Thursday, May 12, 2016

Local Art Scene: We've Got the Month of May

Daniel Botkin at the Red Mug
When The Temptations sang "My Girl" the first verse has that great contrast spelled out pure and simple: "When it's cold outside, I've got the month of May." The line says it all. Yes, there are many wonderful times and seasons but the one that most warms the heart is the month of May. Especially here in the Northland.

The Twin Ports kicks it off with the Homegrown Music Festival, and puts an exclamation point on it with Duluth Dylan Fest, the annual Battle of the Jug Bands and the DuSu Film Festival. In between, the evenings are packed with art, music, poetry, literature and life. One day last week we were on the map for the hottest and coldest places in the country, on the same day! Finally, like everywhere else where May seduces hearts, you see lovers holding hands with twinkling eyes, smiling faces, sunrises and sunsets.

We're ten days from Dylan Fest, so here are a few things to see and do to make it easier passing the time.


Today is the culmination of a year-long series created by the Duluth Art Institute called Design DLH. There will be a pop-up exhibition (9 AM – 6 PM) followed by a closing reception catered by Duluth Grill (5 – 7 PM), and a panel discussion (7 – 8 PM). The discussion will be moderated by PBS producer Karen Sunderman and will feature DAI Executive & Artistic Director Anne Dugan; Arrowhead Regional Arts Council grant manager Ashley Kolka; Hemlocks Leatherworks owner Candace LaCosse; Duluth Public Arts Commission President Mary Mathews; Take It With You Live Radio Theater co-founder Blake Thomas; and artist Jonathon Thunder. Topics will include arts activities throughout the region, the burgeoning Lincoln Park craft district, the Duluth Public Arts & Culture plan created with Forecast, and more. The shop will again be open 9 AM – 6 PM on Friday and Saturday, May 13 and 14, showcasing a who’s who of Duluth designers including work from Bent Paddle, Duluth Loves Local, HTK, Loll, Salmela Architect, Tin Cup Designs, and much, much more.

This month through June Zeitgeist Arts Atrium features work by Jonathan Thunder, painter and digital media artist, "Underwater Dreaming Bunnies." There will be a reception Monday, May 16, 5-7 p.m. 222 E. Superior Street. (See a nice profile of the artist by Lisa Kaczke in today's DNT.) If you go, be sure to schedule a little extra time to drink in Henry Roberts' wonderful photography in the Cafe there. His Venice Carnival photos are quite spectacular.

Whether you plan to go or not, May is a good month to think about and remember all the great events that been hosted by the Zeitgeist Center for Arts. The Zuccone, the Zinema and the Zeitgeist have made a valuable rallying point for the arts here. Next Saturday it will be a rallying point for their May 21 2016 Spirit of the Times Fundraiser and Party

Since we're covering a lot of the letter Z here, let's close with a reminder that Esther Piszczek's always stirring imaginations with new ways to apply her Zentangle-inspired designs. This Saturday she's teaching a free class on Zentangle (R) Pattern Drawing from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Vaughn Public Library, 502 W. Main Street, Ashland, WI. It's limited to 15 students, call 715-682-7060 to register. Zentangle (R) kits will be available for sale, $10.

Esther's Zentangled Piano does more than make music now. It's the centerpiece in a film that will be shared at the DuSu Film Festival. The short documentary is titled Life & Art Entangled. It's both insightful and thought-provoking...

Speaking of pianos... 2nd Friday is tomorrow night at Pierce & Piszczek, which now has a new name: Duluth Fine Pianos. You're always welcomed warmly. Doors open from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

There's a lot more happening than this. All the great public spaces were art is usually shared are filled with some really cool art... No blank walls for us. We like engagement.

Have a great weekend. Get engaged.

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