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Fresco painter Mark Balma and his partically complete "We the People." Image from Minnetonka Center for the Arts.
Minnesota-born fresco artist Mark Balma spent the past two months painting "We the People," a composite portrait of 10 international figures whose lives and work have sparked positive social change. The 9 ft. tall by 16 ft. wide fresco will be unveiled at October 6 at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts as part of a celebration marking the community organization's 60th anniversary.
Known primarily for frescoes with religious themes, Balma has divided his time for the past 30 years between Minnesota and Italy. He recently completed a ceiling mural in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi, Italy, a project that spanned 15 years. Locally he has done frescoes for the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, St. Mary's College in Winona, and the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul.
Teens affiliated with the Minnetonka organization helped Balma prepare the fresh-plaster surface on which the fresco is painted. Besides measuring and marking the grid within which the images were painted, the students helped grind pigments and mix paints. Though the imagery is contemporary, fresco is an ancient art form in which pigments are brushed onto wet plaster which bonds with them as it dries, producing a vivid and highly durable surface. An antiquarian by temperament, Balma consciously alludes to the medium's history in his designs, in this case referencing murals from the 1930s and '40s commissioned by the U.S. government through the Works Project Administration, a now defunct agency. The new fresco will be on view indefinitely.
A new show of work by Minnesota artists will open simultaneously featuring paintings, prints, photos and ceramic sculpture by Mark Balma, Alexa Horochowski, Maren Kloppmann, Chris Larson, S. Catrin Magnusson, Clarence Morgan, Todd Norsten, David Rathman, Elizabeth Simonson, Alec Soth, JoAnn Verburg and Megan Vossler. It was curated by architect James Dayton who designed the 10-year-old Minnetonka facility. The free show runs through Oct. 30.
Tickets for the 60th anniversary celebration and fund raiser are $150, of which $50 is tax deductible. (6:30 - 11 p.m. Saturday, October 6, $150. Minnetonka Center for the Arts, 2240 North Shore Drive, Wayzata. 952-473-7361 or www.minnetonkaarts.org)
The Printed Matter storefront on 10th Avenue in New York.
Printed Matter is to art and book lovers as an great big indy record store is to music fans. Each tim I visit the nonprofit store's Manhattan location, I always end up browsing much longer than I thought I would. It's a haven for zines, artists books, small-press books, chapbooks, catalogs, obscurities, hard-to-find periodicals and artist-writer collabs. Cool postcards, too.
Walker Art Center and Printed Matter launch a collaboration this week with "Over-Booked." The event brings merch and talks to the art center's shop, as well as related talks and an open house at the Walker's library to showcase it's Rosemary Furtak Collection.
The temporary show opens with a reception from 5-9 p.m. at the Walker's shop, with guests from Printed Matter present and books available for browsing and buying.
James Jenkin, executive director of Printed Matter, talks at 1 p.m. Saturday. The free event is in the Lecture Room.
Also on Saturday, the Walker hosts an open house from 1-3 p.m. in its library, which has a giant collection of modern art books, monographs, catalogs, clippings and periodicals from 1940 to the present.
That afternoon, there is a mini-fair of local indy publishers -- Rain Taxi, Midway Contemporary Art, Sam Hoolihan, OHM Editions, Location Books, Little Brown Mushroom, Katelyn Reece Farstad, Mystery Spot Books -- with books available for purchase.
A panel discussion at 3 p.m. Saturday, also in the Lecture Room, will focus on 21st-century publishing. On hand will be representatives from Twin Cities publishers Coffee House Press and Graywolf Press, Micawber's Books, and writer Brad Zellar.
Minneapolis gallery owner Howard M. Christopherson was startled Friday when President Barack Obama made an "unexpected and surprising" stop at the N.E. Minneapolis gallery.
"I never would have thought, but here he is!" said Christopherson, pictured here with the President. "He heard about the gallery's great photo shows and just dropped in."
Fourteen Minnesota artists have received grants from Forecast Public Art, a St. Paul-based non profit organization, ranging in size from $2,000 to $50,000 for public art projects throughout the state. The $50,000 award is a new program designed to boost the resumes and support personal projects of mid-career artists.
The largest award in its field nationally, the $50,000 prize went to Randy Walker for a "wayfinding" sculpture in partnership with YouthLink, a social service agency. The sculpture will include permanent elements and ephemeral parts produced by teens in Youthlink's Kulture Klub program. Walker will work with Youthlink on the first two temporary installations which are expected to tap his training in fiber arts.
Jerome Project Grants for Emerging Artists of $7,000 each to Janaki Ranpura for a pedal-powered sculpture that projects hand-drawn animation; Sean Kelley-Pegg to create an app-based virtual public art event. Jerome Planning Grants of $2,166 each went to Pritika Chowdhry, Sean Elmquist, Janet Groenert, Sara Hanson, Lucas Koski and Cecilia Schiller.
East Central Regional Arts Council Project Grants of $7,000 each to Keith Ralvo to carve local history into boulders in downtown Mora, MN and the Pine Center for the Arts to host community workshops about identity led by photographer Wing Young Huie. Additional planning grants of $2,000 each went to Charles King and Braham Community Rose Garden.
McKnight Mid-Career Public Artist Professional Development Grants of $5,000 each to Harriet Bart "to explore the concept and act of the gift of art as public art," and to Tamsie Ringler to introduce new technology and projections into a prototype automobile-based installation.
Fried Fruit Stick at State Fair, Star Tribune photo by Renee Jones Schneider
Everybody puts in 12 hour days, right? Why not, especially if it's for a great cause like the Minnesota State Fair. For this "12 Artists 12 hours 12 days 2012" gig, a dozen Minnesota artists will each spend a 12 hour work day in a studio set up in the State Fair's Fine Arts Building, 1442 Cosgrove St. (northeast corner of the fairgrounds).
They will be demonstrating "art-making in action," so expect periods of deliberate -- or frenzied -- activity punctuated by patches of quiet rumination, head scratching, lunch breaks, and maybe even naps. Each of the 12 works in a different medium, ranging from printmaking to photography to woodcarving to fiber art. All are prepared to answer questions, discuss their work, or explain problems or ideas they're mulling over.
Schedule and participants:
Thursday, August 23: Gregory Euclide, drawing and album covers
Friday, August 24: Sean Smuda, photography and writing
Saturday, August 25: Dani Roach, watercolor
Sunday, August 26: Michelle Westmark, photography
Monday, August 27: Abigail Wood Anderson, letterpress prints, drawings, paintings and nature walks
Tuesday, August 28: Loretta Bebeau, sheetrock drawings and sociology of art
Wednesday, August 29: Fred Cogelow, woodcarving
Thursday, August 30: Ron Merchant, oil painting
Friday, August 31: Fawzia Khan, bronze sculpture
Saturday, September 1: Kimber Olson, mixed-media fiber art
Sunday, September 2: Cheng-Khee Chee, watercolor
Monday, September 3: Scott Stulen, painting, sculpture, installation and video