Grand Marais Art Colony, Grand Marais, Minnesota
120 WEST 3RD AVENUE   PO BOX 626    GRAND MARAIS, MINNESOTA 55604    218-387-2737


About Us

The longest-lived art colony in Minnesota, the Grand Marais Art Colony, began in 1947 as a summer refuge for artists seeking study in the wilderness. In the early years, the Art Colony was blessed to have a series of "founding fathers" who helped to birth a vision.

Birney Quick
Birney Quick, one of the region's acclaimed artists and a faculty member from the Minneapolis School of Art (now the Minneapolis College of Art and Design), came to this remote town of Grand Marais, located along Lake Superior, 40 miles from the Canadian border, to create the Outdoor School of Painting. With support from MSA, Birney became the first director and instructor, developing a strong artistic vision which has allowed the Colony to evolve and flourish even after his death in 1981.

Byron Bradley
Byron Bradley, then Minneapolis-basd artist, joined Quick as an instructor in 1954 and soon the two became a successful team. Bradley operated K-B Art Gallery, which was the art supply resource for Twin Cities artists.  He was a quiet, competent artist and together with Quick, they hosted Monday-evening painting demonstrations, lectures, concerts, and dances. In 1959 Quick and Bradley disconnected from MSA and continued on, firmly establishing themselves and the Art Colony in Grand Marais.

Harvey Turner
Harvey first came to Grand Marais as a seasonal visitor and, from 1959 to 1965, took two-week classes from Quick and Bradley. Harvey's experience with the Art Colony inspired him to return to the University of Minnesota for a degree in art education. In 1966 Quick and Bradley asked Turner to join them as a youth instructor. Until the 1980s, Quick, Bradley, and Turner were the artistic trio of the Art Colony.

Others who have shared their talents along the way include Frank Gillis, Doc Evans, George Morrison, Betsy Bowen, and Hazel Belvo. These artists, among many others, have contributed to the Art Colony's transformation and on-going legacy.

Inspired by the North Shore since 1960, Hazel Belvo - a painter and past judge for Plein Air Competition - has been teaching at the Art Colony since 1981. She describes plein air as, "The artist's response to what she or he is seeing...Part of the experience it to be in tune with nature. What happens on canvas is the artist's documentation of that includes all the senses, and the more present one is with that experience, the more descriptive the painting." Hazel adds, "Wonderful paintings are done by artists who are not classically trained - those who just love to paint."

People come from all over the US and Canada to participate in the Plein Air Competition,and the Art Colony's workshops in print-making, book arts, writing, sculpture, drawing, and watercolor, acrylic, oil, and sumi-e painting. Emerging artists, and instructors alike experience these North Shore retreats with life-changing results. Jeanne Larson, a mixed media painter from Lake Elmo, Minnesota, comes to Grand Marais for one month every year to paint. A winner in the 2003 Plein Air Competition, Jeanne notes, "It was a challenging windy day, but it forced me to paint fast...and it gave my painting an immediacy that isn't usually there." It was this painting of Hollow Rock and the surrounding cliffs that garnered her award - the place where 35 years earlier, she and her husband had celebrated their honeymoon! Enthusiastic about the creative energy of the Art Colony, Jeanne exclaims, "Every time I come up there to visit, something new is happening. It FEELS like an exciting place to be!"

Every year the Art Colony hosts the Grand Marais Arts Festival and the Plein Air Competition. The Arts Festival features a juried show of original art work, showcased in booths on the Grand Marais harbor. Artists participating in the Plein Air Competition can paint for one or more days and participate in the closing award ceremony and sale.

Copyright 2005 Christine Buss. All rights reserved.
Written by Christine Buss, an avid supporter of the arts and the editor of Transforming Boundaries, and International Journal of Creativity and Connection.

Check out the Grand Marais Harbor Camera to get a daily view of Grand Marais:

Grand Marais Art Colony Staff:
L-R: Ruth Pszwaro, Amy Demmer, Carolyn Fritz. Not pictured, Jeanne Bourquin

Amy Demmer, Executive Director

Ruth Pszwaro, Program Coordinator

Carolyn Fritz, Events & Communications Coordinator

Jeanne Bourquin, Office Registrar & Volunteer Coordinator

Grand Marais Art Colony - Board of Directors
Executive Committee:
Sally Berg - Board Chair
Grand Marais, MN

Lynn Speaker - Vice Chair
Minneapolis & Grand Marais, MN

David Quick - Treasurer
Grand Marais, MN

Clare Shaw - Secretary
Grand Marais, MN

Board members at large:
Hazel Belvo
Minneapolis & Grand Marais

Mike Carlson
Grand Marais, MN

Howard Hedstrom
Grand Marais, MN

Marcia Hyatt
Lutsen, MN

John Franz
Grand Marais, MN

Jolita Rysdahl
Tofte, MN

Scholarships are available for class tuition, please contact the office to request more information - (218) 387-2737

Experience all that the vibrant art scene of Cook County has to offer.  Click HERE to get a copy of the Gallery Guide.

50th Anniversary Article by the Minnesota Historical Society

2011 Lake Superior Magazine Feature

Art Business News - Page 36-42

Coastal Living "Top 10 Artist Colonies" 2011

Volunteer Application & Opportunities

Apollo Pursuing Daphne, by Birney Quick
"Apollo Pursuing Daphne" by Birney Quick

Birney Quick, Grand Marais Art Colony Founder

Fish Fry with Birney Quick and Byron Bradley

Plein Aire on beach in Grand Marais

Clothesline Art Sale

© 2008 Grand Marais Art Colony     Design by Looner Graphics