Art Hounds: Art storefronts in Ely, Robert DesJarlait's paintings and Nora Montañez Patterson's new play

A piece of artwork showcases dancers
Ojibwe Mitigwaki Niimid (Ojibwe Woodland Dancers) by Robert DesJarlait
Courtesy photo

Rachel Coyne, an author and artist in Lindstrom, Minn., plans to attend the opening artist reception this Friday for Robert DesJarlait’s show “Woodland Visions” in Hinckley.

The solo show at the East Central Regional Arts Council Gallery features 21 watercolor paintings describing Ojibwe stories and culture. Coyne loves DesJarlait’s brightly colored paintings of dancers whose movement seems to leap off the canvas. Coyne looks forward to standing in the middle of this gallery and taking in the energy of the whole show.

DesJarlait is a member of the Red Lake Nation. He’ll give an artist talk at 5:30 p.m. Friday. The exhibit’s opening reception takes place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The show runs through March 17.

Lucy Soderstrom, director of the Ely Folk School, loves seeing the streets and businesses of her town transformed into an outdoor art gallery for the annual February Ely ArtWalk.

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A team of dedicated volunteers coordinate around 100 artists, whose work is on display in the storefronts of 40 local businesses.

Soderstrom says she notices new details every time she passes by. With the warmer weather recently she was able to take time looking. Some of her favorite window displays include Ely’s Old Fashioned Candy Store, where stained glass hangs over locally-made pottery, and Mitska’s Market, where Alexia Springer’s porcupine quill earrings are on display.

The Ely ArtWalk will be up through the end of February.

Theater-maker Ashawnti Sakina Ford of Plymouth, Minn., is looking forward to seeing Nora Montañez Patterson’s new play “Code You,” which opens Thursday in St. Paul. Ford was able to attend an earlier reading of the play, and she was captivated by its humor and rollercoaster of emotions, which shone even in a Zoom format.

The in-person production by Exposed Brick Theatre takes place at Dreamland Art’s intimate 40-seat theater in St. Paul.

The play is set during the height of the pandemic with a twist that turns the collective experience on its head. In this play, the main character is the only one who’s heard of the pandemic, and when three unmasked friends show up at her apartment for a party, parallel worlds unfold. The show runs through Feb. 25. 

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