Sunday, August 18, 2013

Local Art Seen: Art in Bayfront Park

Earlier this summer we enjoyed the good fortune of nice weather for the Park Point Art Fair. This weekend Northlanders are relishing the most glorious conditions imaginable for outdoor events of all kinds, including a leisurely stroll through art-filled Bayfront Park. It's a two-day event so if you missed out, you still have today, which promises to give us similarly delightful weather.

Like the Park Point Fair this show offers a full gamut of artistic expressions including works in clay, wood, glass, photography, jewelry, fiber, painting and drawing, and sculpture in various media, as well as a category called "upcycled." One man's junk, mixed with imagination, can become another's treasures.

You can't bet the setting. Bayfront Park is accessible, and the view is unbeatable. The show's developers clearly have families in mind here with a kids corner, a kite flying contest, a wide variety of culinary offerings in the food court, and even a beer tent (Saturday only.)

Some of the artists here this weekend are local. Cheryl Husby won a Best in Show award for a stunning piece that has that "signature look" that we associate with the Husby studio. Two hops over you can see Ann Klefstad's wolves and deer gathered at the rim of the open bowl that is gloriously green this time of year. A natural setting for such natural subject matter. (If you ever need a place to store these, Ann, I have a really nice front yard where they will seem quite at home.)

The majority of artists here seemed to be from elsewhere for this show. A large number have come up from the Twin Cities for the weekend. I also spoke with a few artists from Iowa and a couple from Nashville as well as the Southwest.

The handout for visitors is colorful and detailed, though it would even be better with contact information. The map is helpful, but the best way to take it all in is to put on your walking shoes and take your time.

Peter Juhl was back again this year, the rock balancing magician/photographer who last winter shared his insider-information on the secrets of rock balancing in an eBook titled Center of Gravity. This year he is on hand with a printed version which is also now available at Juhl comes across as easy-going and fun-loving, and will warmly engage everyone who shows interest in what he has become so adept at. Like all magicians, he genuinely enjoys the wonder he sees in others' eyes as they marvel. Unlike magicians, he is happy to share his secrets.

Whether it's fine art you collect or whimsical items to wear like Riki McManus's Sassy Hats, or something new to decorate your garden, this is a worthwhile way to go shopping. There's plenty to see, while you are at it you can actually get to know the artists themselves.

One thing I didn't like was the $5.00 parking fee, but I'm not going to complain too much. It would be nice, though, if the parking money went back toward helping the artists. Oh well... it is what it is.

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