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 access+ENGAGE   the definitive alternative   Issue #20.2

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In this Issue: The Collector's Art

mnartists.org is launching Art on the Wall, a new monthly series in collaboration with mplsart.com, featuring conversations with art collectors about the objects of their affection. The series begins with a confab between collector and FOX 9 News Anchor Robyne Robinson and mplsart.com's Emma Berg plus a tour through some of Robinson's favorite pieces from local artists.

If you're like most of us, it's intimidating to consider buying original art. But we at mnartists HQ share a core commitment to the notion that art is for everyone—whether your home is a '20s bungalow, a small apartment, or a swanky downtown loft. In the interest of demystifying the whos and hows of art collecting, mnartists.org has partnered with mplsart.com to produce Art on the Wall, a new monthly series of informal interviews with Minnesota collectors from all walks of life. For this first installment of Art on the Wall, Fox 9 News Anchor and longtime Twin Cities arts enthusiast Robyne Robinson offers insight into her years-long quest for one-of-a-kind treasures and shares a few of her favorite pieces by local artists. Who knows? Maybe you'll feel inspired to take the plunge and pick up a piece or two from a talented Minnesota artist to call your own.

Mashup: An Introduction to Art on the Wall

Art from Robyne Robinson's collection by Seth Wolk, Jon Nelson, and Ben Olson

WE ALL COLLECT SOMETHING. Coupons, stamps, love letters, or rubber bands from the Sunday paper. Some of us collect art. Unlike many of our more neurotic collections it is our art that we proudly display. But, in fact, others rarely see our art collections except for the occasional dinner party with friends. At my home our friends have grown accustomed to reclining under the large Sean Connaughty oil painting with wine glass in hand, occasionally looking up to find something new in the work. Or, once in a while a well-intentioned Clean Water Action Committee solicitor catches a glimpse of the Jaime Hayon platter we’ve proudly hung as the first thing you see when entering our home.


There was a time when there were more dinners at my house, and a time when there were more dinner invitations. Those invitations to dinners flowed into evenings, and the evenings turned into nights filled with conversations about the art in our homes. 


So with that in mind, we here at mplsart.com are pleased to introduce Art on the Wall, a new series of conversations we’re producing with mnartists.org. Each month we will present an intimate, informative, and enjoyable introduction to the collections around us…think of it as an invitation to the dinner party.


Our first interview invites you into the home of FOX News broadcaster, Robyne Robinson. As you browse through the work she’s collected, you’ll see names of familiar artists, artworks that you’ll feel you recognize, and undoubtedly something new. Robyne’s art collection spans international lines but her greatest interest is in supporting local artists.

We hope you enjoy the tour.                      

Kristoffer Knutson, mplsart.com

>>CLICK HERE to browse through an extensive and varied collection of some of local artists whose work Robyne Robinson collects.


Emma Berg and Kristoffer Knutson

mplsart.com is an online guide to gallery openings in Minneapolis managed by Emma Berg and Kristoffer Knutson. Along with weekly updates, photo galleries, reviews and featured artist profiles the site and those behind it present frequent art exhibitions in alternative spaces around town.


Emma Berg is the director and founder of mplsart.com, which she first launched in 2005. Emma’s genuine enthusiasm for the creative culture within our wonderful city keeps her out at art events weekly, supporting artists and galleries alike.

Kristoffer Knutson is the proprietor of the Lyndale Avenue boutique ROBOTlove, a design store featuring limited edition artist toys, clothing, books, prints and magazines. He joined mplsart.com as a partner in 2006.


Credits: Photo at top pictures the entryway in Robyne Robinson's home, featuring artwork by three Minnesota artists: Seth Wolk in the front, a light suitcase piece by Jon Nelson in the middle, and, in the corner, a painting by Ben Olson. (Image courtesy mplsart.com.) Photo of Emma Berg and Kristoffer Knutson appears courtesy mplsart.com.

Art on the Wall: mplsart.com's Emma Berg Chats with Collector Robyne Robinson

Frank Stella print

The Nicest Dorm in College

A conversation on collecting between mplsart.com’s Emma Berg and FOX 9 News journalist Robyne Robinson.


Welcome to the first installment in an ongoing monthly series from mnartists.org and the local arts calendar mplsart.com which will introduce you to a variety of Twin Cities collectors who share a passion for investing in and surrounding themselves with original art. Through these informal visits we hope to plant the seed of a passion for collecting in you too, as well as offer some practical insights into how you can begin to develop a collection of artwork that reflects and enhances your own unique vision of the world around you.  

Fox news broadcaster, arts patron, and former gallery owner Robyne Robinson has been an amazing supporter of the local arts scene since arriving in Minneapolis in 1990. Her Minneapolis gallery, Flatland, was open from 2000 to 2003 with a focus on local emerging artists. She has served on the Basilica’s Arts Advisory Committee and on the arts boards for the Walker Art Center, Outsiders and Others, MCAD, and Independent Feature Project Minneapolis. 

I visited with Robyne for tea at her Uptown townhouse, where I was introduced to her extensive art collection which spans all three floors. After spending some time chatting about the warm July weather, work, and the borders of uptown, we grab our tea and begin.


mplsart: Can we take a tour of your collection?


Robyne: Yeah, take your tea.  


We begin our walk through the house. Looking around, I see that there is art everywhere: works line the walls, sculptures are grouped in every corner or hung from the ceiling, ceramic pieces paired with art magazines populate the side tables. It is absolutely inspiring ...Read this Art on the Wall interview with Robyne Robinson on mnartists.org.

CLICK HERE to read Emma Berg's engaging conversation with FOX 9 News broadcaster Robyne Robinson about her art collection, which runs the gamut from sculpture to paintings and prints and even what may well be a drawing by Salvador Dali.


Photo courtesy Robyne Robinson

About the collector: Robyne Robinson is a broadcast journalist on FOX 9 News. A longtime supporter of Minnesota artists, she was also the founding owner of Minneapolis' Flatland Gallery, which specialized in showcasing work from the state's emerging artists.

Portrait of Robyne Robinson by Frank Gaard







Credits: (Top) Signed, numbered print by Frank Stella from Robyne Robinson's collection (photo courtesy mplsart.com). (Bottom) Portrait of Robyne R. by Frank Gaard, image courtesy the artist's website. Photo of Ms. Robinson appears with her permission.

Homepage: a selection of current artist opportunities on mnartists.org

Artist Opportunities

MINNESOTA STATE ARTS BOARD GRANTS : Artist Initiative grants and Community Partnership grants are available and applications are due soon!  

CALL FOR ART: The Minneapolis Central Library is seeking altered books for a juried exhibition (Deadline October 15)


CALL FOR ART: Susan Hensel Design Gallery is seeking art in any medium for Leap of Faith 3, a juried exhibition on concepts of faith from a variety of traditions (Deadline September 20)


ATTN Puppeteers and Performance Artists: Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of MN is seeking a puppet (and puppeteer) along with other guest entertainers to star in a new TV show aimed and patients and their families


CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: The Soap Factory is seeking art submissions of all kinds for Artery 24 a unique 24-hour performance event highlighting a variety of media and interactive art (Deadline September 22)


Credit: Halas by 2007 MN State Arts Board Grant winner, Kelly Connole.

Virtual Gardener: John Steffl, Hybrids

Click here to read Ann Klefstad’s profile on John Steffl’s new digital photography show on mnartists.org

John Steffl, a longtime ceramicist and painter, several years ago became a digital photographer, working with flowers. A show of this work just opened at Lizzard’s Gallery in Duluth.

“There are not many days in the life of a peony,” says John Steffl, the erstwhile painter now a digital photographer. When Steffl was going through round after round of chemotherapy for lymphoma a couple of years ago, he thought perhaps there weren’t so many days in his life either. The flowers were close, beckoning and, to eyes made new by the nearness of death, they were “so beautiful that they were sacred.” ... Click here to read the full profile by Ann Klefstad on mnartists.org.


What: Hybrids, digital photography by John Steffl

Where: Lizzard’s Gallery, Duluth, MN

When: The exhibit runs through September 15.

Tickets: FREE and open to the public


Credit: Peony Totem, photo by John Steffl, image courtesy Lizzard's Gallery.

When Pigs Fly: New Work by Eric Dubnicka

Click here to read curator Ken Bloom’s thoughts on Dubnicka’s new pieces and to get the story behind this intriguing new exhibit.

Ken Bloom, the director of the Tweed Museum of Art at University of Minnesota-Duluth, recently guest-curated a show at the Duluth Art Institute. Here's his take on what he saw in Eric Dubnicka's work.

First impressions are said to be everlasting but they mislead: what seems opaque can later gain transparency. You may need this second impression to pierce the density of Eric Dubnicka’s new work. Character, mystery, and motive reward your gaze. The work’s readability is inversely proportional to the degree that its form and style represent conventional aesthetics. …Click here to continue reading Ken Bloom’s essay on mnartists.org.


What: When Pigs Fly, New Work by Eric Dubnicka

Where: The Duluth Art Institute, Duluth, MN

When: The exhibit will be up until November 25. There is an opening reception Thursday, August 23 from 5-7 pm and an Artist Dialogue planned for August 30 in the George Morrison Gallery from 6-7 pm.

Tickets: FREE and open to the public


Credit: Untitled by Eric Dubnicka, courtesy DAI and mnartists.org.

Yes, We Do Have a History: In Her Own Right at the MMAA

Click here to read Susan Clayton’s review of the new MMAA exhibit In Her Own Right: Minnesota’s First Generation of Women Artists

Susan Clayton reviews In Her Own Right: Minnesota's First Generation of Women Artists a new show  at the Minnesota Museum of American Art.

In Her Own Right: Minnesota’s First Generation of Women Artists is a pleasing collaboration between the Minnesota Historical Society—drawing on its fine art collection and exhibition know-how—and the Minnesota Museum of American Art, possessor of an expansive gallery space that is used for temporary exhibitions. Promised was a show of 75 works from five artists, Frances Cranmer Greenman, Alice Hugy, Clara Mairs, Josephine Lutz Rollins and Ada Wolfe. All were born before 1900, enjoyed lengthy careers, and “contributed greatly to the history of art making in Minnesota.” … Click here to read Susan Clayton’s review of the exhibit on mnartists.org.


What: In Her Own Right: Minnesota’s First Generation of Women Artists

Where: Minnesota Museum of American Art, Saint Paul, MN

When: The exhibit runs through October 28. There is a gallery talk on September 23 at 2 pm, and a guest lecture featuring women’s studies scholar and historian Kristen Mapel Bloomberg and art historian Jane Blocker scheduled for October 3 at 7 pm.

Tickets: FREE and open to the public


Credit: Breakfast by Frances Greenman.

READ ON for a quick handpicked sampling from the rich variety of events listed on mnartists.org/calendar ...

Classes & Workshops

Who Am I? Who Am I To You? A special workshop taught by Interact Artists to explore how illness affects the human experience

(Apollo Resource Center, Saint Paul, August 29)


Bone up on your basic photography skills in this class taught by veteran photojournalist Tom Baker

(Westview Adventist Church, Chanhassen, August 26 and September 2)


Credit: Flowing With Ashes by Tom Baker

Fairs & Festivals


The Minnesota State Fair

(Saint Paul, August 23-September 3)


Riverfront Fine Arts and Crafts Festival

(Downtown Northfield, September 8-9)


Textiles, fashion by local designers, jewelry, and more at the annual Soo Vac +/- (plus/minus) Sale and Show

(Soo Visual Arts Center, Minneapolis, August 23)


Take a unique driving tour and visit artists and craftspeople in their studios throughout NE Minnesota for the ten-day Autumn Winds Studio Tour

(Various studio locations in Northeast Minnesota, September 7-16)


Celebrate unity and diversity by browsing through the work of the unique, youth-created collaborative

SPEAK Project

(The Baha'i Center, Minneapolis, August 25)


Live demonstrations of weaving and spinning at the Weaver’s Guild of Minnesota Fall Open House

(Weaver's Guild of MN, Minneapolis, September 15)

Credit: Birch Trees by Susan Bolos, one of the artists you can visit on the Autumn Winds Studio Tour

Lectures and Readings




Book launch party and signing for Romantic Knits, a new book by Annie Modesitt with how-to for knitting your own flirty fashions

(Textile Center of Minnesota, Minneapolis, August 24)


An artists’ talk and retrospective exhibit, Olmscheid House and Street, on the work of father and son photographers Tom and A.J. Olmscheid

(IFP Minnesota Center for Media Arts, Saint Paul, artists’ talk on September 11 & exhibit runs through October 5)


Local historian, critic, and novelist Larry Millett will speak on Living Arts: A Discovery Guide to Twin Cities Architecture

(Minneapolis Central Library, Minneapolis, September 13)

Credit: Detail from the IFP Minnesota postcard in honor of the Olmscheid House and Street retrospective


Fort Wilson Riot presents Idigaragua, an Original Rock Opera

(Bedlam Theatre, Minneapolis, September 6-16)


Join lutenist and trickster Richard Griffith for The Magic Lute, an evening of Renaissance lute music, magic, and mental chicanery

(Tillie's Bean Coffee House, Minneapolis, August 31 and September 15)


Groove to the jazz, world music, and original compositions of Jetsam Organic Ensemble

(Dakota Jazz Club, Minneapolis, August 25)


Rock out to the ’80s cover band After School Special

(Station 65, Mora, August 24-25)


Credit: Photo by Emma Freeman from Idigaragua courtesy Bedlam Theatre


Explore the impact of environmental damage on women and children in Pipaashaa, a compelling new production by Ananya Dance Theatre

(Southern Theater, Minneapolis, September 6-9)


Catch sketch comedy, improv, and short film work from emerging local comics as their stars are rising at the 99¢ Comedy Hour

(Jitter Cafe and Martini Bar, Minneapolis, Wednesday nights through August 29)


A post-feminist, satiric dance theater romp through road rage, gluttony and other new oppressions in Here It Is, Here It Is by Melissa Birch

(Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis, September 2-23)


“Relaxing and Odd” improv from Code Name Roosevelt (formerly Survivors of the Undead Plague) at Improv A-Go-Go

(Brave New Workshop, Minneapolis, August 26)

Visual Arts


Dream Girl: Classic American Illustration features the art of iconic pin-up girls, pulp femme fatales, and dream girls from advertising and magazine spreads from 1900-1950

(Red Wing Framing Gallery, Red Wing, September 13-October 23)


Nature Abstracted: Paintings by Mary Linden

(Jon Hassler Theater, Plainview, through September 2)


Attest and Grow: a solo show by mixed media artist Amy Rice

(Gallery 122, Minneapolis, September 7-30)


Salon 300: The Minnesota State Fair Overflow Show

(Hopkins Center for the Arts, Hopkins, through September 2)


WARM and Amazon present: Megan H. Longtine-Jones and Beth Loraine Bowman

(Amazon Bookstore Co-op, Minneapolis, September2-30)


Credit: Forestville by Mary Lingen.

You Are Here event listings are drawn entirely from the mnartists.org calendar, so if you want to improve the odds that you'll see your happening linked here, you'd better start posting your events!

We've made it super easy to begin: here's a step-by-step guide that'll show you how to promote your own events on the new arts calendar. Browse through more up-to-the-minute events listings or post a show of your own on mnartists.org's new DIY arts events calendar.

Walker Art Center

One for the Road

Photo courtesy Peter Haakon Thompson

Do You Need Peter Haakon Thompson's

Auto-Ethnographic Fair Guide Service?

If you've never felt satisfied that you're getting the most from the Minnesota State Fair, you might consider signing up for Minneapolis artist Peter Haakon Thompson's personally guided tour through our state's annual spectacle of Pronto Pups, ginormous hogs, and blue-ribbon offerings that run the gamut from art to canned pickles. With expertise drawn from a lifetime of dedicated sunrise-to-sunset fair-going, for a modest fee Thompson will escort you and your loved ones through the oft-overlooked nooks and crannies of the grounds, offer tips on pacing your Fair food consumption, and much more.

And before you leave the Fair, be sure to come by and visit us at the mnartists.org booth in the Education Building!


access+ENGAGE Editor:  Susannah Schouweiler

mnartists.org Project Director:  Kathleen Kvern

Original e-journal design: Brand & Butter

Featured Contributors and Artists

Banner image (cropped and reprinted with permission of the artist): Detail from A Shoe Store in Pompei by Frank Gaard, one of the Minnesota artists whose work is collected by Robyne Robinson, the subject of this issue's Art on the Wall interview. Keep your eyes peeled for Charlie, a book project collaboration between Gaard and the artists responsible for Wrong Gallery. In the meantime, you can see much more of Gaard's bold work on his website.

access+ENGAGE is a free twice monthly e-journal offering indispensable,

fuss-free coverage of the arts in Minnesota and beyond

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