Local Artist

Jan. 16, 1998

UW-RF to Display Local Artist's Works

By Jesse Sampair
UW-RF News Bureau

The works of local artist Harold Henson will be displayed in the UW-River Falls Davee Library beginning on Feb. 4 through the Wyman Performance Series.

Through the medium of paintings and poetry, Henson relentlessly tries to convey to young people the importance of making smart choices on their journey through life.

Henson's exhibit, which will run for two weeks, is free to the public and begins at 7 p.m. each night in the Harriet Barry Gallery.

Henson, 47, came to River Falls in 1986. By using art and poetry, Henson hopes to make individuals and groups more aware of the important social choices they are bound to encounter. Henson has taught art workshops at numerous area elementary and middle schools for the last few years. Also, he served as the volunteer art facilitator for the Hennepin Juvenile Detention Center in 1992 and for Project DeNova.

"His message was one of the nicest gifts the children could ever have. He told them there were no mistakes in art. Everything and everyone is OK," Dawn Pennie, an area art teacher, says of Henson's teaching style.

"The paintings were basically about trying to do the right things," said Anthony Krupka, an eighth grader.

In addition to teaching art to young people, Henson has been successful creating many privately and publicly commissioned paintings on his own. He also has given numerous speeches and presentations on adolescent choices. He has published two books of poetry. The most recent, "Mighty Mercius," was published by the River Falls Journal in 1989. That same year also brought Henson the World of Poetry's "Golden Poet Award." In 1990, he launched "Crossing Your Rubicon: How to Overcome," a local cable television show.

A common characteristic of Hensons' paintings is that they usually contain a central image surrounded by other smaller images, which tell a story of some of Henson's life experiences. It is through these images Henson hopes to bridge the gap of understanding about the changes and choices children go through.

In a newspaper interview last July, Henson described the reasoning behind his busy style of painting. "The paintings are cluttered, just like life and decisions and society are cluttered. Under it all, you'll find a glimmer of hope."

Henson feels that, "Understanding the reality that exists for (children) can help us all achieve an aware and loving self-reliance." For more information, call 715/425-0658.

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