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Art, culture at their best -- free

Two of the region's biggest and best arts and cultural events -- the UND Writers Conference and the ArtWise art show -- begin Tuesday in Grand Forks. And both are free.

Two of the region's biggest and best arts and cultural events -- the UND Writers Conference and the ArtWise art show -- begin Tuesday in Grand Forks. And both are free.

- The 41st annual UND Writers Conference will be Tuesday through March 27 with events in UND's Memorial Union, Chester Fritz Auditorium and North Dakota Museum of Art.

This eminent, venerable (and often irreverent) event will be headlined by Art Spiegelman, who won a Pulitzer Prize for writing a graphic novel (we used to call them comic books) about the Holocaust depicting the Nazis as cats and the Jews as mice.

The other authors will be Mark Amerika, Cecilia Condit, Deena Larson, Nick Montfort, Stuart Moulthrop, Frank X. Walker and Saul Williams.

The Writers Conference, founded by the late and legendary UND English professor, author and fisherman John Little, has over the years developed a history of drawing some of literature's biggest names, including Tom Wolfe, Truman Capote, Alice Walker, Louise Erdrich, Junot Diaz and Salman Rushdie.

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The theme will be "Mind The Gap," and it will explore how storytelling has transformed over time and the big changes that are happening today. The first panel at noon Tuesday has the provocative title: "Are books obsolete?"

You can read more about the Writers Conference on Page C3. For more information, go to www.undwritersconference.org/ .

- The 17th annual ArtWise elementary school art show will be Tuesday through Thursday in the big ballroom of the Alerus Center.

In terms of sheer numbers of artists and artworks, ArtWise has got to be North Dakota's biggest art show.

From 4 to 8 p.m. each day, ArtWise will feature hundreds of works by schoolchildren from Grand Forks Public Schools; Grand Forks St. Michael's and Holy Family/St. Mary's elementary schools; Sacred Heart and Riverside Christian schools in East Grand Forks; Manvel and Thompson, N.D.; and area home schools. There will be artists and demonstrations of art, make-and-take projects for children and adults and entertainment in a kid- and family-friendly environment.

ArtWise shows how creative children can be at producing art that is colorful, free-wheeling, organic, inspiring and frequently dazzling. You can read more about ArtWise in these pages. The fastest way to get to its Web site is to Google "ArtWise Grand Forks."

Read more about ArtWise on Page C2.

Reach Tobin at (701) 780-1134; (800) 477-6572, ext. 134; or send e-mail to ptobin@gfherald.com .

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