of the Red River Valley
JUNE / JULY / AUGUST 2 0 1 1
A GUIDE TO THE AREA’S ARTS A N D CULTURE
A r tist crafts beads and jewelry for
8th Street Art Show and Sale By Libby Walkup
Photo by Tamra Kriedman
Tamra Kriedman’s “Aqueous” bracelet is made of black Italian glass decorated with ivory and aqua glass.
Photo by Tamra Kriedman
The focal piece of this bracelet, called “Life Takes Us,” is the saying, which has been stamped on sterling silver.
ewelrey designer Tamra Kriedman believes the 8th Street Art Show and Sale is popular with both artists and patrons because it’s about the art. More than 40 local and regional artists of all mediums show their work. “There are no vendors, no music, no entertainment,” said Kriedman, who has participated in the 8th Street Art Show and Sale for five years. “The atmosphere is so different from other shows... more laid back... the canopy of trees, lush green grass to pitch your tent on, and Shotwell’s are such gracious hosts.” Tamra Kriedman Kriedman, from Enderlin, N.D., and a member of the Red River Watercolor Society, could be considered an expert on art shows. She attends about a dozen regional shows a year. She was named an emerging new artist at ArtFest, Grand Forks, 2008, and was a featured artist at JunkFest, Carrington, N.D., 2008, and at the EFAA Winter Art Show in Enderlin, N.D., 2011. She’s recently begun doing home shows, which have been well received and give her more time to talk about her work with her clients. Kriedman works with hot glass on and off the mandrel (a cylindrical rod used in metal working to shape a piece) to create the beads in her jewelry. She explains that the beads are sculpted from glass rods over an open flame using traditional Venetian lampwork techniques. She combines different colors and metals to create her very detailed and eclectic collection of jewelry. She said she loves copper and sterling silver. “The warmth and richness of the copper mixed with coolness of the sterling make for a beautiful combination,” she said. Kriedman makes contact with at least one new client a day on her website justforyoujewelryandbeads.com and most of her business is custom work. She’s sold pieces nationally and internationally and is working on 27 pieces for a dance team in Dix Hills, N.Y. Kriedman began designing jewelry in 2004 and is self-taught. She attributes her intricate designs to her type A personality and the fact that she never stops educating herself. If she’s not in the studio working on a piece, she’s sketching a new design or carrying a work in progress with her — along with her three favorite tools: a Tronex Super Flush Cutters, Lindstrom Supreme Round Nose Pliers, and an old BeadSmith Chain Nose Pliers. “No grass grows under my feet!” she said. Kriedman is just one of the many artists who will be participating in the last 8th Street Art Show and Sale staged at Shotwell’s Floral, Fargo.
Photo by Tamra Kriedman
“Repeating Squares” is a pair of copper and sterling silver earrings that have been roll printed with a repeating square design to create the long, oval shape.
For more information on the 8th Street Art Show, go to page 11.
Trollwood’s stage director has impacted thousands By Dayna Del Val n 1991, I was cast as Marian Paroo in Trollwood Performing Art School’s summer musical, The Music Man. It was a magical summer for me, in great part because of my Singing Onstage instructor. I distinctly remember the first time I met Michael Walling: he had an energy about him that I had never encountered before. He was quick to laugh, the first to encourage, and meticulous about staging and direction. I was in that class with students who have gone on to perform on Broadway, tour the world with productions, dance with some
of the best American dance companies, and live lives that are arts-filled whether we are actively performing or not. We all learned to live artful lives from Michael. Twenty years later, Michael Walling is one of my dearest friends. He has also been a constant at Trollwood for all these years, creating some of their most memorable productions. From his first production of Oklahoma to the enchanting Beauty and the Beast to the regional premiere of Les Miserables to two versions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Michael’s vision and work has literally
Inside ➻ ➻ ➻ ➻ ➻ ➻ ➻ ➻
RRV Watercolor Society - page 8
Viewpoint 3 Commentary 3 News Briefs 4 Crafts 5 Red River Boy Choir 6 Rourke Art M useum 6 RRV Watercolor Society 8 M ichaelangelo Revealed 1 0
impacted thousands of students and audience members alike. I caught up with Michael in Michigan where he is directing The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Pit and Balcony Theatre Company before making his way back to the Fargo-Moorhead area to direct this year’s production of The Music Man. How did you first land at Trollwood? A colleague of mine was hired to teach a particular course, and at the last minute she had to drop out. I was available, and she asked if I would take the course; I said yes.
More TROLLWOOD on page 10
➻ 8th Street Art Show and Sale 1 1 ➻ Bluestem Center for the Arts 1 1 ➻ Fiber Arts 1 2 ➻ Tick Talk 1 2 ➻ Scandinavian Jewelrymakers 1 4 ➻ Literary Lunch 1 6 ➻ Reductive Workshop 1 7 ➻ Theatre B and Trollwood 1 8 ➻ Plains Art M useum 1 8
Scandinavian Jewelrymakers - page 14
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1709 25th Avenue S â€˘ Fargo, ND 58103
A guide to Fargo-Moorhead area arts and culture
Summer time, and the living is easy Publisher The A r ts Par tnership Executive Director and M anaging Editor Dayna Del Val Co-managing Editor Kris Kerzman Publications Commit tee Eric Daeuber Lisa Farnham Pam Gibb Kris Kerzman Erin Koffl er Ryan M urphy Jacob Rit teman Sue Spingler Libby W alkup Julie W alnum Design and Layout Shawn Olson Co-Founders John Gould Steve Revland Contact us 1 1 0 4 2 nd Ave. S., Suite 3 1 5 Fargo, N .D. 5 8 1 0 3 7 0 1-2 3 7-6 1 3 3 ar tspulse @ thear tspar tnership.net
ife slows down in the summer for many of us, but not for artists. All across the metro area, young actors, dancers, singers and technicians are working on theatrical productions. Visual artists are packing and unpacking their wares at street fairs and craft shows throughout the region. Arts educators are learning new techniques to bring back to their classrooms in the fall while working on their own projects. Art doesn’t take a break. But what is art? Can it be defined? Is there more value in fine art than in craft art? Does an opera singer have higher quality than a pop star? Is a classically trained actor better than a model-turned-television personality? We seem to enjoy the arbitrary hierarchies we place on art and those who work with it. The old saying “everybody’s a critic” is not far off. This issue we are looking at aesthetics. With the ever-changing economy, many artists and arts groups and businesses have had to re-define who they are, what they do, and how they do it. That’s not a bad thing; exceptional art has always come from difficult times. What is your art aesthetic? What do you use as your yardstick of “good” art? I encourage you to reach beyond your comfort
Dayna Del Val Executive Director, The Arts Partnership
zone and explore some new art experiences this summer: • If your aesthetic tells you that museums and galleries are “stuffy,” take a deep breath and go into one. You’ll be amazed at the wonderful, diverse art inside those buildings, and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how approachable these venues are. • If you only attend “professional” theatre, get tickets to one or more of the many outstanding high school summer theatre productions happening. These programs consistently produce theatre that is high quality, challenging and entertaining. • If you only go to the street fair to get a gigantic turkey leg or something deep-
fried, take time to wander through the many stalls of art being produced by regional artists. Not all of it will appeal to any single person, but you are bound to find at least one person’s work that is unexpected and resonates with you. • If you have admired an artist’s work for a long time but have never met the artist, take the opportunity to do so. Artists love to hear that people enjoy their work — that’s a large part of why they create it in the first place. You don’t have to buy something just because you talked to the artist. • If you are a book or CD buyer, try out a local or regional artist. We have a lot of venues that have special sections of regional artists’ work. You’ll be surprised at the talent of local writers, singer/ songwriters and performers. After all, all famous writers, musicians and singers are local in their hometowns! However you enjoy your summer, be sure to take some time to include art. Nature provides us some pretty beautiful backdrops this time of year, but so do our area artists. For a list of everything going on, be sure to check out fmarea.culturepulse.org. Have a happy, safe and art-filled summer!
This publication was made possible by the cities of Fargo, M oorhead and W est Fargo through their allocations for ar ts & culture and members of The A r ts Par tnership.
Ar tsPulse is published six times a year by The Ar ts Par tnership. All rights reserved by Ar tsPulse. Reproductions of any kind without written permission are prohibited. The publisher and editor assume no responsibility for unsolicited material, manuscripts or photographs. All materials are compiled from sources believed to be reliable, but published without responsibility for er rors or omissions. A r tsPulse accepts adver tisements from organizations believed to be of good reputation, but cannot guarantee the authenticity or quality of objects, events, or services adver tised. Opinions and / or ideas expressed by authors are not necessarily those of the publisher. Let ters to the editor should include the author’s name, address and phone number. All let ters are subject to editing. Let ters can be submit ted to ar tspulse @ thear tspar tnership.net
Foundation and Institutional Suppor t • Cities of Fargo, M oorhead and W est Fargo • Nor th Dakota Council on the A r ts • Carol L. Stoudt Donor Advised Fund (II) of the Fargo-M oorhead A rea Foundation For calendar listings visit culturepulse.org and for The A r ts Par tnership infor mation visit thear tsparnership.net.
Photo by Michael Jahnl
A guard-rail photo taken in a typical way does not portray this object as anything but functional.
Photo by Michael Jahnl
The same object, taken from a slightly different angle, suddenly creates depth, interest, and makes this very typical thing quite artistic.
Do ducks make for good ar t? By Eric Daeuber ome years ago, most agree that it was about 20,000 years ago, a man first sketched out a running antelope on the wall of his cave. Art was born. Then he moved his couch to the other end of the living room, along with the lamp, to take better advantage of the floor space and something odd happened. The painting just didn’t do it for him anymore and, to make matters worse, he couldn’t move it around until it looked right. He really had no idea what had changed. Not the art, and not even the place where the art was. For some reason, it wasn’t beautiful anymore. He had invented aesthetics. I’m sure it was terribly unsettling. And there’s a reason for that. Before he painted antelope on his walls, he didn’t have anything to go on when it came to making sense of his life. This was the big breakthrough. This was art. This was supposed to answer the big questions in life. The first inkling that people had to express themselves didn’t come in the form of politics, or economics or entertainment. It came in the form of art. Since then, of course, art has become much less important because we have politics, economics and entertainment to occupy our time. We can happily spend our day without art because we can fill it easily by buying new widgets, drinking too much and whining about the
government. At best, art has become a kind of entertainment anyway. It doesn’t help us answer the big questions in life the way it was intended. It just makes us smile or wince, much like the whoopee cushion did in junior high. And that’s too bad. The Greek philosopher Plato didn’t like art. He believed that the things we see around us are just poor representations of a reality that we can’t see. Art takes it a step farther down. Art is just a poor representation of what is already a poor representation of reality. We have a lot of art in Fargo. A lot. I’m sure some of it is very good. But I imagine some of it is a poor representation of something else as Plato feared it would be. But it is hard to know which is which. Some people are addressing this problem. Trollwood, for example, believes that, if you teach young people about art early enough, they bring that understanding along with them as they grow up. It’s hard to know if it works because you can’t keep track of hundreds of kids as they grow up. Others devote their time to collecting art and putting it in museums. You can go there and see a lot of good art in one place at one time, and the bits that make them good will rub off on you. But that depends on the art they put there. What if they’re wrong and it’s not good art? What rubs off on you then?
Years ago I offered a suggestion to a former curator of the Plains Art Museum. “Why don’t you do a Terry Redlin show?” “Because it’s not art, and this is an art museum,” he said. “Why don’t you think it’s art?” I asked him. “Because it’s nothing but pictures of ducks,” he said. He was a sharp guy. There’s no denying it. You have to look hard at any collection of Terry Redlin paintings to find one without a duck. But does that make it something other than art? What makes ducks a deal breaker in the world of aesthetics? The point here is that as Fargo grows, we get more and more art. Some of it good and some of it not. Most of us can’t figure out which is which. We have more theatres and more galleries and more people trying to say things with art. Those of us who are not artists owe it to them to listen as best we can and try and figure out what’s good and what’s not. We’ll likely be right some of the time and wrong some of the time. But we should try. And they owe it to us to listen as best they can to our opinion. Maybe they’ll learn something. What’s beautiful isn’t obvious. It’s exciting that we’ve come to a place in our community where the conversation is really starting to happen in earnest.
NEWS briefs Award-winning Red River Boy Choir to sing anthem for Minnesota Twins
Quilters gather to show quilts and share tips
By Vicky Jo Bogart ark your calendars for the 32nd Annual Indian Summer Quilt Show and Conference at By Gina Bortnem the Fargo Holiday Inn, Sept. 15-18. Registration deadlines are Aug. 13 for quilt show he Red River Boy Choir earned top honors and a gold rating for its performance at entries and Aug. 20 for early bird conference registration. Aprilâ€™s Heritage Music Festival in St. Louis, Mo. Now the choir will sing for the National and regional instructors will offer a slate of classes, lectures and workshops for Minnesota Twins on July 20. all levels of quilters. Additionally, attendees can visit with vendors, buy a quilt raffle ticket Singing the anthem at a Twins games required the Red River Boy Choir members to au- for charity, bid on the small art quilts, shop the bazaar for handmade items, or dish up a dition with the Minnesota Twins National Anthem Selection Committee and meet specific helping of quilt soup. The popular Sunday sampler of demonstrations showcases quilting criteria. More than 200 individuals and groups vie for the honor. tips, tool demonstrations, and examples and savvy samples by sages in the field. Performing at the Twins game concludes a 2010-2011 choir season in which the 44 choir The exhibit includes more than 150 traditional and contemporary quilts of all sizes, by members participated in 12 performances, including winter and spring concerts, a joint youth through seniors, amateur and professional. Ribbons are awarded in myriad categoconcert with the FM Chamber Choral and performances of the national anthem at games ries, with cash and merchandise prizes for many of the award recipients. for the Fargo Force, FM RedHawks and others. Class and event catalog with quilt show entry forms are available at ndquilts.com or by The Red River Boy Choir was established as a nonprofit organization in 1983 as a calling 701-388-3267. music organization just for boys. The choir became a place for boys to be encouraged and rewarded for their desire to sing. Today, the Red River Boy Choir still holds high the expectations, values and standards By The Arts Partnership staff originally created by the organization. In the past 28 years nearly 1,000 boys have joined, lan to attend the Rural Arts and Culture Summit June 8-11 in Fergus Falls, Minn., on and many of them have gone on to be active in their high school, community and college the campus of M State Fergus Falls. This three-day extravaganza will be a gathering performance arts programs. of arts/culture makers, organizers, educators, and supporters who are committed to further Last fall, the Red River Boy Choir created a new choir, the Premiere Singers. developing the richness of life in rural America. Be inspired by nationally recognized This group had first- and second-graders who rehearsed less time than the older speakers, gain new insights, engage in discussions, make connections that will transform choirs yet still participated in the major concerts and national anthem performance. our rural arts communities, and celebrate the work that is already being done. This group will continue, and it is anticipated it will grow because of the success of For more information, go to racsummit.org. last season. The Concert Choir and Chamber Ensemble groups are for boys in grades 3 and up. These choirs rehearse two hours every week and participate in all major concerts and national anthem performances. The Chamber Ensemble also represents the region by performing throughout the country. By Pam Gibb The Young Menâ€™s Choir will be reestablished in the fall of 2011. This group is comorizon Middle School Musical Theater Camp presents Fiddler on the Roof Jr. prised of boys, up to age 18, who wish to continue or join the choir and have experienced Performances are at 7 p.m. June 28 and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. June 29 in the Moorhead their voice change or are going through the change. They will rehearse one to two hours High School auditorium, 2300 4th Ave. S., Moorhead. a week and receive advanced level choral instruction and technique. This group will also Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students. For group reservation discount prices call perform throughout the country. 701-799-1266. Boys in grade 1-12 who love to sing are encouraged to join in the fall of 2011. Musical Theater Camp, a collaborative project of Moorhead Community Education and HoVisit redriverboychoir.org for more information or email email@example.com rizon Middle School Theater, is designed to provide a comprehensive musical theater experito schedule an audition. Auditions will be held in August for the 2011-2012 ence for fifth to eighth graders in the Fargo-Moorhead area. During the four-week experience, choir season. the students study acting, dance and voice in preparation for performing Fiddler on the Roof Jr.
Fergus Falls launches Rural Arts and Culture Summit
Musical Theatre Camp presents Fiddler on the Roof Jr. on June 28-29
National N ti l JJuried i d Sh Show
June 21 - Sept. 17, 2011 Opening reception: Tuesday, June 21, 6 - 8 p.m. Last years' gold medal winner, Cindy Brabeck-King of Palisade, Colorado
Aftermath: Images from Ground Zero Photographs by Joel Meyerowitz
July 2 - Sept. 11, 2011 Special event commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11: Sunday, Sept. 11 Aftermath: Images from Gound Zero. All photographs copyright Joel Meyerowitz. This show is organized by art2art Circulating Exhibitions.
202 1st Ave. N, Moorhead | 218.299.5511 | www.hcscconline.org | www.facebook.com/hcscc
H ey, c a n you m ake m e one , too? Craft ing ar t for the masses
By Julie Walnum n March, around 2,000 people crowded into the downstairs area of the Fargo American Legion ballroom to attend Unglued: Craft Fest 2011. Six- to eight-foot aisles did not provide enough room for people eager to see the many and various handmade items crafted by local artisans. So, what’s with all the interest in crafts? Linnea Barton and Ashley Morken, along with Laura Livingood, created Unglued because, as active crafters, they’d noticed an interest in their products beyond making things for friends and family. “We decided with the amount of people we knew [making crafts] to put together an indie craft fair,” Morken said. Barton notes the importance of craft as a “generational technique” because it’s usually passed down through family members. Mothers and fathers teach daughters and sons. Sometimes passing a skill down skips a generation. Yvonne Gunderson, who has been crafting since she was a child, said, “My mom didn’t have the patience to teach me.” Instead, she learned from her grandmother, but is passing her main craft, crochet, down to her son because, “I see a lot of the same things in my son as in me.” Typically, people passed down a craft for future generations to retain functional knowledge, but Barton said she sees that “our generation is redefining craft from my mother’s generation.” Could that be why it feels like something more than generational is taking place in the current popularity of craft? Craft is as old as humans walking upright. There has always been a need for something to carry food or water in. Human creativity takes it a step further. Barton said, “When basic needs are met, humans desire to create something. Even people living in a shack in Kenya will still have scraps of paper they’ve found on the ground they’ve woven into a basket.” The need to make something evolves into the need to make something unique that reflects something about a person and her or his larger community and its beliefs and values. Lloyd Herman, founding director of the National Craft Museum of the United States — the Smithsonian Institution’s Renwick Gallery — has observed America’s contemporary craft movement for 35 years. Herman specifies how modern craft contains elements of art. “Craft is an art discipline that is both intriguing and accessible,” he said. “Its roots are in the creation of functional objects, but today, craft has come to be more closely aligned with the inspired ideas of artists who work primarily with their hands in materials that are tactile and familiar.” While it’s difficult to define craft as one thing, craft in the context of a craft fair or in contrast to art generally refers to techniques such as sewing, knitting, papermaking, needlework, embroidery, screenprinting, stamping, candles, collage art and more, although many forms walk the tightrope between art and craft. Craft has recently enjoyed resurgence, especially thanks to outlets like Etsy.com, a website that specializes in selling handmade items, along with vintage items and supplies, but is this new wave crafting or second wave crafting, since, for thousands of years, people
crafted out of a utilitarian necessity? The jury is still out on what the exact differences between craft and art might be. “Craft becomes art when you’re using it to express yourself and putting your passion into it. Raw materials plus you equals your art,” Barton said. For her, crafts are made by combining artistic techniques and self-reflection. “I started making jewelry out of recycled things, [but] I was running into a wall: I was adding another thing into the universe that was the same as all the rest of the things in the universe. When I closed my eyes to what else existed in the universe, I started finding out [what was] really me,” Barton said. “Crafting gives a lot more room for expansion because you’re not totally trapped in a medium,” Gunderson said. “In some people, formal training is almost a detriment; [it] puts you in a box and then somehow expects you to get out of the box.” “Part of the [art versus craft] debate is pricing,” Morken said. Indeed. “If someone has spent a few hours on something and is charging $5 versus someone who has spent many hours handcrafting an item and is charging $80, which one do you think most people will buy?” Morken said. Does the higher price mean the one is better art than the other? Yet, many artists who consider themselves crafters will charge less because consumers will often not pay as much for something made out of yarn or paper, perhaps because the materials degrade quicker. For many, craft is a way to circumvent modern consumerism. Items made at big box stores, while crafted to look unique, are neither original nor handmade. Items made by local artisans have the benefit of commerce with someone who probably shops for food at the same grocery store. “You put more of the human element into it when it’s someone you see,” Gunderson said. Items produced locally also reduce the typical commerce footprint due to lack of shipping. Additionally, many crafts re-use products in unexpected ways. “Creative people are able to see another use for what some might see as garbage,” Gunderson said. “I have a lot of old craft books from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, and they reused a lot of old stuff. You’d see old Hi-lex bottles where they cut off the top, crochet around the top and made bags out them. We’ve got phenomenal amounts of stuff that we can reuse to be creative with.” For many who craft, part of the importance is community, not about some philosophical argument regarding art or craft. It’s about being out with other people and sharing ideas. Morken and Barton shared surprise at not only the turnout of people wanting to attend Unglued, but also that more than 80 people applied for the 40 available spots. Morken said, “We wanted just one to happen. We didn’t know that Fargo would support that, but now individuals, community groups and actual businesses are approaching us to do more collaborative efforts throughout the year.” Good news: the Unglued team plans to continue an annual, or perhaps even biannual, show. As the nearly 2,000 attendees of the inaugural show can attest to, “People are hungry for it,” Barton said.
QuiltsTake aClass See the Show Shop theVendors
Fargo Holiday Inn I-29 at 13th Ave
September 16 17 18 Fri Sat Sun
Class Schedule, Entry Forms and details at
NDquilts.com or write ISQSC Quilters Guild of North Dakota PO Box 2662 Fargo ND 58107
Following in founder’s footsteps: M y fi rst experience curating at the Rourke By Ashley Dedin t’s not everyday that you’re invited to page though an artist’s sketchbook,” said cartoonist Trygve Olson, in response to being invited to view the sketchbooks of artist William Perl. These sketchbooks, along with selections from Perl’s life’s work, are on display through Sept. 12 in the exhibition Drawn to the West: The Life & Art of William Perl at the Rourke Art Museum in Moorhead, Minn. William Perl, a St. Paul native born in 1920, was a prolific young artist whose work was donated to the museum by his sister Marguerite Phelps before her death in August 2010. The donated collection consists of hundreds of pieces by Perl, including his sketchbooks, student work, printing blocks, and a binder of decorated envelopes that he sent to his family while away from home. Sorting through an artist’s entire body of work and choosing which pieces to display for the public is no easy task, especially when the subject matter and artist are unfamiliar. Cowboys and rodeo scenes make up a large portion of Perl’s pieces and, as a Chicago native, are themes I’m unfamiliar with. By chance, the day before taking on the challenge of curating this exhibit, I attended the PRCA Championship Rodeo at the Fargodome, an experience that helped prepare me to navigate Perl’s portfolio. Both an artist and a cowboy at heart, Perl showed natural talent for drawing in high school,
and his love for horses is evident even in his earliest work. By the age of 21, Perl headed west to work as a park guide in Montana, an environment that fostered his inner cowboy and inspired him to create some of his most notable drawings and watercolors in the exhibition. By the time he was my age, just shy of 23, he had developed a highly recognizable style. Like Perl, the Rourke maintains a certain aesthetic, marked by its intimate exhibition space and dedication to art of our time and place. The museum’s distinct atmosphere is something created and maintained for the past 51 years by James O’Rourke, the founding director of the museum. Adding to the challenge of curating my first exhibition was the legacy I was to be working under. O’Rourke set a high standard for elegantly hung shows and high quality art. Luckily the latter was taken care of for me in Perl’s case, and after working closely with Jim for the past two years, I’ve slowly picked up on the subtleties of his style. My goal in designing the show was to maintain Jim’s vision while adding details that reflect my own interpretation of the museum’s mission. Perl’s work includes many examples of works-in-progress, which are not only educational, but also exciting for the public, an audience that is typically only shown what is considered “finished” art. Student work makes up a large portion of the exhibition yet the show retains the sophistication the Rourke is known for. At heart, Drawn to the West is a behind-the-scenes look at the artistic process and progress of William Perl, a rare insight into the life and work of one modern Midwestern artist.
Swedish landscape artist discussed at the Spirit Room By James Kaplan he Swedish-American landscape artist Birger Sandzén was born in central Sweden in 1871. He came from a cultivated and well-educated family of Lutheran pastors and was trained as an artist in Stockholm and Paris. Like thousands of others, he was caught up in “America Fever” and emigrated to the United States in 1894. I will share my involvement with Sandzén, his family, his art, and his writings during a presentation on June 25 at 3:30 p.m. at the Spirit Room in Fargo. I became interested in Sandzén through an exhibit at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., in 1985. After meeting his daughter, becoming friends with his family in Sweden, and collecting his art, I wrote Birger Sandzén on Art, Music, and Transcendence (2010), which is available at NordicStudiesPress.com. More and more I have realized the truth in what Sandzén said in 1901, “Art is a friendship that is worth making.” Many Scandinavian intellectuals were able to gain employment in America at colleges from
their respective ethnic groups. Sandzén taught art and languages at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kan., part of the Augustana Swedish Lutheran Synod. He thrived in Kansas and led a happy life with friends, family, concerts, art exhibits, lectures and travel. The same openness to new things that led him to America enabled him to develop a new and original style in his art. He reveled in the vast spaces of the American West, the rugged scenery, the rich colors and the intense light. Sandzén became one of the great landscape artists of the American West. In addition to his art, around the turn of the last century, Sandzén was a prolific author in the Swedish-American press. He published articles on his travels, art and artists in Sweden and America, and short stories. Thus he represents the glory days of Swedish-American culture, a sort of brief Camelot from about 1890 to 1914 when there were enough Swedish-speaking intellectuals to support literary journals, newspapers and publishing companies. Sandzén’s writings, with the insight that literature offers, are a unique way to get to know him to his very heart.
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MSU Moorhead Straw Hat Summer Theatre
Straw Hat Nunsensations!
The 70s Show
June 7 – 10 & 14 – 17, 7:30 p.m. Gaede Stage / Musical / PG
June 21 – 24, 7:30 p.m. Hansen Theatre / Musical / PG
The sisters of Hoboken are back! This time, they’re taking their show to Vegas. It’s the most featherfilled and sequin-studded Nunsense show ever! “It’s a whole lot funny and a little bit naughty, but there ain’t nothin’ dirty goin’ on!”
With more than 30 classic seventies floor-fillers, this show celebrates the decade that brought us flared trousers, platform shoes and more glitter than Liberace. A show for all the family, whether it’s your first experience of the 1970s or you were there when it all began.
THE COMPLEATE WORKS OF [ABRIDGED]
William Shakespeare June 28 – July 1, 7:30 p.m. Gaede Stage / Musical / PG It’s the atomic 1950s at Enrico Fermi High. Pretty senior Toffee loves Jonny, the class bad boy, but family pressure forces her to end the romance. Distraught, Jonny charges off on his motorcycle to the nuclear waste dump. He returns, glowing with radiation determined to reclaim Toffee’s heart. Don’t miss this rockin’ collection of original songs in the style of 50s hits.
July 12 – 15, 7:30 p.m. Gaede Stage / Comedy / PG All 37 Plays in 97 Minutes -- an irreverent, fastpaced romp through all of the Bard’s plays! Join a trio of madcap men in tights as they weave their wicked way through Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories and Tragedies in a wild ride that will leave you breathless and helpless with laughter.
SOUND of MUSIC July 21 – 22 & 26 – 29, 7:30 p.m. Hansen Theatre / Musical / PG When a postulant proves too high-spirited for the religious life, she is dispatched to serve as governess for the seven children of a widowed naval captain. Filled with memorable music and characters, the motion picture version remains the most popular movie musical of all time. See it live and onstage!
Buy Tickets now!
Purchase online or call the MSUM Box Office at (218) 477-2271 M-F from noon to 4 p.m.
Not Your Grandmother’s Watercolor
Photo by Brenda Turner
By Red River Watercolor Society f you thought watercolors were just small paintings of pale-colored flowers and sunbonnets painted by little old ladies, you couldn’t be more wrong. The 19th annual National Juried Watermedia Exhibition, hosted by Red River Watercolor Society and the Hjemkomst Center and opening June 19, is not your grandmother’s watercolor show. For the first time, one-third of the exhibitors are male. And while the show includes stunning examples of flowers, landscapes, figures and still life, visitors to the show will also find abstract, non-objective and experimental pieces with expressive and innovative use of various water media such as acrylic, casein, ink and gouache. Forty-eight paintings representing the very best in today’s water media were selected from 29 states and Canada by nationally acclaimed artist, author and teacher Marilyn Hughey Phillis of Wheeling, W.Va., who comments that the show is “strong and diversified, reflecting a broad scope and immense talent.” Despite increasing interest in the high art world for works on paper, watercolor seems the ignored “middle child,” fighting for a place in the high art world from its perch in a parallel art world kept alive by national and international watercolor societies and shows like the Watermedia Exhibition. Most enthusiasts agree that there is no better medium to capture that fresh, spontaneous feeling. Most artists of any medium would agree that watercolor done well is an extremely demanding and difficult undertaking. Come and judge for yourself; get acquainted with today’s water media. The show opening is Tuesday June 21, 6 to 9 p.m. at the Hjemkomst Center, with a ceremony awarding numerous honors and prizes, including a $1,000 Gold Medal, $750 Silver Medal, $500 Bronze Medal, and the new $500 Red River Regional Award for an artist from Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota or Canada. The reception is free and open to the public. For more information, call Show Director Janet Flom at 701-361-7283, or email NationalShow@RedRiverWS.org.
Above: “Crossing the Slade River,” by Brenda Turner of Savannah, GA, speaks to an earlier time in America’s history. Left: “High on the Cool Side,” by Bill James of Ocala, FL, shows the realism possibility of watercolors. Below: “Tells a Story,” by Dale Russel Smith of Cederedge, CO, showcases the earliest art forms.
Photo by Bill James
Photo by Dale Russel Smith
Art restorer Antonio Forcellino investigates strange inconsistencies in Michelangelo’s statue of Moses
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Prairie Public, deconstructs the puzzling discrepancies between the sculptures Michelangelo created and the way he described them, revealing an intricate effort to carve his own beliefs into stone, while protecting himself from the wrath of a powerful cardinal who viewed him as a heretic. “What’s remarkable about this story is the intersection of life and art,” said Jared Lipworth, executive producer of Secrets of the Dead: Michelangelo Revealed. “We usually look at Michelangelo’s sculptures for their exceptional beauty and life-like detail, but Forcellino’s investigation shows how the religious upheaval of the times shaped Michelangelo’s beliefs and his artistic decisions.” While restoring the famous Moses statue in the tomb of Julius II, Forcellino noticed peculiarities such as an asymmetrical beard and a distorted neck and leg. Given Michelangelo’s normal attention to every detail of his sculptures, Forcellino began to believe that the artist had altered the Moses after it was completed. But why? Surprised that no other art historians had spotted the incongruities, Forcellino went back to original sources from Michelangelo’s time and pieced together a web of relationships and shared ideals between the artist, the famous poet and noblewoman Vitoria Colonna and the reformist English cardinal, Reginald Pole. Pole’s followers, later named the Spirituali, were loyal Catholics attempting to reform the church from within to prevent a split with the Protestants. But their reformist ideals were so threatening to conservative Cardinal Gian Pietro Carafa, he had the Inquisition reinstated to persecute them. Michelangelo’s involvement with the Spirituali put him at dangerous odds with the church, even while he toiled to exalt it. Forcellino believes this conflict is exemplified in the Moses. He is convinced Michelangelo transformed a monument intended to celebrate a pope into the political and religious manifesto of the Spirituali. By dramatically shifting Moses’ gaze away from the altar, Michelangelo reinforced his belief that man’s direct relationship with God is what mattered, not the role of priests. Secrets of the Dead: Michelangelo Revealed paints a stunning picture of brave religious expression, personal vendettas, careful cover-ups and a gifted artist desperately trying to reconcile his loyalty to the church with his own personal belief about the road to salvation.
Photo by Jemolo
Michelangelo’s statue of Moses, located in the lower part of the tomb of Pope Julius II in the church of S. Pietro in Vincoli (St. Peter in Chains) in Rome.
Submitted by Marie Offutt ore than five centuries ago, Michelangelo Buonarroti was the darling of the Catholic Church. The Papacy commissioned him to create many of its most important pieces, including the frescos of the Sistine Chapel. He spent his life glorifying the church, etching Catholic ideals into masterpieces that defined religion for the masses. Yet when he died, his body was secretly shepherded to Florence, and the church was denied the opportunity to honor him with a grand funeral in Rome. Historians have long wondered about the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death. Now, art historian Antonio Forcellino believes he has pieced together evidence of a deep rift between the church and the esteemed artist. The cause: Michelangelo’s belief in Protestant ideals and his involvement with a clandestine fellowship trying to put an end to the decadence and corruption of the clergy and reform the church from within. Secrets of the Dead: Michelangelo Revealed, airing at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, on
TROLLWOOD: Continued What do you see as the major strengths of Trollwood? One of TPAS’s sole objectives is to influence a young adult into thinking the arts are a possible future career. It doesn’t have to be an actual job in the arts; it’s what you bring to any professional situation. It’s imperative that young adult artists see professionals create their art with joyful expression, and when they do, they think it’s possible that they, too, could be artists who love what they do. Some people have been critical of bringing in an outside artistic team. What do you see as the value for the students of doing that? When you have a multitude of influences in the arts, you really get to soar. It’s a positive, and it just supports the local artists’ mission to help the students. How did moving to the new stage and location change your ability to produce musicals? The scale is different; the proximity to the sun is different; the wind factor is different. All those things are unique to the location.
Photo by Jemolo
Art historian Antonio Forcellino restores Michelangelo’s statue of Pope Julius II, in the church of S. Pietro in Vincoli (St. Peter in Chains) in Rome.
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Otherwise, it’s the same art. There’s a physical separation here between the audience and the stage that wasn’t there at the old location, and that’s a challenge to shore up that gap. This 2011 production of The Music Man is going to help that. I want to see what it feels like to sequester this environment so it feels more warm and fuzzy, and The Music Man is going to be our test for that. What have you learned about yourself over these years of directing on this stage? It’s a one-of-a-kind account. Very few people get to sit around the table and work with all these brilliant artists from all over the country. The scale is like no other. The opportunity to work with this age group is like no place else. I come back because it’s HARD. We make it look easy, and that’s why we’re successful. Your first year, you were an instructor, but the mainstage production was The Music Man. Any hints at what this production, 20 years later, is going to look like? Our first objective was that when you
come over the hills, you wouldn’t see what you perceive as The Music Man set. It has the structure of a little town, but it has a visually grand hit. If we’re going to choose this kind of piece that people are A wordle of responses from TPAS alumni Job Christianson, Jennifer Kapitan, extremely familiar Becky Gulsvig, Dan Glaser, John Ford-Dunker and TPAS Executive Director Kathy with, it’s our reAnderson about stage director Michael Walling. sponsibility to keep the surprise going. Because of the hands-on approach, the Though you think you are going to see a traditional production of this, it will delight students are very influenced, and their eduyou in a lot of the different surprise factors. cation soars in the summer. I am there for You have worked all over the country. Why the arts education value of it. My career around the country is very does Trollwood keep pulling you back? disposable — art goes up and down. Here, First of all, there are very few schools there is a living legacy because I have a like TPAS in the country, and no one that relationship with so many of my students. can put on a production on such a scale. I have enjoyed the teacher’s journey of TPAS works in collaboration with the watching students fl ourish in their lives. students, and together they create the art.
Changing times usher in changes to t radition By Jacob Ritteman his July brings about the 12th annual 8th Street Fine Art Show and Sale, presented by the Red River Watercolor Society, a nonprofit arts organization. The show offers a wide variety of fine arts, including clothing, glass, jewelry, metalwork, photography, pottery, wood-turning, tiles and paintings – consisting of watercolor, acrylic and collage types. Originally, the idea of a local artist gathering was conceived as a means for those artists to mingle and show work at a low-key, backyard get-together. After some years, artist Sandra Miles took action and expanded the get-together into a bigger event. “It originally started as a means to help exhibiting artists set up tents and necessary forms,” Miles said. “It was meant to give them experience when participating in bigger shows.” Now, it seems what once presented itself as “training for the big time” has evolved into one of those big-time events itself. Generally, 40 to 45 local and regional artists take part in the show each summer. However, according to Red River Watercolor Society President Diane Johnson, some long-standing policies have undergone a helpful makeover, allowing for even more artists to participate in the event on historic 8th Street this year. This event has traditionally has taken place on the front lawn of Shotwell Floral and Garden Center at the corner of 8th Street and 13th Avenue in south Fargo. This year’s show will be no exception, although it will be the last year Shotwell’s on 8th Street will be able to provide its grounds as the venue. The site is in negotiations to sell, and after 12 years, the Fine Art Show will need to be relocated for 2012. “It’s strictly business,” Shotwell Floral and Garden owner John Shotwell said. “Greenhouses aren’t what they used to be.” “They’ve been great, and we’ve sincerely enjoyed having them here, and I’m sorry [our participation] has to come to an end,” Shotwell said. “They’ve been a great asset to the community. We’ve just enjoyed having them.” Next year’s venue has not yet been finalized, but Johnson said options are being thoroughly assessed and a decision should be made in just a matter of months. “Shotwell’s is a very nice place, and we hope to find a locale which can match its beauty at the very least,” Johnson said. Over the years, the annual Fine Art Show has attracted an impressive number of attendees, reaching up to 4,000. Because the society is nonprofit, all proceeds are routed to various organizations, primarily the annual National Juried Watermedia Exhibition. The exhibition is held locally and features watercolor and acrylic paintings from all over the nation and, in recent years, from Canada as well. Maybe in years to come, the Fine Art Show will donate proceeds to a new, locally hosted international exhibition. Many years ago, changing times made possible for a small, low-key gathering of artists to expand into a much bigger entity. Now, once again, after 12 years of tradition, time is calling for change.
Bluestem Center for the Ar ts home to Trollwood and regional ar ts By Eric Daeuber efforts, support from the Fargo School District, the City of Moorhead, and proponents like t’s hard to follow a yellow brick road. It’s hard not because the place where it begins or Senator Keith Langseth, who authored the bonding bill in the Minnesota Legislature, we ends isn’t obvious or that the edges aren’t clear. It just goes to so many more places than were able to get this facility built,” Wiger said. you expected it to go. “But now our goal is to expand our programming and provide events 52 weeks of the “We were underwater a lot,” said Lisa Farnham, marketing coordinator for Trollwood year,” Wiger said. “We just officially changed the facility name to Bluestem Center for the Performing Arts School (TPAS), referring to the school’s original home from 1978 to Arts. Our goal is to build community one event at a time.” 2008: Trollwood Culture and Arts Park in “Trollwood is still a program of the north Fargo. She means that quite literFargo School District,” said Trollwood ally. The Red River is a hard neighbor to Executive Director Kathy Anderson, get along with, and that’s as good a reason “but we have people coming from both as any to find higher ground. So in 2005, sides of the river. We have students Trollwood began looking for a new home. [enrolled in our 2011 programs] from Trollwood Performing Arts School Fargo, West Fargo, Dilworth, Moorwas going to have to pack some pretty head, surrounding cities, and even as big bags if it was planning on taking 30 far away as Tennessee. We’ve recently years of history along. And that was never restructured our tuition so a student can negotiable. register for any class or any program “We have a long history,” Farnham we offer, with one fee. We do get most said. “There are a lot of kids who grew of our program support from the Fargo up at Trollwood. I was one of them, and School District, but now the difference we weren’t going to leave all that history in tuition between Fargo students and behind us. We’ve always done everything everyone else is only $100. It’s one way for the kids. We run our programs for the of opening our doors to as many stukids. We select our shows for the kids. dents as possible, and we’re still looking Wherever we were going to end up, it had for more.” to be the kind of place where we could Anderson considers the City of Moorsuccessfully continue to do what we’ve head a silent partner. “They want us to be been doing for decades. We were looking here, and they want us to be successful,” Photo by Wheelock Photography of Mpls. for a home, not a ‘facility.’” she said. Marcil Commons, on the campus of Bluestem Center for the Arts in Moorhead, Minn., houses offices, classrooms and event rental spaces. Trollwood ended up in Moorhead, in But, bit by bit, the potential for Bluewhat is now Bluestem Center for the stem Center for the Arts as a home to Arts, and the yellow brick road didn’t take the shortest distance getting there. It started as the regional arts scene as well as Trollwood is being realized by anyone who has seen a project headed by then-executive director Vicki Chepulis to find someplace close to the the arches near Highway 75 in south Moorhead. “Like everyone in Moorhead who loves heart of the Fargo School District, sponsors of Trollwood. It ended up as a fine arts school the arts, I’m thrilled to see a facility like Bluestem in our city,” said Kristine Thompled by a new executive director, Kathy Anderson, across the mighty Red in another state son, chair of the Moorhead School Board. “We’re excited about the possibilities. Who altogether. Its new home: a facility with its own growing mission, managed by Sue Wiger, wouldn’t be?” executive director of Bluestem Center for the Arts. Bluestem is growing into its own on the east bank of the Red. This summer it will host How it got there is a story of big politics, big money and big plans, but what matters the Moody Blues, George Thorogood and Alice Cooper. “The facility was built because more is that it did, in fact, get there. of the long tradition and heritage of Trollwood Performing Arts School. It will always be “Bluestem is something new, but it was born out of a genuine need to bring a lot of about Trollwood, but we also want the community to view [Bluestem] as an arts venue for people who love the arts together in one place,” Wiger said. numerous kinds of community events. We want people to see us as an arts venue, not only A number of years after Trollwood staged its first musical and held its first class in the home of Trollwood,” Wiger said. Trollwood Park in north Fargo, it became clear that it was going to grow bigger and faster In an office 50 feet away in the same building, Anderson has the same view from her than anyone expected. FutureBuilders began as a kind of support group for TPAS, raising window but expresses a different, although not incompatible, vision. “We’re giving kids money and making sure that the lights didn’t go out. But it ended up with a much bigger the chance to experience performing arts education through our many programs, and get job. their hands on classic works of musical theatre – influential pieces. This year we’re preIn the end, FutureBuilders found itself with more than a new home for Trollwood. The senting The Music Man. It’s a show everyone loves!” group is the proud parents of a $13 million facility that can stay open all year round. Alice Cooper and the Music Man skipping down the yellow brick road together. It’s “Thanks to a generous group of community leaders, FutureBuilders raised the matching going to be a great summer. Next year? Maybe Balzac and Shakespeare and all them other money needed to receive a $5.5 million State of Minnesota bond offering. Because of their high-falutin’ Greeks.
Fiber Ar ts:
Photo by John Baird
Beautiful colors merge in a bowl of dye used for tye-dying.
By Kim Baird ver since William Perkin discovered mauveine in 1856, synthetic dyes have revolutionized fabric dyeing. It’s now possible to achieve a consistent color, time after time, chemically. Yet there is an increasing interest in natural dyes, which have a more subtle, earthy look. It is intriguing to think that you could collect marigolds from your garden, or weeds from a field, and make your own dyes. Visiting artist Doris Florig, the Nomadic Contemporary Weaver, will share the wonder and chemistry of these age-old methods at the Fiber Arts Festival Aug. 6 and 7 at Rheault Farm, in Fargo. Admission to the festival is free. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Based in Wyoming, Florig spends winters cruising the Caribbean and Central America aboard a 40-foot boat. As she travels, she seeks out people who have a history of working with fibers. She takes in their skills and experiments until she can make them work for her. She then passes on the skill to others through exhibiting and teaching. For those who aren’t into dyeing fabric, there will be plenty of other techniques to interest guests at the Fiber Arts Festival. Dozens of area fiber artists will demonstrate skills
Rediscovering the lost arts of our ancestors at August festival such as spinning, weaving, knitting, felting, embroidery and lace making. More unusual techniques – naalbinding, tatting, kumihimo and temari – will also be featured. Fiber arts enthusiasts and volunteers are eager to share their craft with others, and visitors will have the opportunity to observe, ask questions, and perhaps try their hand. This year’s festival will feature the debut of a quilt tent made by the Designing Quilters. Step inside to be surrounded by the colorful patchwork. Supplies for working with fiber will be for sale. Artists will have their handmade work, including scarves, mittens, felt sculptures and bags, available for sale as well. A Sheep to Shawl competition on Saturday will feature teams racing to see who can finish first in taking raw materials through the fabrication process to a finished piece of clothing. Teams will start in the morning with piles of fleece, spend the day spinning it into yarn, and then weave the yarn into shawls. Forms to register a team to compete are available online at fiberartsfest.com. Formal classes on dyeing and felting will be offered for $25 each. Pre-registration is required. In addition, there will be an exhibition of many kinds of fiber art, with a Viewer’s Choice award. Everyone is invited to enter their work in this exhibit. Registration forms for the exhibition, classes, vendors and demonstrators are available at fiberartsfest.com and at bouclé yarn studio, Prairie Yarns, Stitch It Quilts and the Fargo Park District offices. This event is sponsored in part by the Fargo Park District, Quilters’ Guild of North Dakota, SunMart Foods and Muriel Richardson. For more information, contact the Fargo Park District at 701-499-7788 or visit fiberartsfest.com.
Photo by John Baird
Simple but elegant, this french knot bracelet is a beautiful product of spinning.
Photo by Russ Hanson
Sigrid Trimble performs the age-old act of spinning on a wheel.
An interactive conversation about time By Jill Johnson rtist Claudia M. Pratt’s exhibit is all about time. What does it mean? Does it run out? Does it fly? Pratt’s full project was on display at the Green Market Kitchen earlier this year; now it occupies a smaller space and will remain on display until February 2012. The interactive installation invites restaurant patrons to have a conversation with her through posting notes about living in the moment on wall grids. The notes cover anything and everything: suggestions to take a walk or dance, or listen to loud techno music. Suggestions have been mystical, funny, absurd, touching – and sometimes, a little risqué. Pratt, who will turn 50 in February 2012, decided to chronicle the year leading up the big event. The project has a decidedly intentional feel about it since she was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. Her project, titled EXPLORING NOW: 365 Days to 50, is a multi-dimensional project which leads to the real focus of the work, her photography and written blog at cmp365daysto50.wordpress.com. “A lot of people don’t understand that the exhibit is the precursor to the blog,” Pratt said. “The blog is really the exhibit because of what it has to offer. The nice thing about the blog is that I am writing things and finding inspiration in each day. There have been a couple of days where I have had to really try to figure it out; I am a visual person so I am surprised at how the writing and photos are merging. I have received a few comments by
people, and there are a good 30-50 hits per day on the site. It is important to have a separation between the cancer and life. This blog is about life. If people want other details, they can look at my CaringBridge.com web page at CMPsSaga.” Indeed, Pratt’s work, as well as her life, are all about life. Brightly colored photos of the ordinary moments and the extraordinary moments fill the walls at the Green Market Kitchen and the blog site. “Do you have to be public about your art to be an artist?” Pratt asked. “I don’t think so. I am entering a new realm of being public, though. I always considered people as part of that environment as an exhibit designer. This exhibit is probably out of the ordinary. It has produced a dialogue, very meaningful dialogue, both personally, but also publicly. I discovered that people responded from day one which was just awesome and very exciting.” Peter Kelly of the Green Market Kitchen concurs. “We are very happy to have this exhibit here,” he said. Kelly has been instrumental in collaborating with Pratt, painting the walls of the Green Market Kitchen first with chalkboard paint for the first phase of the installation. Although the exhibit has shifted to the blog, an ongoing visual presence at the Green Market Kitchen continues through February 2012. The exhibit kicked off with a celebration and will culminate in a celebration for Pratt’s birthday. In the meantime, people can participate by commenting through the blog or leaving notes at the Green Market Kitchen.
Scandinavian jewelry makers featured at Midwest Viking Festival
Photo courtesy of Urweg.
Askjel Madalhar and Birte Nellessen of Urweg dress the part of Viking jewelry makers.
By Brianne Carlsrud he Midwest Viking Festival, formerly Viking Village, runs Saturday, July 16, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday, July 17, from noon-4 p.m. at the Hjemkomst Center Viking Ship Park, in Moorhead. This year’s event offers an educational, interpretive and celebratory festival focused on informing the public about Norse society and culture during the Viking Age.
In addition to many other first-time visitors, the 2011 event welcomes silversmith demonstrators and merchants Askjel Madalhar and Birte Nellessen of Urweg, which crafts and sells items such as bracelets, brooches, belts, pouches, pendants, earrings, necklaces, rings and more. The two began crafting personal items of Scandinavian-style jewelry that symbolized their heritage after not being able to find similar items for sale. Their initial tools came from a flea market, and their initial pieces were amateurish. But friends soon began asking Urweg to craft items for them, so Urweg learned how to make jewelry and began crafting piece after piece. “It is through this practical experience that we learned how to smith, and as time and funds allow, we are still adding tools and techniques to our ever-expanding repertoire. Over time, we started to sell these items at small private events. Eventually, we quit our regular jobs and decided to dedicate our lives to continuing and preserving the rich heritage of our ancestors,” the artists of Urweg said. Most of Urweg’s pieces are crafted by inspiration. They often find museum artifacts to be so beautiful that they recreate them. At other times, their inspiration leads them to create original pieces in the ancient Scandinavian styles. They also like to participate in living history events, which teaches them to do “experimental archeology” to try out their art theories in a living village context. “We research museum findings and catalogs extensively and try to learn as much as we can about the lives of our ancestors,” Urweg’s founders said. “We also create pieces based on customers’ requests. We do both one-of-a-kind custom pieces as well as add new designs to our line based on customers’ requests.” Urweg, a German word, means “the ancient way” or “the way of the ancestors,” and describes what Madalhar and Nellessen do, as they consider themselves to be continuing the ancient traditions of their forefathers. “We do not wish to be ‘copycats’ even though we do revive many ancient pieces and are able to bring them back to the people who are still drawn to them thousands of years later. We call our jewelry ‘Nordic Tribal Jewelry’ as the many different Northern European tribes such as the Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, Normans, Celts and many others had much in common,” Urweg said. “We focus on all of these different varieties of indigenous Northern European culture and art, and even trace these tribes back through history though their artifacts.” Urweg has customers in the United States, Canada, most European countries, Australia, China, Qatar and others. They travel throughout the western world selling their items at museum-sponsored and reenactment events. Visit urweg.com for more information and a look at their crafted items. Many of Urweg’s pieces are for sale in the Hjemkomst Center gift shop, as well. Admission to the Midwest Viking Festival is $10 for adults, $5 for children and $25 for families. For more Photo courtesy of Urweg. information on the event, call 218-299-5511 or visit Beautiful jewelry is the result of the smithing education Urweg hcscconline.org or facebook.com/hcscc. received.
Contentment SEND US YOUR LITERARY WORK!
by Erik P. Block
An alligator lies motionless in a green backyard. Blades of grass peek between thick, splayed toes. In a kiddie pool a beach ball floats, revolving slowly in the breeze while a sprinkler spurts a rainbow arc from the corner of the yard. An orange tabby cat stretches, yawns, then struts, tail up, approaches the gator as it sleeps, marking time in heavy breaths. The cat pauses, bends low to lick a paw, leans into the long, tire-tread tail and, lopsided, slowly strolls its length. Black eyes open sluggishly, reflecting the sun in inky silhouette. Inside the house a young girl sleeps collapsed on the couch, her swimsuit still drying. Sunlight cuts the shadow of her face into halves.
Her mother, moments ago, brushed a strand of hair from her eye, tucked the blanket underneath her chin, kissed her plump cheek. The girl dreams of water, of sunlight, of the soft touch of her cat as it purrs, back arching in dream motion, its head tucked into the warmth of her lap. Outside, the cat’s ears flick toward the house. The scaly giant stirs, just a shadow’s length away. Still as a palace guard the cat stands, sensing something in the air. A wish, maybe, that only moments ago was real.
Submit your poetry, shor t essays and literary book reviews and we might publish them in our “Literary Lunch” section. We accept submissions from everyone — professional and amateur. However, we cannot guarantee that all submissions will be used. Opinions and/ or ideas expressed by authors are not necessarily those of the publisher. We accept only e-mail submissions. Attach as a Word document or send in the body of the e-mail.
E-m ail your sub missions to a r tspuls e @ the a r tspa r tne rship.ne t.
Reductive workshop grows community
Photo by Kent Kapplinger
Artist participants work at the NDSU Art/PEARS summer workshop.
By Kent Kapplinger oday’s buzzword is “reduction,” with goals for reduced government spending, less waste, or lower operating costs, but this summer, spending time in North Dakota State University’s Print, Education and Research Studio (PEARS) could grow and strengthen your sense of community through a reduction process. Beginning Monday, June 7, visiting artist Nancy Palmeri will lead the Reduction a GoGo workshop at NDSU’s downtown campus. The workshop will bring together interested individuals from across our region who will immerse themselves in the world of printmaking and the process of making large and beautiful reduction color woodcuts during several intense studio sessions. Palmeri, an associate professor and print area coordinator from the University of Texas at Arlington, has presented her unique relief printing approach from New York to Baton Rogue, St. Louis to Boston, and even to the United Kingdom. Her technical expertise, knowledge of print history, and infectious energy has proven that those with whom she works grow to be more creative, responsive and expressive through their artwork and group interaction. Printmakers, including Palmeri, seem willing to share ideas rather than keep trade secrets, demonstrating specific techniques to anyone with time to listen and observe. It is assumed that once information about technique and approach is passed along it will be interpreted, processed, added to, then passed along to the next person. This process is a perfect learning/teaching mode ideal for building a healthy community. During the past 12 years, the summer print workshops have brought a diverse group of individuals together. Under expert guidance, participants have learned together and built a lasting resource as they return to their own communities across the region. Past participants have ranged from those with little or no art experience to those with many years in the arts, each sharing insight and assisting others on equal terms. Numerous participants have returned year after year, and while they continue building a repertoire of print techniques for themselves, most relish the time to renew friendships, share stories, and recharge in the community built through the workshop environment. NDSU’s Division of Fine Arts and Department of Visual Photo by Nancy Palmeri Arts are sponsoring the workshop. Information and regisArtist Nancy Palmeri’s color tration is available at ndsu.nodak.edu/finearts/visual_arts/ reductive woodcut Magpie PEARS/summer_workshop/about.html. showcases printmaking skills.
Left: Actor Scott Ecker peeks out from a microwave in The Strange Misadventures of Patty by Allison Moore, Second Stage 2009. Below: Rachel Clausen and Scott Ecker perform in The Strange Misadventures of Patty.
Photo by Michael Benedict
Theatre B and Trollwood Photo by Michael Benedict
An eight-year collaboration in arts and education By Emily Clemenson hat do Theatre B and Trollwood Performing Arts School have in common? Theatre B produces new, cutting-edge plays in a tiny space on Main Avenue. Trollwood produces the area’s biggest outdoor summer musical. The two organizations also enjoy an eight-year partnership to bring unique educational experiences to young artists in the community by producing an intensive summer dramatic theater training program for high school students called Second Stage. Second Stage is similar to an internship, creating a tailored experience for students whose primary interest may not be musical theatre. The students are immersed in a small ensemble, with personal attention and a collaborative process to put the show together – much like what these future actors will find in small companies, college theatre, graduate school and community theatres. Fargo South graduate Scott Ecker just finished his sophomore year at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He acted in Second Stage for two summers, and through these experiences, he built new
skills and professional connections. “At Fargo South, I did familiar shows with large casts in a large space, but the summer [Second Stage] shows were the opposite,” Ecker said. “With smaller casts I found there was more camaraderie and group growth. Doing shows that the cast and the audience had never seen before meant we could all explore the new material together.” Since graduating from high school, Ecker has been involved with four main stage shows at Theatre B, partly because of the relationships that were built during the summers with Second Stage. When Trollwood approached Theatre B to help bring Second Stage back from hiatus, the founders were not sure how they would produce a repertoire that fulfilled their mission, yet remained relevant and appropriate for teenagers and families. But when they asked students what was missing in their training, the idea of a Second Stage program became more fitting. Students were equally excited by the idea of working as a small ensemble to produce new works in an intimate space, outside of the academic setting.
The two organizations have worked closely over the years to strike a balance between the in-depth educational experience of Trollwood and an intimate, thoughtful ensemble process that holds to the Theatre B ethos. Theatre B founder and Second Stage Artistic Director David Wintersteen said the premise of Second Stage allows the director and actors to take risks socially, politically and artistically. “Balancing risk and caution is always a challenge, and Second Stage artists and Trollwood administration work closely together throughout the process. What we hope is that the students involved in the production, and the audiences who come to experience it, will learn something about the world and the blurry boundaries of life,” Wintersteen said. Ecker agrees that the two Second Stage shows he performed in as a high school student also taught him many things unrelated to theatre. “Good ‘n’ Plenty [the 2008 Second Stage show] was a hilarious farce, but every student involved learned a lot about democracy, the ’70s and growing up in general,”
Ecker said. “That is what a good theatre program for teenagers should be. It challenges them as a performer, but also assists them in growing as a person.” This summer’s show promises to be entertaining and thought-provoking, a perfect fit for Second Stage. The Illusion, adapted by award-winning playwright Tony Kushner, will not be handed to the audience on a silver platter, but rather require some active thinking and analyzing. Kushner has said of this play, “Difficult art needs to be assembled in collaboration with the spectator; it doesn’t come prepackaged by the artist. It insists on its spectators doing some of the work.” The production consists of student actors and a student crew working in collaboration with professional teaching artists, led by Theatre B ensemble members. Students from age 14 to graduating seniors were eligible to audition. Performances are July 7-16 at 7:30 p.m., with a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. each weekend. All performances of The Illusion will take place at Theatre B, 716 Main Ave., Fargo. For ticket information, call 701-729-8880 or visit theatreb.org.
Large and in charge Plains Art Museum inspires daring feats from FMVA artists By Plains Art Museum Staff ometimes, the best things come in big packages. That’s the idea, anyway, behind a new exhibition at Plains Art Museum featuring the work of members of Fargo Moorhead Visual Artists (FMVA), a local artist group. The exhibition, titled Big Country: FMVA Scale the Plains, opens June 24 and will be comprised of large-scale work by 13 FMVA artists. The exhibition was inspired by a particularly large piece of art the museum hung in October last year, titled The North Dakota Mural by artist and North Dakota native James Rosenquist. Its sheer size (13 x 24 ft.) prompted a challenge from Plains Art Museum Director Colleen Sheehy to the FMVA to create large, ambitious works that will reflect the size and overall approach that Rosenquist is famous for. “We were looking for big work surrounding some big ideas, and these artists really stepped up to the plate,” Sheehy said. The Big Country challenge was a perfect fit for the FMVA, a volunteer organization whose mission is to promote and support visual artists in the area. The FMVA organizes four exhibitions of its own over the course of the calendar year and is responsible for the Studio Crawl, an annual event that invites the public into artists’ studios. Through these types of activities, the FMVA has become a vehicle for visual artists to have their work displayed throughout the community and a way for arts patrons and potential clients to connect with FMVA members. Sarah Dotzenrod, an FMVA member and art educator with West Fargo High School and West Fargo Community Arts Program, contributed a 5 x 6’ oil painting to Big Country. With this work, an “eerie” depiction of an abandoned subway station in New York, Dotzenrod said she had the opportunity to stretch her wings. “I’m a fan of Rosenquist’s large scale Pop Art paintings, so to be able to be associated with and respond to his artwork was a privilege that I did not want to miss out on,”
Photo courtesy of Eric Syvertson
FMVA member Eric Syvertson stands in front of his work in progress for Big Country: FMVA Scale the Plains, a Plains Art Museum exhibition opening June 24.
Dotzenrod said. “I’ve considered painting on a larger scale for a while now, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to challenge myself and start.” Aside from Dotzenrod, the Big Country exhibition will feature work by Sandra Cress, Ellen Diederich, Kaylyn Gerenz, Jon Offutt, Carl Oltvedt, Timothy Ray, Meg Spielman Peldo, Michael Strand, David Swenson, Eric Syvertson, Gin Templeton and Chris Walla. Big Country: FMVA Scale the Plains will run from June 24 to Sept. 4 at Plains Art Museum. An opening reception for the exhibition will be held on June 23 at 5:30 p.m.
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