Out and about in other venues

Jesse Davis on viola, Evan David and Maggie Anderson on celli

Jesse Davis on viola, Evan David and Maggie Anderson on celli

With the Reif Center remodeling underway, the Itasca Symphony Orchestra moved east to the Greenway High School Auditorium for its spring concert on May 16. The acoustics in this venue are superb, a treat for the musicians. Back for a return engagement by demand was tenor Bill Bastion. Bastion with his long list of credentials is just another example of the stunning talent in the North Country. He is a biker, looks like a big burley biker, but has the sweetest voice. The operatic pieces all related to spring and love, and at Music Director Keith Swenson’s request, Bastion added Edelweiss from the Sound of Music.

The Orchestra also performed George Frideric Handel’s Water Music. If you have not been to an ISO concert, do yourself a favor and head up to the Edge Center next November 8 to see them in another acoustically superb venue. The ingredients to a great community orchestra are a mix of amateur and professional musicians from all walks of life, an excellent director, and a selection of music that plays to the strengths of the group. Artistic Director Keith Swanson treats his musicians as family, is patient, and maintains high standards.

Principal cellist for the Orchestra, Maggie Anderson, held her own graduation concert on Sunday, May 17. Maggie is a poised musician who performed contemporary and classical works for piano and cello. We will miss her in the Orchestra but wish her the best.

Speaking of the Edge Center, this upcoming Memorial Day Weekend the Edge Wild Players under the direction of Patty Feld will reprise the best of the best billed as The Best of the Players: The Ten-Year Reunion Show. Times are Friday, May 22 and Saturday, May 23 at 7 pm and Sunday, May 24 at 2 pm.


First Friday Art Walk – May 1

Downtown Grand Rapids from 4 – 8 pm on Friday, May 1. Free and open to everyone! Celebrate the arts in our community! A Google map of all events and locations can be found by clicking here.

  1. MACROSTIE ART CENTER Presenting two new exhibits for May: watercolors by Keren Kroul and the 8th Annual Miniatures Exhibition. Food by the Sawmill Inn and artist talks at 6 pm.


    Keren Kroul @ MacRostie Art Center

  1. BENDERS SHOES Hosting Hannah Harling with Hannah’s Handmade Creations: bath salts, hand milled and glycerin soaps and more! 4 – 7 pm
  1. THE YARN GALLERY Berenice Reader will be displaying her “proverbial” art work. She joins whimsical color, design, and her favorite proverbs, using art pens, markers and gouache. Stop in to enjoy this show and sale.
  1. STAINED GLASS WITH CLASS Welcoming photographer Kristin Bergman. She specializes in kids, families, weddings, and graduation. 4 – 7 pm.
  1. CENTRAL SQUARE MALL Itasca Vintage Car Club will display cars in the mall and the parking lot across Hwy 2. Stop by to check them out!


    Itasca Vintage Car Club @ Central Square Mall

  1. TRUE NORTH AVEDA SALON AND SPA True North will be offering hair braiding secrets and snacks! Stop in to the Old Central School to learn some new techniques just in time for prom!
  1. JANNA SALMELA PHOTOGRAPHY Featuring the artwork of Aili Juusola. This talented young artist works in PrismaColor pencils and draws a variety of subject matter with an emphasis on realistic portraits.
  1. CENTRAL SCHOOL ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE Visit the 3rd floor “Artists Loft” to check in with the Uncommon Loons who are working on their summer production Ziibi and visit with painter Leah Yellowbird.
  1. GRAND RAPIDS AREA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION Showcasing artwork from the Kiesler House “Art Beyond Bounds” project, which provides hands-on art education to those recovering from a mental illness.
  1. VFW POST 1720 Live jazz music with Sam Miltich & Friends 7-10 pm.
  1. WINGS ‘N WILLOWS ART GALLERY & CUSTOM FRAMING Welcoming Zentangle artist Donna Miller with cards, wearable goods, and more. The Zentangle Method uses structured patters to create beautiful images.
  1. MISSISSIPPI DIAMOND JEWELERS Featuring ​Twila Ryhti Richter and her collection of Silver Shimmer Jewelry: the perfect gift for Mothers Day.  Stop by between 4 – 7 pm to register for a drawing for a pendant.

    silver shimmer

    Silver Shimmer Jewelry @ Mississippi Diamond Jewelers

  1. FRAME UP Hosting the annual art exhibit of Nancy Mike Johnson’s fourth grade students displaying nature-oriented works linked to a writing project with local writer Susan Hawkinson, who will also be present.
  1. BREWED AWAKENINGS April’s featured artist is Sandy Boreen with mixed media artwork. Music by Maggie Anderson on cello from 4 – 6 pm, a dinner special until 6:30 pm, and complimentary coffee & cookies.
  1. DRAMATIC RELAXATION MASSAGE $2 raffle for an hour massage, 5 minute chair massages for $5, and snacks.
  1. NORTHERN COMMUNITY RADIO Celebrating May Day with the KAXE annual meeting and potluck party. Dinner starts at 6:30. Bring a May Day-inspired dish for the potluck and your own beverage – open to everyone!

Porters and Poetry at MacRostie Art Center

portersandpoetryThe Uncommon Loons are presenting Porters & Poetry on Friday, April 24 at the MacRostie Art Center. Social hour starts at 7 p.m. with Summit Great Northern Porter available in keepsake glasses for $10 ($5 for refills). Additional beverages will be available for purchase including nonalcoholic drinks, wine, and samples of homebrew from members of the Boreal Brewers. Poetry beginning at 8 p.m. with readings by featured poets punctuated by opportunities for open mic. Original poetry is encouraged but not required.

For more information go to uncommonloons.com or check out the Facebook event page.

#uncommonloons #portersandpoetry #onlyinMN

Sunday, 2:30 PM – Grand Rapids Area Male Chorus Concert – Timberlake Lodge

Be sure to go to the Timberlake this Sunday to enjoy this concert. The GR Area male chorus is fresh from a Big Sing this past weekend. The chorus presents “Music of the Great American Song book”, top hits of Broadway and Hollywood Film from the 1920’s to the 1960’s. They will also be featuring the big band sound of “Swing Delivery”. Tickets available at the door, from Reed Drug or from chorus members. Adults are $10.00 and students and children are free.

Call for Artists: Get Fit Itasca: Open Streets “Paint the Pavement” Demonstration Project

A big thank you to our partners, Get Fit Itasca, for this opportunity for local artists!

Get Fit Itasca is seeking proposals from artists for design and implementation of a spray-chalk mural on the intersection of 5th street North and 1st Ave Northeast in downtown Grand Rapids. The goal is to demonstrate place-making and facilitate community engagement in pop-up tactics for bettering the built-environment. We would like to determine if utilizing art is a valid method of calming traffic and creating a more inviting environment for walking and biking. The selected artist will be compensated $300.00 for design and production. The road project must be completed between 10am and 1pm on June 6, 2015 – during Get Fit Itasca’s: Open Streets Event. At this time the roadway will be closed to motorized vehicles, however, those using human forms of transportation will be on the roadway. Get Fit Itasca will supply the selected artist(s) with as many 15 oz. cans of spray chalk as needed in the following colors: green, yellow, blue, red, white, and/or orange. The chalk request must be made prior to May 8, 2015 to ensure timely arrival.

Proposals should be submitted in writing or via email by April 28th to Ashley Runge.
Ashley Runge, Get Fit Itasca Community Health Coordinator 400 River Road Grand Rapids, MN 55744 ashley@getfititasca.org

Proposals should include: artist’s name, address, phone, email, and a small scale rough-draft of the art to be placed in the intersection.

An artist will be chosen by May 1, 2015.

For more information, contact Ashley Runge, Get Fit Itasca Community Health Coordinator at (218)327-1161 extension 233 or at

Poetry, pow wow and groundbreaking

While First Friday in Grand Rapids was in full swing, those over Bemidji way were being treated to the 4th Annual Beat Café produced by Northern Community Radio with Grand

Beat Cafe host Steve Downing

Beat Cafe host Steve Downing

Rapidian Steve Downing as the host. This event is a combination of poetry readings and music, this year by Brian Laidlaw and the Family Trade. Poets from as far away as Alaska took the stage to enchant the live audience for two hours.

The next day Northern Community Radio also was on task as one of the movers and shakers to host the Bemijigamaag Pow Wow at the Sanford Center in Bemidji. Grand Rapids Artist in Residence at Old Central School Leah Yellowbird was part of the Grand Entry. On the third floor of Old Central School she is on task for a deadline for a showing at the AICHO Gallery in Duluth. That gallery is a story in itself. Make sure you ask Leah about it when you stop by.

A blur of regalia during the Grand Entry.

A blur of regalia during the Grand Entry.

The Reif Center groundbreaking ceremony is another story. On Monday, April 6, many gathered for a lovely celebration of the construction of the new Reif to be completed in the spring of 2016. While many dignitaries were on hand, I was equally pleased to see the inclusion of local artists as part of the program: a trio from the Itasca Orchestra and Strings Program, the Itasca Community Chorus, Reif Dancers, The Grand Rapids Players and the Grand Rapids High School Jazz Band.

And finally, congrats to the Itasca Community Chorus as they board the bus this week for New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall with other selected groups from around the United States. This is a big honor!

First Friday Art Walk – April 3

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

A Google map of the events can be found by clicking here.


Wes Bailey's roller derby photography @ MacRostie Art Center

Wes Bailey’s roller derby photography @ MacRostie Art Center

1. MACROSTIE ART CENTER Presenting two new exhibits for April: paintings by Michael Eble in the MacRostie Gallery and roller derby photography by Wes Bailey in the Minnesota Gallery. With live music by Sam Miltich from 4 – 6 pm, food and wine, and artist talks at 6 pm.

2. THE YARN GALLERY The lambs are coming! From 5 – 7 pm visit two twin 6-week old Corriedale lambs from 9R Ranch in Goodland.  Corriedale sheep are known for their quality wool, and lambs are always known for their cuteness!  Get a picture with some little lambs just in time for Easter.

3. STAINED GLASS WITH CLASS Featuring Hannah’s Handmade Creations: bath salts,hand milled and glycerin soaps. Open until 7 pm.

Corriedale Lambs @ The Yarn Gallery

Corriedale Lambs @ The Yarn Gallery

4. CENTRAL SQUARE MALL Think spring! The Easter Bunny will be at the Central Square Mall for pictures until 7pm.

5. TRUE NORTH AVEDA SALON AND SPA Hosting an Aveda Earth Month Fundraiser to help raise money for Audubon Mississippi River Initiative! Join us for Express Services, Door Prizes and many ways to donate to a great cause!!

6. JANNA SALMELA PHOTOGRAPHY Featuring the acrylic paintings and sketch artwork of Shoshana Schlauderaff.

7. CENTRAL SCHOOL ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE Visit the 3rd floor “Artists Loft” to check in with the the Uncommon Loons (John Schroeder, Steph Schroeder, and Nathan Bergstedt) and meet the newest artist in residence: Leah Yellowbird.

Loon Country Quilters @ Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation

Loon Country Quilters @ Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation

8. GRAND RAPIDS AREA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION Hosting the Loon Country Quilters displaying their work including a sample of traditional quilts, quilts of valor, and some art quilt wall-hangings.

9. VFW POST 1720 Live jazz music with Sam Miltich and Friends featuring Russ Sacket on keyboard and vocalist Helen Miltich Kaul from 7–10 pm.

10, JENNY AND COMPANY Molly Miskovich with Beautycounter will have her entire product line displayed and a host of knowledge on the self-regulated personal care product industry. Beautycounter’s mission is to get 100% safe, luxurious, and effective products into the hands of everyone.

11. WINGS ‘N WILLOWS ART GALLERY & CUSTOM FRAMING Hosting Leah Fox, a mixed media artist who incorporates found objects in all of her paintings. She uses old dictionary pages, music books, vintage patterns, and repurposed items to give fun, new life to her art. Multiple layers of paper and paint bring a dimensional look to her whimsical art style.

12. FRAME UP Come help Chris & Deb celebrate the 33rd year of Frame Up!  It will be a fun-filled evening with music, art, and treats.  Chris will be displaying her new functional felted creations and Deb has some new pastels to share.  Plus a drawing for a framed print for a lucky art lover.

Cult of the Sunny Jims @ Dramatic Relaxation Massage

Cult of the Sunny Jims @ Dramatic Relaxation Massage

13. DRAMATIC RELAXATION MASSAGE Featuring live music from The Cult of the Sunny Jims, a $2 raffle for an hour massage session, snacks, and 5 minute chair massages for $5.

14. BREWED AWAKENINGS April’s featured artist is watercolor painter Pat Mortenson with music by Mike Miller on acoustic guitar and banjo from 4:00 – 6 pm, a dinner special of Raw Kelp Noodles with Cashew Gravy until  6 pm, and complimentary coffee & cookies.

Zodiac Trio: the road less taken

The Zodiac Trio had never been to Northern Minnesota, but there they were on the stage of the Reif Center, Sunday afternoon, March 22. Spokesperson for the group, clarinetist Kliment Krylovsky, did the usual visitor’s lament about the cold. Really? It was above freezing and the sun was out. Krylovsky did a fantastic job introduZodiac_Trio2cing the pieces. His companions, Vanessa Mollard on violin and Riko Higuma at the Steinway spoke as true virtuosos through their playing.

The traditional configuration of a piano trio is violin, piano and cello, but Zodiac has taken a less traditional path by substituting the clarinet for cello. Their choice of music for the concert also took the same path. Except for Claude Debussy, all the composers on the program were born in the 20th Century. The concert began with what I call a Klezmer frenzy, “Fraylack” by Paul Schoenfeld. In fact, Krylovsky kiddingly warned the front row that the pieced would be loud. It was a great introduction of what was to come: a three-part work by Gian Carlo Menotti and two tangos by Astor Piazzolla. After intermission, the trio performed “Klezmer Fantasy,” by Andrew List, a contemporary composer. Krylovsky remarked that working with live composers allows a group to ask what a piece really means and how it should be played. The following duet by Debussy was a killer performed by pianist Higuma and Krylovsky. It was used for auditions for aspiring clarinet players to enter the Paris Conservatory. Bela Bartok’s “Contrasts” concluded the program. The piece was commissioned by Benny Goodman and originally performed by Goodman at Carnegie Hall with Bartok at the piano. Need I say more? Wow!

Also I want to share how much we enjoyed the Itasca Orchestra and Strings Program student concert on March 19. Julie Stein has taken over as interim director. She and instructors Debbie Losik, Maggie Anderson and Olivia Skaja put together an imaginative program with new twists and turns that ran like clockwork. Those young musicians just keep getting better and better.

Kathy Dodge

Grand Rapids Arts

Sleeping Giant at MacRostie Art Center

MacRostie Art Center is showing two exhibitions for the month of March. The MacRostie Gallery is hosting Sleeping Giant by Vance Gellert, and the Minnesota Gallery showcases paintings by Dakota Hoska. The March exhibitions are sponsored by Miskovich Dental and Greater Insurance Service.


Picture 095Sleeping Giant from the Ojibwe Mesabi, the name they gave the Laurentian Divide that brought the rich iron ore to the surface of northeastern Minnesota. The social and economic phenomenon that is the Iron Range is arguably Minnesota’s most important story, and for sure the one least known by its residents. It’s a classic story of American entrepreneurship; utilization – or plundering – of natural resources, depending on your take; immigration of those seeking of a better life; labor struggles; and social and cultural integration. It’s a story like many others – the building of America during the 19th and early 20th century. Sleeping Giant is a photographic journey through the landscape, sociology, culture, economy and evolution of this intriguing area of Minnesota, as one would experience it today. It is a story of a determined, indomitable people in an inspiringly beautiful but challenging landscape.

Vance Gellert is a photographer who tells people’s stories. They may be defined as a group through what they do (REAL: Artist Portraits and Landscapes – self taught artist of Minnesota; Smoke and Mirrors – traditional and shamanic healers and rituals of Bolivia and Peru), an experience they shared (BRIDGE, portraits and interviews with survivors and first responders of the 35W bridge collapse), or a shared environment (Sleeping Giant, the visual environment of Minnesota’s Iron Range). Gellert says, “A story catches my attention that greatly intrigues me; I want to know more and plunge into my photographic investigation. That’s augmented with additional research to know more of the subject. It’s a process, what I learn directs subsequent image-making strategies.” Part documentary, part journalism, it’s visual story telling.


6_dhoska_LakotaFamilyJewelsDakota Hoska’s paintings capture intimate, singular moments that might otherwise go uncelebrated. Her work also commemorates the beauty of the human experience by utilizing playful and surprising color interactions to underscore the ephemeral and fleeting nature of our existence. “In my practice, I focus on being aware of my surroundings and on recognizing possibility in the mundane. I concentrate on making beautiful art whether through simplicity of line or celebration of color, and I revel in the accidental.”

Born and raised in South Dakota, the wide -open prairie had a profound effect on how Hoska views the world. Plenty of space and exposure to nature formed her independent spirit and environmental appreciation. Throughout her artistic pursuits and family duties, she began collecting information regarding her Native American heritage. As an infant, she had been adopted out to a Norwegian family. In 2009, she joined an Adoptee’s group that helps Native Adults find their way back into the community. In 2013, she reconnected with her biological family and discovered she is Oglala Lakota, from Pine Ridge (Wounded Knee).

First Friday Art Walk – March 6

A celebration of art and community in downtown Grand Rapids. 4 – 8 pm. Free and open to the public! A Google map of events can be found by clicking here.

  1. Picture 095MACROSTIE ART CENTER Presenting two new exhibits for March: Vance Gellert’s Iron Range photography in the MacRostie Gallery and paintings by Dakota Hoska in the Minnesota Gallery. With food and wine, artist talks at 6 pm, and live cello music by Maggie Anderson from 6:30 – 8pm.
  1. GRAND RAPIDS ARTS & CULTURE COMMISSION Stop by the art studio at MacRostie Art Center to celebrate the completion of the Arts and Culture Plan for the City of Grand Rapids. Features of the plan will be on display and a toast will be given at 6pm.
  1. THE YARN GALLERY Celebrating its 3 Year Anniversary, the Yarn Gallery will be having drawings, giveaways, and a very special musical performance by Peter and Phil Kneeland!
  1. STAINED GLASS WITH CLASS Lisa Berkholz will demonstrate “making something from nothing” – creating small projects out of odds and ends to decorate your home.
  1. CENTRAL SQUARE MALL Hosting the Old and Antique Snowmobile Expo with 50 + sleds, videos, memorabilia, and appraisals.
  1. CENTRAL SCHOOL ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE Visit the 3rd floor “Artists Loft” to check in with the resident artists Staci Taylor and the Uncommon Loons (John Schroeder, Steph Schroeder, and Nathan Bergstedt).
  1. VFW POST 1720 Live jazz music with Sam Miltich and Friends featuring Russ Sackett on keyboard and Doug Haining on saxophone from 7–10 pm.
  1. girls-on-the-dock-studyFRAME UP Featuring the impressionistic oil paintings of Swan Lake artist Marva Harms, a plein air painter who paints colorful scenes of Northern Minnesota and beyond right on location.  Marva doesn’t paint things, but rather the “light” on things, and will show both oils and giclee prints.
  1. ITASCA COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY Presenting new exhibits featuring artists Jackie Dingmann, Gene Lysaker, Dodie McNew, and Terry Maciej. ICHS will bring up from its collection original artwork from these and many more artists. Hot chocolate will be served! Open from 4:00 -7:00 pm.
  1. 54e78e1811962.imageDRAMATIC RELAXATION MASSAGE Hosting an Open House with snacks, a raffle for a one-hour massage, free 5-minute chair massages, and improvised piano music by Simeon Aitken.
  1. BREWED AWAKENINGS March’s featured artist is watercolor painter Paula Litchke with cello music by Maggie Anderson from 4:00 – 6 pm, a dinner special until 6:30, and complimentary coffee & cookies.
  1. OAK HILL ASSISTED LIVING The Acorn Gallery presents “Three Generations” a sampling of paintings from the family of Gerald Friesen. This family holds a strong tradition of celebrating and encouraging creativity in its many forms.