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Art tour goes on a 'Roundabout'


November 1, 2019

Dragon Fire Ceramics in Wrenshall is "building community through the clay arts." Contributed photos

No matter which exit you take, next week's Roundabout: North Carlton County Art Tour offers a different artistic experience at each of its seven stops:

A theater.

A museum.

Two grand historic homes.

A ceramics studio.

An arts-centric shop.

A working newspaper office.

"The arts enrich our lives, whether you are a doer or an observer," said local artist Kris Nelson, who also curates the gallery at the Encore.

Visit one or visit all seven roundabout locations between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7: the Pine Knot News office, Encore! Performing Arts Center and Gallery, Gateway Goods, The Historic Scott House, Dragon Fire Ceramics, Oldenburg House and the Fond du Lac Cultural Center and Museum. Be warned, the stops are not exactly close together, so plan for drive time. (Check out a map of the roundabout tour on the back cover of this issue.)

"A roundabout is the new thing in the county, but it really goes with the theme of getting around to see all the different galleries too," Nelson said. "I hope it continues to grow. I hope there's more galleries, venues and people that want to be involved. It doesn't have to be a gallery either - obviously, look at all the different places that are participating."

Each art stop will offer refreshments and art for viewing and for sale, but each is unique in its offerings.

The Pine Knot News is a working newspaper office, with a fabulous wall - likely constructed right after the 1918 fire from salvaged multicolored bricks - reserved strictly for art. Every two months The Knot gallery hosts a new exhibit. This show focuses on the work of two talented local photographers, Vern Northrup and Mark Cline. In addition to displaying their finest photography work, Northrup will be signing his book, "Akinomaage: Teaching from the Earth," and Cline will have prints for sale. Meet and talk with both photographers about their craft in the office at 122 Avenue C, in Cloquet's historic West end.

The Encore! Performing Arts Center and Gallery builds its art shows around the theme of the current County Seat Theater show, in this case, December's play, "Sorry! Wrong Chimney!" Nelson said the mission is to creatively weave the theme of their artwork into the theme of the play - in obvious ways or not. "This is our holiday show, so I encouraged artists to tie in a holiday theme, or seasonal theme, or something to do with a chimney," said Nelson, explaining that she painted Nebraska's Chimney Rock on one of her chairs for the show, and even glued a Nebraska State quarter depicting the historic landmark to the bottom of the chair. Nelson said they usually get submissions from about 20 different artists, including painters, jewelry makers, photographers and more to the gallery at 2035 Highway 33 South (take the first actual roundabout exit if you're coming from Cloquet).

The Fond du Lac Reservation Cultural Center and Museum has several examples of Ojibwe clothing and accessories, arts and crafts, and traditional home life as well as photos from the past and artifacts from even earlier times. There are historic documents, including poster-sized copies of the original FDL land allottees documents. Come visit with artist/curator Jeff Savage, and learn about the rich history of the Ojibwe tribe and admire a handmade birchbark canoe in the museum at 1720 Big Lake Road.

The Historic Scott House will feature "A Winter Journey," a watercolor painting by artist Sue Brown Chapin. The painting was done in celebration of the Scott House's 150th birthday this year. Built as a stagecoach stop in 1869, the Scott House is filled with art and antiques, and will feature works by other local artists as well as a book signing by a local illustrator.

"I've collected art for many decades, and appreciate the diverse art in our community," said owner Jim Sheetz, who grew up in the home on the shores of Lac La Belle at 1321 County Road 4, Carlton.

Sisters Sheryl Davis and Alison Bowen, lifelong Northlanders, have always shared a passion for local artwork. For the past couple of years they've been busy bringing that passion to life by curating an amazing shop, Gateway Goods, filled with locally created artwork in a variety of mediums in their shop at 213 Chestnut Avenue in Carlton.

"We're so happy to be able to provide a space for so many talented people from the area to share their work," said Bowen, adding that they have relationships with more than 70 local and regional artists. Creative displays are woven through the store's relaxed atmosphere. The inventory ranges from cozy handknits, wood and antler carvings, original watercolors, photography, pottery, greeting cards, soap, candles, a variety of jewelry, wooden bowls and cutting boards and more.

The Oldenburg House, home to music, communal gatherings and fabulous feasts, will offer a sneak peek of 40 images from its 2019 Document Spring nature safaris.

"A Winter Journey," a watercolor painting by artist Sue Brown Chapin, is on display at the Scott House.

"Document Spring is an art and citizen science 'bioblitz' that brings together individuals, organizations, and students to capture the emergence of spring with artistic and scientific observations," explained Glenn Swanson. "It creates opportunities for community members to deepen their relationship with nature and each other through close observation, attentive reporting and the art of photography - furthering our understanding of where we live and expanding our connection to the surrounding natural world." Find the Oldenburg House at 604 Chestnut Avenue in Carlton.

The goal at Dragon Fire Ceramics in Wrenshall is "building community through the clay arts." Once known for its clay mining and distinctive clay brick construction, Dragon Fire wants to bring clay arts back to the area. Owner and artist Kitty Sabelman is focused on providing many different experiences for guests at the studio. The well-supplied studio is perfect for anyone who would like to get dirty and try their hand at pottery making with nature-made clay. Check out the pottery for sale or sign up for a class. Dragon Fire Ceramics is located at 2991 County Road 1, Wrenshall.


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