COVID-19 Posts

Creating Apart: Adam Swanson

The pandemic gave Adam Swanson time to complete 14 paintings of endangered animals. But it also gave him time to think. In this short documentary by filmmaker Mike Scholtz, Adam wrestles with the importance of art, and art openings, in our lives.

Creating Apart: Aaron Kloss

When the pandemic started, painter Aaron Kloss decided to create a new painting every day and post it on his Facebook page. Six months later, he’s still going strong. In this short documentary by filmmaker Mike Scholtz, Aaron talks about why he paints and shows off some of his work.

Creating Apart: Lyz Jaakola

Lyz Jaakola is a musician and teacher from Cloquet, Minnesota. In this video by documentary filmmaker Mike Scholtz, Lyz talks about how her family responded to the pandemic with music.

Creating Apart: Karen Savage-Blue

Karen Savage-Blue is one of the artists featured in the Tweed Museum of Art’s upcoming exhibition, “Creating Apart: Local Artists Respond to a Global Pandemic.” In this video by documentary filmmaker Mike Scholtz, Karen talks about a painting she created as a direct response to the pandemic.

Creating Apart: Joe Klander

Joe Klander is one of the artists featured in the Tweed Museum of Art’s upcoming exhibition, “Creating Apart: Local Artists Respond to a Global Pandemic.” He’s an artist and ophthalmology tech at St. Luke’s Hospital. In this video by documentary filmmaker Mike Scholtz, Joe talks about how the pandemic gave him time to work on one of his dream projects.

Creating Apart: Brian Barber

Brian Barber is one of the artists featured in the Tweed Museum of Art’s upcoming exhibition, “Creating Apart: Local Artists Respond to a Global Pandemic.” He’s an illustrator, animator and filmmaker. In this video by documentary filmmaker Mike Scholtz, Brian talks about how the pandemic gave him time to work on a series of instructional draw-along videos.

Creating Apart: Moira Villiard

Moira Villiard is one of the artists featured in the Tweed Museum of Art’s upcoming exhibition, “Creating Apart: Local Artists Respond to a Global Pandemic.” She loves to organize community-wide mural projects. In this video by documentary filmmaker Mike Scholtz, Moira talks about the future of painting with large crowds of people.

Creating Apart: Sarah Brokke

Sarah Brokke is one of the artists featured in the Tweed Museum of Art’s upcoming exhibition, “Creating Apart: Local Artists Respond to a Global Pandemic.” She’s a painter and an associate professor at the College of St. Scholastica. In this video by documentary filmmaker Mike Scholtz, Sarah talks about her work and how the pandemic is like an expanding bubble that’s pushing longstanding issues to the surface in our society.

Creating Apart: Ivy Vainio

Ivy Vainio is one of the artists featured in the Tweed Museum of Art’s upcoming exhibition, “Creating Apart: Local Artists Respond to a Global Pandemic.” She’s a digital photographer who works at the American Indian Community Housing Organization. In this video by documentary filmmaker Mike Scholtz, Ivy talks about her artistic struggles during the pandemic.

Selective Focus: Creating Apart

The Tweed Museum of Art will be hosting an exhibition, “Creating Apart: Local Artists Respond to a Global Pandemic” with work by Ivy Vainio, Moira Villiard, Sarah Brokke Erickson, Karen Savage-Blue, Joe Klander and Brian Barber. Annie Dugan curated the exhibition and worked with local documentary filmmaker Mike Scholtz to create a series of short films about each of the artists involved.

The exhibition was originally scheduled to open on Aug. 31 in the Court Gallery of the Tweed. Shifting plans for colleges and gatherings have already affected the actual schedule. In the meantime, the Tweed has released the brief teaser above featuring the artists who were interviewed. Profiles of each artist will be released on a regular schedule in the coming days and weeks, and we will be posting them here on Perfect Duluth Day as they are available.

Living Your Best Life Without Ever Leaving Your House for Any Reason

My name used to be Anna. Now it’s Mamahoney. You can call me Mama, or Honey, or Mamahoney (but not Honeymama: Honeymama was my mother’s name). Honestly, I’ll probably respond to any combination of these sobriquets because the sooner I do the faster I can get back to this Jim Butcher wizard mystery I’m reading. And I really want to get back to it because it takes place in another city, which is not anywhere in my house. In fact, not one part of this fantastic story about how a handsome, middle-aged wizard solves supernatural crimes whilst single-parenting a daughter and negotiating the perilous political landscape of the supernatural world’s equivalent of the United States Senate (if it were diverse and cared about anyone) — not one single page — takes place in my house. Amazing!

I, like many of you (or a couple of you if you’re college-aged and reading this in Texas or Florida), have not been out much in the past five months. For nigh half a year, I, my partner, and our loin fruit have confined ourselves nearly entirely to our house. Our house, in case you’re curious, is 1,000 square feet of space, with two bedrooms, one bathroom, and very nice original woodwork. It’s decorated just how we want it, and doesn’t resemble an oubliette in any way, save one — the fact that we cannot leave it. This has made us all a little barmy. And not in the cute, eccentrically quirky way, like we’ll take up painting with dark chocolate or bat guano or something. More in a Grey-Gardens-meets-Biosphere kind of way.

The Slice: Celebrating Essential Workers through Art

Duluth artist Carolyn Olson has been inspired by essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its series The Slice, WDSE-TV presents short “slices of life” that capture the events and experiences that bring people together and speak to what it means to live up north.

Musing on a Home Office

Like many people, I’ve been working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is definitely foreign to me. I am a navigator at Community Action Duluth, which is a job that requires intensive, one-on-one work with people. Skills acquired when sitting next to someone have a new level of complexity via telephone. I definitely had to hone in my listening skills to know if I was hearing my letters correctly (b, d, t, s, and f). It is much easier to relate to someone face to face. I now realize the importance of visual cues in communication, and the ways I watch and listen for understanding and clarity. Navigators are now explaining complex issues without the normal go-to tools.

Health insurance information I normally would be able to visually show and describe requires a deeper level of explanation over the phone. I check frequently if the content I am relaying is being understood as intended. Thankfully I am able to scan printable material and email it to my participants. For those participants without technical devices, I am still using the postal service. My local post office is only a half block from my home. In the future I hope to meet the individuals and families I have assisted remotely, in person. I miss the one-on-one contact.

Living History on Empty Streets

“Duluth is a bit off-center, both literally and figuratively—something most Duluthians don’t seem to mind at all. After all, this is the city whose skyway system runs partially underground, where the West End is located in the city’s geographic center, and whose annual Christmas City of the North parade is held a week before Thanksgiving. Duluth may be a little bit off-center, but part of what makes Duluth Duluth is that here, true north isn’t always where you’d expect it to be.”

— Tony Dierckins, Duluth: An Urban Biography

Sheltering in place gives a devotee to a city even more time to learn it intimately. I read Tony Dierckins’ new biography of Duluth, which fits the bill of a pre-founding-to-present history that I pined for on my blog some while back. The biography really only left me hungry for more: it clocks in at just under 170 pages and could easily have been double that length if it were to thoroughly explore structural forces and the lives of prominent figures beyond a series of mayors and those who crossed their paths. Still, it was a welcome step beyond Tony’s previous fun vignettes and collections, most of which peter out somewhere in the middle of the 20th century. Granted, Duluth’s history becomes somewhat less romantic in that stretch; the great turn-of-the-century wealth faded, the growth stalled, and the architecture wandered away from an eclectic opulence to something much more mundane. Still, the book is a reminder that this city’s history has always been one of awkward lurches, of rises and falls, and a quest for some sort of stability in the aftermath.

Together

A short video by Justin Peck, starring Jody Kujawa, Jason Scorich and Peck.

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