Saturday, March 2, 2013

More Art In Public Spaces: Tower Avenue Tavern Show

Those familiar with the history of Superior will recall that Tower Avenue Tavern used to be Molly's for most of its history. I once spoke with Molly a few years back and listened to stories of how the fat cats from across the river in Duluth with come over to this seamy North End of Tower Avenue for the babes and booze. It had been a Prohibition hot spot and the girls was fast and loose.

When Molly bought the bar she knew nothing about how furnaces or plumbing worked. She described to me how she would go down into the cellar and shovel coal in her red dress and fishnet stockings, a challenge when wearing heels.

Alas, a couple years back Molly's place was sold to new owners who invested a little bit in a renovation face-lift while maintaining the character of the orginal, adding a deck for summer cocktails under the stars and a nice parking space along the bay side of the building.

Last night, Tower Avenue Tavern played host to an art opening featuring work by Lindsey Graskey, Vince Larson and Becky Brandt. Once again, I love discovering art in public spaces. With the live bluegrass trio, ecclectic atmosphere and beer samples from New Glarus Brewing Company (along with Wisconsin cheese), you couldn't have more fun enjoying an art show. Not to forget, the paintings and prints were superfine.

As you walk through the front door you're greeted on your left by Lindsey Graskey's large, expressive images. Graskey is co-producer of the Minerva zine whose objective is to empower women, educate others, and encourage consciousness raising on issues relevant to women by the use of art, collage, images and words.

The next section of space at the tavern is devoted to framed prints of work by Vince Larson. Larson, who is also a designer and does video production, has been making art in the Northland for at least 14 years. I first discovered him by means of an exhibition at the Ochre Ghost Gallery. Like many artists he's fascinated with color.

Becky Brandt is one of the newest fresh winds to blow upon our local scene. She's clearly a gifted draftsman, has honed her skills with charcoal and other media. I first noticed her work at the Goin' Postal show last fall and based on what I'm seeing it will be interesting to see how she develops. Her pop culture subject matter is immediately engaging.

My only regret last night is that I didn't have time to make it over to the Washington Galleries for their opening. If able, I will try to make it this afternoon.

There's poetry in the air at Trepanier Hall tonight. Doors open at six, Al Hunter's reading at seven. Catch a few lines if you are able.

Brandt's Dylan looks so at home on the ornate Depression-era walls.

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