Monday, December 2, 2013

Local Art Seen: Art in the Neighborhood and a New Gallery on the Skyline

Skyline Art & Gifts, 8721 W. Skyline Parkway, Duluth
During the course of the past month I was asked twice, and maybe three times, "Have you been to that new art gallery up on Skyline" And I would say, "No, not yet." The first time it was because I'd not heard about it. The next time it was because I wasn't exactly sure where it was. But the third put the spurs in me to check it out, which was plenty easy because it's only a minute off the route I take to go home.

The first pass was to affirm that I knew it's location. Both Friday and Saturday I took a little time to step inside and look around.

One of the features of the new Skyline Arts Gallery is that they've made an effort to represent some local Native American artists. The place sits more in the vicinity of our Fond du Lac reservation to the West and South of Duluth, but the art I saw displayed is not exclusively that in any way. Several artists here I have already been familiar with including plein air painters Kenneth Marunowski and Lee Englund.

The hours are limited, chiefly weekends, but for the next few weeks they will also be open on Fridays. There are some very cool sculptures in the garden and it's clear that the gallery is a labor of love. Even if you're not into art, you can't help but fall in love with the view. Thompson Hill offers one of the most spectacular views imaginable, and every returning Duluthian coming home after a long trip has their heart skip a beat when they come gliding over the crest.

Drawing by Byron Johnson
My Saturday actually began with a Lakeside opening called Art in the Neighborhood at the home of Barb and Jim Collette, 4419 London Road. As I approached the house Barb burst out of the door to welcome me with what is evidently an effervescence she shares with everyone. The unexpected cordiality added a measure of adventure to the visit.

Hand-painted silks by Zeisler
The lower floor of the house had been transformed into a temporary gallery with an enormous stained glass piece by Jim Collette taking center stage in the living room. On the staircase I took a little time to study an assortment of line art drawings by the young Byron Johnson. Other rooms in the house were devoted to jewelry, fiber art and pottery. Karen Zeisler's fiber art business is named Fiberish, with the literary tag line "Fabulous fibres and fabrics, felted, fascinating and fanciful." I found her fabrics fanciful indeed.

A lot of nice people in the house Saturday afternoon, and a lot of good energy.

Speaking of good energy, as I headed back toward town I dropped in on the 2nd Annual Coffee and Cigarettes gathering of musicians and poets, this year at the Narums. The atmosphere was such that if one had no plans but to drift for a day, this would have been a nice place to become driftwood. I left a drawing and took away some nice memories.

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Dig it.

P.S. Don't miss tonight's opening at the Zeitgeist featuring work by Esther Piszczek and Mike Nordin. 7-9 p.m.  

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