Wednesday, July 31, 2013

En Plein Air Art at The Edge Center in Bigfork

This exhibit, “The Path of the Plein Air Painter,” features diverse works including scenes found in nature and our lives in the out-of-doors.  This means that in the month of August a little bit of the outside will be inside at The Edge Art Gallery. These “en plein air” works are primarily in watercolors and oil expressing the passion of the artist, Derek Davis, for the outdoors. The artist is well known for his art, has many awards to his credit, and is an active teacher of the “plein air” technique from his studio in St. Paul, MN. The exhibit is from August 1 – 31. An opening reception is on August 2 from 1PM to 3PM. (The change of the time of the reception is so it will coincide with the Arts and Crafts sale next door at the Bigfork School). The Gallery is open on Thursdays through Saturdays 10AM to 4PM. Admission is free.

The French expression “en plein air,” literally means in the open air. And while artists had been painting outside for a long time, in the mid-19th century a couple of “inventions” made it more popular and efficient.  The first was having paint available in tubes, like toothpaste.  That made paint easy to pack and keep fresh. The second was the box easel, which made traveling with everything needed to paint in a simple traveling container

These advances in equipment are mundane today, but they helped usher in the Barbizon school and Impressionism along with the Newlyn school in England, later in the 19th century. Above information from  

If you get a chance to come to Bigfork in August you can enjoy some beautiful examples of open air painting by second generation artist Derek Davis. He feels the painting process provides him a means of self-discovery and a way of expressing appreciation for the world around him.  His teachers include artists Orlin Helgoe, Ivan Morrison, Lyman Rice, Leroy Greene, Lyndon Pomeroy, and Davis’s parents.

Derek feels that searching for the poetry of the moment and reaching to express that on canvas is sincerely gratifying and challenging.  He says, "with every piece I continue to learn. I strive to always be a student, with humility. I push paint and with every step I am learning to value the process of creating and understanding that ‘becoming an artist' is a journey and not a destination."

This artist’s works provide wonderful examples of the en plein air painting technique. They are very colorful, have wide ranges of subjects, with a variety of seasons and locals.  With an ample mix of landscape, figurative, floral, still life and watercolor, Derek’s art is an enjoyable experience for guests. Derek is a member and former president of the Outdoor Painters of Minnesota as well as a member of the American Impressionist Society.

It has been said about some of his work that he, “draws attention to his subject and the mood of his figurative work by using a minimal background, engaging shapes, and commanding color.”
Derek Davis won first place at the Port Washington, Wisconsin, paint-out, which was hosted by the Cedarburg Artists Guild, Cedarburg, Wisconsin. More than 60 artists participated in the event, which was held June 12 and 13. See

Come and join in a celebration of "in the open-air painting" at The Edge Center in Bigfork during the month of August.  It promises to be a refreshing view of life outside full of color, life and beautiful images.  Come and meet the artist during the opening reception on August 2 from 1PM to 3PM.  (The change of the time of the reception is so it will coincide with the Arts and Crafts sale next door at the Bigfork School). The Gallery is open on Thursdays through Saturdays 10AM to 4PM. Admission is free.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

So Who Was Aladdin Anyway?

The “Aladdin Jr.” musical brings a Disney classic about adventure and magic to life. The Stages Theatre Company from Hopkins, MN is the magic and their return to The Edge Center in Bigfork this year is with even more lights, color and action. "Aladdin Jr" is a shortened adaptation of Disney's "Aladdin", which, in turn, is just one of countless adaptations of the Arabic stories in the "Arabian Nights" that go back more than a thousand years. Above is Aladdin on the magic carpet by Vasnetsov Samolet.

The “Aladdin Jr.”musical is one of Stage’s productions by young performers.  It includes magic carpet rides with Princes Jasmine, the Genie and Aladdin, plus award-winning music along with costumes and sets that will entertain and stir imaginations of all ages.  “Aladdin Jr.” will be on stage Friday through Sunday July 19 through 21 at The Edge Center in Bigfork. Performances are on Friday and Saturday 7PM and Sunday 2PM. Prices $10 for adults and $5 for children. Photo above by Bruce Challgren is of the "Aladdin Jr." production by Stages.

The original story of "Aladdin" is one of the folk tales in a collection of west and south Asian Arabic stories in "One Thousand and One Nights" or, known in English, as the "Arabian Nights".  This name is from the first English language edition of the manuscript done in 1707.  They are a collection of stories added over the centuries by translators, authors and scholars including Sir Richard Frances Burton. "Aladdin" is one of the most famous tales and was added in the 18th century by a Frenchman named Antoine Galland. Early Aladdin in the magic garden illustrated above, and princess below.

Being a good story to start with, Aladdin has been adapted countless times into different books, plays, musical theatre, pantomimes, and, in newer media, comic books, film and television. The original story, about a very poor young man in a Chinese town who is duped by a sorcerer for a devious purpose, does not necessarily match with the animated Disney feature. In the original there are two "ginns" or genies, a magic ring, and the princess is named Badroulbadour, but there is a flying carpet, magic lamp and a great love story. Changes over the years are certainly understandable for different media. And audiences today have benefited with the Disney “magic” to bring the story to the big screen. Original Arabic manuscript view below. For more background see: and

According to the Stages Artistic Director, Sandy Boren-Barrett, Aladdin Jr.'s “…appearance at Hopkins’ Stages marks its first Disney production in the 30-year history of the Theater Company. For our summer show, we like to do a family-friendly musical,” adding that this production has something for people of all ages. The show will feature songs from the Academy award-winning score, including “A Whole New World,” “One Jump Ahead” and “A Friend Like Me.”  Photo below by Bruce Challgren is of the "Aladdin Jr." production by Stages.

Sandy continues that “It seems like a great combination … with something that I think is artistically excellent and also a great kids’ show. The characters are so rich. It has a lot to offer families and enough adult humor that teenagers and adults will like it as well.”  Sandy also says that Princess Jasmine is one of the lesser-known princesses in the Disney canon, but is someone young girls can emulate and look up to. “She is such a great role model for girls – taking charge of her own life."

For The Edge theatre, the special effects promise to be something to really get your attention.  Keep in mind that the story will be surrounded by things like plumes of possibly colored “smoke” 20 feet high, confetti cannons and a “star maze”.  What a wonderful setting for these young performers to add their own “magic” of imagination and talent. Photo below by Bruce Challgren is of the "Aladdin Jr." production by Stages.

Stages Theatre Company (STC) was founded in 1984 and since then has grown to become one of the largest professional theatres for young audiences in the country. STC engages young artists with themes relevant to their lives and involve them in creating magical works featuring young people in meaningful roles. It annually serves more than 130,000 young people and their families. Photo below by Bruce Challgren is of the "Aladdin Jr." production by Stages.

For a mixture of a magic carpet ride, Broadway style music, and the energy of young performers come to one of the performances of “Adaddin Jr.” at The Edge Center in Bigfork, MN. We believe you will enjoy the experience and leave happier than when you came. You might even be humming one of the great songs.  This is great family entertainment with a life’s lesson built-in for all of us. And remember Aladdin has been doing this magic on audiences for a long time (below poster for an early pantomime production).

Monday, July 8, 2013

Disney's “Aladdin”...Becomes a High Energy Musical in Bigfork

Combine the following: Academy award winning music, colorful costumes and sets, confetti cannons, multicolored “smoke” plumes 20 feet high, and the energy of young actors. That's “Aladdin Jr.” It is the shortened Disney’s animated classic turned to life in Bigfork later this month. This will be the fifth time Stages, the Hopkins-based theatre company, brings one of its productions by young performers to The Edge Center.

Find out if the poor street kid really wins the heart of the princes…with the help of some magic of course…on Friday through Sunday July 19 through 21. Performances are on Friday and Saturday 7PM and Sunday 2PM. Prices $10 for adults and $5 for children.

This production debuted in Hopkins last month and will be in Bigfork for its only road trip. These photos, provided by Stages, show the opening performance and some of the actors getting ready. Following is what one of the local news outlets, the Hopkins Patch, had to say about the show.  “For some parents, the search for exciting, family-friendly events to fill up a hot summer weekend can be a laborious affair.”

“Lucky for them, they could do a lot worse than checking out the Stages Theater Company production of "Aladdin, Jr." opening Friday night at the Hopkins Center for the Arts. The production is being billed by Stages as a high-energy 'adventure of magic and mayhem' for all ages, complete with some unusual special effects.”

"It has good moral stories for kids today couched in some beautiful music that's really fun to perform,' said director Sandy Boren-Barrett (below). 'It has a darkness, a richness to it."

“The show—a cut-down version of the classic Disney musical ‘Aladdin’—also features some fancy special effects that one director said will add further pizzazz the already-lively score and story.”

“The show is apparently all about two letters and one number—CO2. Cryo jets produce a plume of “smoke” (CO2 cloud) that reaches 20-30 feet. The plumes of smoke can be colored by either ambient stage lighting or lighting instrumentation directed on them, so they can range in colors limited only by the lighting designer’s imagination,’ said Associate Technical Director Jim Hibbeler (above). 'There will also be carbon dioxide-powered confetti cannons.”

"This year's production offers performing opportunities to many youth,...' Boren-Barrett said. (pictured above and below) 'Some are regular faces at Stages' summer try-outs and in their own schools' theater programs, but for just as many 'Aladin, Jr.' is their one chance this year to perform because of other commitments during the school year—or even their only theatrical performance ever."

"We really get such wonderful talent at our auditions," Boren-Barrett said. "They do really remarkable work. They're such talented kids, For most, though, the show will be their first time touring when Stages takes the production to Big Fork, Minnesota …”

Complete story at: energy-musical-aladdin-friday-night

So come alone, with a friend, or with the whole family to Bigfork.  “Aladdin Jr.” promises to be an exciting trip for your imagination... a chance for the whole family to experience one of the "Arabian Nights" most famous tales.  You can also visit The Edge gallery while you are here and see this year’s juried exhibit that is also filled with color, beauty and maybe a little "magic" of its own.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Ninth Annual Juried Art Show Award Reception in Bigfork

The Art Gallery at The Edge Center in Bigfork has its July show in progress until the 27th, and its opening reception was yesterday.  It is the Ninth Annual Juried art exhibition with a larger variety of artwork this year. Everyone in the show is a “winner” because their entries were 38 of the over 90 entered.  That’s the largest field of entries in the show's previous years. Yesterday awards were announced for four special artworks. Three were selected by this year's juror, Anne Dugan, who is the Curator of the Duluth Art Institute. The fourth award was The People's Choice, which could be voted on by anyone at the opening reception. Anne also selected the 38 items on display at the show. You can come and see the exhibit from now until July 27. The Gallery is open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.  Admission is no charge.

There were four awards: one Best of Show, two Awards of Excellence and one People's Choice. There was a tie vote for the People's Choice between the Claro Music Cabinet and Ken's Memory quilt.  The cabinet also won the Best of Show award.  The Awards of Excellence went to the Ore Dock drawing and the Shallow sculpture.

The Claro Music Cabinet is done with walnut, ebony, and maple and is made by Paul Losik.

Ken's memory quilt is done with quilting material and is made by Char Bailey, Tammy Warren, Lori Dvorak and Terrie Carlson.

Ore dock is done with graphite made by Aaron Squadroni.

Shallow is done with aluminum, human hair, nails, and wood and is made by Susan Gilbert.

The reception this year was very well attended.  In fact, it was probably the largest crowd that has ever been in the gallery for an art exhibit. The Edge Center encourages and welcomes visitors for this special exhibition which is open all month. Again a special thanks to the Edge Center volunteers who setup and take down these exhibits and to the generosity of our financial supporters. This year our juried show sponsors are: Northland Dental Clinic, Arvig Communications, First State Bank of Bigfork, Kocian's Family Grocery and Bigfork Valley Hospital. Please come and visit us.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Juried Show Ready to Go

This will be the ninth annual juried art exhibition at The Edge Center Gallery in Bigfork.  Anne Dugan, Cruator of the Duluth Art Institute, selected 38 artworks from 34 artists for this year’s “Art on the Edge” show. Present will be works including a wide variety of styles and media from Minnesota artists.  The exhibit is in the Gallery from July 5 through July 27. The Opening Reception is on Friday, July 5 from 5:00 to 7:00 with the Awards Ceremony at 6:15. Visitors to the show’s opening reception will also be able to vote for a People’s Choice winner. The Gallery is open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.  Admission is no charge.

From This:

To This:

Anne Dugan, (below), in her three years at the Duluth At Institute, has presented 40 contemporary visual arts exhibits featuring emerging and mid-career artists from the Arrowhead region, she founded and leads the Twin Ports Gallery group, and she has introduced an expanded audience engagement series.  She is from Northern Minnesota and after graduating from Carleton College in Northfield went on to get her Master's at Columbia University in New York.  She worked at the Walker Art center before settling into the Duluth area.  Her energy for the arts is infectious and, regarding her current position, she says, “I still feel amazingly fortunate to have landed my “dream job”.

(photo from Ennyman’s Territory)

Anne has chosen artwork from a record number of entries to this Juried Exhibit. The artists are all ages and from all over Minnesota. There are paintings, drawings, collages, mixed media, photography, quilts, sculpture, glass, and woodwork. Many different styles from realistic to abstract are represented.

A special thanks to all the volunteers who make The Edge Center possible and, in particular, the group who set up this show.  Also a special thanks to the sponsors of this year’s Art on The Edge Juried show: Northland Dental Clinic, Arvig Communications, First State Bank of Bigfork, Kocian's Family Grocery and Bigfork Valley Hospital.

Please come to the opening reception and get a chance to vote for the People's Choice Award. It is a chance for each audience member to vote for his or her favorite work of art. Like armchair quarterbacking, it's your chance to second-guess the juror. You may vote all day July 5 up until 6:00 pm at the Opening Reception.