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Art Leap will feature region's best artisans, musicians, poets and creatively inclined

An oil painting called "Swan Stretch" was created by local artist Ray Wattenhofer and will be among the works of art featured during Art Leap the weekend of Sept. 26-27 throughout the region. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

An "open studio" event featuring 13 culturally rich destinations in the Park Rapids area is slated for Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 26-27.

Art Leap 2009, sponsored by the Park Rapids Lakes Area Arts Council, invites art lovers to find their way to area artists' and artisans' studios and workshops, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The fourth annual Art Leap is free and open to the public.

The White Birch Artists will kick off their Art Leap Show with a public reception from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25 at the Park Rapids Area Library. The group of artists will show their work from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26.

There will also be familiar studio names to visit, as well as several new sites this year. Visitors will have more opportunities to meet mature artists/artisans who have been practicing their individual skills and talents.

Seeing the work in each studio setting and hearing the artists talk about their tools and materials will help the visitors learn more about the creative process. Participants are:

-Menahga natives Kathleen Ristinen Jonas and Abner Jonas will be at The Studio, a red barn with skylights. These master printmakers will have examples of their original prints on exhibit. Abner's etchings and Kathleen's woodcuts will be featured, as well as examples of Kathleen's wheelthrown pottery.

-Forestedge Winery owners, John Wildmo and Paul and Sharon Shuster feature their specialty, award-winning wines made from the fruits and berries that survive the northern winters. Their Gallery showcases the work of fellow artists/artisans working in stoneware, weaving, jewelry, batik and other arts and crafts.

-Works of sisters Jo Hill and Bickey Bender of Stoney Lake, will include Jo's painted silk creations and woven wearables. Bickey will feature watercolor paintings, mixed media and papermaking.

-Live performances will be featured at the Long Lake Theater in the tiny village of Hubbard Saturday, Sept. 26 between 2 and 4 p.m. The theater will also host literary/poetry readings by the Twigs as well as solo performances by singer/songwriter Ben Ranson and pianist Jane Wolff. The Pine Avenue vocal jazz quartet will perform. These performances are free and open to the public.

-New this year, Terrapin Station in Nevis will host a group exhibit featuring local painter Helen Dickson, silversmith Jim Kropp, photographer Joel Maxwell and Osage painter Boyd Sharp. Visit Stacey Skinness' studio and view prints and drawings by Ross Zirkle and paintings by Rhonda Zirkle, all in downtown Nevis.

"Get-Rites" will perform at Terrapin Station at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26.

-For the regional literary group, the Jackpine Writers' Bloc will be held at Northwoods Bank in Park Rapids, Saturday, Sept. 26 between 1 and 5 p.m. It will be celebrating the 18th volume of the "Talking Stick." At a Book Release Party, there will be readings, awards and refreshments.

The list of participants and sites also includes Park Rapids, Nevis and Akeley area artists:

Blue Sky Beads, Studio & Gallery - original blown glass and lampwork beads, sculptural and framed pieces. Join Sandra Fynboh for demonstrations at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. or join in some hands-on bead and wire sculpture at the activity table.

Raymond Wattenhofer -landscapes in oil and limited edition prints.

Gary and Marsha Wolff - mosaics, pottery, painting, drawing and sculpture. There will be pottery and mosaic demonstrations both days.

Terri Young - original paintings using watercolors, pastels and acrylics feature local landscapes; wheel thrown pottery demonstrations by Peter Young and painting demos by Terri. Also featuring jewelry, photos and note cards, as well as Tim's carved fish. Refreshments will be served. Studio will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

North Country Museum of Arts in Park Rapids will be open Saturday to showcase its permanent collections.

Native Harvest and Minwanjige Café at Strawberry Lake Corner will again have examples of crafts, native foods and espresso coffee produced on the White Earth Reservation, as well as books about Native American and Ojibwe culture.

At Itasca State Park, the Mary Gibbs Headwaters Center features interpretive displays of human and natural history; the source of the Mississippi River.

The work of approximately 45-50 artists will be on view during this event. Maps are available on or by calling 732-8258.