Saturday, January 4, 2020

Twin Ports Arts Gossip and a Plug for Zenith Bookstore

Zenith Bookstore, Central Avenue
This is an off-the-beaten-path blog post, a catch-all of miscellaneous notes from the local scene.

As most in the Duluth art scene know, Tweed Museum of Art Director Ken Bloom stepped down and left a vacancy there. As of his retirement party in June, there was no word of any immediate prospects to fill the position. More recently, word passed through the breeze that a replacement has been lined up, an announcement coming soon. I've heard that she's going to be quite excellent. If I'm not mistaken we'll learn more within the next two weeks.

The holidays were painful for some this year. A decision had been reached in late autumn to merge the School of Fine Arts with the College of Liberal Arts. Dozens of jobs are being cut and even those who were not cut are heartbroken over the friends who are being forced to move on. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, jazz studies is "dropping from a major to a concentration, and the masters in English program won’t accept new students for two years. Early-childhood studies will be suspended and relaunched in the future."

Evidently declining enrollments are the culprit. UMD has nearly 4000 fewer students than when my children were looking at colleges. Rising tuition costs have no doubt a been contributing factor to the drop in enrollment.

In its most basic form, a college education is a product. Determining how to price a product is one of the challenges every manufacturer wrestles with. Price, in theory, should correspond to value. Does the drop in enrollment suggest that a college education is no longer a no-brainer?

It's a weird time for young people who have grown up receiving mixed messages. On the one hand, they're told that without a college education they will be left poorer and in society's lower tier. On the other hand, they keep hearing about the burden of debt they will be forced to carry if they do choose college. It's a tough decision point.

Alice Cooper's song Eighteen comes to mind here. "I'm eighteen, and I don't know what I want."

Word on the street is that Oneida, the company that has been managing the Depot these many years, is now yielding control to another company that will manage the property that houses the Train Museum, Duluth Art Institute, St. Louis County Historical Society, the Underground, Playhouse offices and more. It's my understanding that the exorbitant fees for experiencing the exhibits here will soon be significantly cut, giving more people access to the WWII Museum and other collections.

This is hearsay, and I have as yet not been able to find a confirmation.

For many years the Member Show has taken place the third week of January. This year the Opening Reception is slated for Thursday, February 6, 5 - 8 PM and will be on view through March 1, 2020 in the Great Hall. All Art Institute Members are invited to contribute one new piece that has been created in the year 2019. Make sure your membership fees are up-to-date.

This same evening will be the opening for Laura Andrews & Paula Gudmundson's Integrated Vision in the George Morrison Gallery on the Fourth Floor. Details here.

Do you like books but want to support our local alternatives to Amazon?
I picked up thie FREE Indie Bookstore Roadmap yesterday at Zenith Bookstore.
Thank you, Bob and Angel for planting your store in our community.
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You can see The Bookstore at Fitgers here as well. Zenith and Fitgers are, not
adjacent to one another, nor is Sweet Peas in Two Harbors a short hike away,
though each June thousands of runners have traipsed this path from there past
Fitgers. I'm guess you can find this free map at any of the stories you see here.
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I'm going to call this a wrap. It's the first Saturday of 2020.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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