Featured Art



Mary Beth Downs is an artist and art instructor who began studying fine art in 1975. She pursued her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree with a focus in painting and drawing at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and graduated with honors in 1994. In 1995, she took her love of art to another level by starting a studio where she was able to teach the fundamentals of art to adult students in her community. She currently teaches six classes per week and often gives presentations to local organizations and conducts water color workshops.

This exhibit showcases the artwork of her students. With 30+ students currently enrolled and ranging in age from 40-80, this show celebrates their hard work and accomplishments.


01_lajeunesse_daphnia Artist Paul LaJeunesse

“Thought creates distance and destroys the immediacy of direct experience, yet it is by thoughtful reflection that the elusive moments of the past draw near to us in present reality and gain a measure of permanence” – Yi-Fu Tuan

Artist Statement – “I am compelled to capture and hold onto significant experiences in an attempt to create a moment of reflection that transcends the literal description of space and turns into place. When previous events are remembered, the timeline can fall apart, and memories of events are often jumbled and recalled by personal significance. In other instances singular moments are held still as though time has paused. Memory strongly influences our perception of the present and potential future, helping us contextualize our experiences. Upon reflection we are able to understand what has happened and assign meaning to our lives. By creating paintings that reference past experiences I am able to recreate the significance of locality as a place of felt value. My investigation of place, time and space is a way for me to understand how an individual functions as part of a unified system and, fundamentally, my relationships to the world. The way light describes space, time of day, and structure becomes an allegory for the balance between unity and perceived dichotomies. It is this balance between the singular and the whole that can lead to questions of the nature of perception and reality, objectivity versus subjectivity, and the physical and metaphysical. The paintings do not attempt to depict a scene, but rather to harken to a moment of understanding of an experience that transcends the sense of self and aligns our being with the universe. By immersing myself in the process of painting place, from my past experiences, I feel closer to understanding my relation to the world in which I live.” ~ Paul LaJeunesse

Paul LaJeunesse received his master of fine arts in painting from Bowling Green State University in 2006, the Elizabeth Greenshields grant in 2006, and a Fulbright grant in 2007 in Reykjavik and Siglufjördur, Iceland. He previously taught at Western Oregon University in Monmouth Oregon and Georgia State University in Atlanta Georgia. He has exhibited nationally in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, New Mexico, Missouri, Illinois, Georgia and Tennessee and internationally in Japan and Iceland. Paul currently resides in Duluth Minnesota and is an Assistant Professor of Art at the College of St. Scholastica.

On display in the atrium for the month of December.


01dc254ab63d388ec2cd54876f478a846c99777654Our next featured cafe artist is Chris Monroe beginning the month of December.
Please join us Monday, December 12th for the show opening from 5 – 7pm in the cafe.
Chris Monroe is an artist, cartoonist, children’s book author, and illustrator, who lives in Duluth, MN. She is a graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Chris is the creator of the “Monkey With A Tool Belt” children’s book series, as well as “Sneaky Sheep,” “Cookie The Walker,” and “Bug On A Bike.” Her fifth “Monkey With A Tool Belt” picture book is due out in fall of 2017. Her books are available in five languages, and have won multiple awards. Her characters were featured in the sold-out play, “Sneaky Sheep and Friends,” at the Duluth Children’s Theater in spring of 2016. She visits schools, libraries and book events year-round, including a sister city exchange in Vaxjo, Sweden in 2012, where she spoke at several Linnaeus University campuses.

Chris’ award-winning comic strip “Violet Days” has been in print for 20 years, and was featured in her 2004 book “Ultra Violet: Ten Years Of Violet Days.” The comic is a weekly feature in the Minneapolis StarTribune, and the Duluth News Tribune, as well as the national comics monthly “The Funny Times.”

Chris is the recipient of the 2015 George Morrison Award for excellence in art. She received a 2014 Minnesota Artist’s Initiative Grant, as well as an ARAC Artist’s Grant in 2016. She won a 2016 Emmy Award for original artwork featured in the animation sequences of the Twin Cities Public Television’s documentary “ Kevin Kling: Lost and Found.”

Her work has been shown in many galleries, museums, coffee shops, and dimly lit hallways. Several pieces of her art are in the permanent collection of The University of Minnesota’s Tweed Museum, as well as many private collections. She has won multiple awards at the Arrowhead Biennial, and the MN State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition. Chris has also illustrated books for other authors, including: Janice Levy’s “Totally Uncool,” Kevin Kling’s “Big Little Brother” and “Big Little Mother,” and Jane Yolen’s “Trash Mountain.”

She is currently working on a graphic novel, an exhibition of oil pastel drawings of Duluth, and several new picture books. She works part time as a bartender at Vikre Distillery.