The beautiful scenery in Winona and the surrounding area is enhanced by venues for arts and entertainment. Visual art in Winona ranges from fine art at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum to student art at university galleries and established stained glass studios. Visitors can discover how national cathedral windows are made or watch jewelry being created. Winona’s rich history is reflected in the many stained glass studios; exceptional stained glass windows adorn several downtown buildings, such as the Merchants Bank and the Winona National and Savings Bank.
The Minnesota Marine Art Museum, opened in 2006 along the banks of the Mississippi River, features “art inspired water” and works from the Burrichter/Kierlin Collection of historical marine art, including works from Matisse, Monet, O’Keefe and Renoir. There is also a Leo and Marilyn Smith folk art collection as well as visiting exhibits.
Rotating art displays are often at local coffee spots, such as the Acoustic Café or the Blue Heron Gallery and Studio. Blue Heron statues, reflective of the real birds seen in the area, are also sighted around Winona from an art competition. A bronze drinking fountain sporting playful otters can be used near the Lake Park bandshell. The Bluff Country Studio Art Tour or the Winona Art Walk provide an up-close experience of artists at work.
Art in motion occurs at various dance studios, such as the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts at the Valencia Art Center and local universities. Saint Mary’s University provides the annual Page series with quality performances. Winona has a strong history of music that includes the Winona Symphony Orchestra and the Winona Concert Band, which offers outdoor concerts at Lake Winona during summer. The Minnesota Beethoven Festival presents nationally renowned artists, such as Yo-Yo Ma, for music lovers. There are a variety of music genres to be enjoyed at Boats and Bluegrass Festival, jazz events or vocal and instrumental concerts at local establishments. The springtime MidWest Music Festival serves as an artistic outlet for more than 100 local and regional artists (rock, bluegrass, folk and classical). The Great Dakota Gathering and Homecoming in fall celebrates Native American culture on their original land, “Wapasha’s Prairie.” Events include dancing, drumming, storytelling and native crafts.
The Winona State University Performing Arts Center is the venue for the Great River Shakespeare Festival (GRSF) Theater every summer, which produces thoughtful, articulate and engaging productions of Shakespeare’s plays and features professional actors in-residence from around the world. The Winona Arts Center exhibits local art and offers workshops, music events and films. Theatre du Mississippi is another venue presenting musicians and local plays throughout the year at the Masonic Theater, where antique curtain drops are featured.
During January, the Frozen River Festival (FRFF) is rapidly becoming the venue of choice for movie buffs. Dozens of documentaries, workshops, speakers and musical events follow an annual theme. Both Winona State University and Saint Mary’s University offer a host of other cultural experiences, which are posted daily on each school’s website.
Steamboat Days, Winona’s annual communitywide celebration, takes place the third weekend in June and includes five days of carnival rides and games, live music, boat races, a grande parade and fireworks.