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Fingerstyle Guitars, Mountain Meltdown & More

david johnson Marina sunrise 2

The promise of spring — David Johnson took this incredible shot of the marina at sunrise in Grand Marais recently. Enjoy!

Music festivals are front and center this weekend with the 5th annual Fingerstyle Masters Weekend at Bluefin Grille and the Mountain Meltdown celebration at Papa Charlie’s at Lutsen Mountains.

FingerStyle2015  RAndy Sabien & Mike Dowlingbanner

Mike Dowling, right, and Randy Sabien are the featured musicians at the Fingerstyle Masters Weekend at the Bluefin Grille.

The Fingerstyle Masters Weekend was started by fingerstyle virtuoso Gordon Thorne five years ago as a benefit for WTIP Community Radio, and to showcase outstanding musicians and fingerstyle guitarists.

This year, world-renowned guitarist, Mike Dowling as well as master fiddle-player Randy Sabien and Tom Schaefer are the featured musicians.

The weekend kicks off  on Friday night with an informal evening of blues, swing and old-timey American music with Gordon Thorne and Tom Schaefer at the Bluefin Grille at 8 p.m. On Saturday, a number of workshops will be held starting at 10 a.m. Thorne  will teach a free youth guitar workshop; Dowling will lead a guitar workshop ($50) and Sabien and Schaefer will teach a workshop on fiddling ($50). Lunch is included. To register or learn more, contact Thorne at 218-353-7308 or email oman4@live.com.

The event concludes with a great concert on Saturday night featuring Dowling & Friends at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at the door. All profits from the Fingerstyle Masters Weekend will be donated to WTIP to support the station’s Transmitter Replacement Project.

Lutsen Mountains celebrates  Mountain Meltdown Weekend on Saturday and Sunday with a wide variety of music at Papa Charlie’s. (See music schedule, below.)

Other events of note on Saturday include a workshop on Photo Phenology — the art and science of tracking the seasons with a camera — with Joe Walewski, Wolf Ridge naturalist. The workshop will be held at Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center at 10 a.m. Participants are encouraged to bring their cameras.

A Small Talk about the Bally Blacksmith Shop will be held on Saturday.

A Small Talk about the Bally Blacksmith Shop will be held at 4 p.m.  Saturday at the Johnson Heritage Post.

On Saturday afternoon, the Cook County Historical Society will present a Small Talk on the Bally Blacksmith Shop at the Johnson Heritage Post at 4 p.m. A panel of guest speakers will tell stories about the Bally family, and participants are encouraged to bring their own stories, photos or objects related to the Ballys and their trade. An update about the restoration project will also be presented.

And North House Folk School will be closed to the public this weekend as 54 if its instructors gather for a professional development weekend. They will have sessions on the craft of teaching, grant writing, using social media and wood shop safety. Each instructor will also take a three-hour class on something they’ve never done before, said Jessa Frost, program director at North House.

In Thunder Bay, the 22nd annual North of Superior Film Festival will be held April 12 & 19 at the Silver City theater, 850 N. May St. The film festival kicks off with a double-bill prelude on Thursday, April 9, featuring screenings of “Phoenix” at 6:30 p.m. (EST) and “Boychoir” with Dustin Hoffman at 8:45 p.m. (EST)  In all, 21 national and international award-winning films will be screened during this festival. For more information and screening schedule, click here.

"Gunflint Abalze" by Alicja Stoeger is on exhibit at the Heritage Post.

“Gunflint Ablaze” by Alicja Stoeger is on exhibit at the Johnson Heritage Post.

In art news, the Permanent Collection exhibit continues at the Johnson Heritage Post, featuring 15 new acquisitions of works by Anna Johnson, Birney Quick, Mary Pratt, Helga Moe, Ingeborg Holte, Dale Malner, and others. The Heritage Post is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday and Monday.

"Budding Birches" by Aaron Kloss.

“Budding Birches” by Aaron Kloss.

Sivertson Gallery is featuring a great selection of new work by Duluth painter Aaron Kloss, including lots of spring-themed landscapes.

The gallery’s website includes a video of the discussion on painting and art that Jan, Howard and Liz Sivertson and Dave Gilsvik gave for the 35th anniversary celebration of the gallery. Check it out here.

The Grand Marais Art Colony  is currently seeking proposals from artists of standing who will conduct a public art project to be carried out during the Grand Marais Arts Festival in celebration of its 25th anniversary, July 11 – 12.

The deadline for submissions is May 1.  Click here to access the RFP for the project.

In other Art Colony news, applications are still being accepted for the Eric Thomas Emerging Artist Award, a scholarship for youth to take a class at the Art Colony in the subject of their choice. For more info, click here.

One of the illustrations for "One North Star."

One of the illustrations for “One North Star.”

Betsy Bowen is working on a new book!

She’s been busy all winter working on “One North Star,” a Minnesota counting book written by Phyllis Root and co-illustrated with Beckie Prange.

Watch for it in the spring of 2016 from the University of Minnesota Press.

Porcelain urns by Maggie Anderson are at the Kah Nee Tah Gallery in Lutsen.

Porcelain urns by Maggie Anderson are at the Kah Nee Tah Gallery in Lutsen.

Kah Nee Tah Gallery in Lutsen is featuring the work of new local artist and potter Maggie Anderson.She specializes in raku and porcelain pieces.

Other featured art at the gallery includes watercolors by Duluth artist Tanya Beyer and oil paintings by Greg Murphy of Mahtomedi.

The Coho Cafe in Tofte is featuring watercolors by Hovland artist David Hahn through mid-May.

"Snowtexter," a solar plate etching by Neil Sherman.

“Snow Texter,” a solar plate etching by Neil Sherman.

Plein air painter Neil Sherman has been working in the print studio at the Grand Marais Art Colony to make solar plate etchings. Sherman said his “Snow Texter,” at left, is one one of the most popular.

The prints are available at Sivertson Gallery.

"Flying Birds" by Alyssa Sugarhead.

“Flying Birds” by Alyssa Sugarhead is in the student exhibit at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery.

In Thunder Bay, The Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School Art Exhibition opened at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery on Thursday and continues through April 26. This is the last weekend to view the Lakehead Major Studio Exhibition, but  Kim Adam’s exhibit, “One for the Road” continues through May 24.

An example of the artwork Dana Johnson is offering on  her indiegogo page.

An example of the Dana Johnson’s artwork.


And finally, Dana Johnson, a Grand Marais native and talented artist now living in California, has started an indiegogo page to raise funds to return to Minnesota to help her mother, who is ill.

She is offering her writing and/art artwork as donation awards on her indiegogo page.

Dana’s goal is to raise $2,500. So far she has raised $1,048. To see her indiegogo site, click here.

Here’s the music schedule for the week:

Thursday, April 9:

  • Eric Frost & Bill Hanson, Poplar River Pub. 6 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Gun Flint Tavern, 6:30 p.m.

Friday, April 10:

  • Fingerstyle Masters Weekend, Informal Fingerstyle Circle, Gordon Thorne & Friends, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
  • Jim & Michele Miller, Voyageur Brewing Co., 8 p.m.
  • Gordon Thorne & Friends, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
  • Bughouse!, Gun Flint Tavern, 9 p.m.
  • Timmy Haus, Papa Charlie’s, 9 p.m.

Saturday, April 11:

  • Mountain Meltdown at Papa Charlie’s
  •    Black River Revue, 11:30 a.m.
  •    Feeding LeRoy, 1 p.m.
  •    Ginstrings, 2:30 p.m.
  •    Frogleg, 4 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Lutsen Resort, 7 p.m.
  • Fingerstyle Masters Weekend Concert, Mike Dowling & Friends, Bluefin Grille, 7:30 p.m.
  • Jim & Michele Miller, Voyageur Brewing Co., 8 p.m.
  • Bughouse!, Gun Flint Tavern, 9 p.m.
  • Jillian Rae, Papa Charlie’s, 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 12:

  • Mountain Meltdown at Papa Charlie’s
  •    Joe Paulik Band, 11:30 a.m.
  •    Gordon Thorne, 1 p.m.
  •    Cook County’s Most Wanted, 2:30 P.M.
  •    Spruce Roots, 4 p.m.
  • Timmy Haus, Gun Flint Tavern, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, April 14:

  • Gene LaFond and Amy Ann Grillo, Poplar River Pub, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, April 15:

  • Open Mic Night, Gun Flint Tavern, 5 p.m.

We found some wonderful images this week. Here are some of them.

Let’s start out with a “newsy” photo. As of Wednesday, 18 ships were caught in the thick ice in Whitefish Bay in eastern Lake Superior. The winter ice was pushed down to that end of the lake following days of  winds from the west, posing a major problem for shipping.  You can read the story here.

Ships are trapped in the ice in Whitefish Bay in eastern Lake Superior. Kenneth Armstrong of Reuters caught this image on Wednesday.

Ships are trapped in the ice in Whitefish Bay in eastern Lake Superior. Kenneth Armstrong of Reuters of Reuters caught this image on Wednesday.

Western Lake Superior is ice-free and ready to roar, as Terri Lampi shows in this photo she took at Stoney Point the other day.

Photo by Terri Lampi.

Photo by Terri Lampi


The ice is definitely leaving our rivers, too, as Becky Poirier shows in this shot of the St. Louis River.

St. Louis River at Fond du Lac by Becy Poirier.

St. Louis River at Fond du Lac by Becky Poirier.


And the beach and waters around Split Rock are free of ice and snow, as Thomas Spence shows in this iconic photo.

Photo by Thomas Spence.

Photo by Thomas Spence.


The Big Lake has wonderful tranquil moods, too, as John Gregor shows us here.

Photo by John Gregor.

Photo by John Gregor.


And this one, by Alex Ganeev.

Photo by Alex Ganeev.

Moonrise over Park Point, by Alex Ganeev.

Have a great weekend, everyone!








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