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Artist Reception for Local Author Nancy Huesenga, celebrating her new book ‘Behind the Door Marked “Private”

Fri, Aug 23rd, 2013
Posted in Lanesboro Arts & Culture

Lanesboro Arts Center will host an artist reception on Saturday, Sept. 14 from 6-8 p.m. for local author Nancy Huisenga, celebrating her new book ‘Behind the Door Marked “Private” – Confessions of a Small Town Bed & Breakfast Owner.’ The reception will feature items from the Habberstad House B&B’s breakfast menu, featured in the book. Free to the public, this is a good opportunity to meet Nancy and hear her animate stories from the new book. A SEMAC McKnight Showcase event of Lanesboro Arts Center, the reception is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts & cultural heritage fund.

In 2000, Nancy Huisenga and her husband Dave left professional careers and a metropolitan area for the small town of Lanesboro, Minn. for a ‘retirement’ that has been anything but that...Nancy has been a professional actor, a nurse, a medical researcher, and now a B&B owner. Finally, in 2012, she took time to put onto paper the book that had been writing itself inside her head: ‘Behind the Door Marked “Private” – Confessions of a Small Town Bed & Breakfast Owner.’ “Writing has always been a creative outlet for me,” she says, “And this particular book allowed me to share my experience in a very personal way with those who are willing to open themselves up to it. In the past I haven’t really shared what I’ve written with too many people. It’s always been too private, too personal. Often it’s poetry meant only for close family and friends, words that express my absolute joy or grief. This book is a doorway to my heart.” For those who know Nancy, or who have seen her onstage at the Commonweal Theater Company or with Lanesboro Community Theater, it is no surprise that she has the energy and vivaciousness and creativity to publish a book. In fact, this is her second book; the first was a children’s book published in 2012, ‘Does A Zebra Know It’s Striped?’ Nancy’s sense of humor comes through in her writing. One ‘Confession’ she makes in the new book is about the time a young boy asked innocently what will be served for breakfast in the morning. “My true feelings came out when I reflexively answered, ‘Poison!’, much to his mother’s horror,” she says.

Living in the small town of Lanesboro has absolutely affected Nancy’s artistic ventures. Nancy explains: “Lanesboro is a canvas waiting to be painted. It is a story unfolding before our eyes and in our daily lives. It is a tapestry that I’m a part of. How can one help but feel the urge to capture its history, its colors, and its vitality, in one form or another? I’m thankful to be a part of it, whether shopping, walking down the street, talking to friends, acting on the stage or just sitting and watching the river flow by. The chance to encounter so much art in different forms in one place is amazing. Living here has heightened my curiosity about the stories of the people who live here...Who knows how they may weave in my mind, into a book, or a play…” Nancy says there is always another book on the horizon. “The fact is, I’m always writing in my head.” The question is whether or not she’ll put it on paper.

Nancy has brought many skills from her previous professions to her Bed and Breakfast business. Being a nurse and medical researcher has taught her to be very organized and detail-oriented. “This is a bit of a double sword in the B&B business, where so many things can go haywire. On the other hand, there’s a lot to keep track of and plan, so time-management skills are a definite necessity.” As an actor, she’s definitely an extrovert, which is a definite asset in this very social-oriented business. “Of course, if things go wrong, people can sometimes tell, because I wear my emotions on my sleeve...” she says.

Nancy credits the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council for supporting her work with a grant. “The fact that SEMAC recognized that the written word is another art medium worthy of supporting really encouraged me, as it should encourage other actual and would-be authors. It encouraged me to create the best work possible and to take a sense of artistic pride with every keystroke. Instead of using a brush, when I feel my fingers fly across the keyboard as I form the words into sentences that speak my thoughts and emotions as clearly as if I were uttering them aloud, I exist in the moment,” Nancy is animated as she explains her artistic process. “That is wonderful. It is like the dancer must feel, like the painter, like the violinist, completely engaged in the experience.”

Both ‘Behind the Door Marked “Private” – Confessions of a Small Town Bed & Breakfast Owner’ and ‘Does A Zebra Know It’s Striped?’ are available for sale in the galleries at Lanesboro Arts Center, 103 Parkway Ave. N. in Lanesboro, Minnesota. LAC is open seven days a week through October: Mon-Thurs 10-5, Fri-Sat 10-7, Sun 11-4 (beginning in November, the gallery is open Tues-Sat 10-5 and Sun 11-3) . Lanesboro Arts Center serves as a regional catalyst for artistic excellence and educational development in providing diverse art experiences for people of all ages. For more information contact 507-467-2446 / /

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