Art is back on Avenue C

Artist reception set for June


May 21, 2021

Early this morning, a ruby- throated hummingbird scouted our bird feeders, then departed for sweeter options. I poured sugar into a quart jar, added water and shook, retrieved and filled the feeders from the basement, and hung them out on their usual hooks. I'm hoping.

Spring brings so many flashes of color into our winter-suppressed environs. And it's not just their raiment. High in the maples and oaks, a choir of goldfinches entertain us with their shared song. Other returnees engage in bullying behavior. The other day, I spotted a shrike wedged between maple tree trunks, waiting for an opportunity to strike and devour. And there's lots of stalking and rebuffing and mating going on.

In the spirit of spring and the advent of a waning pandemic, our Pine Knot News team decided, for the first time in many months, to mount another art show in the Knot Gallery at our Avenue C office in Cloquet. We put out a call to area artists for artworks featuring birds and are delighted with the results. We've now hung and are enjoying contributions from 15 artists, each contributing one to five or more artworks. All kinds of media are represented: photographs, paintings, sculptures, chairs. Some small, some large. Some for sale, some not.

Vicki and Terry Anderson loaned us a fabulous painting by Sterling Rathsack that normally hangs in their living room, a lush green landscape with birds flitting in and out of trees and a stream that we invite guests to count and submit their guesses for a prize to be awarded. Anderson also loaned two ceramic birds by Shirley Arsenault. Pete Peterson loaned handpainted decorative collector decoys from the studio of Jules Bouillet, a master carver from Vincennes, Indiana.

Featured photographers have loads of talent and a good eye for nature, including Will Stenberg, Mike Farmer, John Dahlman, Mark Cline, and Craig Blacklock, who loaned us three large framed photographs of various birds in flight from his Moose Lake studio. The picture you see here is from Lynn Meisner, of a great blue heron and its young.

Deborah Manisto contributed a wonderful watercolor collage of birds singing, not for sale but fun to see. But don't despair, there is much available at a range of prices for those searching for birds to color their walls indoors and in all seasons. Sue Rauschenfels offers a grouping of bright colorful mixed media paintings, while Sarah Archbold's paintings offer a touch of whimsy, especially the pigeon-toed duck striding out of the frame. John "Buzz" Buczynski has three pieces on reclaimed wood, while Kris Nelson brought two of her iconic chairs: "Falcon" and "Give a Hoot."

We are postponed our planned opening this Thursday and have something tentatively scheduled for June 10. Provided it's warm and sunny - or at least not raining or snowing - we will have drinks, snacks and conversation outside. Meanwhile, people can wander around inside (with masks) and enjoy all the art and maybe even chat with some of the artists in what is always a casual atmosphere. Bring your own chairs for long outdoor chats in Cloquet's historic West End.

Columnist Ann Markusen is a Pine Knot News board member, regular opinion columnist, an avid birder and in charge of the Pine Knot News art exhibits.

This story was updated to reflect the rescheduling of the opening.


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