First Friday Art Walk – August 7

A celebration of art and community in downtown Grand Rapids from 4 – 8 pm.

You can find a Google map of all the events by clicking here.

  1. Photography by Wayne Gudmundson

    Photography by Wayne Gudmundson

    MACROSTIE ART CENTER Presenting the 23rd Annual Juried Art Show and photography by Wayne Gudmundson in 47o North. Food and wine by the 17th Street Grill, and awards and artist talks at 6 pm.

  1. THE YARN GALLERY It’s Shawlapalooza time! Stop by to vote for your favorite shawl!
  1. STAINED GLASS WITH CLASS Showcasing glass fused art vases created by George Berkholz. 4 – 7 pm.
  1. John Zasada demonstrates birch bark weaving

    John Zasada demonstrates birch bark weaving at Central School

    CENTRAL SCHOOL ARTISTS LOFT Stop by the 3rd floor of Central School to see paintings by Leah Yellowbird and a special exhibit of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) in art and craft featuring local artists. John Zasada will be demonstrating birch bark weaving.

  1. POP-UP PARK PLAZA The pop-up park on the corner of Hwy 2 and 1st Ave NW will have food by Log Home Wood Fired Pizza and The Ice Cream Truck plus a hands-on art activity directed Tom Page.
ice cream truck

The Ice Cream Truck

  1. GRAND RAPIDS AREA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION Welcoming watercolor painter Pat Mortenson with a display of her original creations. Also showcasing local nonprofit Grace House with a handmade quilt raising funds for their programs.
  1. VFW POST 1720 It’s Tiki Time! Dinner at 5pm, themed drinks, a Tiki Boutique, and live music by Sam Miltich and Friends featuring Dave Karr on saxophone from 7 – 10 pm.

    Dave Karr-1 BW

    Dave Karr at the VFW

  1. JENNY & COMPANY Featuring portrait artist Isaiah Hoppe. He enjoys capturing personalities on canvas and getting to know the likes, dislikes, and beliefs of his subjects as he paints them.
  1. WINGS ‘N WILLOWS ART GALLERY & CUSTOM FRAMING Karen Olson’s pottery is inspired by nature and the North woods of Minnesota. She uses leaves, birch, berries and driftwood with clay to create fresh new ideas using what nature has to offer.
  1. FRAME UP Featuring mood paintings by local artist Susan Clandon. Susan paints acrylic landscapes both observed and imagined of mood and feeling. With Joann Heikkila on dulcimer.
  1. BREWED AWAKENINGS August’s featured artist is Sandy Schildt with watercolor collage. Music by singer-songwriter John Perkins from 4 – 5:30 pm, complimentary coffee & cookies, and a dinner special until 6:30 pm.
  1. GRAND RAPIDS AREA LIBRARY Presenting the Mosaic Art Project Finale from 5 – 7 pm. Refreshments, silent auction, and a chance to purchase mosaic canvases to support the library.

Celebrating Tall Timber Days with Art & Craft

John Zasada demonstrates birch bark weavingThe Itasca County Private Woodland Committee is presenting an exhibit and demonstration of Non-Timber Forest Products in art and craft in the Old Central School 3rd floor “Artists Loft” during Tall Timber Days and the First Friday Art Walk in downtown Grand Rapids this August.

YarishNon-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) include things like maple syrup, balsam boughs, mushrooms, and birch bark which come from the forest and have a variety of artistic, culinary, and commercial uses. The Itasca County area has a history steeped in the forest industry, but as the economy diversifies the percentage of people involved directly or indirectly in forest and natural resource sector grows smaller. Conscientious management and stewardship of these resources continues to be vitally important.

The Woodland Committee’s goal is to engage the public’s imagination, curiosity, and interest in the world of forestry through the arts. Working with local artisans, they will produce a temporary exhibit of artwork that utilizes NTFPs to showcase the talents of Itasca area artists, highlight non-timber uses of our natural forest resources, and excite the public’s interest and imagination around traditional and fine crafts.


John Beltman demonstrates the spring-pole lathe

A series of demonstrations will take place throughout Tall Timber Days (August 1 and 2) and during the First Friday Art Walk (August 7). Demonstrators include Ken Wagner (rustic furniture), Belva Shelhamer (wood carving), John Beltman (spring-pole lathe), and John Zasada (birch bark weaving). Additional artists will have work on display in the exhibit including antler baskets and other woven pieces by Angora artist Cathryn Peters and students from a birch bark weaving class at MacRostie Art Center with master craftsman Vladimir Yarish.

The exhibit will be open to the public from 9 am to 5 pm on August 1, 9 am – 1 pm on August 2, and 4 – 8 pm on August 7 and will take place on the 3rd floor of Old Central School.

The Itasca County Private Woodland Committee is a chapter of the statewide nonprofit Minnesota Forestry Association. The mission of the MFA and its chapters is to foster, promote, and encourage a more complete understanding by the citizens of Minnesota of the many advantages of intensive scientific management of forests, wood lots, and other renewable natural resources; the need to protect forests and wood lots from uncontrolled wildfire, insect damage, and disease; the study of the art and science of forests, and related natural resources; and the maintenance of public and private forest lands to provide for future forest product needs.







This activity is made possible in part by the voters of  Minnesota through a grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, thanks to appropriations from the Minnesota State Legislature’s general and arts and cultural heritage funds.

Great weather predicted for Arts Fair

Downtown Art FairThe Annual MacRostie Art Center Downtown Art Fair is this Saturday, July 11, 9 am – 4 pm. This event really takes advantage of the beauty of Old Central School grounds. Works in wood, watercolor, fiber, photography, jewelry and much more by over 20 local artists and craft workers will be on display. When done shopping outdoors, stop in the school to look around at even more shops.

Besides shopping free art activities will be available to all. Theresa Linnihan will offer Shadow Puppets from 10 – 12 pm. Aaron Squadroni will be working with anyone in the mood to create public art for Pop-up Park Plaza from 1 – 3 pm.

Yes! Live music! The Clearwater Hot Club 10 am – 12 pm and Mike Miller & Friends from 1 – 3 pm.

An art raffle benefiting the work of MacRostie Art Center will be held under the MAC tent throughout the day. Raffle tickets can be purchased in advance at MacRostie Art Center or at the Art Fair on July 11 for a chance to win. Prizes include a watercolor painting of blueberries by Diane Levar of Grand Rapids, a wood and leather bag by Sasha Golemgeske of Deer River, and a metal cattails sculpture by Bob Mitchell of Cohasset as well as over a dozen art items donated by the on-site artist vendors. Raffle winners will be announced beginning at 3 pm.

And no art fair would be complete without gyros from Leo’s Kitchen and/or pizza from Rick and Nancy at Log Home Wood Fired Pizza. For dessert? Northwoods Candy Company. Yum.

We love our arts-loving businesses. Thanks to American Bank, Lefty’s Tent and Party Rental and Paul Bunyan Communications for helping to make this happen.

Speaking of the Pop-up Park Plaza, thanks to Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, the Blandin Foundation, City of Grand Rapids and Aaron Squadroni who can make a blah space into a wonderland. The panels around the park are up and are beginning to grow some art. We are providing total entertainment for the staff at Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation across the street from the park, who are never short of suggestions for tweaking. That is what a project like this is for: engagement. The park is located on the corner of Highway 2 and 1st Avenue NW.

For August 7, First Friday, Artist Tom Page will stage an arts interaction in the park. And yes, you will also be able to buy pizza.

Kathy Dodge


First Friday Art Walk – July 3

A celebration of art and community in downtown Grand Rapids. 4 – 8 pm. Free and open to all!

  1. MACROSTIE ART CENTER Presenting The Big Trees of Calaveras County by Josh Winkler and sculpture by Alonso Sierralta, music by Marina Whight from 5 – 7 pm, food by The Forest Lake Restaurant, and artist talks at 6 pm.


    Aaron Squadroni

  1. THE YARN GALLERY Visit with local artist Aaron Squadroni and view selections from his recent works in printmaking, drawing, photography, and more.
  1. STAINED GLASS WITH CLASS Welcoming Mary Ann Soular with her handmade greeting cards on display and for sale. 4 – 7 pm.
  1. CENTRAL SQUARE MALL Hosting Bev’s Art Bar in front of Infinite Games, Inc. Make and take art for children and adults.  Come and join in the fun of this nationwide craze!
  1. CENTRAL SCHOOL ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE Artists in Residence include the Uncommon Loons theater group and painter Leah Yellowbird.
  1. POP-UP PARK PLAZA Stop the pop-up park on the corner of Hwy 2 and 1st Ave NW for food by Log Home Wood Fired Pizza, Up North Kettle Corn, and live music by Joseph Baird.
  1. VFW POST 1720 Live music by Brent and Kaz from 7 – 10 pm.

    Kara Hallie

  1. JENNY & COMPANY Welcoming jewelry designer Kara Hallie with one-of-a-kind pieces and her latest collection “Forage North” which explores how happiness, memories & wonder are connected to nature.
  1. WINGS ‘N WILLOWS ART GALLERY & CUSTOM FRAMING Introducing the Wood Wedge photography of Adam and Janell Hecimovich. This creative couple uses wildlife and landscape imagery in a “photo to wood” transfer technique to create decorative pieces perfect for any home or cabin.
  1. FRAME UP Showcasing bicycle inspired art! With work by Adam Swanson of Duluth and Minneapolis artist Adam Turman. Paintings, screenprints and canvases of bicycles. Pedal on down to see it!

    Adam Swanson

    Adam Swanson

  1. DRAMATIC RELAXATION MASSAGE Featuring artwork by local artist and photographer John Sarich, a $2 raffle for a half hour massage, and 5 minute chair massages for $5. Located above VidCom and next to Brewed Awakenings.
  1. BREWED AWAKENINGS July’s featured artist is Aaron Wenger with pairings of poetry and photos. Music by singer-songwriter Jonathan Shields from 4 – 6 pm, complimentary coffee and cookies, and a dinner special until 6:30 pm.

Boredom not an issue

Never claim to be bored in Grand Rapids. Last weekend was a perfect example. We breezed up north to the Edge Center to enjoy storyteller Kevin Kling, who never fails to please, with singer-songwriter Aaron Gabriel. Gabriel is a Bigfork native who has made it big in the music world. The two have large hearts. Much of their work has been with Interact Theater in Minneapolis. Interact welcomes all and is dedicated to talented performers with disabilities. As a result, the duo’s songs and stories are funny and also message acceptance and love.

Next at the Edge: Violinist Tim Kliphuis and guitarist Sam Miltich on July 2. This will be all fantastic jazz. Kliphuis is here from the Netherlands and puts on a stunning show. Think Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt

Picking and bowing under the pines.

Picking and bowing under the pines.

We have never taken in one of the area’s informal arts happenings, the Bluegrass Festival at the Itasca County Fairgrounds. Last Saturday we checked it off our list. For the past 26 years on the third weekend in June passionate players arrive from all over to jam under the pines. It is totally informal. RVs come with their pop up mosquito tents, and as we strolled through the campgrounds, we could enjoy one jam session after another. This whole idea began with Grand Rapids’ world-renowned guitar and mandolin maker Lloyd LaPlant. When he stopped to chat with us for a few minutes, my knowledge of Bluegrass increased sevenfold.

Alissi Stiles was a big and pleasant surprise at Wine and Pizza on the river

Alissi Styles was a big and pleasant surprise at Wine and Pizza on the river

Showboat Landing held their second Wine on the Mississippi on Wednesday at the Showboat site. You can’t beat Log Home Wood Fired Pizza let alone the view. We knew we were in store for a preview of Ziibi. Some of you may know Alissi Styles, who is seen around the area filming with partner Benjamin Braff. Who knew she could sing? I am talking about professional quality belt-it-out, often soulful singing. She will be part of Ziibi when it is performed at the Showboat landing on July 30 and 31, and August 1, 6, 7 and 8 at 8:30 pm. Thanks to the Grand Rapids Players for sponsoring the event.

The Grand Rapids Players’ performance of Peter Pan this weekend  at Grace Bible Chapel while the Reif Center is being remodeled. Friday, June 26 at 7 pm and Saturday at 2 pm.

Also coming up at the Showboat landing will be the first of the Reif Series Independent Films at 9:15, June 30. For A Woman will be shown under the stars. In case of rain, we will all swim over to the Grand Rapids Area Library.

Painted pop up park pavement.

Painted pop up park pavement in Minneapolis.

Finally, more on the Pop-Up Park in the northeast corner of what is known as the Kremer’s parking lot downtown. Artist Aaron Squadroni will begin an art installation very soon, thanks to a grant to Grand Rapids Arts from Arrowhead Regional Arts Council. In case you think we are being silly about the park, you need to know that we stumbled across a similar park in downtown Minneapolis at Orchestra Hall. Minneapolis is faced with a similar space that needs revitalization. Until that happens, the Pop Up will do. On First Friday July 3 our park will have the same fabulous pizza for sale and music by Joseph Baird. Come by.

Sign outside Peavy Plaza Pop Up Park.

Sign outside Peavy Plaza Pop Up Park.

Also get your tickets for Forest Jam on July 3 at the Forest History Center. You can never be bored in this town.

Kathy Dodge


Rural arts abound

It’s been two weeks since the Rural Arts and Culture Summit at the University of Minnesota Morris. The ideas presented still linger and brighten my days. I learned rural Minnesota is in a “sweet spot,” thanks mostly to us creative rurals backed by Legacy funding. One of the more moving presentations was a chunk of time devoted to 7 people taking 8 minutes and a PowerPoint to tell their stories. Sam Miltich did us proud with his story of love for rural living, his challenges with mental illness and the story of the VFW becoming a great jazz club.

Poetry grows along with grass at the Rural Arts and Culture Summit.

Poetry grows along with grass at the Rural Arts and Culture Summit.

Speaking of Sam, he in collaboration with the Itasca Orchestra and Strings Program held the second annual Jazz Camp last week. We took in the final concert featuring Sam, jazz violinist Tim Kliphuis and jazz cellist Martha Larson along with all the camp attendees. This is an annual event not to be missed. Sam and Tim did an amazing duet exchanging riffs. Fabulous!

Leah Yellowbird, the present artist in residence on the third floor of Old Central School, is extending her residency. She is getting much done and loves the space. If you haven’t, stop by and look at her amazing intricate paintings.

Leah Yellowbird discusses one of her works with Holly Downing.

Leah Yellowbird discusses one of her works with a visitor to the third floor of Old Central School.

June’s First Friday was a beautiful night and many were downtown taking in the art openings and other events. It was also the launch of Grand Rapids Arts’ Pop-up Park. Many are wondering why a picnic table, 3 benches, hay bales and potted plants are in the northwest corner of the downtown parking lot. That’s the point. We have piqued your curiosity. We want to improve on an empty parking lot. On First Friday, Log Home Wood Fired Pizza and Up North Kettle Corn were on hand for eager customers. Eighty people stopped by to sit on benches and hay bales to rest and nosh. Watch as the park evolves over the summer.

Believe it or not this is a park.

Believe it or not this is a park.

Speaking of pizza, don’t forget Wine and Pizza at the Showboat site beginning at 5pmon June 24. Enjoy a toast, great pizza and a view that speaks rural Minnesota big time!

A beautiful summer night on the MIssissippi.

A beautiful summer night on the MIssissippi.

Kevin Kling and Aaron Gabriel will be at the Edge Center at 7 pm on Friday, July 19. If you have never heard Kevin Kling, then you have missed some great laughs at our rural Minnesota expense. Aaron Gabriel is another hometown boy who made good in the big cities as an award-winning composer and musician. They have both collaborated near and far. How about Thailand? Now Bigfork!


Kathy Dodge 6/17/2015





Tuesday Concert at Zion today

Don’t miss the wonderful concert at noon today at St. Andrews Lutheran Church. This one features Olivia Skaja in Violin Showpieces.  She’ll be playing with Kaitlyn and Deena Skaja on guitar and piano.  You don’t want to miss this highly talented group.  Olivia is a show of her own.  This young lady has a fantastic future in front of her.   Free will donation is accepted for the concert.  At 12:45, St. Andrews will serve a great luncheon, at $6.00, the best deal in town.

Reflections on the Mississippi @ MacRostie Art Center

RiverProjectThe MacRostie Gallery at MacRostie Art Center is hosting The River Project by three Minnesota-based artists for the month of June.

MACROSTIE GALLERY | THE RIVER PROJECT: James Boyd Brent, Rick Love, and Daryn Lowman

Rick Love and James Boyd Brent have been working for more than a year on developing bodies of work that focus on the Mississippi river between Franklin and Fort Snelling, consisting of drawings, screen prints, mixed media prints, watercolors, and intaglios. Daryn Lowman has been making ceramic forms that related to barges, grain elevators, and vessels that represent the working and moving river.

Together, they have explored the river below and above the dam in Grand Rapids as well. Above the dam is expansive, lake-like; while below, the river is unbridled, flowing.

The River Project focuses on the artists’ experience of two specific local areas on the Mississippi to draw attention to the diverse qualities of the river and to its overriding importance in our lives and in the economic and cultural life of Minnesota. The exhibit is primarily about three artists striving to immerse themselves in the being of the river. The river is so obvious and magnificent in our landscape and yet it is often taken for granted. Amidst its natural beauty also exists a pollution problem on a grand scale. There is a misconception that the river can always heal itself because it flows downstream, so quickly out of site.


Also in the month of June, the Minnesota Gallery features artist Carey Dean.  Dean has created a series of glass on panel works, inspired by the common elements of the Midwestern landscape. She uses tress and bodies of water to metaphorically express the human experience of nature and of the passing of time. Dean communicates her ideas by inventing landscapes informed by memories, observations, photography and sketches. The variety of colored glass captures the atmospheric conditions and lighting effects on the landscape at different times of day and season. These landscapes are used as a mirror to evoke and express nostalgia for the unique vistas.

Carey Dean’s work combines traditional glass-working methods with exploration and experimentation with the medium. She works in a variety of mediums such as drawing, painting, and glass. But, it is her glass on panel mosaics that have been her most sought-after work – purchased by private collectors, the University of Minnesota, Morris, and several hospitals in the region.

MacRostie Art Center is a nonprofit art center dedicated to community growth through the arts in northern Minnesota. Located at 405 NW 1st Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids right across from Old Central School and online at Their June exhibitions are sponsored by Paul Bunyan Communications.


The IOSP Summer Jazz Camp winds up on Friday.   The week will culminate in a showcase concert at the Itasca Community College Davies Theater that will be open to the public. Students will perform on stage with the highly talented teaching artists: internationally acclaimed jazz violinist, Tim Kiphuis, Grand Rapids’ jazz guitarist, Sam Miltich, and cellist Martha Larson. The Showcase Concert will also feature the Clearwater Hot Club.  The Itasca Orchestra and Strings Jazz Camp  is a day camp designed for strings players who have at least three years prior experience with a stringed instrument.  Students will explore the subjects of jazz and improvisation and will learn new techniques and theory that will not only expand their repertoire but also enhance their understanding and ability in their primary area of study – whether it is classical, folk, or bluegrass.   The show last year got rave reviews.  Start time is 7 pm.