Would you like a painting with your color treatment?

University student brings art to a local salon.

Receptionist Allie Walsh schedules an appointment Tuesday evening at Rue 48 Salon in Minneapolis. The Salon merges their services with local art displayed on their walls and performance events scheduled periodically.

Erin Westover

Receptionist Allie Walsh schedules an appointment Tuesday evening at Rue 48 Salon in Minneapolis. The Salon merges their services with local art displayed on their walls and performance events scheduled periodically.

Stephanie Nusser

Very rarely does studying a topic in the liberal arts actually allow a student to do something in the liberal arts. Some, though, are lucky. Art history senior Annika Johnson is able to combine her studies with a career.

Her work at Rue 48 Salon, since its opening a little over a year ago, is not typical for a worker behind a counter. From the beginning, Johnson has worked as a curator of local art, turning the salon into a neighborhood art space.

âÄúI proposed that we do a gallery in [the salon], because thereâÄôs this huge empty wall that we didnâÄôt know what to do with,âÄù Johnson said.

âÄúI think [the art] brings in a whole new element,âÄù salon employee Allie Walsh said.

Several local artists in all different disciplines have had their work shown at the gallery. The main element that keeps these artists connected is that theyâÄôre all Minneapolis residents.

âÄúThey wanted to keep it local. They wanted to make sure that everybody in the neighborhood was supporting the art and the local artists,âÄù Walsh said.

This way, haircuts are not the only thing bringing people into Rue 48. The gallery supports the salon and the artists.

âÄúWe have people stop in all the time that want to come to see the art,âÄù Walsh said.

Once one gallery is set up, Johnson has four to six weeks to put together the next show.

âÄúSome people donâÄôt realize it when they go in there, but there is a ton of work that goes into putting together the show,âÄù Johnson said.

Changing the exhibits frequently keeps the salon walls as fresh as AvedaâÄôs Rosemary Mint Shampoo.

âÄúPeople get their hair cut every six weeks, so every time they come in, itâÄôs something new. ItâÄôs good for them to see something completely different, because then they all talk about it,âÄù Johnson said.

With liberal arts classes being cut at schools across the nation in favor of science and technology tracks, Johnson is one of the few who gets to do what she loves.

âÄúI study art history, which I love, and I love doing research and I love knowing who the masters were, but [the salon] is a good complement to that âÄî IâÄôm actually working with real people,âÄù Johnson said.

But donâÄôt think that mailing in pictures of flowers or your pet cat will get your work shown at Rue 48. The salon asks only established artists.

âÄúThere is a lot of crap out there that people want to show, especially [since] itâÄôs a salon they think, âÄòOh, itâÄôs a salon, itâÄôs like a coffee shop, a first place to show your work,âÄô âÄù Johnson said. âÄúAnd I really want it to be higher-quality stuff.âÄù

Johnson has high aspirations after graduation. But unlike many students, JohnsonâÄôs goals might actually be attainable. By applying her studies to an actual career and not settling for a job as a Target checkout girl, Johnson is able to prove that the arts are still alive âÄî and worth funding.