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Arts Center June exhibit reception to feature art and performance

Arts Center June exhibit reception to feature art and performance
Joan Estlund, a digital artist who also performs as Juni West, will give an acoustic performance toward the end of her Charles City Arts Center exhibit-opening reception, beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, June 7. Photo by Karl Haglund
To The Press

The Charles City Arts Center will host an opening reception for artist Joan Estlund starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 7.

The reception will kick off the Arts Center’s June exhibit of Estlund’s digital art titled “Women,” and will conclude with an acoustic performance by Estlund.

Arts Center June exhibit reception to feature art and performance
”La Mujer Con El Sombrero De Flores” is one of the many works by Joan Estlund that will be on display throughout June at the Charles City Arts Center. Submitted photo

Estlund not only creates digital art, but also performs as a local musician under the stage name Juni West. She said the two art forms are separate, but both are healing for her and often inform each other.

“While this connection may not be immediately apparent to others, my work functions as a personal form of communication, conveying messages that only I need to hear or see,” she said.

“It is akin to journaling except that I can keep these feelings to myself. This process allows me to self-soothe and heal from painful emotional experiences, effectively managing my anxiety.”

Estlund works on her digital creations on her iPad, starting with shadows and then following that through until the final image is satisfactory.

“I initially turned to digital art due to financial constraints and a paralyzing fear of making mistakes on expensive paper,” she said. “The digital medium allowed me to overcome the fear of a blank canvas and fully express myself. The speed and flexibility of digital tools enable me to keep up with my emotions as they arise. I consider my iPad to be a sketchbook.”

The exhibit will be the first for the Nora Springs artist and musician. She admits to some level of nervousness, but said she is also excited and that sharing her work in this genre is an important thing for her.

“These works are very personal to me, reflecting my emotional self and energy,” Estlund said. “While I am not overly concerned with whether people like them or not, I believe it is important to share them. If someone can connect with the emotions conveyed, perhaps they will feel less alone.”

It is often difficult for creators of digital art to find a place to show their creations, but Arts Center Assistant Director Karl Haglund said he has no hesitation about showing this side of art and creation.

“At the core of making art, no matter the medium, is the concept that one wishes to express themselves or an idea,” he said. “How an artist gets from that idea to a finished product isn’t as important as what the final product may say or the feelings that work may invoke. We are excited to give Joan a place to show her works.”

With Estlund also playing a solo acoustic set toward the end of the reception, the Arts Center also hopes to attract some new faces.

“It is important for us to keep giving artists of any genre or medium a space to show their work and show what they can do. That mission is something we take seriously and strive to expand each week and for each monthly exhibit,” Haglund said.

“Our hope is that we see new faces on Friday and maybe inspire or renew in those people a love for the arts,” he added.

“Women” opens Friday, June 7th, at 5 p.m. at the Charles City Arts Center located across from Central Park at 301 N. Jackson St. The event is free and open to the public. Event sponsor is The Rustic Corner.

For more information call 641-228-6284, or email

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