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5 upcoming Grand Forks events you should know about

'Either Side of the Divide' features new paintings by artists who spent time at artist-in-residence retreat in rural Grand Forks County

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Christopher Benson created this 10-by-10-inch charcoal painting during his time at the North Dakota Museum of Art's artist-in-residence retreat near McCanna, N.D.
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GRAND FORKS – An exhibition by Christopher Benson and Sue McNally opens Thursday, June 2 at the North Dakota Museum of Art on the UND campus.

The exhibition, titled “Either Side of the Divide: New Paintings by Christopher W. Benson and Sue McNally,” will be displayed through Aug. 20.

The artists have spent time at the museum’s artist-in-residence retreat near McCanna in rural Grand Forks County, said Matthew Wallace, NDMOA director. McNally has painted large landscapes from each of the 50 states, and Benson has focused his sweeping landscapes on retreats he attended, including in North Dakota, and states he’s visited.

Both artists are from Rhode Island but have lived, traveled and worked in the American West, Wallace said.

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This horizontal artwork, titled "Woods," by Sue McNally, is part of an exhibition which opens Thursday, June 2 at the North Dakota Museum of Art on the UND campus. The 19-feet-long, acrylic on canvas artwork will take up nearly one sidewall in the gallery. McNally will exhibit two such paintings, plus several other large-scale pieces, said Matthew Wallace, NDMOA director.
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McNally, who is completing a 12-year cycle of paintings from all 50 states, has been visiting Utah annually for the past 30 years.

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Museum hours are: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays and 1-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The museum is closed on major holidays.

For more information, call the museum at (701) 777-4195.

ArtFest set for June 11-12 at University Park

The 21st annual ArtFest will bring more than 100 artists and artisans, as well as food vendors and entertainers to University Park on June 11 and 12.

Sponsored by the Public Arts Commission, ArtFest draws art-lovers and festival-goers from around the region for two full days of art, food, families activities and youth art projects, live entertainment and more.

The event has been recognized as one of North Dakota’s best outdoor festivals.

University Park, chosen as a new location replacing the downtown area a few years ago, has been well-received by exhibitors, vendors and guests, organizers say.

With a wide variety of quality exhibits, and hosting up to 20 food vendors, ArtFest caters to more than 30,000 visitors from the Upper Midwest.

The hours for ArtFest are: Saturday, June 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, June 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The park is located on University Avenue at North 25th Street.

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An exhibit of small artworks, titled “Rarefaction: The Magnitude of Small Space,” will be displayed during ArtFest.

The show, curated by Vickie Arndt for the Public Arts Commission, will feature the works of artists, including Todd Hebert, Kelly Thompson, Blithe Grey, Wesley Rabey, Senta Lauren, Adam Kemp and Jason Restemayer. The artworks are no larger than 12-by-12 inches.

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"Auris Bloom," a mixed media artwork by Vickie Arndt, will be among the small art pieces shown at the "Rarefaction: The Magnitude of Small Space" exhibit during ArtFest on June 11 and 12 at University Park.
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In contrast to large artworks, small works of art present the viewer “with a confident tone of voice that captures your attention, you move in to try to hear what is being said – like a conversation,” Arndt said in a news release.

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"Ice Out," acrylic on board, by Wesley Rabey, will be exhibited along with other small artworks in the warming house at University Park during ArtFest on June 11 and 12.
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‘Mamma Mia!’ shows at Fire Hall

The Greater Grand Forks Community Theatre’s production of ‘“Mamma Mia!” continued this weekend and next at the Fire Hall Theatre, 412 Second Ave. N.

Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 26 and June 2-4; and 2 p.m. June 5.

The show tells the story of Sophie, who dreams of a perfect wedding, with her father giving her away. But she doesn’t know who he is — and her mother, a former singer in a pop group, refuses to discuss the past.

Sneaking a peek at her mother’s diaries, Sophie invites three possible fathers to the wedding, convinced that she’ll know her father when she sees him. But when all three show up, it seems to be less clear than she thought.

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Told through the legendary music of ABBA, “Mamma Mia!” has become a worldwide sensation that has audiences everywhere dancing, said Amy Driscoll, the theatre’s executive director.

The show is directed and choreographed by Emily Wirkus of the UND Theatre Arts Department.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.ggfct.com or by calling (701) 746-0847. They may also be purchased at the door, if available.

Nordic Fest to honor WWII 99th Battalion members

The Nordic Fest continues this weekend in Thief River Falls with several events to honor the members of the 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate), a World War II unit of 1,000 volunteer soldiers who were recruited for their fluency in oral and written Norwegian. Many were from the Dakotas and Minnesota.

“Several were from our immediate area,” said Jan Strandlie, event organizer. “Their story is amazing.”

Kyle Ward, director of social studies education at Minnesota State University, Mankato, will speak on the history of the 99th Battalion at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 26 and at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 28 at the Lincoln High School Auditorium. He has done extensive research on the battalion and is an officer of the 99th Battalion Education Foundation.

Dignitaries from the Norwegian Embassy in Washington, D.C.; Norway House in Minneapolis; Sons of Norway International Foundation; and 99th Battalion Education Foundation will be introduced and families of the battalion members will be recognized at these events.

Representatives of the Minnesota Military Museum at Camp Ripley are bringing their 99th Battalion exhibit and providing a re-enactor in full winter dress, organizers say.

In the lobby outside the school’s auditorium, a “Hall of Honor” will be staged where the veterans’ families will display pictures, letters and memorabilia and share stories that have been passed down. The Hall of Honor will be open to the public one hour before and one hour after each of the programs.

The events are free and open to the public.

For more information, go to https://www.facebook.com/snorrelodge .

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