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Annual show allows artists, culinary experts to strut their stuff

Year after year, participants in the St. Croix Art & Culinary Show return because of the incredible experiences they have.

At this year's seventh annual gathering, slated from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, April 22, many returning artists, culinary specialists and spirits businesses will gather at R&D Catering Banquet Center in New Richmond for an evening of fun, food and entertainment.

Among the returnees is NP Design Photography of New Richmond. Nate Peterson, the owner, got involved in the event for the first time last year. He not only was an exhibitor at the 2011 show, he also helped the Rotary Club of New Richmond, the event host, by creating flyers and other promotional materials.

"Last year was the first year where we took our business to the next level," Peterson said. "And of all the things we did last year, this was our favorite to be a part of."

Peterson said he appreciated that the Art & Culinary Show treated photographers as artists, along with painters, mixed media experts, sculptors and more.

As a result of his participation in the event, Peterson said he was able to bring new business to his studio in downtown New Richmond. Not only did last year's winner of NP Design Photography's prize drawing upgrade their order, but others who learned about the business for the first time also ended up being customers.

"It was just great exposure and the local recognition we received was fun," he said. "The crowd that attended had an appreciation for art, which is something that is sometimes lost in today's faster-and-cheaper society. And it helped me gain a reputation as not just Joe-the-average-photographer, but as an artistic photographer."

Peterson said it was an easy decision when it came time to commit to this year's show.

"This is an event that is comparable to some held in the Twin Cities," he said. "I love that our community can do the same type of thing. It puts us on the map as far as the artistic community."

At this year's show, Peterson plans to exhibit some of his recent projects that people enjoy, including a collage canvas that is geared toward high school seniors and others.

Peterson is also helping the Rotary organizers with promotional materials again this year, as his way to give back to the community-wide effort.

Among the other artists who have committed to this year's show are many previous participants and a few new ones. They include: Connie Burch, Marsie Danielson, Bill Driscoll, Sarah Dudgeon, Karla Faith, Michael Farrell, Bridget Foust, David Ralph Johnson, Carol Jones, Lori Klinger, Judy Markgren, Paul Oman, Judy Paulson, Signe Shores and Rhonda Zontelli.

Culinary exhibitors include Brady's Brewhouse, Champs Sports Bar & Grill, Family Fresh market, The Laurel Supper Club, Parkside Restaurant & Bar, Ready Randy's, Table 65 and Urban Olive and Vine.

Participants providing spirits will be 45th Parallel and Brady's Brewhouse.

This year's honorary chairs for the event are culinary expert Randy Calleja and artist Courtney Moe.

Tickets are $40 in advance or $45 at the door. Tickets are available at The Deerfield, The SPACE, Ready Randy's or online at www.newric

Those attending the seventh annual spring gathering will be treated to gourmet food samples, fancy desserts, specialty spirits, beverages, cooking demonstrations, silent auctions for artwork, entertainment and much more.

Money raised from the event supports Rotary Club of New Richmond projects, including the STRIVE Scholarship program that offers incentives to senior students who work to improve their overall grade point average during their final year of high school.