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HIBBING — The Range Arts Center has long marketed itself as a place to “discover your potential.”

Members of the Range Artists Association are now inviting art lovers to discover - and purchase - their wares. The center recently added an art store to display and vend their wide range of talents. “The Little Big Store” offers a variety of interesting and unique artwork made by area artists who are members of the association. From magnets and postcards, and iron cast sculptures and silk paintings to wood carvings, paintings and hand-painted purses, browsers have a bevy of craftsmanship to chose from. “We needed to have a wide range of prices,” said Diane Myrum, store manager and treasurer of the Range Artists Association.  “We have things at the low end and the high end. Prices range from $1.20 on up, and we have more coming.” Current inventory includes wood carvings by Dale Timmerman of Kelly Lake, a slew of colorful oil paintings by Judy Beaulieu, laser prints by Patricia Ludin Dunning, pins, pottery and Chinese silk origami by Ann Schnortz and intricate works by Jack Sholund.


“The idea is to have people come in and see the work of artists we have here in Hibbing,” said Myrum. “Many people still don’t know we exist. This isn’t as much about selling as it is to get people to come here.” Proceeds from the sale of artwork is divided between the Range Art Center and the artist. Myrum also noted that if people are looking for a certain style or piece of artwork, the association can help to locate an artist able to fulfill a special request.

The Little Big Store is currently open from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and staffed by volunteers. Organizers are still searching for more volunteers to run the shop. Myrum said she wants to be open the same hours every weekday.

Millie Perro and Kathi Mizelle have volunteered their time for about the past month. The two have graciously given their time to help Myrum set up the store and man it during its initial days of operation. “Diane is a very persuasive friend,” said Perro as to how she came to hold the post. “It’s also something to do and keeps us busy.” Perro also volunteers her time at the Hull Rust Mine View during the summer.  “Volunteering is nice because you can come to work and not have to worry about someone looking over your shoulder,” she added. Mizelle discovered the Range Art Center when she opted to take an oil painting class. The experience brought her back for more. “I was learning how to do things I had never dreamed of doing,” said Mizelle, who now delights in spreading the word about the center. “This is my first time volunteering,” she added. “And I’m really enjoying it.” The three ladies are anxious to welcome the public.

“I really hopes this takes off,” said Myrum. “I believe in the philosophy of ‘build it and they will come.’” Depending on the reception of the store, Myrum said they may consider selling art supplies in addition to the artwork.

The Range Art Center will host a grand opening for The Little Big Store next weekend. The open house will be held Friday, Nov. 7 through Sunday, Nov. 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The public is cordially invited to stop by for a cup of coffee and to shop. During the open house, attendees will have the opportunity to meander through the center’s revamped library and art gallery. The library features reference books on “just about any kind of art one can think of” and are made available to association members.

Adorning the walls of the small archival room are a number of works, including charcoal and watercolor paintings, donated by past artists or family members. The permanent collection features a 1958 seascape watercolor by Betty Watson, one of the original founders of the Range Art Center.

Although not new to the center, the library and gallery are now organized and properly displayed for viewing.  “Once we started out, it was amazing to see what we have,” said Myrum of the revamping process.

A family folk art class will be in session in the center’s workshop during the open house Saturday and Sunday.  Artist Pat Brascugli will conduct the workshop to create a Scandinavian winter scene-nisse feeding bird with possible rosemaling decorations. “This will give people a chance to see a class in action,” said Myrum.

In addition to member classes, art programs including after school workshops, home school groups and Girl Scout functions have been held at the art center in recent months. The Range Art Center will also soon embark on a new fund raiser. They will be compiling a cookbook of favorite recipes submitted by association members.  The publication is anticipated to include advertisements, coupons and pictures of artwork among excellent recipes, said Myrum.  The cookbook should be ready for sale by next year’s Mines and Pines Arts and Crafts Fair.

For more information on the store or upcoming classes, call the Range Art Center at 263-6758 or log onto www.rangeartcenter.org.


The Members of the Range Artists Association Inc. would like to thank The Daily Tribune and Ms. Grinsteinner for permission to reprint this article from November 2003.

Kelly Grinsteinner
The Daily Tribune
2142 First Ave.
Hibbing, MN 55746
phone: 218-262-1011
fax: 218-262-4318


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