The idea behind TED Talks is "Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world." The Chester Chats program has been patterned after this format of bringing some of our locally remarkable people to briefly share insights on various themes. And last week's theme was about art.
Despite excessively cold temps, the three speakers filled the room with a public eager to hear lively presentations about regional art. Dan Hartman, interim director of Glensheen, served as moderator. Our featured speakers were Sarah Brokke-Erickson, MFA who teaches at St. Scholastica, Anne Dugan, curator and interim director of the Duluth Art Institute, and Dr. Jennifer Webb, who teaches art history at UMD.
What follows are a few brief notes from what each brought to share.
Brokke, who hails from Grand Forks and came here to attend college at UMD, has had the privilege of studying abroad in places such as England, France, and Florence, Italy. She considers herself a post-post-modernist.
She asked, "What makes someone an artist?" And she began with the earliest form of art that is with us today. "What compelled people to make cave paintings?" It is clearly a human thing to create, she noted. Art is a human expression. Therefore everyone has potential to be an artist.
She stated that to define what is art puts limits on what is possible. She closed by encouraging us to take time each day to perceive and reflect on the world around us.
Anne Dugan's talk about regional art began with her sharing a pet peeve of hers. Duluth has a thriving art scene, but too often she hears people dismiss it by unfavorably comparing ourselves to other places, The reality is, we're not New York. We're not Austin. We're Duluth!
|Recent painting by Scott Murphy|
Dr. Jennifer Webb talked about Glensheen's connection to art. Chester Congdon created an arts board when he was young that eventually became the Duluth Art Institute. He was a founder of the Society of Encouragement of Art in Duluth, an unwieldy name but noble in purpose. The group bought a major painting for the new Carnegie Library downtown and put together a show in 1898 featuring the art of our region and artist David Ericson.
Their aim was to create a legacy around the twin themes "All of us are artists; all of us are collectors." Their aim of supporting artist and making a community impact is with us to this day.