[Akaka Falls] is such a spectacular place,” Beasley said. “Unbelievably lush, almost magical…I wanted to portray its mystical quality.”

The in-depth descriptions Beasley includes with his photographs offer valuable learning experiences for audiences of all backgrounds. A person who has little experience in viewing photographs as artwork can find aspects of the exhibit to connect with and enjoy.

Katie Pearce, a senior at Winona State University, finds Beasley’s exhibit easy to appreciate.

“I’ve never really been an art person,” Pearce said. “Reading his descriptions helped a lot because he showed me what to look for without necessarily spoon feeding it to me,” Pearce said.

His photograph titled, “Leaf in Hands, Breitenbush Hot Springs, OR” shows a woman’s hands cupping water with a leaf floating in the center of her palms. Beasley recalls how the photograph was not taken on purpose.

“She spontaneously scooped up the leaf with her cupped hands and the scarf draped on her hands like a henna tattoo,” Beasley said.

“I think this is my favorite one,” Pearce said of the “Leaf in Hands” photograph. “The spontaneity of it really makes me appreciate the art within it.”

The MAMM is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum offers a special discount to students with admission free every Tuesday, and three dollars the rest of the week.