Art Leap 2021 gave art and craft lovers an opportunity Saturday and Sunday to explore the works of a wide variety of artists in locations ranging from Rochert to Akeley.
A visit to a few random sites along the Art Leap route made a feast for the eyes, thanks to both the artists’ work and the places it was displayed.
A garage off East River Drive in Park Rapids featured an array of watercolor and acrylic paintings, cards, ceramics and pencil drawings by Jill Lucas and guest artists.
“We have three generations of artists present here,” said Sarah Bowman.
Bowman explained that the works on display included pieces by herself, her parents, Jill and Toby Lucas, her daughter, Elise Bowman, and family friends, Dave Melhus and Sue Melhus.
Already in the early minutes of Saturday’s Art Leap hours, the Lucas garage was crowded with visitors looking at the wildlife and portrait paintings, pastels, pottery and treats.
Cookies, coffee and a basket of apples also awaited guests at the Osage Schoolhouse, where owner and paper craft artist Merrily Karel of Stillwater demonstrated her iris folding technique.
Karel explained that iris folding is an ancient paper art that mimics the iris of the eye.
Meanwhile, fellow Stillwater resident Dona Wilkerson exhibited wearable art that she knitted with hand-dyed yarn.
As an attractive bonus, Karel provided a tour of the restored schoolhouse, now operated as a vacation rental but still preserving the school’s original coal furnace and initials that long-ago students carved in the bricks.
In rural Menahga, Kathleen Ristinen and Abner Jonas of Athens, Ohio opened their summer studio to the public, displaying his color intaglio prints and her black-and-white woodcuts, pottery and hand-woven rugs in a small, red barn.
Originally from Menahga, Ristinen holds a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in ceramics and a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary arts – going some way toward explaining the professional quality of her work across a wide range of media.
The setting, a beautifully restored farmstead with denim overalls flapping on the clothesline and a hand-operated water pump painted blue, was practically an artwork in itself.
“It’s a very nice site,” Ristinen said. “People stop here quite often, just to look.”