Monday, June 26, 2017

Thirteenth Annual Juried Exhibit at the Edge Center Gallery in Bigfork

This will be the thirteenth time the Edge Center Art Gallery in Bigfork invited artists to submit their work for judging by a juror. Sarah Brooke, MFA Assistant Professor and Director of the Art Department at the College of St. Scholastica is this year’s juror. The results will be 17 artists’ work on display in this annual Juried Exhibit which is on display from June 29 to July 29.  The opening day reception is on June 30th from 5 to 7PM. There is also a special “People’s Choice Award” selected by viewers. That award will be part of the reception and can be voted on June 29th and up until 6PM June 30th. There is no charge for the gallery and reception. The Edge Center Gallery is next to the Bigfork School and is open from 10AM to 4PM on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  

Sarah Brooke, this year’s juror and Assistant Professor of Art at the College of St. Scholastica, selected a wide range of entries that should be enjoyable to all who see the exhibit.  She received her BFA from the University of Minnesota and her MFA through a joint program between Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy and Bowling Green State in Ohio. She has exhibited locally, nationally and internationally and recently published a book of her paintings called “Portrait of and Artist.”  

Of the seventeen artists selected for this year’s exhibit four are new to the event. They are painters James Bzura and Tyler Evin, fiber artist Patricia Lovegreen, and sculptor Sherry Hoffman. The remaining artists chosen by Professor Brooke have previously exhibited in past shows. Among these are painters Sandra Thompson, Nikki Besser, and Jan Stenson; photographers Donna Rae Anderson, Audrey Johnson, Jill Johnson, Tim Lamey, and David Swanson; mixed media artist Sandra Boreen; print-maker David Nyssen; quilter Pamela Burns; basket weaver Cathryn Peters; and blown glass artist Jon Offutt. Altogether, 23 works of art by the 17 artists make up this year's 13th Annual Juried Exhibit.

The awards ceremony starts the evening of the opening reception at 6:15. A special thanks to the sponsors of the awards. This year they are: Best of Award by Kocian’s Family Market and two Awards of Excellence sponsored by Arvig Communications and First State Bank of Bigfork.  For the audience, the People’s Choice Award, sponsored by Bigfork Valley Hospital, is always special. It gives visitors a chance to see how their opinions compare to the juror. 

The Yellow Float photo (above) by Donna Rae Anderson from Deer River is an example of her work which she started at the age of ten using a Kodak Brownie. Her “…goal is to capture those moments when I am struck by the ‘WOW-ness’ of a scene…My greatest compliment is when told that my photograph looks like a painting…”

Northern Minnesota Artist Nikki S. Besser “…uses oil and mixed media as a means of capturing and recreating life’s most captivating moments on canvas…” (above)

From Crosby Minnesota, artist James Bzura shows his “…intent to birth art objects that declaim their existence as subjects experiencing history…” (above)

Fargo’s Jon Offutt “…continues to represent the prairie landscape in glass...” (above)

Sandra Thompson from Bigfork says “I am an abstract artist…I’m very excited to find different mediums to explore. Encaustics attracted me for its glossy wax texture…” (above).

The Gallery invites you to come and see this Thirteenth Juried show and pick your favorite while enjoying a snack and seeing a variety of exceptional art. For more information go to  Or come and visit Edge Center gallery which is next to the Bigfork School. The Gallery is open from 10:00 to 4:00 on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Man In Black Johnny Cash Tribute Band in Bigfork

Jay Ernest is the lead singer in the Johnny Cash Tribute band and his voice is amazingly similar to the real thing. Jay has a natural, calm, deep bass-baritone quality that can only be truly appreciated when it is heard. The band is “The Church Of Cash - Johnny Cash Tribute Band” and it will be on stage this June 24th at The Edge Center” in Bigfork.  Singer and guitarist Jay Ernest is joined by Jonathon TeBeest on Drums, Albert Perez playing Electric Guitar, and Eric Struve playing Upright Bass, in a performance suitable for all ages. This Minneapolis-based band’s family friendly performance is for everyone to enjoy: Saturday June 24 at 7PM: $15 adults and $5 for children 12 and under.

Jay Earnest (above from his Facebook page) learned to love Johnny Cash music from his father who loved and listened to Johnny Cash when Jay was growing up.  The music stuck with Jay.  When he was performing various kinds of music at open mics, and he played Johnny Cash, people put down their drinks, quit talking and listened.  When this tribute band became a reality, it was easy for him to learn Johnny Cash music because so much of it was still in his memory from his early years. He says that the band plays like Johnny Cash but does not try to imitate him. Along with his fellow band members, they bring the Cash feel to the music with a little mix of other country legends. The sound of the group speaks more about their music than any news article or blog can put in print. Enter the following URL and hear The Church Of Cash

Jay says, “Johnny Cash has been a very important figure in my life.  My father sang many of his songs to me as a child and unwittingly, I remember everyone that he sang to me to this day.  It made it very easy to get a set list together for the show! Johnny influences me even off the stage.  His love for his wife was legendary.  I keep that sentiment in my relationship with my wife, Christa, whom I love completely. His dedication to the American story is what excites me. His music has something for everyone to relate to and hold dear.  Johnny is one of America’s greatest artistic treasures.”

Jay Ernest was born in New Ulm Minnesota in 1973. He has toured throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. Jay started “The Church of Cash” in Homolulu in 2009 and brought it back to Minnesota in 2010. He has been performing 200 shows a year throughout, the upper Midwest, Beligum and The Netherlands. As said earlier, his love of Johnny Cash music started as a young farm boy when his father sang Cash songs while working the land. It wasn’t till much later, when Jay started to play Johnny Cash music that his memories of Cash music became so important.  

Johnathon TeBeest on drums toured extensively since 1988.  His touring landed him in such countries a Belgium, Denmark, Germany, England and even Canada. He lived in Brooklyn for some years and was asked by Sony records to be a studio musician. He now resides in the North Metro of the Twin Cities with the Church Of Cash and is also producing records.

Albert Perez on Electric Guitar is originally from Sheboygan, Wisconsin.  He studied music at McNally Smith College in St. Paul. He has done national touring with a variety of bands. H joined Church Of Cash in 2016 and has been the main guitar player for the band.

Eric Struve plays Upright Bass and was born and raised in Rochester Minnesota. He has been playing bass professionally since 2002.  His wide range of influences have been witnessed as he has played in country bands, rock bands, reggae bands and also a group that plays music for silent movies at special showings in theatres across the Midwest.

The music that will be played by the band for this Bigfork performance will also show the wide range of Johnny Cash’s performances.  We don't have a complete song list for this blog, but we can give readers a sample of what might be included.

Gospel music that includes “Daddy Sang Bass”, “I saw the Light”, “I’ll fly Away and “Sweet By and By”. 

There will also be some of the Cash train songs such as “Folsom Prison”, “Hay Porter”, “Orange Special”, “”Wreck of Old ‘97” and “Rock Island line.”

There has to be a selection of love songs which will include “Jackson”, “Walk the Line”, and “Ring of Fire”.

The song list will also include, “One Piece at a Time”, “Boy Named Sue”, “Long Black Veil” and “25 Minutes to Go”.
This list is, of course, tentative and may change, so come to the show and expect a little of the unexpected.

Johnny Cash (above) was born in 1935 and died in 2003, four months after his second wife June Carter-Cash died. His final live performance was on July 7 2003.  He served in the U.S. Air Force for four years and was honorably discharged. He never was in prison, but was in jail on occasion for misdemeanors, sometimes related to his problems with amphetamine and barbiturate addition. He once said, “I was taking the pills for awhile then the pills started taking me.” In his career, from 1954 to 2003, he made 96 albums and 153 singles with several companies. Add to this, Cash’s collaboration with many notable musicians, plus numerous awards and honors that all combined represent a substantial career.  As the years went on, his demeanor became more somber, and his humility grew.

He performed free prison concerts, was an advocate for Native Americans, loved his family deeply, believed in his faith strongly, fought his addictions fiercely for his whole life, and did the best that he could.

You can’t fully describe this man’s life in a paragraph or two, but it might help you understand him. Go to for more about his life and music. 

During this concert you will get a chance to hear a wide range of Johnny Cash music, and we hope you will enjoy it. This band will let you experience a great performer's music, and hear how well it covers so many topics. The performance of "The Church Of Cash Johnny Cash Tribute Band" (shown below during an outdoor concert) will be on stage at The Edge Center in Bigfork on Saturday June 24 at 7PM: $15 adults and $5 for children 12 and under. It will certainly be and entertaining evening that you will not soon forget.