Thursday, October 19, 2017

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the New Joseph Nease Gallery Generates More Enthusiasm for the Expanding Arts District

The official announcement went out in mid-September. The Joseph Nease Gallery would become the newest addition to Duluth's Historic Arts & Theater District (HART).

For everyone who felt that Don Ness was the epitome of Mayoral Cool, I'd suggest that Mayor Emily Larson has proven herself to be a great sequel. Yesterday she made an appearance at the Ribbon Cutting ceremony for Joseph Nease Gallery in the emerging Duluth Arts District. Familiar faces included artists Matthew Kluber* (seen here in this scintillating sequence with the Mayor), Kathy McTavish, Tim White, and others. Former Duluth Poet Laureate Sheila Packa, journalist Claire Kirch, representatives from the Greater Downtown Council and Duluth Chamber of Commerce, Karen Anderson (Playlist) and assorted local media were all on hand for the occasion.

Mayor Larson, pausing to review notes...
...then lighting up the room.
Mayor Larson shared that she was excited for the Nease gallery opening and said thank you for choosing Duluth as their new home. She reminded those present and the public (by way of the media) of the significant economic impact the arts has been having on our region, affirming that "art is more important than ever... a beautiful mosaic that tells our stories." 

Joe Nease, who had the honors of doing the ribbon cutting, said he was happy to be downtown and was "glad we found this space." He shared that it was an opportunity to give Duluth exposure to other artists. The Nease Gallery in Kansas City had shows that on several occasions obtained national recognition. I personally have been looking forward to the contributions the Joseph Nease Gallery (JNG) will be bringing to the Twin Ports arts scene.

It's been a busy couple years for the Joe and Karen Nease who first had to find a suitable space, then purchase and renovate it. It's been a lot of work, and there's still more to do before Saturday's Opening Reception (2:00-5:00 p.m.) A few of the walls in the space are on wheels so they can be moved about for various kinds of exhibits, a conceptually intriguing idea in and of itself.

This first show, Three States, features Matthew Kluber, Kathy McTavish and James Woodfill. Woodfill was one of the Kansas artists with whom Joe Nease had been associated there. McTavish, one of our local artist explorers in the digital age of art, has been busy simultaneously preparing for tonight's major opening at the Tweed. You can catch a sneak preview here

Yesterday's ribbon cutting was just one more reason to be excited about what's happening here in the Northland arts scene. 


"CHANCE" Tonight at the Tweed

GOIN' POSTAL FALL ART SHOW. 17 Artists. Friday, 6-9 p.m.

OPENING RECEPTION SATURDAY for THREE STATES here at the Joseph Nease Gallery. Do drop in.

* * * *

*For Cleveland Indians fans: The answer is "Yes." Kluber is genealogically related to the young Indians ace. I also learned that Mr. Kluber's wife is a shirttail relative to Hall of Fame hurler Bob Feller, who one of my first teddy bears was named after. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Culley, Chance, Nease and More

Culley crafts crisp lines forming fascinating and unexpected imagery, 
some of it fraught with emotion. You'll see many new pieces like these 
this coming Friday if you attend the 2017 Goin' Postal Fall Art Show.
816 Tower Avenue in Superior. 6-9 p.m.

THIS AFTERNOON at 3:30 p.m. 23 West 1st Street

Thursday evening. 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Friday 6-9 with afterparty at the Top Hat.

"Three States" Opening Reception at the new Joseph Nease Gallery, 
Saturday 2-5 p.m.

* * * *

So much to see, so little time. 
Will we see you there?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Local Arts Scene: Makers Make A Mark

At one time photography was not respected as an art form. Then, a group of modernist photographers--Arthur Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Edward Weston and others--showed the possibilities and broke through the wall. A similar thing happened with printmaking around the 1940s and the definition of what was an acceptable art form was broadened yet again. The world has been enriched by these ever widening horizons.

This past week I dropped in on an Open House for Creative Makers and Artisans at the Creative Folk School in Lincoln Park. The place was buzzing with activity and enthusiasm.

When I first heard of the Twin Ports Makers, the word "Maker" in mind was tied to recent discussions and reading I had done pertaining to 3-D printing, technology empowerment and a movement to grass roots tool-making. Last week's Maker even was no such thing. It was people from various creative disciplines who have banded together to show and share their work, from basket-making to quilting, rosemaling to Zentangle. It's the art of functional creation, an aesthetic that seems to permeate our various blended cultures here in the North Country.

One of the groups represented was the Duluth Fiber Handcrafters Guild (DFHG). Formed in 1973, the DFHG is under the wing of the DAI and now consists of 125 members. One benefit of banding together with others is that beginners can get connected to mentors, experts who have learned many lessons about their craft-and-art making the hard way, including the business side.

This particular event was not about selling goods. Rather, it was an invitation to the public to come discover the kinds of makers we have actively creating in our community. The event was sponsored by the Needle Art Guild of Duluth, Northern Lights Machine Quilters Guild, Duluth Fiber Handcrafters Guild, and the Duluth Folk School. According to the DFHG website, "Our mission is to strengthen the creative capacity of our regional community by facilitating and encouraging a robust network of makers, artists, and community supporters."

If your creative urges flow in alternative channels, one of these might be worth checking out. The Northern Printmakers Alliance and the Northern Prints Gallery provide the same kind of opportunities for connection, mentoring, personal nurturing and growth. (Shout-out to Cecilia Lieder.) The potters and ceramicists here in the Twin Ports and up the Shore likewise have a decades long thing going. As do our Lake Superior Writers.

Once you get down to the grass roots, you discover how much more is happening here in the Twin Ports than you might have initially realized. It's worth the extra effort to dig down and check it out. 

Ribbon Cutting @ the new Joseph Nease Gallery tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.
23 West 1st Street

Kathy McTavish's "Chance" Opening Reception at the Tweed, Thursday evening.

The 2017 Goin' Postal Fall Art Show, Friday 6-9 with afterparty at the Top Hat.

"Three States" Opening Reception at the new Joseph Nease Gallery, Saturday 2-5 p.m.

* * * *
So much to see, so little time. 
Will you join us?

Monday, October 16, 2017

Local Art Seen: The Studio of Adam McCauley

Saturday afternoon I took advantage of the opportunity to visit the studio of Adam McCauley in the basement of his Lakeside home. As someone recently noted, he's incredibly prolific. He currently has a show featuring 42 pieces on display in Grand Rapids. I was there to pick up three pieces for next Friday's group show at Goin' Postal 8th Annual Fall Art Show featuring 15 to 18 local artists.

I've always enjoyed McCauley's explorations, so it was invigorating to have this opportunity to see more of his work, and the workspace it's created in. Married and the the father of a young son who plays soccer, he's worked in the restaurant trade for many years and also plays in a fairly edgy punk band. The twin passions of art and music not uncommon in artists or musicians.

As we entered the house he pointed out a Bill Morgan piece that he owns. I immediately had a better understanding of at least one of his influences. I checked  out a couple pieces that hung in the living room and then we descended to the basement, to his workspace. from there we climbed to the third floor attic space that has been finished off, providing storage for more work beneath its steeply pitched wings.

Designs both subtle and bold, textured and sparse, on canvases small and expansive, experiments and explorations that don't always work, while others producing marvelous effects. I suppose there are some who do not know how to appreciate non-representational and abstract designs. I find them intriguing, sometimes compelling, and nearly always interesting.

Here are some of the images I was able to capture this weekend. At least three of McCauley's pieces will be in our show Friday evening at Goin' Postal, 816 Tower Avenue, Superior.

Fodder for future designs.
I'm curious how many other artists are tucked away 
inside that network of Lakeside homes. 
Will we see you Friday?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

More Local Art Seen: An Elephant and a Souptown Exhibit

Jonathan Thunder was selected as this year's artist to decorate Elephant Rock in Lincoln Park. The Native artist has been turning heads lately. Here are several photos from the project. It would appear this is going to be a tradition. In my efforts to locate Elephant Rock I discovered that we also decorated the rock last year year as well.

Tools of the Trade

Here's a video of Jonathan Thunder talking about the project from the DNT. And here's Adam Swanson's rendition from 2016. It would appear that whoever named it Elephant Rock was apparently on to something.

* * * *
There are numerous local venues for emerging artists to place their work on public display. One of the first places I showed a few of my Dylan paintings was in a display case at the entrance of the Superior Library. It might be that are interested in finding a space to share your work. This is a small space but heavily trafficked. Here's what is on display during the month of October.

* * * * 

Mark your calendars: Kathy McTavish's Chance at Tweed on Thursday, and Goin Postal Show Friday. Three new artists in the mix: Elizabeth Kuth, Adam McAuley and Eric Dubnicka. Plus all the usual suspects. All good.

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Get into it.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Local Art Seen: Studio 101 Artists @ the DAI

This month's show in the John Steffl Gallery at the Duluth Art Institute features the artists of Studio 101, In Situ. In addition to art on the walls, the gallery has been set up to reflect the working space of an active studio where artists come together -- and in this particular case the artists of Studio 101 -- to paint together.

A special feature of this studio setup on the balcony of The Great Hall is that every Wednesday during the month of October the artists come and do their live painting here, the public invited to come watch. I can tell you from experience (I visited this past Wednesday for a little bit) that it's more interesting than watching paint dry.

Goran Hellekant
Each week they have a different model on a central podium and you can see, compare the various ways the artists interpret what they see. On the 4th they painted Terry Millikan, an artist who used to maintain a studio in Superior and who will be having a show at Lizzard's later this fall. This week Jamie Rosenthal sat for the four painters who came together on the 11th.

It was interesting to learn that the studio had originally been started by Jeffrey Schmidt and Penny Clark, who together operate Lizzard's Art Gallery & Framing. The seven artists who currently paint in Studio 101 (named for its address on Michigan Street) are Dorothea Diver, Lee Englund, Goran Hellekant, Constance Johnston, Cot LaFond, Dale Lucas and Larry Turbes.

I arrived after they'd been painting for about 90 minutes. You can see the impressive progress these artists made in such a short time.

Constance Johnston
Lee Englund
Dale Lucas

I love the various interpretations of the same scene. 
If you get a chance, check it out.