Sunday, January 18, 2015

This Week at the Duluth Art Institute: The Members Show and Emerging Photographers

I was talking this week with someone from Brooklyn who follows the art scene here in the Twin Ports via this blog. He is continually impressed and went so far as to say New York has nothing on us, as far as talent, etc. Yes, they have scale, but when you begin to really unearth all that is happening, there is no dearth of talent -- or imagination -- here.

One way to get a feel for the scope of what is going on in the Twin Ports arts scene is to attend the Annual Membership Show which takes place each January at the Duluth Art Institute (DAI). The opening reception for this year's show will be Thursday, January 22 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Depot Great Hall and DAI galleries (506 West Michigan St). It never fails to be a great event, an opportunity to see current works by as many as 250 artist-members of the DAI. I note the word "current" because to submit work into the show it must have been created within the past year. This is one place to get a sense of how much is happening here in the Northland. The reception, sponsored by U.S. Bank, is free and open to the public.

The night of the reception you will also be given a chance to cast your vote for a favorite work. Ballots get counted that evening and the People’s Choice award is announced at the end of the night.

Setting up a shot at Stoney Point, from Tischer Collection
In addition to the Membership Show the galleries upstairs will be featuring the Emerging Photographers show, a collaboration between the DAI and Photography department of the University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD). The event gives photography students a professional exhibition experience. The 2015 display, curated by nationally recognized fine art photographer Ryan Tischer and sponsored by True North Color Lab, features the work of Daniel Badhwa, Kyle Becker, Donny Bever, Susannah Gaunt, Samantha Lindbeck, Marissa Murdy, and Ryan Olsen.

What I especially value here are the efforts to integrate the university arts programs, and other facets of the school, with the world outside the cloister. December's Support exhibition at the PRØVE carried out the same aims.

It'll be nice to see these two shows together. The Annual Membership Show celebrates what it means to be part of a creative community, showcasing the vibrant visual art coming out of this region today. The Emerging Photographers Show will remind us of the variety of ways photography is being taken seriously as an art form.

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Forever.

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