Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Room With Views: Plein Air Duluth on Display at Blacklist

Question: What happens when you unleash 40 artists on a city that was voted #1 nationwide for its outdoor natural beauty?
Answer: See for yourself at the new Blacklist Artisan Ales, 120 East Superior Street.

The third annual Paint du Nord plein air festival took place in Duluth this week. Organized by the Duluth Art Institute and sponsored by St. Luke's Hospital (thank you) the event brings painters from around the country to the Northland for a week of outdoor painting experiences.

If you kept your eye out you may have come across an artist here or there, painting Glensheen flower gardens or a fountain, industrial architecture or horse stable. Everything is fair game. We even had surfers, which you do not normally associate with inland lakes, but when the weather kicked up mid-week there were some major breakers, and our North Country surfers no how to get into it.

Most painted, but some worked in pastels and other media.
The culmination of this event took place downtown at Blacklist Ales, located in the vicinity of the now departed Last Place On Earth. The stone walls of the narrow, deep corridor that houses the alehouse is dotted with more than a hundred small paintings, framed, unframed, mounted in various configurations, snapshots of the city, lake, countryside, rivers and cityscapes. Like the Red Herring, the street-facing frontage opens to the sidewalk. An ice cream stand was there with home-made ice creams in a variety of flavors.

The room was crowded with artists and friends of the arts. Juror Matt Kania was present to announce the cash prize winners. "It's not easy," he said, referring to the challenge of selecting winners in the presence of so much talent. Artists were able to showcase up to three paintings each.

The liveliness of the occasion was lifted to another level by the presence a jazz trio, and a beautiful sunny day. Here are some photos, the caliber of which is diminished by the low light in portions of the space. Again, visit in person, and take your time.

Waterfalls at the Zoo by Lee Englund
Summer Afternoon on Lester River by Sandi Pillsbury Gredzens
Tourist Attraction by Stacie Remee
Off the Dock by Karen Savage-Blue

Knife River Relic by Stephen Wysocki
This I-35 exit has special meaning for Allison Eklund of Minneapolis
who painted this scene from the grassy knoll at Fitgers.
"My favorite I-35 exit," she said. "Exit 256B."

Artists bring fresh eyes to bear upon what we take for granted. Check it out if you're able to get downtown. The works will be on display until Aug. 27.

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A little trivia quiz... just because.

True or False
1. Tom Jones played chimes on Roy Orbison's "In Dreams."
2. Bob Dylan played harmonica on a Harry Belafonte record.
3. Jimmy Page filled in on bass for two concerts during Rod Stewart's first North American tour.
4. Flo & Eddie snorted lines of coke in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House when the Turtles played for Richard Nixon's daughter's wedding.
5. John Lennon's last concert performance was in Madison Square Garden with Elton John.
6. This trivia quiz and this blog post.

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

Strange Bedfellows Answers: 1. False  2. True  3. False  4. True  5. True  6. True

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