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Pioneer Previews: Alice Blessing's MacRostie exhibit now in Bemidji

Local artist Alice Blessing's exhibit, "Miss Shapen," which was recently at the MacRostie Arts Gallery in Grand Rapids is now in Bemidji. The theme behind the acrylic paintings is the juxtaposition of the toddler beauty pageants to real life and the sexualizing of toddlers and young girls in that culture. Blessing has taken on a serious subject of the distorted ideal of beauty exploited by parents or caregivers of these young girls for financial gain with little regard for the bigger issue of the development of a well integrated personality of these children. Blessing's acrylic method of painting with her fingers instead of a brush is one of the interesting sidelights of the exhibit. Blessing, the recipient of a 2010 McKnight Mid-Career Fellowship through Region 2 Arts Council, is currently illustrating a children's book focusing on positive feminist ideals for young girls. The exhibit may be viewed any time that HSMA is open and will be up until December 20.


- "Murder at the Howard Johnson's" by Ron Clark and Sam Bobrick at the Wild Rose Theater, 501 Bemidji Ave. N., has its final performances today and Monday with a 2 p.m. matinee today and a 7:30 p.m. start time on Monday. A romantic comedy with resident members (Steve Saari, DeeJay Arens and Julie Quanrude) of Saaren's Productions, the action revolves around romance, murder and asks the question, "What is love really about?" Tickets are $12 for general public, $8 for seniors and $5 for students and may be purchased at the door.

- Today's 2 p.m. performance will be Patrick Carriere's last appearance as a BSU theater faculty member in "Proof" by David Auburn. On the main stage of Bangsberg's Fine and Performing Arts Complex, Carriere will portray Robert, a college professor of math and dead father of Catherine who nursed her father through his last years of mental decline. Catherine (Liz McGregor) fears that she has inherited her father's illness as she struggles with the realization that she has also inherited his math genius. Bob Boland plays a former math student of Robert who tries to discover the author of a new and brilliant math theorem. A former boyfriend of Catherine, he is confused by the impatient and overbearing sister, (Carissa Reis) a lawyer who just wants to get the estate settled and get back to her busy practice. The struggle shows how family can overcome the tragedy of a parent's death with compassion, loyalty and love. The play is directed by theater student Jesse Villerreal. Tickets are $12 for general admission, $6 for students and seniors and free for BSU students with a valid ID.

Grant deadline

The deadline for the Community Arts Support Grant is quickly approaching. Open to any arts organizations, these grants are two-year awards that help provide some measure of funding stability for arts organizations so that their energy can be better focused on increasing the quality and availability of the arts to their communities. Organizations can qualify to apply for up to $6,000 in funds based on their annual expenses. This grant will not be given again for another two years.

Applications are available at the Region 2 Arts Council Office, 426 Bemidji Avenue, Bemidji, MN 56601 and are also available for download from http//


- Tickets for "A Christmas Carol" by Chris Blackwood and Piers Robinson, based on the novel by Charles Dickens, are on sale. A production of the Paul Bunyan Playhouse and Bemidji Community Theater, this new interpretation of the classic tale will feature Charles Dickens (Mark Christensen) as the story teller. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 1, 2, 3, 9 and 10 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 11. Tickets are $6 for children and $12 for adults at Iverson Corner Drug and Ken K. Thompson Jewelry at the Mall. A non-perishable food donation for the Bemidji Food Shelf brought to the theater the day of performance will get a $1 refund on a ticket. This activity is made possible, in part, by a grant provided by the Region 2 Arts Council through funding from the Minnesota State Legislature.

- Tickets for Bemidji State University's 43rd Annual Madrigal Dinners are on sale now at the Madrigal Dinner Box Office in Bangsberg, 2nd Floor of Bangsberg. The box office hours are 9 a.m.-noon and 4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday. All tickets are $36 each and include a Renaissance feast, royal pageantry from the Royal Court, wandering mistrals, cellar keepers and beggars and Recorder players. A masque (play) will be presented by the King's Players. Performances are at 7 p.m. Dec. 2, 3, 9 and 10 and a 5 p.m. performance Dec. 4 in the Beaux Arts Ballroom in Upper Hobson Memorial Union on the campus of BSU, Birchmont Drive. Tickets are available only through advanced sale and can also be purchased by mail (Madrigal Tickets, Department of Music, 1500 Birchmont Dr.NE.#16, Bemidji, MN 56601) and include $2 for postage and handling.

Library talk

"Libraries of Minnesota," the newest book of photography by Doug Ohman, will be the topic of his talk starting at 7 p.m., Monday at the Bemidji Public Library. Ohman will show slides and talk about his newest book with commentaries by Minnesota authors. Will Weaver's essay sets the premise of the book by showing the vitality of the library system in Minnesota in towns-- large and small-- and in all cultural groups. This event is free and open to the public at no charge.


Region 2 Arts Council announces that it has funding available for "No Risk" workshops. The application can be downloaded from their website: The workshop must focus on learning experiences for adult artists and be open to the public. Proposals are considered on an ongoing basis and the funds are limited.

Art exhibits

- Bemidji Community Art Center is hosting the 9th annual "It's Only Clay" featuring winners of the 2011 national juried ceramics show. A collection of the work of this year's judge, Guillermo Cuellar, will also be on display. BCAC is free and open to the public. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

- Bad Cat Creations Gallery & Gifts featured artist is photographer Jon Heller and his exhibit, "I Shoot People." Bad Cat Creations is a boutique featuring Art & Fine Craft by over 60 different artists and is located at 315 Irvine Ave NW.

- Beltrami County Historical Society, in conjunction with Gallery North, will present "Fall Reflections." Also featured is the newest exhibit "Beltrami County in Mark Twain's Time," which explores what was happening in our county during the lifetime of America's celebrated author and humorist Mark Twain (1835-1910). For history center hours, call 444-3376.

- Cabin Coffeehouse and Café is presenting Shannon Lucas-Westrum: Art and Inspiration. The Cabin is open seven days a week at 214 3rd St. Also on display are the cards and paintings of resident artist Audrey Merschman.

- Dunn Bros Coffee will present photographer Tom Dunn's black and white exhibit images created in Austria, Luxembourg, Ireland, Belgium, Slovenia, the Netherlands and Minnesota. Dunn Bros Coffee is open seven days a week and is located at 501 Paul Bunyan Drive S.

- Fleur de Lis Art Gallery (501 Bemidji Ave.) has new works by local artists. Stop by the see the new rotation. The gallery is open when the Fleur de Lis sign is outside the building.

- Gallery North (502 3rd St.) has opened its annual Christmas Boutique with art work, fine crafts, hand painted ornaments and other items.

- Glazed and Amused, (311 3rd St.) is presenting the work of Norma Frisk and Sue Smith as their featured artists for November and December. Glazed and Amused is a paint your own ceramics studio open Tuesday through Saturday.

- Neilson Place (1000 Anne St.) will have an installation of Blueleaf Photographs by Melissa Moss which help us to remember the times we share with others. The opening reception will be held in December. The work is for sale and a price list is available at the reception desk.

- Northwoods Gallery and Framing (318 Third St. NW) is featuring the work of wood cut artist Don Houseman for the month of November.

- Wild Hare Bistro and Coffeehouse (523 Minnesota Avenue) is showing "Cat and Bird," by Alice Blessing, with color and light, birds become wild animals and cats become pets.

- Rail River Folk School will present Wesley May and his "Let Me Tell You a Story...Interconnected," an installation of acrylic paintings and pencil drawings. The venue is located at 303 Railroad St. SW., take the Irvine Street Bridge and turn left and go up the hill to the school.

Maps for the installations on the Bemidji Sculpture Walk are free and at the Chamber of Commerce next to the Paul and Babe Statue.

Ongoing events

- Pub Trivia at Brigid's Cross Irish Pub, Mondays at 7:30. Free to play.

- Open Stage at 8 p.m. Thursdays for performing artists and writers with host Drew Jacobson at Brigid's Cross.

- Northern Artist Association meets at 12:30 p.m. the third Monday of the month at the Eagles Club, 1270 Nielson Ave. SE. The public is invited to attend. For details, call 759-2952.

- Headwaters Basketmakers Guild meets on third Saturday of the month; contact

Announcements of arts and entertainment events may be sent to the Bemidji Pioneer, P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56619-0455 or e-mailed to