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Familiar Lands and New Traditions at the Rourke

Arts | May 18th, 2022

By Sabrina Hornung

sabrina@hpr1.com

Artwork: Woodcut by Danielle Gravon titled "Allegory of Fargo Winter I"

On June 18, the Rourke will be holding their 62nd annual Midwestern Preview, the date celebrating the opening anniversary of the Rourke Gallery in 1960. The invitational exhibition is one of the longest-running invitationals in the Midwest, celebrating artists from throughout the country. Each year the staff of the Rourke comes up with a thought-provoking theme and then selects a juror to distribute first, second, and third place awards as well as honorable mentions among participating artists.

This year, the staff at the Rourke are anticipating up to 80 pieces in a variety of media, give or take a few.

“This year’s theme, ‘Familiar lands and foreign gates: A hero's journey,’ was a backup theme from last year, the phrases familiar lands and foreign gate actually come from a phrase within a stanza of the Kalevala, which is Finland's sort of national epic poem,” said Jonathon Rutter, Executive Director and curator at the Rourke.

Dependent upon the theme, the jurors generally have roots within the arts community. Though one year the theme was tied in with media and current events, so Forum writer John Lamb and myself were asked to select the winning pieces, a task which in itself was quite challenging to say the least!

Artists Joel Hegerle and Susan Morrissey will be this year’s jurors. They are both skilled mixed media/assemblage artists and will be actually fabricating the award for this year’s exhibit– which could quite possibly be the Midwestern’s newest tradition.

The preview will run 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the museum. The award ceremony will be at 6:15. A jazz trio from the FM Kicks Band will start at 6:30 pm. An anniversary dinner will be held at Rustica afterward for which reservations are required. The Midwestern Luncheon, held in the courtyard, will be making a comeback the following day as well– weather permitting of course.

In addition to the time-honored tradition of the Rourke’s Great Midwestern invitational exhibition, the folks at the museum have a few new tricks up their sleeves…

Moorhead-based sculptor/Concordia professor Dwight Mickelson has been helping to curate outdoor sculpture exhibits in the Rourke courtyard. The next exhibition opens July 16. The museum is also working on collaborating more with their neighbor, Moorhead Public Library. Be sure to keep an eye out for storytime in the courtyard as well as live music.

One of the Rourke’s latest additions is the addition of the Micro-Theater, which Rutter half-jokingly referred to as Moorhead’s last movie theater, outfitted with red curtains and vintage theater seats. Filmmaker and newly retired MSUM film instructor Raymond Rea has been serving as guest film curator. A film by Kansas City-based filmmaker Caitlin Horsmomn

is currently on view. Interested filmmakers are encouraged to contact the Rourke for consideration.

“Film arguably was the ascendant art form of the 20th century, and it deserves space right along with the more established visual arts.” He went on to say, “We've fleshed out the space, so now it's just as simple as getting a call out to interested filmmakers. We were acquainted with a good number of video artists, but the list is not nearly as long as the number of painters, printmakers or ceramic artists that we know, so we're really grateful to be working with Ray, and that he's willing to help us out with a deep knowledge of film and filmmakers.”

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