A traveling Iron Range exhibit celebrates the Ancient Cedars trail, and other Art Hounds ‘likes’

A woman stands in front of a large piece of artwork.
Artist Gwen Partin stands in front of her piece “Hibernation,” which is 75 by 75 inches and a paper collage with embroidery.
Carreen Heergaard

Painter Nancy Ensley of Ely, Minn., recommends a collection traveling across the Iron Range this summer. The Ancient Cedars Trail Exhibit features the work of 12 artists from Duluth and northern Minnesota, including paintings, fiber arts, weaving and bead art.

The trail — recently created through the efforts of the Department of Natural Resources, the city of Tower and a private landowner — preserves a grove of old-growth white cedar trees that date to the late 1800s.

There is no gallery in Tower to house the exhibit, Ensley said, so the works will stop in different Iron Range cities. This month, the collection is on view at the Lyric Center for the Arts in Virginia. The show travels to Ely’s Art Corner in July, the Borealis Art Guild in Hibbing in August, and Northwoods Friends of the Arts in Cook in September.


Northern Spark is back in the Twin Cities this year with a modified format. Instead of dusk-till-dawn arts events, the hybrid of live and virtual events is spread over two weeks. Musician Kashimana Ahua is excited about Dameun Strange’s Sol Soundgarden, a 24-hour interactive musical installation.

Strange’s work imagines a realm where musical flowers bloom. Visitors use a mobile device to locate and listen at locations representing different blooms, spread across the Rondo and Frogtown neighborhoods in St. Paul.

Strange composed each piece using sounds recorded in the corresponding space. Collaborator Sayge Carroll created instruments inspired by the environment. Ahua called it a “magical experience just waiting to happen.”

The installation runs Saturday beginning at 9:02 p.m. for 24 hours.


Sculptor Betsy Alwin of Minnetrista recommends Gwen Partin’s visual arts exhibit at Form + Content Gallery in Minneapolis.

The exhibit of large and small works on paper explores weaving, sewing, and textile patterns.  Alwin said you may first notice the encounter large collage drawings in Partin’s “Remnants” series. The paper and fabric scraps and hand embroidery are a tribute to her mother, a quilter.

Visitors don gloves to look through hand-bound leather books containing the artist’s drawings. “I really enjoyed being able to interact with the drawings in this personal way,” said Alwin. “I could sense the amount of time in each work, and it brought me closer to the meditative process of making them.”

The show closes Saturday. Hours are 1 to 5 p.m. by appointment at Form + Content Gallery.

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