Artwork by author/artist Jon Hassler on display at Douglas County LibraryIt has been three years since Minnesota author Jon Hassler died. While Hassler is well known for his literary skills, many people are not aware that he was an artist before he was a novelist.
It has been three years since Minnesota author Jon Hassler died. While Hassler is well known for his literary skills, many people are not aware that he was an artist before he was a novelist. In celebration of “I Love to Read” Hassler month, 11 of his paintings will be on display at the Douglas County Library until mid-March.
Hassler taught English during the school year (high school and college) and during the summer he was on the art fair circuit with his paintings. He began writing relatively late in life. His first novel, Staggerford, was published when he was 44, but he always enjoyed painting when he had the chance.
Like his books, Hassler’s paintings have reoccurring themes – rural landscapes, long light, complex skies and almost always a strong vanishing point element.
Hassler’s paintings are on loan from the Red Wing Framing Gallery. Five years before he died, Hassler and his wife Gretchen entrusted the gallery with 22 of his original oil on canvas paintings.
Following are other events being held in conjunction with the Alexandria Area Community Read:
• Monday, February 28 , 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the library – Michelle Saffel will lead a discussion on Jon Hassler’s Staggerford: A Novel.
• Tuesday, March 8, 3 to 4:30 p.m. at Jefferson High School in Alexandra – Sara Kosters will lead a discussion on Hassler’s North of Hope.
• Tuesday, March 15, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Nelson Gables Governor’s Room in Alexandria – Karen Simmons, county librarian, will lead a discussion on Hassler’s Good People…From an Author’s Life. Attendees can bring a bag lunch or purchase one at Nelson Gables.
• Thursday, March 24, 3:30 p.m. at Alexandria Technical and Community College Senior College; and 7 p.m. at Douglas County Library – Joseph Plut, author of Conversations with Jon Hassler, will discuss Hassler’s writings and his long-time friendship with him.
• Thursday, April 14 and Tuesday, April 19 at 7 p.m. – Writer’s workshop. Writer David Bengtson of Long Prairie will be in Alexandria during National Library Week to lead the “Our Lives, Our Stories” writers’ workshop.
For information on these or other events, call the library at (320) 762-3014.