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Studio Cruise artists gearing up

Ron and Barbara Boock admire a sculpture of a potter working at a potter’s wheel made in memory of their son, Josh. The sculpture has been placed at Fourth Street and Bemidji Avenue. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI – The First City of Arts Studio Cruise for 2013 is coming up in less than a month and already the crafters involved are gearing up for another fun-filled and busy weekend as visitors will come from all over to visit their studios.

Many favorites — Jeff Burger ceramics and Monica Hansmeyer of Seven Sister Design — will be joined by new comers such as wood turner Darrell Magnussen and fabric artist Jane Carlstrom. Twenty-four artists will welcome visitors and consumers to their studios, but there is one artist who will not be returning this year.

Josh Boock, a charter member of the Studio Cruise Committee and participating artist, will be there in spirit only. Boock died in January at the age of 32. His demise was met with grief within the arts community, especially felt by sculptor Al Belleveau, who took it upon himself to fabricate a permanent piece for the Bemidji Sculpture Walk, "Broken Heart, Broken Dreams."

"The Josh Boock Memorial Sculpture was my attempt to find cathartic release from his tragic death," said Belleveau, who placed the installation on the corner of Fourth Street and Bemidji Avenue North. "Josh was an amazing artist who gave from his soul. He brightened the lives of thousands with his pottery and humor."

Belleveau, along with Josh’s parents, Barbara and Ron, searched through the functional pieces from Squeaky Wheel Pottery to create a sculpture of a potter sitting at a wheel. His arms are shards of mugs and bowls and he is gently holding a broken heart fabricated in a process invented by Belleveau.

"That says it all; see it, feel it. Mourn the past, heal the brokenness and we move on," said Belleveau.

This year’s cruise will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 18-19 and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 20. As in past years, the tour is separated by location into the orange, red and purple tours.

- Red tour: Visitors can start the red tour in town with participating artists Michael Wiltse of Your Mom’s Tattoo Atelier or Brian Grund’s Natural Photography or Shannon Lucas’ Westrum’s Wildflower Design Studio — with guest artist John Theroux — or Susan Kedzie’s Tumbleroot, It’s then out into the country with Maureen O’Brien’s acrylic interpretations of woodland scenes and then to the Billie Barthelemy and Alice Strands fabric art and clothing. Be prepared to spend a good amount of time at Al Belleveau’s studio.

- Orange tour: The orange tour starts in Tenstrike with Terry Honstead’s studio and then a dash over to Don Houseman’s acrylic paintings and woodland prints, also in Tenstrike. And potter Jeff Burger will be happy to show you his new kiln at Turtle River, and then it is on to Monica Hansmeyer for jewelry in metal and stones. Back down toward town, stop at Sillimandi Art Studio with watercolorist Pat Shough and her guest artists — Dee Najjar with her oils and watercolors and Kathy Gustafson’s animal paintings, mixed media and sculpture. Finish the day at A Tranquil Nook with Jane Carlstrom and her fabric art in wool and silk and in the same direction, Melissa Burness and Kaleidoscope Art.

- Purple tour: The purple tour includes fabric artist Mary Therese at her Fern Lake Studio and then visit the studio of Wanda Riese Odegard, whose larger than life sculptures will capture your imagination. Continue on to Kathy and David Towley hand turned woodworking shop for functional wooden pieces. Darrell Magnussen’s "My Inspirations in Wood" could be the next stop and finally on this tour, painter Paula Swenson at her River of Time Studio.

Color brochures with detailed cruise map and instructions are available at the Tourist Information Center downtown by Paul and Babe and at Watermark Gallery (formerly Bemidji Community Arts Center). The three-day event is free and open to the public, and there are early shopping opportunities as there are also retail merchants and galleries on the different routes.