art beat

Watercolor exhibit

The Groveland Gallery has opened a new exhibition of watercolors, oils and pastels by St. Paul native William Murray.

Murray served in the Coast Guard on the Great Lakes and trapped lobster in Nova Scotia before beginning his career as a painter.

Murray divides his attention between his loves for northern Minnesota woods and lakes, and the industrial urban scenes near his St. Paul home.

He's also known for an observant attention to small details, whether it's a stone wall, doorway of an abandoned warehouse or sunlight across a meadow.

This exhibition runs through Nov. 25. For more information call 377-7800 or visit www.grovelandgallery.com.

Guthrie: Behind thescenes

A new book about the behind-the-scenes history of the Guthrie Theater features contributions from three Southwest residents.

&#8220The Guthrie Theater: Images, History, and Inside Stories” features archival photographs, as well as lists of all the theater's plays, actors and directors since 1963.

&#8220People who love the Guthrie love the book,” said Nat Fuller, of Windom, an actor who has worked on Guthrie stages since the 1980s.

Fuller said theater fans are very interested in what goes on behind the scenes, and the book is full of stories aimed to satisfy that curiosity.

&#8220There's a theater joke that everybody asks you how do you learn all those lines,” Fuller said. &#8220For many of us, the lines are the least of it.”

Used to sharing stories, Fuller said the &#8220only thing a little different was putting it down on paper. I enjoyed sharing it.” He wrote an essay on his first successful audition.

Fuller said the company is getting used to the ins and outs its new space. The book is a time capsule of the theater's life at its previous home.

Graphic designer Holly Welch, of Lynnhurst, designed the 240-page, coffee-table book from her South Minneapolis design studio, Holly Welch Designs.

&#8220Holly's work made the book spring out of manuscript form and into the reader's eyes,” author Peg Guilfoyle said.

And musician Matt Barber, of Kingfield, shares a story in the book of missing a sound cue during the 1983 production of &#8220A Christmas Carol” that caused the Fezziwig party and dance to take place with two not-quite-simultaneous versions of &#8220Deck the Halls.”

Guilfoyle, who was on staff for during the 1970s and '80s, said she wanted to make a book about what it's like every day inside the Guthrie.

&#8220I already knew about a million backstage stories, but (while writing the book) there were people who would come and tell me stories I've never heard,” she said.

&#8220The Guthrie Theater: Images, History, and Inside Stories” is for sale at gift shop at the theater's new location and other booksellers. Personally inscribed copies by the author can be obtained at www.guthrietheaterbook.com.

City unveils railing art

The city dedicated a 400-foot stretch of artistic railing earlier this month in the Wedge neighborhood along the Loring Park Bikeway.

Minneapolis artist Lisa Elias was commissioned for the steel piece, titled &#8220Stream of Trailing Reeds,” north of Franklin Avenue at Aldrich and Bryant avenues south.

The railing uses curvilinear lines of the railing to evoke a stream. Cattails, flowers and reeds emerge naturally from new landscaping planted as part of the project.

The artist, a founding member of Art-A-Whirl in Northeast Minneapolis, faced design challenges because the artwork abuts and screens an Interstate 94 entrance ramp.

She chose a weathering steel meant to hold up even in winter, when large quantities of salt from the ramp will splash on the railing. It also matches the organic design.

Elias also had to become a certified welder before she could install the work because it is along the freeway ramp owned by the state Transportation Department.

Two new bike racks will be added to the site in the next few months.

Dan Haugen can be reached at 436-5088 and [email protected].

art beat

Asking why

A series of portraits show them as individuals, but who are they collectively?

Identity will be the theme of a discussion this month at the Stevens Square Center for the Arts, which is hosting a show by artists with mental illness.

&#8220Peers” features portraits done in prints, collage, oil paintings and other styles by members of the ArtWorks program at Spectrum Community Mental Health.

What links the contributors, who range in experience from self-taught beginners to artists with master's degrees in painting, is their mental illness, but should it?

Amy Rice, visual arts coordinator at the health center, said how mental health relates to their art is an ongoing conversation, one that will be explored at the forum.

&#8220I think especially among we artists there's a tendency to label,” Rice said. &#8220But sometimes, there's this sense that that's not all we are. We are artists first.”

Questions that come up include when and why it's appropriate for artists to disclose their mental health status while applying for art shows.

The forum, on Oct. 19, will address those issues, and include conversation about various identity art, including all-women, gay or lesbian, or ethnic shows.

&#8220We're not opposed to disability-themed shows. We're just asking, why do we need that?” Rice said.

Identity-themed shows can spotlight work that might be overlooked in the larger mainstream theme, but is there a point where labels are no longer needed?

&#8220Peers” runs through Oct. 29., &#8220Identity Art” Forum is 7-9 p.m., Oct. 19., Stevens Square Center for the Arts, 1905 3rd Ave. S., 879-0200. www.ArtWorksAtSpectrum.org.

Scattered

It's not the &#8220Simpson's Treehouse of Horror,” but it might feature as much nonlinear comedy as the increasingly scatter-plot television tradition.

&#8220Seventy Scenes of Halloween,” as the title implies, consists of 70 scenes written by Brooklyn playwright Jeffrey Jones to be performed in any sequence.

Walking Shadow Theatre Company of Minneapolis will perform the show Oct. 13-28 at the Old Arizona Studio at 2821 Nicollet Ave. S. As the separate and sometimes contradictory scenes build on one other, a bizarre and darkly comic tale emerges about suburban bliss falling apart.

&#8220The interchangeable scenes make you question which is the real scene and, within the context of the show, none of them is any more real than the other,” Director John Heimbuch said.

Walking Shadow Theatre Company got its start in 2004 at the Minnesota Fringe Festival with a mission of exploring the human soul.

&#8220Seventy Scenes of Halloween,” which lasts about one hour and 45 minutes, is the group's first production written by somebody outside the company.

Heimbuch said previous shows were written to fit specific time slots at the festival but that they'd wanted to eventually branch out to other works. Jones' two-act, avant-garde work was one of the first to catch their attention, he said.

&#8220There is a question of the elements of human nature, which is what we as a theater are trying to do,” Heimbuch said.

&#8220Seventy Scenes of Halloween” runs Oct. 13-28, (check for performance times), Old Arizona Studio, 2821 Nicollet Ave. S., $14-$16. www.walkingshadowcompany.org

Dan Haugen can be reached at [email protected] or 436-5088.