Minnesota potters ‘share the fire’ in multi-faceted exhibit

By Elyse Kaner
Staff Writer

Anoka-Ramsey Community College and the Northern Clay Center are teaming to premiere “Minnesota Potters: Sharing the Fire” exhibition.

Clay artist Warren MacKenzie is one of many clay artists in “Minnesota Potters: Sharing the Fire,” a series of workshops, an exhibit and a documentary film meant to encourage and record the rich history of ceramics in Minnesota. The events will be held at the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis and at Anoka-Ramsey Community College’s Performing Arts Center in Coon Rapids. Photo submitted

The exhibit, gallery talks and documentary film of the same name are a collective one-of-a-kind effort and sure to please the palates of clay lovers and other art aficionados alike.

“We really have something unique here in Minnesota in terms of the clay world,” said Mark Lambert, project coordinator and ceramics teacher at ARCC. “I want to share that with everybody so they can appreciate what’s here.”

This unique series of workshops and potters’ collaboration for the documentary is intended to encourage the rich history of ceramics in Minnesota.

The multi-event exhibit opens March 9, 6 to 8 p.m. at the Northern Clay Center, 2424 Franklin Ave. E., Minneapolis. The show runs through April 29.

A documentary film titled “Minnesota Potters: Sharing the Fire” premieres with a lecture by Janet Koplos March 10, 1 to 3 p.m. at the Anoka-Ramsey Community College Performing Arts Center, 11200 Mississippi Blvd., Coon Rapids. Free.

The film offers a rare view into the lives and works of eight prominent Minnesota potters.

Featured potters paired in the film are: Warren MacKenzie and Guillermo Cuellar, Linda Christianson and Jil Franke, Bob Briscoe and Jason Trebs and Richard Bresnahan and Steven Lemke.

After the exhibit opening, the public is invited to the following Gallery Talks with participating artists:

• Gallery Talk I: Warren MacKenzie and Guillermo Cuellar, Thursday, March 15. (Full)

• Gallery Talk II: Linda Christianson and Jil Franke, Thursday, March 22.

• Gallery Talk III: Bob Briscoe and Jason Trebs, Thursday, March 29.

• Gallery Talk IV: Richard Bresnahan and Steven Lemke, Tuesday, April 3.

Gallery talks are from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Northern Clay Center.

All events are free admission.

“You get to see an art form and the artists themselves,” Lambert said. Attendees to the events “will gain new insight and knowledge, to experience what these potters have gone through,” he said.

“Sharing the Fires” is the result of a 2011 Folk and Traditional Arts grant that ARCC received from the Minnesota State Arts Board. The MSAB grant was funded, in part, by the arts and cultural heritage funds appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the Legacy Amendment vote of the people of Minnesota Nov. 4, 2008.

Lambert in January received a second MSAB grant for nearly $50,000. The grant will fund a “Minnesota Potters: Sharing the Fire” exhibition tour to greater Minnesota. The tour includes stops at Winona State University, MacRostie Art Center in Grand Rapids, Grand Marais Art Colony and Bemidji State University.

For more information about “Minnesota Potters: Sharing the Fire” events, visit www.AnokaRamsey.edu/Fire.aspx.

Elyse Kaner is at [email protected]