Saturday, March 8, 2014

Local Art Seen: First Spark at the Duluth Art Institute

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." ~Scott Adams

One of the highlights of our Red Interactive Phantom Galleries Superior show in 2011 was the wall of artwork created by children from China. There is something fresh and inspiring in the imaginative work children produce. Perhaps it is the transparency of their vision. One so readily sees how the wheels turn inside the minds of this inventive experiments in line, color, shape, design and form.

In my business travels its seems that numerous airports now have sections where they display artwork from their local arts scene, and many times (as in my flight out of Allentown last year and through Minneapolis on a regular basis) it is the artworks created by local schoolchildren that we encounter.

From February 20 to April 20 the Duluth Art Institute is making public a show titled First Spark in the Steffl Gallery. First Spark shows the range of talent being developed in our local and regional public schools. It's a fairly extensive display, with art by children of all ages, K-12.

There are other exhibitions on display at this time as well. Through March 27 the Emerging Photographers exhibit can be seen in the east end of the Steffl Gallery. In the Morrison Gallery  you will find a striking presentation of photography by Kristen Pless call The Space Around You. And don't neglect the hallway space outside the DAI offices. Some very cool stuff there again this month.

Why is making art with children so valuable? There's plenty of research out there demonstrating the benefits. This article at A Place Of Our Own offers a pretty concise summary of the variety of ways art making plays a role in a child's development, from motor skills to cognitive skills to social skills and more. You don't have to be a major in art history to get an uplift from these early blossoms of creative expression.

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

For what it's worth: Next Saturday the DAI Art Move Series is kicking off again at the Zeitgeist. The first film will be F Is For Fake, narrated by Orson Welles. Here's an outline of what is slated for the weeks ahead as we march into spring.

PS: Daylight Savings Time kicks in tonight. Spring forward. 

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