Saturday, June 30, 2018

Soft Launch of the Downtown Duluth Art Walk Is Accompanied By Perfect Weather, Good Spirits

Detail from the James Brinsfield Retrospective at Joseph Nease Gallery.
Kirsten Aune Textiles
Art nights and arts districts are nothing new. All across the country cities and towns have been incorporating the arts into their inner city communities. On the local front Superior had its Phantom Galleries for a spell, and for a few years a handful of galleries hosted a Second Friday Art Crawl, which expanded to incorporate additional spaces at times.

This spring I began to hear rumors of an emerging arts consortium that was striving to build on this tradition, and last night was the official soft launch. The scale of this event was much larger than I originally anticipated, 23 venues listed on the brochure and map. The consortium of galleries, venues, artist studios, bars and performance venues is called the Downtown Arts Collective.

The Downtown Arts Walk is the creation of The Downtown Duluth Arts Collective, representing more than 25 participating arts businesses/groups, individual artist studios and cultural centers. If you were doing a walkabout (and the weather was perfect for that) a map would have directed you to the following locations: 315 Gallery at the Washington Co-op, AICHO (Galleries, Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center, Indigenous First Art & Gifts) , Arola Architecture Studios, Art in the Alley, Blush, CF design ltd, Duluth Art Institute (DAI), Duluth Coffee Company, Mavis. Designer Showroom, Joseph Nease Gallery, Legacy Glassworks, Lizzard’s Gallery, the Nordic Center, Pineapple Arts Building: the Pineapple Arts store, UMD Faculty Studios, Alison Aune Studio, Kirsten Aune Textiles, Magic Smelt Ship Shop, The Tight Squeek Press Shop, Prøve, Rockingchair Studio, The Red Herring, Tischer Photographic Gallery, Wagner Zaun Architecture, and Zeitgeist Arts. As the saying goes, the red carpets were rolled out.

Bill Shipley's Sailboat Series is hanging at Red Herring now.
Someone asked if this was the same as the Art for Earth Day group of galleries. I noted that this particular effort is directed more specifically to the downtown arts corridor. I heard through the grapevine that Mayor Emily Larson was quite enthused by the effort. Most assuredly it has become an organized way to demonstrate how vibrant and diverse the arts scene is here.

I visited a little more than half the venues before chugging down to Wrenshall to catch friends and a few flicks at the Free Range Film Festival, possibly one of the more unusual such festivals in the country, if not the world. It takes place in a barn, and the films of various length flow into themes quite far from your traditional Hollywood fare. Kudos to former DAI director Annie Dugan and friends for what you have achieved.
EdNote: Film Festival CONTINUES TODAY. The Barn is located just the other side of Wrenshall at County Road 4.
Gunny sacks and a projector at the the Free Range Film Fest
The "theaters" were packed in Wrenshall last night.
And kudos to everyone involved in the Duluth Art Collective, for this collaborative effort to elevate the arts in our community. Their aim is to “unite, revitalize, and enrich the community through the arts.” My aim here is to help get the word out. Upcoming 2018 dates to mark on your calendar are July 27, August 31, September 28, October 26, November 30 and December 21 (in the event you need any last minute Christmas gifts.)

Drawings by Cameron Rose Conlon on display at Duluth Coffee Company
Lizzards represents a full range of artists whom I follow.
This month highlighted Urban Landscapes by Kathy Kollodge & Suzanne Smith.
Joellyn Rock's designs always give me a lift. Rockingchair Studio.

This is just a beginning. I'll share more soon.
Hopefully we'll see you on the scene next month. 
Art is going on all around you. Engage it.

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