RED WING, Minn. -- The top art works, essays, poems and photographs by a group of young people from around the country will be exhibited Jan. 11-27 at Red Wing Arts’ Depot Gallery.

Red Wing is the first stop on a national tour of the Sister Cities International 2019 Young Artists and Authors Showcase. The exhibit includes a painting by Carolyn Hanson, Red Wing High School senior whose work advanced after winning the local Sister Cities Commission’s art competition.

The public is invited to see the exhibit, meet Hanson and some other artists, and learn about Sister Cities 1-3 p.m. Jan. 12 at the gallery.

“Global Citizens: Resilient Communities” was theme for the 2019 showcase. The international organization invited young people to use that theme to express their vision for a more unified, peaceful world.

In addition to creating artworks, young people also submitted photographs, essays and poems.

The young artists and writers illustrated ways that individuals and communities can prepare for adversity or challenges. Many drew on their experiences with travel and exchange programs, international friendships and ways people can cultivate relationships across cultures.

The grand prize winning entries and finalists in all four categories are included in the traveling showcase, according to Emily Foos, Red Wing Arts executive director.

The art category had two winners and six finalists. Hanson, daughter of Lisa and Kirby Hanson, is one of two Minnesota youths named as finalists. The other, Ashley Koeing of Columbia Heights, has been invited to attend the Red Wing event, as this is the only Minnesota city chosen to host the showcase.

One winner and two finalists were named in each of the other categories.

Nancy Preuit, who chaired the artist showcase committee for the Red Wing Sister Cities group, said the second- and third-place winners in the Red Wing competition also are expected to attend the opening. They are Olivia Johnson and Autumn Peary. All three are art students of Kristin Bray.

Hanson’s winning entry was chosen based on originality, composition and interpretation of the theme. Her artwork depicts a bright orange and red phoenix, a mythical bird known for its ability to persevere through all obstacles, embracing the Earth.

“In the midst of hardship,” Hanson wrote, “our true colors are revealed by the people who inspire others through their resilience.”

The youth artwork and writings will be displayed in the Vogel Gallery. In the adjacent Veeder gallery, visitors will see an exhibition of gifts Red Wing has received from its two Sister Cities – Ikata, Japan, and Quzhou, China – along with information about the organization. Commission members will be on hand to answer questions.

“We hope to encourage more young people” to participate in not only the art competition, but also the photography, essay and poetry contests, Preuit said.

Students are working on their entries now, she added. Theme for 2020 is “One World: Out of Many, We Are One.” The committee will get the entries judged, and the local level winner must be sent to the international organization by March 1.

Supporting the Sister Cities art and literature program fits well with the arts group’s mission, Foos pointed out. “Red Wing Arts is trying to grow opportunities for youths in our community,” she said.

Everyone is invited to the opening event, Foos and Preuit stressed. Light refreshments will be served. The gallery is open weekends only during January, so people can view the showcase Saturdays and Sundays, Jan. 11 until Jan. 27, when it will be shipped to its next stop, in California.

If you go…

Who: Red Wing Arts

What: Sister Cities art exhibit opening

When: 1-3 p.m. Jan. 12

Where: Depot Gallery, 418 Levee St.

How much: Free

More info: 651-388-7569