The North: Home to Artists & Artisans/Painters, Potters & More

We attended the June 9th re-opening of the Tweed Museum, and were delighted to have the event be teeming with happy artists and art lovers. How lucky we are to have the Tweed as part of our art scene. They have over 9000 pieces of art, and they do a great job of balancing the displays of older fine art, a stunning Native American collection, and nurturing new artists. This museum is a great asset for art students at UMD and for the community at large. And the best part – admission is free, so there is no excuse not to visit often. I am looking forward to October, 2016 when Tweed will be the Minnesota host for Shakespeare’s First Folio usually seen at the Folger Library in Washington DC. Only one host per state for this 50 state tour – yea Tweed!

The other long established favorite of artists is the Duluth Art Institute. They have 3 exhibition spaces in The Depot and host the juried Arrowhead Regional Biennial, a showcase of exciting contemporary artists from Minnesota, Wisconsin, North & South Dakota, Iowa, Michigan and Ontario, Canada. The DAI also has a lively collection of art classes for the beginner and the expert, the hobbyist and the professional. If you have ever wanted to try your hand at this or that artistic endeavor, they probably have a class for you. In October they are sponsoring a companion art show to the Tweed’s exhibition of the First Folio called “My Mind’s Eye: Duluth Artists Imaginings of Shakespeare’s Plays”. I am eager to see this as part of the Shakespeare related events that will be in Duluth in October.

Newest on the scene will be the Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art opening in the fall of 2016 in the former St. Peter’s Church. Founded by local but internationally recognized artist Jeffrey Larson, this school will follow the atelier model of instruction. We expect serious students of painting will come from far and wide to pursue classical training in this atelier. Thank you, Jeff, for bringing this to Duluth.

Just the three institutions mentioned above would be enough to give Duluth “credentials” with artists, but add to that over 20 galleries in Duluth and Superior showing and selling the art of artists from the North. Then add the Park Point Art Fair that brings in over 100 artists to display and sell. Finally, mix in the Crossing Borders North Shore Autumn Studio Tour and Sale which gives you the rare opportunity see where and how North Shore artists create their art. As you can see, the art scene is rich and varied here. It is a supportive place to be an artist, and a wonderful place to enjoy the fruits of their labors. If you have always had a yearning to try traditional crafts, a few hours north in Grand Marais is the North House Folk School where you can sign up to learn artisan skills from flint knapping and forging iron to traditional basket weaving and wood carving. There is truly something to nourish every artist and art appreciator here.

If film and theater are more your passion, you will love the Duluth Superior Film Festival as well as keeping up with the art house showings at the Zinema. If you prefer on-stage to on-screen, the roots of community theater run deep here. The Duluth Playhouse was founded in 1907. It is going strong both on its main stage and in the Underground- an intimate 150 seat environment. The Renegade Comedy Theatre is well established for professional performance and for regular improv, and the Colder By the Lake theater group keeps our funny bones in tune with local wits. The North welcomes theater lovers. There are openings to be on-stage, backstage, writing and producing. Of course, most important, there is always a demand for a good audience.

Next month we’ll look at music and dance here.

If you love the arts scene, will you join us at Kiviranta?


Photo credit: Lyceum Theatre In Duluth Mn 1940 is a painting by Dwight Goss


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