Aug. 26, 2005
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
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
“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
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
Tiffany Mellesmoen, class of 2005, is excited
by the possibility to see her work hang beside artists from Denfeld’s
“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.”
List of the Artists and Their Works