Artist is making her dream come true
Something inside Rita Beyer Corrigan just needs to paint. She can't quite explain why. It's just something she needs to do.
"It's something you can't deny. It's a thing within you that needs to be released," said Corrigan.
Corrigan, a retired art teacher, hopes to do a lot more of her artwork in the future. She's had a tough six months with some close family losses. But as a new frontier in her life opens up, Corrigan hopes to focus more on her art.
"I'm trying to get my art going. I want to become more established and get into a major gallery," said Corrigan.
Corrigan is a long time Rosemount resident who raised five children in town. She taught art, English and religion at St. Joseph's School for 25 years.
In 2008, balancing teaching and family responsibilities got to be overwhelming, so Corrigan decided to retire and become a full time artist.
The change provided her the time and flexibility to take care of her family responsibilities while pursuing a lifelong dream.
For the last two years Corrigan has had a studio in the Northrup King Building in Minneapolis. The building houses the studios of more than 200 artists. Corrigan said she's enjoyed being part of the community.
Going forward Corrigan hopes to travel and paint the world. Corrigan said her travels provide inspiration for her work. A trip to Italy several years ago resulted in a number of pieces. The shores of Lake Superior and the landscapes in Northern Minnesota are also dear to her heart.
Every year for the last 20 years Corrigan had taken classes through the Grand Marais Art Colony.
"I like to work big and I can do that there. Plus there's nothing there to distract you," said Corrigan.
Corrigan currently has several pieces hanging in Suzie's Kitchen. While she hasn't sold any of the pieces yet, she said it's important to expose people to her work.
"No matter where you show, it's important," said Corrigan.
Since retiring Corrigan has sold some pieces and hopes as the economy picks up to sell some more. The business side is the more difficult aspect of the art world - getting people to see your work and then hoping they come back to buy it.
Hope and experience keep Corrigan going. Corrigan said she once sold a piece to a woman who had seen the work seven years ago and had saved her money to buy it.
Despite the tougher aspects, Corrigan said she's happy to be doing something that touches her soul.
"It's very peaceful ... very calming. It's an inner thing that I have to do," said Corrigan.
To see some of Corrigan's artwork visit Suzie's Kitchen or visit her website at mnartists.org/Rita_Corrigan.