Lend Me Your Hand|| Art Exhibition


September – October 2023


Gallery C, Lower Level

Monday – Thursday 10am-9pm

Saturday 10am-4pm

Always Free to Attend. Always Inspiring.

Meet the artist during the Downtown Art Crawl on Friday, October 20 from 4-6 PM with an brief art talk beginning at 5:15 PM.

See the entire collection on display by downloading a free PDF copy of Bebeau’s art catalog.

Exhibition Description: Artist Statement

Overall, my career has been formed by using found objects or reusing objects that appear in my life. The material is used to help me grow, going from now to the new. One needs to ask what specific thing needs to change? And then, how will I make that change? What materials will be needed? What materials carry that meaning?

Non-ART materials became very popular during the 1960s and 1970s. (The woman’s movement, and feminist.) I used found materials as a child (mud pies) and then as a student. Eventually using them during the Feminist art movement after reading everything that was published. ANYTIME an artist has no money, nontraditional materials are used. Picasso used them during WWII, in Paris. Louise Nevelson used wood because of her budget, while in New York.

The language paintings follow that path because I gather language from the people, then apply it to canvas. This was one of my first projects on canvas, and it developed from a previous project of drawing on Sheetrock. I’d been working with paper, drawing, watercolor, and collage almost all of my life because I had children. Drawing is flexible, it fits the mother’s schedule. I began to exploit that aspect. I evaluated what I needed to draw; What needs to be said? (I needed to use the alphabet.)
Why is this important? and What materials make it SEEN?

Before this DRAWING Project,
I was cutting up letters from advertising, and collaging them onto Sheetrock.
Gluing the cut papers in a random fashion. The second step was photocopying the collages built on Sheetrock. And I exhibited those. Finally I decided to work larger, directly drawing on Sheetrock. I stenciled alphabet. Mixed the letters randomly and focused on the Vowels. I was evaluating conversation and hearing it.

In 2010, FOUR OF these PIECES WERE CHOSEN TO BE EXHIBITED AT the Smithsonian, an International exhibit. And from there I wanted to do something more positive than evaluating my hearing loss. I wanted to thank my grandmother. She spoke very little English but she introduced me to watercolor. (I was four, and living with my grandparents during a family emergency.) She had me doing different things and I learned to color with crayons. So, the language project started because my grandmother spoke a dialect using three languages. I realized how I’ve met many different races of people in Minneapolis. I applied for a Minnesota State Arts Board grant and received it in 2011.

With the grant I ordered 12 cradled Wood panels.
Then began interviewing people. I started with 27 languages.

I thought about what needs to be said…what is important? (We need to work together, to be united.)
We had good conversations. I met with a Somali group; I talked with the Minneapolis Public Schools and got great advice from John Wolfe at MPS. I visited the Hmong Center in St. Paul and visited the Native American Center in Minneapolis. I chose the word HEALTH as the common word because we ALL WANT HEALTH. Native communities don’t have that word, they use the word WISDOM. (I learned different cultural tidbits.) Feng Shui is also concerned with health. I chose colors from Feng Shui – nine panels were painted with 27 languages, each panel using a different Feng Shui color. The languages were stencils that I had cut by hand, and each panel had a color group. (Feng Shui focuses on bringing balance to one’s life. It is more spiritual than decorative. Bagua life elements: Prosperity, Reputation, Relationships, Family, Health, Creativity, Knowledge, Career, Helpful Friends.)

I painted the grid of nine colors at the center of each panel. So, each panel brings good energy to all areas of life. But I was still not satisfied. Words need to be supported. I began experimenting with background. You can see combinations of language, splashes, and hands. Hands appeared after I collected hand tracings at Open Streets NE in 2013, 2014, and 2015. I used those tracings on canvas. I decided that canvas would allow me to hand print the languages. First, I needed a base color, and I got that by spattering color. It needs to dry completely before I add another color. So, we have several layers of splattered color that soak the canvas. Then I start tracing and painting the hands onto the canvas. I carefully chose four colors to represent the races of people. First starting with blue and green, then using red, orange, yellow. Finally settling for the flesh tones of humans: Dark, Medium and Light. After the hand shapes are painted, I decide where to place the words. I keep in mind the early Colonial settlers and the first Native people. Sometimes I place the words geographically, that is according to where the country is located in the world.

Each painting needs a month or two of work. During that time, I was still meeting people as they came to my studio building. The project grew from 27 people to 57 people. Some of the words sound the same but are spelled completely different. Some are spelled nearly the same, with the same script. I feel this project is important because it documents some of the ethnic groups that have settled in Minnesota. We are unique because of this mixture. It makes us strong. The energy of people working together towards one goal is very strong. We need to learn to express our frustration in a way that allows us to reshape and rebuild, not to blame. We must admit that we are learning and take pieces to re-grow.

Our Democratic process allows us to put topics out and we discuss them. Then we choose the method that fits the best, not favoring, but accurately choosing. This process is very different than despotic processes. We need to be clear and flexible, changing as needed.

This is what I think about while making a painting. I think of the people who gave me their words, and I think of our world and what it will become.

About the Artist: Loretta Bebeau

Loretta Bebeau is a Minneapolis artist who works with alphabet. She uses what she has around her as inspiration for work. Each completed piece represents our community.

Her work has been collected by the University of Minnesota, the Minneapolis Foundation, and the Immigration Law Office in St. Paul.

This project was funded by the Minnesota State Arts Foundation in 2010.

Connect with Loretta virtually.

  • Website: www.lorettabebeau.com
  • Email: lorettabebeau@yahoo.com
  • Instagram: lorettabebeau
  • Facebook: lorettabebeau

Like what you see?

Consider adding a piece to your collection and supporting a Minnesota artist. All the artwork noted
in this catalog that is on exhibit at the Paramount is for sale, unless otherwise noted.

Purchasing the Work
• Bring this catalog to the Gallery Gift Shop located at the Paramount (right side of the
building facing St. Germain Street). Let the cashier know what item you would like to buy.
• If not today, you can also contact the Paramount at 320-259-5463 and purchase it by
providing a credit card over the phone while it is still on exhibit.

Purchase Location: Gallery Gift Shop Hours*
Monday – Friday: 10:00AM – 5:00PM, and Saturday: 10:00AM – 2:00PM
*Open one hour before most performances