Saturday, March 1, 2014

Local Art Seen: UWS Student and Alumni Show at North End Arts Gallery

One of the coolest buildings in Superior, Wisc. is the Historic Board of Trade Building on the corner of Hammond and Broadway. I mean, not cool like The Fairlawn Mansion, but cool as in it being such a happening space. Red Mug Coffeehouse, Mud Sisters Pottery, a wonderful bakery that fills hallways with the heavenly fragrance of baking bread, as well as numerous other artist spaces all conspire to create a magnetic space for community.

There's even a small, one room jail cell in the building from long, long ago. No windows and frighteningly unkind in appearance!

Untitled 1, Bill Ellison
Across the hall from the bakery there has been a lot of activity going on behind closed doors. Art in the Alley used to be in that space before crossing the bridge to Downtown Duluth. The renovation taking place will be completed in late May or so. It will be called The Spirit Room, a new space for serving spirits and capturing escapist ambience. (i.e. good music, a drink, good friends and art.) Yes, on one interior wall is another distinctive mural by Erik Pearson.

The building itself is aesthetically appealing and one of the coolest rooms is currently home to the North End Arts Gallery where I stopped in to see the current UWS Student/Alumni Show, hosted by the Superior Council for the Arts (SCFTA). I slid over during my lunch hour and was more than pleasantly surprised, though I should not have been. The show will be up through March 22, so try to find a time to visit when you're in the neighborhood.

There is a wide variety of things to see. Marlene Wisuri's folded paper designs were compelling. Joseph Slaby's Thrashing Trout drew me in for closer inspection. At $200 I consider this piece a steal. The colors vivid, the detail undeniably time-consuming. Here's a close-up of the facial features (right)

The caliber of the work presented was impressive, with a lot of variety. Bill Ellison's three-dimensional work proved fun to see. I also enjoyed Brad Nelson's original composite pieces with photos embedded in shoe soles. The one piece is titled Following Your Footsteps, and a second called What You See.

There were pieces by Adam McCauley and Linz 2Gras here as well that I liked. McCauley currently has a work on display at Lizzard's in Duluth as well.

Interesting juxtaposition of 2 pieces by Linz 2Gras
Bottom line: Find an excuse to stop and see this show. Maybe you can get a little soup for lunch at the Red Mug or gluten-free bread at the bakery... or just drop by for the art itself. You'll be glad you did.

Squaring the Debts by Marlene Wisuri
Close-up of Wisuri's Paying the Piper
Tuesday evening I will be sharing briefly about my first volume of short stories to go into print, Unremembered Histories. This book signing event will include the donation of two copies of my book to the Superior Public Library where the event will be taking place at 6:30 p.m. Come early as parking may be limited.

Following Your Footsteps
TONIGHT is the annual St. David's Day Open Reading at 7:30 in The Underground. It is great to see the number of events now being conducted in this former home of the Children's Museum. According to the calendar posting on Perfect Day Duluth, here are the details:

The brainchild of Minnesota Book Award winner Louis Jenkins, the St. David's Day Open Reading honors the anniversary of the canonization of St. David, the patron saint of Wales.

The event is designed to showcase the variety of voices in the Northland and kiss the worst of winter goodbye. The first half of the evening is devoted to original work, the second half to favorite poems by other authors. Readers must limit themselves to three minutes in order to give equal time to everyone. Readers are urged to sign up at the start of the event.

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Open your eyes!

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