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Fringe Benefit

An extraordinary art show to benefit the Duluth Art Institute opens at Lizzard's Gallery on Thursday, Nov. 8. The show, called "Fringe Benefit," features new work by more than 40 fine artists in the region. Oils, acrylics, pottery, sculpture, woo...

An extraordinary art show to benefit the Duluth Art Institute opens at Lizzard's Gallery on Thursday, Nov. 8.
The show, called "Fringe Benefit," features new work by more than 40 fine artists in the region. Oils, acrylics, pottery, sculpture, woodcuts, fiber arts and more will be featured in this unique show.
"We're ecstatic about doing it," said Donna Ekberg, co-owner of the gallery. "All this work has never been seen before, and it's very saleable. We're trying to raise art awareness in the community and raise money for the Duluth Art Institute."
Artists like Richard Gruchalla and Karrin Rosetti, Adu Gindy, Joel Cooper, Steve Williams, Patricia Canelake, Martin DeWitt and Robin Murphy, to name a few, will have works at this show.
"Fringe Benefit" will not only help the Duluth Art Institute, which was founded more than 100 years ago to support the arts in Duluth, but it will also give a return to the artists. "The artists will be paid, and the rest will go directly to the Duluth Art Institute," Ekberg said.
One of the unusual aspects of this show is that when someone purchases a work, he or she will be able to take it home immediately. Usually the art work has to be left until the exhibit closes.
This time, new works will be installed as the pieces are sold. Each artist was asked to bring in one to three pieces of new work, Ekberg said. "When one is sold, we'll replace it with another," she said. "The work is really gorgeous. It's really fun."
John Steffl, artistic director at the Duluth Art Institute who also has a painting in this show, said when Ekberg and her daughter Liz Ekberg-Helmer, came to him with the idea of having a fund-raiser for the Art Institute, he was pleased. The model they chose for the benefit -- artists receive 50 percent of the proceeds, the DAI gets the remainder -- is a good one, he said. "We didn't want an auction. Under those circumstance, artists don't get much return on their investment, if at all."
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One item will be offered at silent auction, however. Lizzard's is donating an early, framed painting by George Morrison.
"I'm not an artist," Ekberg said. "The best I can do is donate other people's art."
It will be "a cool show," Steffl said. "From our perspective, it's a way to both promote some of the most exceptional work created in this area and help raise money for what I obviously believe is a very worthy cause."
The Duluth Art Institute is dependent on public support for 70 percent of its programs, he said. "We are the only institute in this area to provide artist services to 400 to 450 artists every year, 80 classes, workshops and seminars and a substantial outreach program as well as 12 to 15 exhibits every year. We really do need people to come out and support this event."
Fringe Benefit opens with an invitation-only reception at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, followed by a public reception from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served. The public is invited.

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