Art Hounds: New work that highlights Yiddish poetry and Asian American voices

Paintings of objects.
‘Secret Ingredient’ by Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art student Kelly Schamberger. Schamberger used oil on canvas panel. It's featured in the Academy's first student show.
Kelly Schamberger | Courtesy of Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art

St. Paul composer Adam Wernick looks forward to the Rimon Artists Salon series — and in particular, the world premiere of a new work by composer and vocalist Anat Spiegel.

Anat Spiegel
Anat Spiegel
Submitted photo | YourClassical

Spiegel is a Dutch-Israeli composer who now makes her home in the Twin Cities. Rimon executive producer David Harris saw her work as a Cedar Commissions fellow and commissioned Thursday’s performance. 

“I would describe her music and her performances as bold, theatrical, hugely imaginative — and always surprising,” Wernick said.

The Zoom event is entitled “I Once Was a Boy: on the Edge with poet Anna Margolin.” Spiegel’s song series puts music to poems written in Yiddish by Anna Margolin. The evening includes a conversation between Spiegel and vocalist Sarah Larsson about the Yiddish language, poetry, and music. The event Thursday at 7 p.m. is free, but registration is required.

Landscape painter Joshua Cunningham recently made a trip to Duluth, Minn., to get a sneak peak at the Great Lakes Academy of Fine Arts’ first student show. The school is a four-year program that teaches a classical style of art. The first graduating class was in 2020, but the pandemic prevented the academy from putting on a year-end showcase. This year’s show includes work by the first two graduating classes as well as current students. 

Paintings of objects.
‘St. Jerome Cast Drawing’ by Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art student Austin Jasurda who used charcoal on paper to create this work of art.
Austin Jasurda | Courtesy of Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art

Cunningham was intrigued by both the showcase and its location; the school is housed in a decommissioned Catholic church, with pews turned into easels surrounded by original stonework and wooden scaffolding.

“It's really neat because beauty endures beyond its original purpose. And so for the students to be practicing and learning in a space about beauty for a bigger thing,” Cunningham said.

As for the artwork, Cunningham said “some of those drawings and paintings will be the fruit of weeks of observation. Just think about the last time you spent weeks looking at and studying something.”  The student showcase runs Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.

Looking ahead to next weekend, visual artist Heather Lou in St. Paul is planning to attend the New Eyes Festival 2021: (Un)Scene. The annual festival of short plays from Theater Mu and the Playwrights’ Center will feature a series of 10-minute plays, presented virtually. This year’s playwrights are Carla Ching, Aditi Brennan Kapil, Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay, Isabella Dawis, and Lisa Marie Rollins.

This year, the five playwrights respond in some way to growing anti-Asian violence in the country. Lou also appreciates that the plays explore “the ways our community can be celebrated and put in the limelight.”

Friday, May 21 at 7 p.m., you can hear from the playwrights and producer Katie Hae Leo during a “Mu-tini Hour” on Facebook live. The plays air live on May 22 at 7 p.m. and will be available on demand May 23 through May 29.

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