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Art springs eternal

Waterfront Gallery on First Avenue in downtown Two Harbors hosted members of the Voyageur Art Club Saturday. Front: Helen Hartley; middle: Rose Kadera Vastila, Grace Zemlin, Ellen Saine, Aileen Johnson, Linda Hoffman; back: Sandi Pillsbury Gredzens, Nancy Steinhauser, Elsie Cook, John Anderson, and Joyce Gow.1 / 4
Elsie Cook has a painting of Gooseberry Falls on display.2 / 4
A John Anderson work welcomes visitors.3 / 4
Joyce Gow attended the reception Saturday and stood by her Watercolor painting, "Fronds."4 / 4

Waterfront Gallery on First Avenue in downtown Two Harbors hosted members of the Voyageur Art Club Saturday at a reception kicking off its annual spring art show. Works will be shown in the gallery through May 14.

"Waterworks at Waterfront" is the theme for the 11 club members who are showing 42 pieces of art work including watercolors, acrylics, mixed water media, oils, assemblage, jewelry, and ceramics.

"The subject matter is that of water, and what better place to have this showcase of artists than near the historic waterfront of Agate Bay?" artist Sandi Pillsbury Gredzens said.

Artists this year are John Anderson (president), Elsie Cook, Joyce Gow, Helen Hartley (treasurer), Linda Hoffman, Rose Kadera Vastila, Pillsbury Gredzens, George Pope, Ellen Saine (honorary member), Nancy Steinhauser, and Arlee Wilkes (vice president).

The Voyageur artist group has been around since 1946, when eventual members met and an "extension" of an art class they were taking at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

At first, they would meet in each other's homes, where they painted, critiqued each other's work, and helped with technique.

Eventually they were offered the Paramount building, which they turned into a gallery after three months of cleanup work. The first display was opened June 30, 1946, with 46 exhibitors, 200 paintings, and more than 400 visitors the first day.

The artists spent two summers in the building and then moved into a succession of buildings until finding their current home in the Art Center next to the depot at 516 South Ave.

The 33-member group meets on the third Monday of each month September through May. The meetings begin at 1:30 with regular business, then refreshments and an ever-changing, engaging program. Newcomers are welcome.

The Voyageur Art Club has members who are more than 90 years old and are still active in the group. Ellen Saine is one of those members, and has her "Sisu" jewelry in the show. Other 90-plus members are Audrey Grudnosky and Grace Zemlin, who is 100.

"Younger members marvel at the stamina and dedication of these wise women," Pillsbury Gredzens said.

Several art club members have painted their way to prominence in the local community and beyond. The club's goal is to reach out to the community, encouraging residents to be aware of the beauty that surrounds and to join in its creative fun.

The club offers annual workshops open to the public. In the summer months, the Art Center is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 3 p.m. Sundays. The coffee is always on

For more information about the current exhibition, visit the Waterfront Gallery's website: The gallery is at 632 First Avenue.

For more information on the Voyageur Art Club, call President John Anderson at (218) 340-1194 or email: