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Mitchell Wagon Loft art show
Nate Mortensen plays a fretless lutar he designed and built himself on Sunday, May 2, 2010. In the foreground is a sitar/guitar hybrid he also designed and built himself. Mortensen was one of the many artists in residence at the Mitchell Wagon Factory Lofts. They held a spring art show inside the apartment building over the weekend./ Scott Anderson Buy this Photo at

RACINE - A local art gallery showcased various pieces from paintings, pottery and photography to tattoo designs, handmade soaps and handmade musical instruments.

More than 50 people wandered through the two-day art gallery hosted by resident artists at Mitchell Wagon Factory Lofts, 815 Eighth St., organizers said.

Niki Neidenbach, 26, and Cassidy Anderson, 16, both of Mundelein, Ill., were sporting the handmade bracelets their mom bought for them.

They were visiting their sister, who just moved into the lofts from Illinois, and decided to check out the gallery on Sunday afternoon.

Anderson particularly liked a painting of a boxer against a green background, because she likes dogs.

"This is neat," she said to her


She also appreciated some of the smaller sketches, noting the intricate detail that had gone into them.

Neidenbach said the gallery had some interesting pieces.

Nate Mortensen, 27, of Racine, makes his own guitar-like instruments out of gourds. On Sunday he was showcasing a lutar, which he says has aspects of a banjo, a lute and a guitar.

Woodworking is something he's always been around, he said, seeing his dad working in the woodshop as a kid. His handmade instruments evolved out of that woodworking background and his interests in music and art.

The lofts, which has a workshop space for woodworking, painting, photography and pottery, is an ideal place for artists who have versatile interests, said Shelley Behling, 45, who's been at the lofts for four years.

On Sunday she was showing some of her pottery work, mostly of various flowers, and crocheted shawls.

The resident artists all do a little of everything, said Deborah Grieve, 42, of Racine.

Grieve takes pictures and shapes bowls out of heated record albums. She said she and her husband, who is a chef and an artist, moved to the lofts because of the art amenities offered.

People browsing the gallery said they especially liked that artists themselves were at hand to explain their work.

Because the artists all work together and know each other's work, said Rachel Benson, 26, another resident painter, they are able to answer questions people had.

The two-day event netted about $300, organizers said, of which a portion will be used for future events.

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