Enjoy a Healthy Dose of Arts in Rochester
While this city has an international reputation as a medical destination, Rochester is also an entertaining getaway to take in performances and art exhibits.
Minnesota’s third-largest city straddles the Zumbro River, and sits along the perimeter of the scenic bluff country in the southeast corner of the state. As the commercial and cultural center of the area, Rochester bustles with activity.
Local theaters offer a selection of plays this fall. The Rochester Repertory Theatre Company opens its 30th season Sept. 6 with Moliere’s comedy “The Miser,” with a twist: This production is set in 1950 New Orleans. It runs weekends through September.
On November weekends, beginning Nov. 6, the theater is presenting “The Clean House,” a poignant comedy by contemporary playwright Sarah Ruhl. The play was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2005.
Meanwhile, the Rochester Civic Theatre is presenting the ever-popular musical “Les Miserables,” about the French revolution, Sept. 13-Oct. 6. At the theater’s Lobby Stage, stop in for the informal Jazz Jam on Saturday, Oct. 19 or Nov. 9.
Also on the musical front, classical fans can take in the Rochester Symphony Orchestra with two Saturday performances this fall, Oct. 5 and Nov. 9. The Post Town Winery, on the western edge of the city, has live music on weekends through September, which you can enjoy with pizza and wine; check their website for the schedule.
The Civic Center downtown offers a musical “blast from the past” on Friday, Nov. 1, with singer Brad Boice performing his Elvis tribute, along with hits from the ‘70s, from Sinatra’s “My Way” to Tom Jones’ “Delilah.”
The Rochester Art Center features contemporary art, with four galleries of rotating exhibits. Opening Sept. 13 is an exhibition of Minneapolis-based artist David Rathman, who has been profiled in national media outlets and whose work hangs in several major art museums across the country. Using ink, oil paint and watercolor, Rathman takes a reflective look at such “guy” subjects as the American West, sports, cars and trucks. Hanging in the museum’s atrium is an unusual installation by a Swedish artist, with 1,500 paper-like porcelain sheets, pages of a book, that seem to float in the air (pictured).
There are other galleries in downtown Rochester to check out, as well. The SEMVA Art Gallery displays and sells the work of many southeastern Minnesota artists, with a wide range from jewelry to pottery.
To immerse yourself in an art experience, sign up for a two-hour class at Canvas and Chardonnay, where you “sip, laugh, and paint.” The focus is fun, no experience necessary, as an artist guides participants in replicating a painting. Check the website for upcoming classes, including the featured piece for that class.
With plenty of hotels and restaurants, Rochester makes for an easy weekend getaway. Round out a fall visit with some outdoor fun, renting a bike, canoe or kayak at Silver Lake Park near downtown.