LA VALLEUR COMMUNICATES: Musings by Barbara La Valleur — Only in Minnesota: Art on Ice

For as long as the Art Shanty Projects have been around, a few years now, I’ve vowed to go — yet have never made it — until Sunday.

Of course, 16-degree temperatures were no deterrent. After all, the sun was shinning. Plus, I have a warm hooded coat, terrific fur-lined boots and toasty leather gloves.

Armed with my sharp metal-pointed German walking stick to keep me safe on the ice and my iPhoneX to record the event, I made my way through a well-worn path in the snow to the “instant village” of art shanties that’s graced Lake Harriet near downtown Minneapolis since Jan. 20.

An array of whimsical, fun, artsy small structures were strategically placed not far out on the ice covered lake near the Bandshell. Many look like they might serve as actual fish houses in off season. But there were notable exceptions.

The photos speak for themselves. To learn more about the project — and perhaps bring this brilliant, fun and art-filled event to a lake near you — check out the official website to learn how they did it: http://www.artshantyprojects.org/about/overview

While Sunday was the last day, take heart. It will surely return next winter, hopefully at Lake Harriet, an ideal spot to take advantage of the popular park. Be sure to put it on your bucket list. And remember to bring the kids, grandkids and dog!

DAVE VORLAND: Photo Gallery — Spring Sights

Bloomington, Minn., photographer Dave Vorland captured these images in the Twin Cities the past couple of months, ranging from wildlife to landscape and celestial sights.

DAVE BRUNER: Photo Gallery — Minneapolis Skyline

Grand Forks photographer Dave Bruner recently traveled to Minneapolis, where he captured these wonderful skyline images — morning and evening — of Minnesota’s largest city.

 

DAVE VORLAND: Photo Gallery — Late-Summer Snapshots

Photographer Dave Vorland shares these images taken this past month from near his home in Bloomington, Minn., to Itasca State Park to Ketchum, Idaho, where author Ernest Hemingway is buried.

LA VALLEUR COMMUNICATES: Musings By Barbara La Valleur — Fun Sun Day

On a rare day in which neither of us had calendars full of commitments, my husband and I went for a spontaneous bike ride today taking advantage of the brilliant sunshine and mild breeze.

A native of Minneapolis who spends more time than me on his bike, Arnie would have been fine biking from our Edina condo. Me, not so much.

After we each packed a quick picnic lunch, he loaded our bikes on the back of his car and we drove the eight miles to Lake Nokomis with plans to bike to nearby Minnehaha Falls after going around the lake.

Thankfully, after more than 10 years of marriage, Arnie is used to me making frequent stops for photo ops. It was a fun trip around the lake and by the time I found the perfect spot for our picnic with a comfortable place to sit and a fabulous water view, we had actually cycled the entire 2.7 miles around Lake Nokomis.

We enjoyed a healthy lunch and conversation with a young Minnesota man who was spending quality time with his adorable 18-month-old daughter while his wife was at the hairdresser. His British Virgin Island T-shirt had got my attention. He said he was originally from Minnesota but had lived the past 18 years in the BVI.

I shared that I had lived in the U.S. Virgin Islands where I edited a newspaper 45 years ago. When he said he has a sterling silver jewelry business [islandgemcreations.com] that led to a conversation about various local art fairs. I encouraged him to check out Edina’s Fall Into the Arts and the Uptown Art Fair.

With our picnic finished, we hopped back on our bikes and headed to Minnehaha Falls.  After about 20 minutes, I started running out of steam. The temperature had risen to over 80, and a weather front was moving in so we decided to head back to the car.

Minnehaha Falls will have to wait for another day.

 

DAVE VORLAND: Photo Gallery — April Snapshots

Here are some nice shots from Dave Vorland, taken this past month in the Twin Cities and New York City.

LA VALLEUR COMMUNICATES: Musings By Barbara La Valleur — Downtown Minneapolis Adventure(s)

My husband, Arnie Bigbee and I went downtown today — my first trip on light rail — it felt like being on vacation in a different city seeing the sights from the train.

A nice touch of Chihully bowls on the ground level — at Government Plaza.
A nice touch of Chihully bowls on the ground level — at Government Plaza.

Then, we went to the amazing new Star Tribune offices with Chihuly glass bowls behind glass cases to take in the discussion about the dining scene with our favorite food critic, the newly revealed Rick Nelson, Food Editor Lee Svitak Dean and two local popular chefs chefs Carrie Summer, co-owner of Chef Shack and Gavin Kaysen, owner of the Spoon and Stable, all totally engaging. The Star Tribune’s Vineeta Sawkar was host and emcee.

Rick Nelson-on-a-Stick! He's actually in the background in the middle. — at Government Plaza.
Rick Nelson-on-a-Stick! He’s actually in the background in the middle. — at Government Plaza.

Everyone received a Rick Nelson-on-a-Stick to be used when you go to your favorite Twin Cities restaurant and take a selfie with it. Winner of the contest will get to have dinner with Rick, which I can tell you from personal >experience is a real treat. No desert needed.

Since we were early, I went up to the 13th floor and Tom Sweeney, Star Trib photo editor, was gracious enough to stop what he was doing and give me a great tour of the editorial offices. In my 50-plus years as a photojournalist, I never had it so good.

Stunning!

Phoenix Rising ... the base is made from melted guns — at Government Plaza.
Phoenix Rising … the base is made from melted guns — at Government Plaza.

Later, Arnie and I went to the food trucks, got pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwiches — not overly impressed — and walked over to enjoy the flair of Government Plaza. There’s lots to look at the most interesting of which are the people — women selling plants, a university classroom on the steps complete with notebooks, business meetings, lovers meetings and the sculpture Phoenix Rising made from melted down guns. I spotted two window washers about 40 stories up hanging by ropes cleaning the glass covered high rise. Lordy. The green roofed City Hall looked European and stately with a backdrop of sky blue and puffy clouds.

Then, it happened. Again. Fourth time in four years. Looking up for photos, not paying attention to where I was going, and blam! Splat! Scrape! A shout out — SHIT! And I fell on my knees, rolled over on my back in pain, saw black for a few seconds and then Arnie — who had been getting our light rail tickets 20 feet away — rushed back to me along with an angel — Chérie A. Penn, assistant chief of administration and PIO with the Minneapolis Fire Department. She called her station and within minutes had an ice pack for my knees and stayed with us for 10 minutes until I assured her I didn’t need an ambulance.

Ouch!
Ouch!

We got back on the Blue Line on our way home. Trying not to think about the increasing pain in my knees, shin and chest, I kept my eye on what we were passing. I was impressed, despite not being a football fan, at the enormity of the new stadium as we sped by. The video I took of it lasted more than a minute.

We settled in our seats sitting near a couple of young black men and engaged in a conversation. When they got off, another young black man with a T-Shirt “North Side or No Side” sat near us. I asked him if he lived on the north side of Minneapolis and he said “Yes.” Then I asked him what he was doing to make the North Side better? He said he’s going to college for a degree in business.

I congratulated him and asked if he knew of Don and Sondra Samuels, well-known black leaders in North Minneapolis. He didn’t. I encouraged him to find out who they are as two strong leaders who make a difference. Arnie shared his business card and asked him to email him so we could connect him to the Samuels. We wished him luck as he got off to continue to class.

Only two stops left to the Mall of America station, where we’d parked our car for the day’s adventures. Once we got home, I put ice packs on my knees, shin and chest where I had received the most impact in my fall. Only a few minutes later, we had an email from Officer Penn inquiring how I was doing.

How great is that?

Minneapolis has my vote for most helpful and caring city. My only regret: I didn’t get Officer Penn’s photo. I obviously wasn’t thinking. And tomorrow? Well, I’ll be stiff for sure. Still, it was a great adventure and hope to do it again. Next time with my eyes on the ground — at least while I’m walking!

Self-evident.
Self-evident.
Phoenix Rising ... the base is made from melted guns — at Government Plaza.
Phoenix Rising … the base is made from melted guns — at Government Plaza.
City Hall — at Government Plaza.
City Hall — at Government Plaza.
This is what got me in trouble ... looking up and taking photos! — at Government Plaza.
This is what got me in trouble … looking up and taking photos! — at Government Plaza.
Star Tribune Food Editor Lee Svitak Dean, Moderator — can't remember; Rick Nelson, food critic; Carrie Summer co-owner of Chef Shack; and Gavin Kaysen owner of Spoon and Stable — at Government Plaza.
(From left) Star Tribune Food Editor Lee Svitak Dean, moderator; Rick Nelson, food critic; Carrie Summer co-owner of Chef Shack; and Gavin Kaysen owner of Spoon and Stable — at Government Plaza.
Arnie waiving below ... we had front row seats in the Capella Tower Atrium of the Star Tribune Building  — at Government Plaza.
Arnie waiving below … we had front row seats in the Capella Tower Atrium of the Star Tribune Building — at Government Plaza.
The hub of the Star Trib editorial offices — at Government Plaza.
The hub of the Star Trib editorial offices — at Government Plaza.
At Government Plaza.
At Government Plaza.
Foyer of Capella Towers — at Government Plaza.
Foyer of Capella Towers — at Government Plaza.
The Blue Line — at Government Plaza.
The Blue Line — at Government Plaza.
Tom Sweeney, Star-Trib photo editor and my personal tour guide — at Government Plaza.
Tom Sweeney, Star-Trib photo editor and my personal tour guide — at Government Plaza.