Festival of Artists comes to Hibbing

Where do you go to find fine art in Hibbing?

Any local resident will direct you to Hibbing High School—the architecture of the building and the art inside are masterpieces. The massive murals by artist David Ericson that greet visitors upon the entrance into the Castle in the Woods tell the tale of the history of both Minnesota and the United States. In the High School Library, you’ll find a 63-inch mural entitled “The Iron Industry” that was created by artist David Tice Workman. Both are museum-quality works that are housed in an active, lively historical building.

While we may have a shortage of art museums in the area, there are many talented visual artists quietly creating quality work from their home studios every day. Often times, they have to travel away from the area to learn about new methods or techniques to take their craft to the next level, but that won’t be the case the first weekend in June.

Dillman’s Art Workshop Retreat, along with Borealis Art Guild in Hibbing, is hosting a Festival of Artists on from 4-7 p.m. on Friday, June 7, at the Borealis Art Guild (214 East Howard Street in Hibbing) and the adjacent Crown Ballroom. The free festival brings nationally and internationally known artists to Hibbing to educate and inspire local artists. There will be door prizes, a silent auction of artists’ original and reproduction artwork as well as books, videos and art supplies available for purchase and complimentary food and beverage. While the event itself is free and open to the public, space is limited and reservations are required. To reserve a space call Borealis Art Guild at 218-263-8482.

The Festival will continue on Saturday, June 8, from 1-4 p.m. at the Amicis Event Center (10 West Pattison Street) in Ely.

Dillman’s Bay Resort in Lac Du Flambeau, Wisc., is a family owned resort that has been around since the mid 1930’s. In addition to all the typical resort area amenities, the owners formed the non-profit Dillman’s Creative Arts Foundation (DCAF) as a way to meet the vacationing public’s changing needs. Since 1978, the DCAF has grown to include four- and five-day workshops that attract over 12,000 artists to the resort as well as outpost events such as the one in Hibbing.

Watercolor artist Jan Carey of Hibbing has been attending the art workshops at Dillman’s for about six or seven years. It was last summer during a conversation with Sue Robertson, one of the resort owners, that the ball got rolling to bring their workshops to Hibbing and Ely. “Sue said to me that they bring these festivals to other towns and that they would be interested in venturing up to this area if I could find an organization to help co-support it,” Carey explained. “I talked to Borealis Art Guild and the rest is history.”

Guest artists Barbara Benda Nagle, Sandie Bacon, Sharon Reilley and David R. Becker will be leading 45-minute long demonstrations in their chosen mediums. The festival will close with Hibbing artist Louise Lundin leading a demonstration on drawing and painting heads, faces and figures.

Moorhead-based artist Barbara Benda Nagle made the life-changing decision to leave her day gig as a school art teacher in 2014 to focus her efforts on becoming a full-time artist and independent art teacher in private and community settings. On her website, she states that she specializes in designing courses for people who consider themselves as non-artists. “I like to empower people to create and enjoy working with various media,” she writes. “I teach courses in sketching, watercolor, mixed media collage, and workshops that explore elements, principles and composition within the mediums of drawing and watercolor.” Her Hibbing demonstration will focus on drawing and watercolor for beginners.

Sandie Bacon is a versatile artist with Midwest roots, she’s lived on both coasts and now calls Chicago home. As an artist, she’s constantly challenging herself to work with new mediums, and as a result she has crafted a portfolio of heavily textured paintings. Her demonstration “Texture in Nature” will focus on using encaustic effects, painting on crackle paste and using interference and metallic paints for shimmer, pouring, impasto painting and more. She typically works on a variety of surfaces including paper, canvas, wood, aluminum, and plexiglass. On her website she states, that she’s “interested in the multi-faceted worlds that make up an image: color, texture, materials, techniques, references to literature and pop-culture.”

The Far East and the Iron Range will collide when Sharon Reilly of Minocqua, Wisc., demonstrates Asian Watercolor techniques in “Expression of the Northwoods.” A professional wildlife conservation biologist and well-studied in the technique of Asian painting, Reilly will introduce the methodology and study of the Asian watercolor technique. To the viewer, the final product has a vastly different look and feel than traditional Western art, but to the artists the changes begin with the tools. The practice is meditative with the final result being the natural energy flowing through you and the brush.

Art festival headliner, David R. Becker of Chicago will be demonstrating how he uses acrylics and watercolor to create landscapes. When viewed through his lens, a common street scene becomes a work of art—his website is filled with busy streetscapes from his hometown of Chicago to breathtaking views of the canals in Venice, Italy. Becker’s career began as an illustrator at J. Walter Thompson, the world’s best-known marketing communications brand. He has has since broken away from the corporate world to pursue a career in fine art painting. One of Becker’s favorite paintings was commissioned by Starbucks for their Macy’s store in Chicago.

Closing the evening will be Hibbing artist Louise Lundin who has made a career of art in various capacities, she is well-known for her watercolor paintings of people, birch trees and saunas. She teaches private lessons, and small- to large-group classes and workshops to all levels of painters. Lundin will demonstrate her techniques for drawing and painting heads, faces and figures.

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