When artist Lora Fosberg was looking for a place to display her artwork for the first time in the Bloomington, she looked no further than her good friends at Restaurant Tallent. “The artwork that was there (already) seemed fine, but I needed a venue,” says Fosberg.
In fact, Kristen Tallent, General Manager of Restaurant Tallent, had been trying to persuade Fosberg to display her art there for the nearly two years they’ve known each other. Supporting a local artist goes hand-in-hand with the restaurant’s goal of having its diners experience something of the community.
It’s not an art gallery where you just walk through. You’re really sitting in a restaurant. You’re going to focus on that piece for, in this restaurant, usually two hours. So, it’s nice for us to have something we’re really proud of to put up for you to sit and focus on while you’re enjoying what we feed you.
The show of paintings and prints celebrates not only the spirit of collaboration across disciplines, but also the friendship between two couples – Tallent and her husband Dave and Fosberg and her girlfriend Sara Minard.
As Fosberg recalls, Minard visited Restaurant Tallent on her first trip to Bloomington. “She ordered foie gras and Alsatian wine, which goes perfectly with foie gras,” which caught the attention of Tallent. “When Sara came home, she said, ‘I know who our friends will be,’ and of course she was right.”
Tallent says it’s lucky they met one another right as Fosberg and Minard moved to Bloomington. “People are constantly coming and going through Bloomington. It can be really heartbreaking to own a business here because just as you get really attached to someone, they’re moving on.”
The majority of the artwork was created specifically for the restaurant, and Tallent says it makes for a calm and peaceful energy in the space. Surely the subject matter has a significant impact on that energy; most of the works celebrate nature, like the cross section of a tree hanging near the kitchen and the series of tall paintings of birch trees in the dining room.
One piece tucked in the far corner of the bar features Fosberg’s cabin on Lake Michigan. The work features the house surrounded by trees with a burst of color shooting out of the chimney. “You get the impression of how happy she is in her cabin and the creativity and love that flows through the place for her,” explains Tallent.
Both Kristen and Dave had the opportunity to visit Fosberg and Minard at the cabin on New Year’s Day. “When people visit there and then they see that piece,” says Fosberg, “they get the piece.”
“And that’s why I love that painting so much,” adds Tallent.