Art Hounds recommend abstracts and stand-up

Plus, a North Mankato artist creates detailed designs

"Windfall" by Shawn McNulty
"Windfall" by Shawn McNulty; 36 inches by 36 inches, acrylic and pumice on canvas.
Photo by Mark Niznik | Courtesy of Shawn McNulty

Dana Sikkila runs the 410 Project, a “community art space” in Mankato, and she loves talking about the creative work happening in south-central Minnesota. High on that list is multi-disciplinary artist Dinah Langsjoen who lives in North Mankato.

Wildflower Series by Dinah Langsjoen.
Wildflower Series, 8 inches by 8 inches watercolors with gouache background, by Dinah Langsjoen.
Courtesy of Dinah Langsjoen

Langsjoen’s art uses watercolor, acrylic paint, pastels, ink and more.

“Dinah’s work always has a really strong sense of playfulness,” Sikkila said.

Much of Langsjoen’s recent work is abstract, and Sikkila loves the creative passion that radiates from each detailed piece.

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Photographer Anne Field also studies drawing. She says watching the process of Twin Cities artist Shawn McNulty inspires her to take more risks.

"Acorn" by Shawn McNulty
"Acorn" by Shawn McNulty; 40 inches by 40 inches, acrylic and pumice on canvas.
Photo by Mark Niznik | Courtesy of Shawn McNulty

“I don’t think anyone ever told him to tape a pallet knife to his foot, throw a canvas on the floor, put some paint on a canvas, and then go after it,” Field said.

She loves the energy and mystery of his abstract landscapes, adding, “he puts a lot of beauty and courage into the world.”


Stand-up comic Rebecca Wilson recommends a fellow Twin Cities comedian and magician David Harris, who has a new special “Recalculating” available through the Dry Bar Comedy website. Harris began performing magic in bars at 15, and his special includes both comedy and magic.

Dry Bar showcases clean, family-friendly comedy. Wilson saw a show in-person before the pandemic and called Harris one of the best crowd-workers in the Twin Cities comedy business.

“It’s never mean,” says Wilson, but Harris was able to “hone in on a person, draw out conversation, and then make something funny almost out of thin air.

This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.