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HAA finds a new home

When Associated Bank closes in Hammond, it won't just be bank customers and employees who are affected. The Hammond Arts Alliance (HAA) art gallery will be displaced. However, thanks to good timing and good luck, HAA president Heidi Freier said HAA's Foster Art Gallery will have a new home in the building still known to some as Foster Hall, across from the Hammond Community Library.

"It just fell into place really nicely," Freier said. "It's like it was meant to be."

Foster Hall was the original home of the HAA's gallery, Freier said. She said Bruce Foster donated the use of the building to HAA for the first nine years of the group's existence, beginning in 1996.

When Foster passed away, the building was sold and, as the HAA couldn't afford to purchase it at that time, the group moved their art showings into the Hammond Hotel and later to Associated Bank.

Now, Freier said, although the HAA plans to rent the space from WESTconsin Credit Union (which owns the building), they hope to purchase the building that was their gallery's original home.

"We're hopeful that it's just the first step toward acquiring it forever," Freier said. "Hopefully, the stars have aligned for us."

Freier said she thinks it's important to have an art gallery in Hammond.

"We try to be a really inclusive place for people to come and enjoy art and socialize," Freier said. "We really do try to make it welcoming to everyone and I think we've succeeded in that."

She said the gallery also draws in visitors from all over St. Croix County, as well as outside of St. Croix County.

"I think that opportunity would be missed if we were to have to close up shop," Freier said.

The HAA is hosting its last show in Foster Art Vault below Associated Bank on Jan. 19 from 5-9 p.m. and Jan. 20 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

The HAA's first showing in Foster Hall, "FAUX," will be Feb. 9 and 10, followed by "FRAME" on March 9 and 10, with other shows to come.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the HAA's new location or tracking their progress can visit http://hammondarts.word to see the HAA blog, which Freier said she will be updating as events warrant.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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