North Shore Art Scene

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Cook County MN Arts and Entertainment Weekly
Updated: 6 hours 1 min ago

The Birney Quick Exhibit & The Dragon Boat Festival

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 12:18am

Dan Schueller took this fantastic photo of his daughter, Everlee, doing what every child loves to do on a hot summer day — get wet!


Lots going on this weekend. The highly anticipated Birney Quick Retrospective opens at the Johnson Heritage Post with a reception from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, followed by  the North Shore Dragon Boat Festival.

The North Shore Dragon Boat Festival brings excitement to the Grand Marais Harbor this weekend. Photo by Tom Spence.

The North Shore Dragon Festival begins in Grand Marais on Friday with drums sounding across the harbor as dragon boat teams practice for the races on Saturday. They’ll all gather together in their bright-colored T-shirts and zany costumes for the Parade of Teams down Wisconsin Street at 7 p.m.  led by the Red Dragon puppet.

This is always a fun, high-energy event as the teams chant and sing and generally have a great time rallying their spirits for the upcoming race day. The parade ends in Harbor Park for the opening ceremonies, including “Waking the Dragon.

A family paddle opportunity follows at 7:30 p.m. and the Splinters will play in the park from 7:30-8:30 p.m. All welcome.

The races begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning with live broadcasts by WTIP Community Radio on-site.

The dragon boat races and dragon dashes continue through the day with the  divisional finals set for 3:15 p.m. The awards ceremony is at 5 p.m. There are also opportunities for youth and family paddles at 11:15 p.m. Register at the big tent by 11 a.m. Food is also available on-site.

The festival continues on Sunday when the Splinter Nation, an eight-piece dance band, will play in Harbor Park from 1-3 p.m. Sunday is also an alternate race day if there is inclement weather on Saturday.

For more information, visit (Hint: Boats are often looking for paddlers… check at the big tent to see if there are openings.) Whether you race or not, it’s always an event to enjoy in Grand Marais.

“The Tall Ones,” painting by Birney Quick.

Birney Quick, left, and Byron Bradley at the grill during the weekly fish fry, a tradition of the Art Colony at that time.

“A Quick Reflection: A Retrospective Exhibit of the Art of Birney Quick” opens at the Johnson Heritage Post with a reception from 5-7 p.m. Refreshments will be served and the public is invited.

The exhibit will include a wide selection of his works, including paintings, pen & ink drawings and more. Quick was co-founder, with Byron Bradley, of the Grand Marais Art Colony, and his influence is still felt today.

He was a plein air painter and he and Bradley first brought students from the Minneapolis School of Art  to Grand Marais for a summer arts program in 1947. Classes for children were also offered every Saturday. Quick and Bradley took over the arts program from the Minneapolis School of Art in 1956 and, over the years, expanded the programming to include a Friday night lecture series on art and a Town Hall Music Series, as well as a variety of classes and art opportunities for students.

Quick developed a strong artistic vision which has allowed the Art Colony to evolve and flourish even after his death in 1981.

During his career, Quick produced more than 10,000 artworks as well as wrote and illustrated “Adrift in the Aesthetic Latitudes.” 

The exhibit will continue at the Johnson Heritage Post through Sept. 7. The Heritage Post is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday and Monday.

Other exhibits open this weekend include an exhibit of watercolors by Tim Pearson at the Spotlight Gallery at the Grand Marais Art Colony and an exhibit of acrylic paintings by Tim Young at the Coho Cafe in Tofte.

To learn more about how paintings are made, check out the studio demo at the Art Colony on Friday at 10 a.m. with plein air painter Neil Sherman. The demos are free and everyone is invited.

For theater lovers, the Grand Marais Summer Theater Festival continues this week at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts with performances of  “Nana’s Naughty Nickers” ( 7 p.m. Thursday & Saturday) and “Nunsense: The Mega Musical” (7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday.) The plays are a production of the Grand Marais Playhouse and will be performed in repertory through Aug. 10. For more info and tickets, visit

Also, the Cook County Farm & Craft Market is open at the Senior Center parking lot from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. The market features a variety of arts and crafts as well as baked goods,  handmade soaps, gourmet salts and Fika coffees. Musicians often play during the market as well.

North House Folk School will hold free craft demonstration on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as well.

And author John Bouchard, who wrote “Life on the Invisible Line,”  which he also illustrated, will have a booksigning at the Lake Superior Trading Post from 1-3 p.m. Saturday.

In other art news. singer/songwriter Maria Nickolay will talk about her music and play a few songs on WTIP’s The Roadhouse on Friday night. Buck Benson will also talk about his upcoming bicycle adventure through South American on the show.

If you’re going to Thunder Bay on Saturday, check out the Die Active Y-Art Sale, an arts and antiques yard sale with emerging young artists and artisans. It will be held  behind the Hoito (314 Bay Street) in the ‘midsummer garden.

The  Y-Art sale is part of the 2nd annual Valley Fresh Buskers Festival, July 26-27.

The festival features street performers, food vendors as well as interactive audience events as well as lots of musicians. The festival is from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (EST) both days and is free and will be held in the Bay and Algoma neighborhoods in Thunder Bay. For more info, click here.

Meanwhile, here are the music opportunities in Cook County:

Thursday, July 24:

  • Joe Paulik, Music on the Beach, Lutsen Resort, 6 p.m.

Friday, July 25:

  • Portage Band, American Legion, 6 p.m.
  • Briand Morrison, Pie Place Cafe, 6 p.m.
  • Maria Nickolay, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7:30 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Music by the Campfire, Eagle Ridge Resort, 7:30 p.m.
  • The Splinters, Harbor Park, 7:30 p.m.
  • Michael Monroe, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
  • Cook County’s Most Wanted, Gunflint Tavern, 9 p.m.

Saturday, July 26:

  • Cook County’s Most Wanted, Birch Terrace Lounge patio, 3 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Bluefin Grille, 7 p.m.
  • Michael Monroe’s Log Cabin Concert, rural Grand Marais, reservations at 387-2919, 7 p.m.
  • Eric Frost, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7:30 p.m.
  • Gypsy Lumberjacks, Gunflint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 27:

  • SplinterNation, Bear Tree Park, 1 p.m.
  • Gypsy Lumberjacks, Gunflint Tavern, 7:30 p.m.

We found a great variety of photos this week.

Let’s start out with some wonderful photograph of moose by Nace Hagemann.

“Sometimes you just got an itch,” by Nace Hagemann,


And this one, taken at dawn:

Photo by Nace Hagemann.


 Paul Sundberg visited Kakabeka Falls recently and took this wonderful image.

Photo by Paul Sundberg.


Layne Kennedy took a trip down the Missouri River recently and he and his fellow paddlers discovered that umbrellas were good sun shades, as along as it wasn’t too windy. Here is a gorgeous photo he took one evening.

Photo by Layne Kennedy.


 Bryan Hansel was in Pictured Rocks National Park recently and took this wonderful shot of the Au Sable Lighthouse Station on a starry night.

Photo by Bryan Hansel.


Closer to home, David Johnson captured this evocative moment just before dawn in Grand Marais.

“Foggy Morning” by David Johnson


Summer really has arrived and here are two photos to prove it.

Thomas Spence posted this photo of flowers along the Poplar River the other day.

A Poplar River Summer” by Thomas Spence.

And David Grinstead posted this shot of brown-eyed Susans, which are blooming on the Gunflint Trail.

Photo by David Grinstead.


And finally, here two interesting lightning shots from the storms earlier this week.

The first is by David Johnson taken in Grand Marais.

Photo by David Johnson.


And here’s a photo we found on Destination Duluth yesterday which we posted on our NorthShore ArtScene Facebook page.

It’s of the same thunderstorm that hit Grand Marais. The photo was taken by Cary Schmies, assistant district attorney in Dulut. People say that lightning never strikes the Lift Bridge. You decide.

Photo by Cary Schmies.


Have a wonderful weekend!




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Fun Times

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 11:49pm

Sandra Updyke took this luscious photo the other day.


It’s high summer in Cook County and the season will be launched with the beginning of the Grand Marais Playhouse’s Summer Theater Festival on Thursday night with the first performance of “Nunsense: The Mega Musical” by Dan Goggin at 7 p.m.

The cast of “Nunsense: The Mega Musical.”

The play with be performed in repertory with the comedy “Nana’s Naughty Nickers,” by Katherine DiSavino, Thursday through Sunday until Aug. 10. See for the complete schedule of performances.

The cast of “Nunsense” includes  Rena Rogers, Karina Roth, Karen Blackburn, Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux, Micheala Peterson, Jan Healy, Gerry Grant, Don Grant, and Daniel Ditmanson.

Nunsense  was originally created from a line of nun greeting cards that the playwright, Dan Groggin, developed. He expanded the concept into a musical, which opened off Broadway in New York in 1985, where it ran for 3,672 shows— one of the most commercially successful Off Broadway shows ever. By the time the show closed, it had become an international phenomenon  and was translated into 21 languages with 5,000 productions worldwide.

The cast of  “Nana’s Naughty Nickers” includes Yvonne BlockJan HealyJulie Fredlund, Karl OlsonRon McClellanJane Gellner, Bill Shaffer and Tina Krauz.

Tickets can be purchased online at  or at the door.

Photo by Jim Christiansen.

This is the weekend of flower shows in Cook County. The Grand Marais Garden Club will host the 70th annual Flower Show at the Cook County Community Center on Friday, July 18, from noon to 5 p.m. The theme is “Birds, Bees and Blossoms.” Refreshments will be served. All invited.

On Saturday, the West End Garden Club will host its Flower Show at the Schroeder Town Hall from 1-5 p.m. The theme this year is “Around the World in 80 Bouquets.” The show will also include a program on minature gardens Refreshments will be served.

The Grand Marais Art Colony continues its Friday studio demonstrations with a demo in the clay studio by Natalie Sobanja at 10 a.m. The demo is free. All invited.

On Saturday, the  Cook County Farm & Craft Market runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Senior Center parking lot.

Also at 9 a.m. on Saturday, author James Norton and photographer Becca Dilley who produced the book, “Lake Superior Flavors,” will be guests at a celebration between Drury Lane Books and the World’s Best Donuts. The Donut Shop was featured in the book.

The Bally Blacksmith Tent is open again this Saturday  between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. It is across the street from the Senior Center parking lot. The public is invited to enjoy refreshments, identify mystery artifacts from the old shop, share stories about the old days and learn about the renovation and documentation project at the Blacksmith Shop sponsored by the Cook County Historical Society.
At noon on Saturday,  WTIP Community Radio will broadcast the show that Mountain Stage Radio recorded at Unplugged at North House Folk School last year. Performers include The BoDeans, Dead Man Winter, Jill & Julia (Jill Sobule & Julia Sweeney), The Pines and the Jonathan Rundman Acoustic Trio. WTIP broadcasts at 90.7 FM.

Mountain Stage Radio Show is coming back to North House again this year. Find more information on this year’s Unplugged event, Sept. 11-14  and  buy tickets at

There are some great art exhibits to see this month, too. “Feels Like Home,” with beadpainting by Jo Wood and acrylic paintings by Don Lessard continues at the Johnson Heritage Post through July 20.

And the Grand Marais Art Colony is exhibiting watercolors by Tim Pearson in its Spotlight Gallery through the end of the month.

The Thunder Bay Art Gallery has a number of on-going exhibits this summer including “Nowhere is a Place,” paintings by Julie Cosgrove; “Moving Metal,” featuring 13 contemporary Canadian silversmiths, “Push: Contemporary Glassworks,” and an exhibit of Benjamin Chee Chee’s artwork from the permanent collection.

And the Definitely Superior Art Gallery in Thunder Bay is featuring three exhibits in its space: The Members’ Show, an exhibit of works by the Die Active Collective and a video artist.

In other art news, Threads is featuring paintings by Heidi Sobanja and Yelena Quistad and photography by David Johnson.

Great Gifts of Lutsen has cards by Betsy Bowen, Kelly Dupre, Sandi Pillsbury-Gredzens, Anna Hess and Jane Richards.

Kah Nee Tah Gallery in Lutsen is featuring watercolors by Marie Sweeney. The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

July artists at the the Cross River Heritage Center include Sandi Pillsbury Gredzens, David Hahn, Travis Novitsky, Bruce Palmer, Rose Vastila, Alan and Shell Foeckler.

And here’s a great idea for writers: Shelby “Miss Guided” Gonzalez has organized a Writing Field School Oct. 3-5 at Lutsen Resort. It promises to “deepen your everyday writing skills and invite more creativity into your life.”

It also promises to:

  • Demolish your writer’s block – and learn exactly what to do next time you get stuck
  • Level up your writing skills
  • Get key insider insights on getting published
  • Write your first adventure story

Want a taste of what this 3-day event is offering? Visit You can also order a free “Writer’s Block Demolition Kit” on the site. (We ordered one.)

Meanwhile, there’s lots of great music this weekend. Here’s the schedule.

Thursday, July 17:

  • Joe Paulik, Music on the Beach, Lutsen Resort, 6 p.m.
  • Pete Kavanaugh, Sydney’s, 7 p.m.
  • Gordon Thorne, Gunflint Tavern, 8 p.m.

Friday, July 18:

  • Briand Morrison, The Pie Place Cafe, 6 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Music by the Campfire, Eagle Ridge Resort Campfire, Lusten, 7:30 p.m.
  • Cherry Dirt, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7:30 p.m.
  • Black River Revue, Gunflint Tavnern, 9 p.m.

Saturday, July 19:

  • Boyd “Bump” Blomberg & Adam Moe,  Bluefin Grille, 7 p.m.
  • Pete Kavanaugh, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7:30 p.m.
  • Black River Revue, Gunflint Tavern, 9 p.m.
  • Dance Party with DJ Beavstar, Papa Charlie’s, 9:30 p.m.

Monday, July 21:

  • Joe & Jessi, Gunflint Tavern, 7 p.m.
  • Pete Kavanaugh, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, July 22:

  • Timmy Haus, Gunflint Tavern, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 23:

  • Eric Frost, Music on the Mountain at Moguls Grille, 9 p.m.
  • Gordon Thorne and Bob Bingham, Bluefin Grille, 9 p.m.

Our favorite photographers were definitely out and about this week. Here’s a selection:

First up, taking a drink — moose-style and deer-style.


Photo courtesy Trail Center Lodge.


Photo by Michael Furtman.

Here’s one by Nace Hagemann … he noted that the mom guarded her chick as it warmed itself on the road.

Photo by Nace Hagemann.


Paul Pluskwik caught this fantastic shot of a loon family on a northern Minnesota lake.

Photo by Paul Pluskwik.


Here’s a great shot of an indigo bunting by David Brislance.

Photo by David Brislance.


Hawkweed and a butterfly… beautiful colors by Dennis Chick.

Photo by Dennis Chick.


Layne Kennedy captured this wonderful image of Minnehaha Falls in the Twin Cities.

Photo by Layne Kennedy


And Bryan Hansel captured this intriguing shot with an underwater camera.

Photo by Bryan Hansel.

There were some wonderful skyscapes, too. Here’s a gorgeous shot by Travis Novitsky.

Photo by Travis Novitsky.


And here’s what is coming down the pike — very soon!

Photo by Heidi Pinkerton.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


















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