Art Hounds: Ely is about to get crowded

a booth with wooden art pieces
Arkstone Booth at the Blueberry Arts festival in Ely, Minn.
Courtesy of Ely Chamber of Commerce

Ian Francis Lah is an actor and the executive artistic director for the Northern Lakes Art Association in Ely, Minn. He’s currently in rehearsals for the musical “Songs for a New World,” but this week he took time out to sing the praises of another event.

“I love this time of year in Ely, Minnesota, because it’s when the Blueberry Art Festival happens, he said of the festival, which features more than 200 artists and crafters, 25 food vendors, a beer garden, and freshly baked blueberry pies. 

“It’s a wild time. Ten thousand people pass through a day and that is triple the amount of citizens in Ely.”

The Blueberry Art Festival takes place in Whiteside Park and runs from Friday, July 28, through Sunday, July 30.

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booth with many art pieces on display
Katie Bromme Water Color booth at the Blueberry Arts festival in Ely, Minn.
Courtesy of Ely Chamber of Commerce

By day, Carolyn Cherry is an educator with the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District. In her spare time, she is passionate about nurturing her inner artist.

She met fiber artist Deborah Foutch while taking a class built around the book “The Artist’s Way.” Foutch, whose work focuses on the natural world, spends a lot of time mentoring other artists. Cherry was delighted to get a sneak peek at Foutch’s exhibition “Nine Artists in Conversation,” which features the work of Foutch and eight of her mentees.

”It’s a nurturing exhibition for those who want to be creative in different ways,” Cherry said. ”In ‘The Artist’s Way,’ they talk about artist dates, and I think this is the perfect artist date.”

The exhibition opens with a reception 6-8 p.m. Saturday, July 29, and runs through August at the On2 Gallery in the California Building in Northeast Minneapolis.

Sasha Warren is a Minneapolis writer whose work has been published in the mental health magazine “Asylum.”

“I try to pay attention to events both in the literature world and in the disability scene,” he said. Cowchella, put on by Cow Tipping Press “is the real big event that joins the two.”

The literary festival features writers with developmental and intellectual disabilities. “Every year there’s some kind of surprise,” he said. “But the best part is just walking around, soaking in the scene and feeling the pervasive joy of the atmosphere.”

Cowchella takes place 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3, at Springboard for the Arts in St. Paul.

collage of four art events
Various attendees and performers at the event 'Cowchella'
Courtesy of Cow Tipping Press
This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.