“Bakers and Storymakers” Exhibit Adds Whimsy to APT Holiday Art Market

The APT Holiday Art Market is now in full swing, and with the lights, candles, trees and LiveWire Winter Wonderland light show experience, it’s hard to not feel in the holiday spirit!

Over 300+ people attended the first day of the market on Saturday, and it was fun to watch people explore the space and chat with artists.

It was also fun to watch them look at the “Bakers and Storymakers” exhibit featuring work by artists Lana Suomala and McCal Joy Johnson on the walls.

Their artwork is incredibly different, but each of the artist’s work adds a touch of whimsy to the Holiday Art Market experience. All are welcome to their artist talk on Thursday at 6:30pm, occurring in conjunction with the art market that runs from 3:45-8pm (notice the time change for the Thursday market this week).

Moorhead-based Lana Suomala has her “cookie art” on display in the first main space. Suomala is primarily a printmaker, but decided to try incorporating baked goods into her art after the idea came to her in a daydream.

“One of the reasons I chose to work in cookie was that the art is not permanent,” Suomala shared in an email. “It’s vulnerable and temporary like childhood.”

Suomala also has pieces that incorporate children’s books and memorabilia. Although the premise seems sweet, the series has a deeper meaning.

“This series is really a continuation of  a project called Postville Loteria inspired by the Postville immigration raid of May, 2008 and the lives that were disrupted,” Suomala explains. “This is not my personal experience, but an act of artistic journalism. Initially these cookies were about the children fleeing the violence of the drug war and arriving unaccompanied at our southern border. It evolved to consider displaced children all over the world… This project attempts to process these tragedies in an intimate way, a way that connects us to our childhoods, our hopes and our fears. I hope these stories remind us of our humanity, our vulnerability and also of our shared responsibility.”

Illustrator and painter McCal Joy Johnson’s art on display in the second main space are all based on stories that occur in our history, current events, and Lore.

“I love stories,” Johnson says. “Storytelling is how our species has learned for thousands of years, from tales around the fire, to cave paintings, to history museums, and on and on. When anyone hears a story or idea, their brain makes up images to give to sense to it. I love to paint my perspective of a story and share it with others that maybe initially saw it in a different way.”

Johnson’s art takes many form, including visual novels, children’s books, educational texts and more. She has a studio at APT and will have work for sale at the market.

“Bakers and Storymakers” is on display at APT throughout the Holiday Art Market. For more information on participating artists at the market and activities involved, visit aptartmarket.com. See you Thursday evening!

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