Monday, August 22, 2016

Local Art Seen: Art in Bayfront Park 2016

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven..." 
--Eccles. 3:1

Here No Evil by Julie Roth
This weekend it was again a time of Tall Ships here in the Port of Duluth. And simultaneously, that time when artists from various parts of the country descend upon Bayfront Park to display their work, meet potential buyers, gain recognition and hopefully make a little money to support their (art-making) habit.

In years past the art show in Bayfront Park has been a stand-alone event, the price of admission advertised as free. It wasn't really free because there was a five dollar fee for parking, but the public generally accepted that. This year there was a bit of sticker shock associated with the art fair. All the parking had been bumped to $10, a pinch that we put up with again. But then the art fair was no longer free either. For some reason the Art in Bayfront Park was a $12 deal because it had been combined with the Tall Ships. This was not a marriage made in heaven. I did get a little exercise in since the nearest parking lot was down beyond the new Pier B/Silos complex that now enhances the waterfront.

Butterfly Effect
The feedback I received from artists was mixed. Some locals altruistically supported the decision saying, "It's good for Duluth." There were others, however, who felt the crowds kept more art patrons away and the Tall Ships sightseers were not there for the art. Said one, "We do a lot of shows with an entrance fee but it's never over six dollars, and the parking is usually free!"

All this to say that (a) I hope next year the parking is a fivespot again and there is no entrance fee, and (b) the Tall Ships choose an alternate weekend to descend on the Twin Ports.

The weather was gorgeous Sunday, couldn't have been better. A bright sun, friendly skies, a gentle breeze off the bay.... and a lot of smiling faces. It's a beautiful time of year to visit the Northland. The artists displaying wares are from all levels of experience. There were what I call emerging artists and there were veterans of this kind of work. And work it is. Setting up tents, hauling everything in, always having to be "on" for the potential customers, dismantling everything after four days of not sleeping in one's own bed. As beautiful as this waterfront has become, it's no vacation for those who are working the show.

All the usual mediums are visible at this show. Paintings in acrylic, oil and watercolor; sculpture in wood, copper and bronze; photography printed on various kinds of surfaces with a range of subject matter; crafts and miscellaneous creative objects for homes and gardens.... It was all there. A lot of talent on display.

Here are some of the images my camera captured. As time permits I'll try to share more of their work in the weeks ahead.

Bronze sculpture by James Shoop
Bowie by Kristi Abbott of St. Paul
Toronto artist Anna Polistuk

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

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