Last updated:

March 28, 2002

Engebretson's Glass Creation Used to Promote National Show

A billboard on Interstate 94 by downtown St. Paul features a stunning piece of turquoise blue art glass set against an orange background. It is the work of Professor James Engebretson, head of the glass program at UW-River Falls, whose work was selected to publicize the American Crafts Council 2002 Show scheduled for April 11-14 at RiverCentre in St. Paul.

Engebretson's piece will be viewed by more than 2 million commuters during March on the billboard near the exit of Kellogg Avenue/Mounds Boulevard, and it is the featured piece throughout an extensive promotional and advertising campaign for the exclusive national show.

According to Nan Alderson, manager of show operations for the ACC, which is headquartered in New York, Engebretson's work was selected by the Council's advertising agency to represent the show. His work was chosen from that of approximately 250 artists who were selected by a jury of their peers for the privilege of exhibiting at the ACC show.

Said Engebretson, who works in partnership with his wife, Renee, at their glass studio in Hudson, "We are always surprised when we win an honor or an award. We never expect to win, but we are extremely pleased when we do."

"We see this honor as a testament to the uniqueness of our work, but the quality of the slides we submit is also a determining factor," he said. "I continually remind my students that slides or photos of their work are the currency that artists use to obtain grants or gain acceptance to a show. The slides are all the jurors get to see. They look at five slides for 15 or 20 seconds and make a decision."

"Being Norwegian, I don't have a big ego to feed. As a people, we are kind of humble. We just let the work speak for itself."

In this case, his work speaks loudly. The billboard will be seen by 86,300 westbound motorists each day as they approach "Spaghetti Junction" in downtown St. Paul throughout the month of March, for a total of 2,675,300 viewers.

Engebretson's art glass also graces the March/April issues of Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine and Minnesota Monthly, programs for the Minnesota Orchestra, Minnesota Opera and the Ordway Theatre and a postcard used for a direct mailing. It will soon appear in newspaper ads in the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Minneapolis Star Tribune.

According to art professor and chair of the UW-RF art department Michael Padgett, ACC shows are tough to get into, because there is a lot of competition nationally and the standards are high. "The fact that Jim was selected to exhibit at the show and his work was selected for use in promotion for the show is quite an honor," he said. "This speaks to the quality of the art program at UW-RF and the quality of our professors. By being practicing artists ourselves, marketing and selling our work as well as creating it, we are serving as positive role models for our students."

Padgett said the ACC shows provide an excellent opportunity for artists to showcase their work. Representatives from galleries and shops throughout the country attend, buying the work outright or taking it on consignment. The ACC show, in its 16th year in the Twin Cities, features the work of artists from all over the country who live in the United States. Expected attendance for the four-day period is 14,000.

The show will begin with a benefit preview reception on Thursday, April 11, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., sponsored by the Minnesota Orchestra Volunteer Association, to raise money for music education programs for children. It will feature refreshments, music, a cash bar and a silent auction of items donated by the artists. Tickets are $50 for the general public and $45 for ACC members. Show hours for April 12-14 are 10-8 on Friday, 10-6 on Saturday and 10-5 on Sunday. Ticket price is $7 for adults; admission for ages 12 and under is free. RiverCentre is located at the corner of Kellogg Boulevard and West Seventh Street in St. Paul.

For more information on the show, call 952/346-6696.


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