North Shore Art Scene

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Cook County MN Arts and Entertainment Weekly
Updated: 5 hours 4 min ago

The Pines & Briand Morrison’s CD Release Party

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 12:02am

David Johnson took this shot on the harbor shore recently. He calls it “Boat Sunrise.”

It’s another busy music weekend in Grand Marais — the popular Twin Cities band, The Pines, performs at What’s Upstairs? Stage on Friday night and Briand Morrison & Friends will hold a CD Release Party of “Blues Galaxy” at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts on Saturday night. Both will be on WTIP’s The Roadhouse on Friday night. The show airs from 5-7 p.m.

 The Pines, David Huckfelt and Benson Ramsey, is a great indie-roots band from the Twin Cities, weaving together many musical style to create their own unique style.

The son of Greg Brown’s producer and sideman Bo Ramsey, Benson was reared on folk and blues music and those influences continue to shine through, even on louder electric songs.

David shares Benson’s deep love for traditional music, and together the two craft songs that evoke the ancient, while incorporating newer rock and pop grooves.

Both strong writers, singers and instrumentalists, David and Benson have distinct voices that complement each other, causing audiences and critics alike to tout them as a powerful young force in American roots music.
The doors at What’s Upstairs, above Betsy Bowen’s Studio, open at 7 p.m. Friday night. The show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door. (To hear their music, click here.)

Briand Morrison. Photo by Stephan Hoglund.

On Saturday night, Morrison and a number of other musicians who perform with him on his Blues Galaxy CD will play at the ACA. A guitarist and composer who has been playing the guitar since he was a boy, Morrison partnered with the North Shore Music Association through funding from the Minnesota State Arts Board to write 12 original jazz, rock and blues pieces for the guitar with an array of backing instruments and vocals. The CD was recorded in his studio on the Grand Portage Reservation. Morrison is a member of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

In an earlier interview, Morrison said that his CD includes performances with 17 local musicians. At the CD Release Party, Morrison will be joined by Roxann Berglund, John Mianowski, John Varga, Robin Anders, Jim Elverhoy, Todd Miller, Joe Paulik, Amanda Hand and Amy Varga.

The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 adults, $5 youth and are for sale at the door. To hear his music, visit

There’s lots of other great music opportunities this weekend, too. See the music schedule below.

Art takes front/center stage this weekend, too.

David Gilsvik won the People’s Choice Award, the Red Suspender Invitational and third place overall with his oil, “Morning at the Dockside.’

The Grand Marais Plein Air Exhibit and Sale opened at the Johnson Heritage Post last Friday to accolades and excitement.

During the week of the Plein Air Competition, 60 plein air painters painted up a storm, participating in two paint-outs, at Sugar Loaf Cove and Artist’s Point (the Quick Paint), as well as tried the Night Paint, and worked on their own at locations throughout Cook County.  Many of their paintings were submitted to the show — 240 in all.

Bob Upton won first place in the Main Category for his oil, “Artist’s Point,” Paula Gustafson came in second with “Mary Pratt Home,” David Gilsvik came in third with “Morning at the Dockside.”

Andy Evansen won the Night Paint Award with his “Beaver House.” Christopher Copeland won the Quick Paint, and David Gilsvik won the Red Suspender Invitational and a set of red suspenders, a bow to well-known Grand Marais painter Howard Siverston who favors them. Gilsvik also won the People’s Choice Award.

It would not be exaggerating to say that a walk through this exhibit is a journey through the beauty and wonder of the North Shore. The exhibit continues through Sept. 28. The Heritage Post is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, 1-4 p.m. Sunday and Monday.

To see a great selection of photos taken during the event and at the opening, click here to view the Grand Marais Art Colony’s Facebook page.

Potter Bob Husby exhibits in the Lake Superior 20/20 Art Studio Tour.

The Lake Superior 20/20 Studio Art Tour begins this weekend featuring open studios in a 20-mile loop from just outside Duluth to Two Harbors.

Artwork from the 20 artists participating in the tour includes everything from ceramics and fiber art to printmaking, painting, woodworking and photography.

The event also includes live music and refreshments. For more information, hours and maps, visit . 20/20 will be held Sept. 19-21 and Sept. 26-28.

The Crossing Borders Studio Tour and Sale begins next week, Sept. 26, and runs through Oct. 5. For more info about the artists and the event, visit

The installation at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery includes a turtle with more than 200 moccasin vamps (tops) on the turtle’s back.

This weekend also marks the opening of a powerful exhibit at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery in Thunder Bay.

Entitled Walking With Our Sisters, the national tour honors the lives of murdered and missing indigenous women of Canada and the United States. It opens at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery with a special ceremony at noon (EST) Sept. 19.

The exhibit is a commemorative art installation of more than 1,200 moccasin vamps (tops) created and donated by hundreds of individuals to draw attention to this injustice.

The exhibit continues at the the gallery through Oct. 12.

On Saturday, Sept. 20, poet Kate Hallett will read from her new books, “Salt Heart” and “Catalpa,” at a Writer’s Salon at Drury Lane Books. The Salon starts at 5 p.m.

Tickets are still available for the Grand Marais Art Colony’s “Tour d’Art: The Legacy,” a homes tour of artists and instructors associated with the Art Colony. The tour includes the homes of Hazel Belvo and Marsha Cushmore, Sharon and Steve FrykmanLiz Sivertson, Byron Bradley and Dan Quick. The tour is Oct. 4. For more information, call 218-387-2737.

There’s lots more music this weekend, too. Here’s the schedule.

Thursday, Sept. 19:

  • Gordon Thorne, Gunflint Tavern, 8 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 19:

  • Joe Paulik, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
  • The Pines,What’s Upstairs? Stage, 8 p.m.
  • The Wrong Omar, Gunflint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20:

  • Portage Band, Grand Portage Lodge & Casino, 3 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Big Bear Lodge, 7969 Northwoods Loop, Gunflint Trail, 6 p.m.
  • The Don Juans, Sydney’s Rooftop, 6-8 p.m.
  • Cook County’s Most Wanted, American Legion, 6 p.m.
  • Gordon Thorne, Lutsen Resort, 7 p.m.
  • Briand Morrison CD Release Concert, Arrowhead Center for the Arts, 7:30 p.m.
  • Jim McGowan, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7:30 p.m.
  • Eric Frost, Gunflint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.
  • Dance Party with DJ Beavstar, Papa Charlie’s, 9 :30 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 21:

  • James Moors, Gunflint Tavern, 6 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 22:

  • Pete Kavanaugh, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
  • Charlie Parr, Monday Songwriter Series, Papa Charlie’s, 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 24:

  • Open Mic Night, Gunflint Tavern, 5 p.m.
  • Eric Frost, Moguls Grille & Tap Room, 6 p.m.
  • Eric Frost, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.

Lucky for us, photographers were out taking some great shots this week. Here’s a selection.

Thomas Spence calls this “Live Sunrise.”

Photo by Thomas Spence.


Here’s an intriguing shot by Carah Thomas. She calls it “Maple Hill Sunset.”

Photo by Carah Thomas.


This one was taken later in the evening. Bryan Hansel shot the Milky Way with the night lights of Grand Marais reflecting on low clouds.

Photo by Bryan Hansel.


Here are a few wildlife shots.

The first is by Paul Pluskwik. He calls it “Sunrise Flight Through the Morning Fog.”

Photo by Paul Pluskwik.


And Michael Furtman caught this merlin taking an early morning bath.

Photo by Michael Furtman.


Here’s a peaceful wilderness scene by David Johnson.


Bryan Hansel captured the stark beauty of dusk in Two Harbors in this photograph.

Photo by Bryan Hansel.


Fall has arrived. Kathy Gray-Anderson shows us here.

Photo by Kathy Gray-Anderson.


The northern lights were really crackling around the world earlier this week, but we couldn’t see them here because of cloud cover. Here’s what they saw in Norway.

Photo by Harald Albrighten, Kvoloya Tronso, Norway. (Courtesy of


On the other hand, we have beauty here, too. Paul Sundberg caught this incredible shot at Split Rock during our September gale. Enjoy!

Photo by Paul Sundberg.

Have a great weekend, everyone!



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Plein Air Quick Paint, Lecture, Opening & Unplugged XIII

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 11:13pm

Here’s a gorgeous David Johnson sunrise over the Grand Marais  harbor.

This weekend is guaranteed to be a lot of fun for everyone, with the Grand Marais Art Colony‘s Plein Air Competition and North House Folk School’s Unplugged on deck.

The Plein Air Competition continues this week. Bryan Hansel caught Michelle Wegler painting the full moon.

The Grand Marais Art Colony‘s Plein Air Competition continues with the Quick Paint competition on Artist’s Point from 4-5:30 p.m. on Thursday followed by an Open BBQ and Picnic. In the Quick Paint, artists are given 90 minutes to complete a painting somewhere on Artist’s Point. With a shotgun start, the event is great to watch as the artists work furiously to complete a painting in an hour and a half as observers wander around and watch. It’s really fun. All welcome.

On Friday at 11 a.m., the juror for Plein Air, pastel painter Bonnie Paruch, will give a lecture at East Bay Suites. The public is invited.

The Plein Air Exhibit & Sale opens at the Johnson Heritage Post with a reception from 5-7 p.m. on Friday night. The winners of the competition are announced and prizes are awarded in a number of categories including Best Overall, the Quick Paint awards, the Night Paint awards, the People’s Choice award and the Red Suspender Invitational awards. Refreshments will be served.

Then on Saturday, Hazel Belvo will speak about the exhibit at the Johnson Heritage Post from 10 -11 a.m. Entitled “Developing a Visual Literacy,” Belvo will facilitate a group conversation and reflection on the plein air exhibit while guiding participants in ways to interact with and respond to artwork. Free. Open to the public. 

The exhibit & sale continues at the Heritage Post through Sept. 28. For more info, visit

The classic Unplugged Singer/Songwriter concert with Jon Vezner is Saturday night.

Unplugged XIII is three days of music and three days of craft at North House Folk School, with lots more scheduled as well, attracting hundreds throughout the region, as well as in the county, to enjoy workshops, speakers, music jams, concerts and more from Sept. 11-13.

The music includes two concerts with Mountain Stage Radio on Thursday and Friday nights and the classic Unplugged concert on Saturday night with Jon Vezner. Tickets are still available, but they’re going fast.

Thursday’s concert with Mountain Stage Radio is at 7 p.m. and includes David Wax Museum, Dan Wilson, Chris Smither, Tony Trischka’s Great Big World and The Don Juans.

Friday’s concert with Mountain Stage Radio includes David Lindley, Pert Near Sandstone, Carrie Newcomer, Judith Owen and Bill Miller.

The classic Unplugged with Jon Vezner includes Don Henry, Bill Miller, Jeff Gilkinson, Pat Donohue and Ellis.

There’s also live music before each concert (The Spruce Roots, 6 p.m. Thursday, LaVigne, Hand, Mills & Viton, 6 p.m. Friday and Briand Morrison, 6 p.m. Saturday.)

There’s a Songwriter’s Circle with Boyd “Bump”Blomberg from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, and a Big Top Tent Community Square Dance with Pert Near Sandstone from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday.

The event is a fundraiser for North House Folk School’s Endowment Fund. North House also holds the online Points North Auction as well as a Silent Auction during Unplugged.

There are a variety of workshops and speakers, as well as a Folk Artisan Marketplace featuring Liz Bucheit: Saami-inspired jewelry; Kim Garrett: rosemaling; Beth Homa-Style: birchbark weaving; Marcie McIntire: Aniishinaabe beadwork and moccasin sewing; Jim Sannerud: greenwood turning; Mary Schleip: rosemaling and Michel Seiler, silversmithing. And Fulton beer will be on tap during the concerts!

For more information and tickets, visit

In other art news, the first session for Make-A-Bowl for Empty Bowls will be held in the ceramics studio at the Grand Marais Art Colony on Monday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. Participants will make a wheel-thrown bowl and a hand-built bowl, both of which will be donated to the Empty Bowls Fundraiser for the Food Shelf, which is held in November.

There are a number of sessions to choose from: Sundays at 2 p.m. and Mondays at 7 p.m. through Oct. 13. Registration is required (to make sure there’s enough room for everyone.) Call the Art Colony at 387-2737. All welcome!

Also, the Cook County Farm & Craft Market continues in the parking lot of the Senior Center. It is held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and features a variety of arts & crafts as well as local produce in season.

Local venues have scheduled lots of good music this weekend, too. Here’s the schedule.

Thursday, Sept. 11:

  • Joe & Jessi, Gunflint Tavern, 7 p.m.
  • Unplugged XIII, Mountain Stage Radio, North House Folk School, 7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 12:

  • Portage Band, American Legion, 6 p.m.
  • Unplugged XIII, Mountain Stage Radio, North House Folk School, 7 p.m.
  • Black River Revue, Gunflint Tavern, 9 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Bluefin Grille, 9 p.m.
  • Bughouse, Papa Charlie’s, 9:30 p.m.
  • Mountain Stage After-Party, Papa Charlie’s, 11:15 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 13:

  • Joe Paulik, Lutsen Resort, 7 p.m
  • The Sivertones,  Cascade Lodge Pub, 7:30 p.m.
  • Unplugged XIII, Singer/Songwriter Circle, North House Folk School, 7:30 p.m
  • Pert Near Sandstone, Papa Charlie’s, 9:30 p.m.
  • The Splinters, Papa Charlie’s, 11:15 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 14:

  • Billy D & Friends, Birch Terrace Lounge, 3 p.m.
  • Timmy Haus, Gunflint Tavern, 7:30 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 15:

  • Communist Daughter, Monday Night Songwriter Series, Papa Charlie’s, 8:30 p.m.
  • Pete Kavanaugh, Bluefin Grille, 9 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17:

  • Open Mic Night, Gunflint Tavern, 5 p.m.
  • Briand Morrison, Moguls Grille, 6 p.m.
  • Gordon Thorne & Bob Bingham, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
  • Black River Revue, 9 p.m., Gunflint Tavern

We have lots of photographs to choose from again this week.

Let’s start with a few of the beautiful full moon photos taken earlier this week.

Photo by Thomas Spence.


Photo by Ilena Berg.


Photo by Paul Sundberg.


Next, a few storm shots from the gale we had on Wednesday.

Jim Christiansen took this shot at Brighton Beach near Duluth.

Photo by Jim Christiansen.


Thomas Spence caught these rollers in the West End.

Photo by Thomas Spence.


Kaitlyn Bohlin took this photo a day before the gale.


And Sheila Smith photographed her first completed plein air painting, probably the same day.

Photo by Sheila Smith.


Lake Superior has been calm this week, too.

Photo by Stephan Hoglund.


Photo by David Grinstead.


And Devil Track Lake has been colorful.

Photo by Don Davison.


Here’s another inland beauty.

Photo by David Johnson.


And two moose in the rain…

Photo by Nace Hagemann.


And the sunsets have been incredible.

Photo by Don Davison.


Enjoy your weekend, everyone!


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