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Pioneer Previews: Arts alive and well as we head toward summer

I am pleased to extend an invitation to you to attend a performance of “Captain Snap and the Children of Vinegar Lane” on behalf the young actors, their teachers, parents, grandparents and producers Tuesday at 1:30 and 5:30 p.m. at Solway School.

The play, under the direction of Cate Belleveau and technical supervision of Al Belleveau, is the story of some children who discover that to be afraid of the old sea captain isn’t nearly as much fun as becoming friends with him because he turns junk into sculptures — just imagine that. Where else but in Bemidji would your children have the opportunity to work with a world class sculptor such as Al Belleveau, who is instructing third-graders the fine art of welding and creating statues for the stage.

• The premiere performance of the newest established arts nonprofit organization in Bemidji will start at 2:30 p.m. June 14 on a farm north of Bemidji, where the above-mentioned Cate and Al Belleveau are on the fast track toward their dream of molding and shaping Belle Thalia Creative Arts Space into a fine arts retreat. The event is called “She Writes.” Bring chairs, hats or whatever you need for a picnic, bug spray and lots of imagination for the singers who start at 2:30 p.m. with Kari Pickett, among other musicians and singers, and then leads into original Minneapolis playwright, Jane Curry and her “Sisters of the Quill and Skillet,” a comic send-off of an Erma Bombeck clone. At 7 p.m., “Legend of White Creek Woman,” a narrative through 13 original folk songs based on a West Kansas ghost story with the music of Joan Baez, Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. At twilight, the audience will be treated to the film “Salma,” a story about a Tamil Muslim woman who is imprisoned in her home for 25 years in a forced marriage. During that time, she covertly composed poems on scraps of paper, and through an intricate system she was able to sneak them out of the house and into the hands of a publisher. The event was made possible in part by the voters through a grant from the Central Minnesota Arts Board as well as from the state’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. They also received partial funding from the Bemidji Area Arts Endowment.

• Congratulations to local author DeeJay Arens, who has won the third award for his first published book, “The View From a Rusty Train Car” in the INEA Indie Excellence Awards, in the gay and lesbian fiction category as released from his Writers AMuse Me Publishing. DeeJay has been will attend the Book Expo America in New York City next week to sign and promote his book.

Art installations

• Art installations for May can be found at www. in the pull-down “First Friday Art Walk.”

• “Nature struggles with winter, Springtime rising up, the warm breezes give us hope.” Hope House members will present a watercolor/acrylic and haiku display titled “Spring Time Rising” at the Bemidji Public Library during May.

• Neilson Place presents the multilayered artwork of Paula Swanson, “Hurry Summer” through June. Swanson explores and interprets ideas, emotions and experiences creating a dialogue between the artist and viewer. Neilson Place is located on Sanford WoodsEdge campus, 1000 Anne St. NW.

• RavenRock Gallery of Jewelry and Fine Art and the Artists of Studio 10 will be hosting an exhibit by guest multimedia artists Barbara and Michael Hoet through June 1. 1000 Paul Bunyan Drive S., Suite 102.

Upcoming events

• Monthly Bemidji Library book discussion series will meet at noon June 2 and 7 p.m. June 3 with “Capitol Hell” by Jayne J. Jones and Alicia M. Long, former aides for Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman. The book tells the stories of their adventures in Washington using fictional characters. There are extra books at the library.

• The 2014 Summer Recital Series of the Bemidji Area Church Musicians begins at noon June 4 with Turtle Island Ensemble: Sarah Carlson (piano), Andrew Ronnevik (Violin) and Jon Romer (native flute) at the First Lutheran Church. The series will run each Wednesday until the final performance by Sarah Carlson on Aug. 27 at First Lutheran. There are some returning musicians and new players to see and hear this summer.

• Paul Bunyan Playhouse opens its summer season with the comedy “Noises Off” on June 4.

• The Bemidji Public Library Book Festival is scheduled for June 16-21. A quick summary of the schedule will show that there is a children’s book author giving a presentation daily at 10:30 a.m. Every afternoon at 2 p.m., Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday there will be a workshop on writing or publishing. The workshops do have limited seating for a small group and intimate settings, which requires advance registration. Every evening, Monday through Thursday, there is an author of adult books giving a presentation. The festival’s Friday late afternoon and evening schedule features our very own area writers hosted at the American Legion. The event begins at 5 p.m. with “Area Author Showcase” featuring a dozen or more area authors available to meet and greet readers and sell books. At 7 p.m., the event segues to the “Evening of Poetry” with Minnesota poet (and very funny fellow) Matt Mauch, which leads into the ever-popular Poetry Slam.