Denfeld News

Aug. 26, 2005
Duluth Budgeteer News

Denfeld alumni come together to put on quite a show
By Anna Kurth

Through its 100 year history, Denfeld High School has seen many talented graduates.

Twenty-nine of those graduates have been inducted into the Denfeld Hall of Fame, and 27 more will be honored for their contribution to art in a show opening Friday.

The Denfeld Centennial Art Show, which will be held at Washington Gallery, 315 N. Lake Ave., will feature work by Denfeld graduates from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1990s and 2000s. One former Denfeld teacher will also be featured, said Paul Lundgren, Denfeld Alumni Association board member and principal organizer for the show.

“It’s sort of like another reunion — a multi-generational reunion,” Lundgren said.

The show opens with a reception from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at the Washington Gallery, 315 N. Lake Ave.

The art forms on display at the show will be as varied as the ages of their artists, Lundgren said. Digital artists, a cartoonist, painters, photographers, woodcarvers and a postcard collector will all show at the exhibit. And each artist will show one piece with a possible couple of exceptions.

“(It will) be interesting to see if they have any similarities,” he said. Also, clips from 1935 graduate Dorothy Arnold’s performance in the 1939 motion picture “The Phantom Creeps” will be shown, Lundgren said.

Doris Sampson, Class of 1961, a painter and photographer will show a print of the piece she’s best known for, a painting of the Edmund Fitzgerald on display at the Lake Superior Maritime Museum.

It’s nice that the alumni association is honoring the cultural aspect of education, Sampson said.

“It’s really the most emotional thing I ever did, and it can still move me,” she said of the painting, which was inspired by Gordon Lightfoot’s song about the wreck.

As for her involvement in the show, she couldn’t be happier.

“I’m just really tickled to be part of a show like this,” she said.

Dale Hagen, Class of 1952 and a former Denfeld art teacher, said he always thought Denfeld had a strong art department and is looking forward to seeing the work of former classmates and students in the show.

“I think it’s a great idea,” he said. “I think anytime you can have a community exhibit ... that’s a wonderful thing.”

Hagen said he is planning on showing one of his many water colors of a former Duluth building.

The Denfeld Centennial Art Show is the Denfeld Alumni Association’s first event.

The association formed last year and is just now spreading the word about itself through an alumni newsletter. Denfeld hasn’t had an alumni association for a long time, Lundgren said.

The association wanted to do more events to celebrate the centennial, but that just isn’t possible, he said.

The association’s next big goal is to purchase plaques to hang in Denfeld to honor those 29 hall of fame members, Lundgren said. Finding artists for the centennial show wasn’t hard for Lundgren, he said. He just asked around and found out there are some artists he knew from around the area that he didn’t know graduated from Denfeld.

Howard Sivertson is from the Class of 1947 and Birney Quick, who founded the Grand Marais Art Colony, is from the Class of 1930. John Salminen taught art there during the 1970s.

The purpose of the art show is to showcase Denfeld graduates, have a good time and allow younger Denfeld graduates a chance to see what their predecessors have done.

“This is a chance for them to get their work out there and hang with experienced artists,” Lundgren said.

Tiffany Mellesmoen, class of 2005, is excited by the possibility to see her work hang beside artists from Denfeld’s history.

“I think it will be really cool because there are artists from like the ’30s,” said Mellesmoen, a painter and clothing designer.

The show will be her first exhibit outside student exhibits at Denfeld, said Mellesmoen, who will attend the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul this fall. “Denfeld has a strong tradition,” she said, “and I’m really glad to be a part of that.”

Mellesmoen’s enjoyment of Denfeld’s tradition is something shared by many of the artists, Lundgren said.

“I got ‘yeses’ all around; everybody was eager to jump on board,” he said. “And that’s always been the case with people who graduated from Denfeld. … There’s always been a sense of pride for that school.”

A List of the Artists and Their Works

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