Thompson Park art community to be showcased in upcoming show

JoAnne Ellingboe will display some of her colored pencil drawings at the Rooting for the Arts show on Aug. 28. The show will display the work of those who take part in art community classes. (courtesy of JoAnne Ellingboe)

Kate Kleiter will display some of her colored pencil drawings at the Rooting for the Arts show on Aug. 28. The show will display the work of those who take part in art community classes. (courtesy of Kate Kleiter)

Hannah Burlingame
Review staff

The Thompson Park Activity Center in West St. Paul will turn into a gallery on Aug. 28 as it hosts the Rooting for the Arts show.

The show will feature artwork done both in and outside classes by members of the center’s “no experience necessary” art community.

“I’ve found that there’s a lot of people interested in getting involved in this, so there’s really a need,” says art instructor JoAnne Ellingboe. “We’re really answering a community need by having these classes and groups.”


A place to learn new things
Ellingboe, who teaches colored pencil classes, says there are a variety of classes taught at the center. She credits Linda Stout, who teaches watercolor, for helping create an art community there. 

Stout says there were classes before she came along, but the then-art teacher for watercolors passed away.

“They waited a long time before they replaced her, and that was with me,” says Stout, who has been teaching for 13 years at the center, which began offering more art classes a couple years ago.

Ellingboe came on two years ago — the teacher of the Wednesday group was sick, and classmates asked her if she’d teach them what she was doing. The class she created was popular.

When it ended, the participants wanted more. The Wednesday group, called Colored Pencil Bathing, is a drop-in class where people can come relax and “bath all their senses.” 

Ellingboe brings in a photograph and everyone will get a line drawing of the photo. They use colored pencils to create their own rendering of the image.

“I always tell people, ‘It’s up to you ... this is your picture,’” she says.

There’s a third group at the center called Crafting for a Cause, which decorates paper bags for use by Meals on Wheels.

Stout says it’s always good to have art classes because they makes people think. “You have to think. It’s like putting together a puzzle,” she says.

She adds learning how to paint is great for people of any age because it uses parts of the brain that can be neglected by everyday activities — it can help people become much more observant, too.

“That’s kind of what I’m doing — teaching how to see,” Stout says. “We can look at something but we don’t necessarily have to see it.”

IF YOU GO: Rooting for the Arts is 1 to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 28, at the Thompson Park Activity Center, 1200 Stassen Lane in West St. Paul. In addition to the art show, there will be root beer floats and a jam band.

On display
Ellingboe says she was talking with a woman who takes classes at the center, Kate Kleiter, who said they should put together an art show.

Kleiter, a retired geologist, heard about the art classes online and decided to take a look at the colored pencil course. She says she’d never taken an art class, except for in junior high. For her, the colored pencil class looked like something relaxing to do.

Since she started two years ago, Kleiter says art has become a part of her life. She’s expanded into watercolor painting, too.

“It just kind of reawakened me, and it all started with the colored pencil class,” says Kleiter, who will be displaying some of her drawings and paintings in the show.

Ellingboe says all of Thompson Park Activity Center is involved. Some of her students are woodcarvers, so they’ll be displaying their work — the show will also include decorated paper bags. The organizers decided to hold the show in conjunction with the center’s root beer float day.

Kleiter says a lot of the people involved in the art classes at the center are retired or elderly. Taking part in the classes is a way for them to learn something new, which she says is something good for older folks who may no longer work.

“I think we all have to learn new things. I think it keeps us younger,” Kleiter says. “I didn’t realize how important it was for me to stay young [by doing] something new.” 

More information about the center and a schedule of classes can be found at It’s located at 1200 Stassen Lane.


– Hannah Burlingame can be reached at 651-748-7824 or

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (2 votes)
Comment Here