A winter visit with local artists


The League of Longfellow Artists (LoLa) is best known for its annual summer art crawl—a self-guided art tour throughout the Greater Longfellow Neighborhood of South Minneapolis (which includes the Standish and Ericsson neighborhoods). But the artists who opened their homes and studios to art lovers when the sunflowers and black-eyed susans bloomed are still hard at work even as the snowflakes fly. Let’s check in with a few of them and see what they’re up to.

Anita White, one of LoLa’s founders, paints and sketches every day and is working on a series of water lily paintings based on photographs. “I find winter harsh and difficult and do not usually paint it.” Instead she revives the summer with paint on canvas.

Artist Harley Pierce is known for his masterful hand-carved wooden boxes. “I happily get more time to carve in the winter months,” says Pierce, who has lived in the Greater Longfellow Neighborhood for 52 years.

For Megan Moore, an original LoLa member whose colorful floral still lifes are a staple at Corazon on E. Lake St., winter means fewer shows and more artmaking. “I have more time to focus on creating new work before the art fair season starts up again.”

Graduate studies take time from Chris Miller’s mosaic art, but he still keeps producing. Recent projects include a glass mosaic map of the world commissioned by a geography teacher.

Farrah Fossum joined LoLa two years ago. She is working on her photography website and her www.etsy.com vintage jewelry website. As for the art itself, she says, “My pace of work stays about the same through all seasons.”

Jim Foreman, a newcomer to Minnesota whose distinctive paintings consist of one painted canvas affixed to another, is shifting his subject matter from outdoor scenes to dancers and musicians and is developing more freedom in his brushwork.

Bob Schmitt, another of LoLa’s founders and a 10-year resident of the Ericsson Neighborhood, says, “Winter can be quite productive for me. In the tradition of Chinese landscape painting, though based in nature, the actual painting is done in one’s studio. I think of it as painting the memories of places.”

Beginning in 2009 as a small grassroots effort, LoLa now features 102 artists showing at 60 neighborhood sites, with support from the Longfellow Community Council and local businesses. What are the other 95 LoLa artists working on? We’ll check in with some of them in the spring.

Learn more about LoLa at www.lolaartcrawl.com. (See also the August/September 2011 issue of SENA News.)