Spring has arrived at Cedar Coffee Co. in the form of The Voyageur Art Club's annual spring exhibit. About 17 artists are represented in this "Spring Fever" show, which features 30 pieces of art, plus prints and note cards.
The Voyageur Art Club, based at 516 South Ave., has been a staple in the North Shore arts scene since the 1960s. The club formed after eight residents took an art class offered by the University of Minnesota Duluth at Two Harbors High School. After the class ended, members continued to meet in homes to paint and critique each other's work.
The club's first exhibit, in June 1964, had 46 exhibitors, about 200 paintings and over 400
visitors on the first day. The club has grown and shrunk since it began, and has moved to various different locations. This is the third year the club has displayed its spring show at Cedar Coffee.
Although the club initially started with a focus on watercolor painting, the club has expanded over the years to include many various media.
"We have an emphasis on inclusion," club President Sandi Pilsbury said. "We have a potter, etchers, sculptors, acrylics, fabric artists, jewelers, photographers, illustrators, block printers and more. We love having a variety of mediums represented in our club."
Members of the club can display and sell their artwork at the club's art center, provided they're willing to volunteer to keep the gallery open for three days during the summer. Artists can bring their art with them while working at the gallery.
"Some days, you can come here and there will be a string of artists working on different things," member John H. Anderson Jr. said. "You never know who will be doing what or what you'll find."
Members of the club tend to be loyal and remain members for years. Arlee Wilkes has been a member for about 35 years.
"Some of my eldest students have now become art teachers themselves," Wilkes said. "It's nice to see them continue on with the art."
Wilkes teaches a watercolor class for adults at the center Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon.
The club does encourage the next generation of artists as well by providing a scholarship to high school students pursuing fine art education after high school.
"It's part of our goal to reach out to all levels of the community and encourage them to be aware of the beauty surrounding us," Pilsbury said. "We're not only for established artists, but we're open to beginners and students as well. And we love to encourage them to keep working and refining their art."
The Voyageur Art Club spring exhibit "Spring Fever" reception is Friday, April 5, from 5-7:30 p.m. at Cedar Coffee Co. The exhibit will be on display from April 1-30.