Winter in Northern Minnesota can be really white, really windy and really cold. If you are in the Bigfork area, take a break from winter and stop by The Edge Center gallery to see color again, get out of the wind...and warm up. That’s because the gallery has changed to its permanent collection: a warm mixture of color and art. The painting above is one of four Bill Hafeman paintings on display. Known as an extraordinary hand-made canoe builder, he also was an accomplished painter, and the gallery is very fortunate to have some of his Northern Minnesota landscapes on display. The gallery's permanent collection will be up until the spring and summer exhibits start.
Outside The Edge Center.
Inside The Edge Center
During the winter, the gallery is open during theater events and visitors are welcome during The Edge Center’s normal business hours Wednesday thorough Friday from 9AM to 1PM . Gallery visits for groups are also available by special appointment. It might be a nice stop for snowmobile groups. There might even be some hot coffee available for group visits. Call The Edge Center to make an appointment.
There is more art on display than Mr. Hafemans’s paintings, like above, which include lots of color, some abstract views of the world and more looks at nature up north.
Mr. Hafeman at work below.
As far as William Hafeman’s paintings are concerned, they show what is special about Northern Minnesota in a way that seems real enough to step into. He came to the area in 1921 with his wife to live in the woods. In a 1982 interview by Charles Kurault he said.
“I wanted to live in a wild country like the Indians did … I didn't want to live in a city where you go to work by a whistle, go home by a whistle.”
His canoe building started out of necessity. He built his first canoe to be able to get to Bigfork some 15 miles by river. After that he just kept building them along with his reputation as one of the best. You can see the interview and read about his canoes at the following links, but you need to see his painting at the gallery to appreciate his "other art".
Link to interview below.
Minnesota history article below with URL following.
The Hafeman Canoe Works, now owned by Ray Boessel and his wife Christie, is still in existence where Bill founded it on Highway 6 just 15 mile upriver from Bigfork. Christie is the granddaughter of Mr. Hafeman and Ray learned his craft from him in the 1980's. You can see one of Ray’s 13 foot Chippewa Long Nose canoes on display in the Commons area of the Bigfork Valley Hospital just around the corner from the gallery. There you can also see another of Mr. Hafeman’s paintings along with a lot more art from local artists. While in the Commons, you might want to have a lunch in the cafeteria. It will be delicious.
Bigfork Valley Hospital commons area below.
So, why not make a day of a visit to Bigfork this Winter? See The Edge Gallery exhibit and then go to the Commons to see more art plus have a great lunch.