Monthly Archives: March 2011

Next Month at the Art Colony

What’s So Special About the North Shore?
Biophilia: Sacred Inner and Outer Landscapes Exhibit

What’s so special about the North Shore? More than 60 local and regional artists will examine how these rocky shores and glistening lakes nurture their souls in an upcoming spring theme exhibit at the Grand Marais Art Colony, April 10 – 24. Entitled Biophilia: Sacred Inner and Outer Landscapes, the exhibit captures why the North Shore is a powerful landscape.

“We are excited to see how the artists communicate the deep sense of place we experience on the North Shore because we ponder these questions ourselves,” said Amy Demmer, executive director of the Grand Marais Art Colony and co-curator of the exhibit. The North Shore is home to a higher percentage of artists than most rural areas and every year a large number of visitors come here to soak in the visually inspiring terrain.

Minnesota naturalist and author Sigurd Olsen also mused on this subject. He wrote, “We all carry restlessness within us, an impatience with things as they are, which modern life with its comforts and distractions does not seem to satisfy.” So we search for what he called “the singing wilderness” to satisfy “the hunger that all of us have for a time when we were closer to lakes and rivers, to mountains and meadows and forests, than we are today.”

Perhaps this is why so many are drawn to the rugged landscape of the North Shore; it allows us to connect with something greater and more meaningful. However, capturing that essence enters into the artist’s realm where they can explore the intersection between the geographical environment and their inner spirituality, developing a sense of place for both the artist and the audience.

Each participating artist will work in their media of choice – paintings, photography, mosaics, sculpture, beadwork, ceramics, collage, and fiber, to name a few. The exhibit is curated by the Grand Marais Art Colony and Spirit of the Wilderness Episcopal Church, an unusual annual collaboration dedicated to using art to express the intangible.

The opening reception is at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 10 and will include a performance by award-winning poet and essayist Gary Holthaus and internationally acclaimed musician Lauren Pelon called: “The Story of Music, Stories from Home.” According to Pelon, “the music and readings offer unique perceptions of the natural world, and celebrate our sense of place, community and home.” They received an Arts Tour grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board to perform their renowned program for free at the exhibit opening. “We wanted to give the audience an opportunity to experience the theme through all their senses,” said co-curator Rev. Mary Ellen Ashcroft, Vicar of Spirit of the Wilderness Episcopal Church.

The Grand Marais Art Colony is Minnesota’s oldest Art Colony and is dedicated to providing services to artists, offering art education and nurturing creativity on the North Shore. The exhibit and performance are free and open to the public and located at 120 West 3rd Avenue in Grand Marais, Minn. For more information, call 218-387-2737 or see

Lauren Pelon is a fiscal year 2011 recipient of an Arts Tour Minnesota grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is funded, in part, by the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the Legacy Amendment vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.