The Saint Paul Art Tour You Weren't Expecting

Remix of a panel from Kristi's work, "Jack and Jill," made for a promotional Saint Paul Art Crawl postcard (Illustration: Kristi Abbott/KristiAbbott.com)

Whether you’re new to Saint Paul, a longtime resident, or simply a visitor, here’s . . . The Saint Paul Art Tour You Weren't Expecting First, let’s take the word “art” and think beyond the museum or gallery wall. (Minneapolis has plenty of both.) How would you characterize Saint Paul? Do the words “venerable” and […]

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Bald-headed Men and Sundays

Exhibit A. (Photo: Tony Ernst/gamelaner on Flickr)

My boys viewed their mid-1980s births
in the old Midway Hospital on University
between Porky’s and Ax-Man
as an embarrassment, a slight
their Saint Paul mom had designed to punish them
by withholding the polished corridors
of HCMC in their own hometown...

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Walks with the Chowhound

(Photo: Serena Mira Asta/AstaArt.com)

Selby is a chowhound. An inveterate, unrelenting, willfully indiscriminate gastronome of Saint Paul street food. Naturally he is named after the street where he lives, Selby Avenue, and naturally, when I come to dog sit him, we commence our journeys from that haunt of celebrated eateries, dine-ins, and dessert stops. This poses a problem, as Selby is a beagle, a breed that distinguishes itself by a sniffer so acute it can divine a three-month-old pancake-thin squirrel carcass from a snowbank high as a Himalayan foothill...

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Of a Kind

(Original illustration by Roberta Avidor/Avidorstudios.com)

Outside Merriam Park Library, a rusty black

bike shares a lock with another well-worn bike

stowed in the metal rack. Both nose

their front wheels into the stanchion like

lowly animals...

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O’Shea Irish Dance

FLYING LESSONS! (Photo: O’Shea Irish Dance)

O’Shea Irish Dance is my Irish dance school. It is part of the Celtic Junction building. O’Shea teaches Irish dance for kindergarteners to adults. The dance company moved to the Celtic Junction two years ago. It has three studios. O’Shea participates in the St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the Landmark Center, the Irish Fair at Harriet Island in August, and Minnesota feishes (dance contests). They also go to the championships.

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My Dad’s Love for His Parks

William LaMont Kaufman (Photo research: Matt Schmitt)

My dad, William LaMont Kaufman, was superintendent of Saint Paul Parks for thirty-four years. He dearly loved his job, and because he did, approximately one-third of our childhood was spent in his beloved parks. Como, our favorite, offered so much to children as well as to adults. Our dad taught us the name of each plant in the conservatory and the outside gardens, not only in English but also in Latin. Many Sunday nights were Como Nights, when we sometimes brought a picnic and raced to find Dad’s name on plaques in the zoo and conservatory. But his love for Como extended to other parks: Harriet Island, Phalen, Highland, and his smaller treasures—Hidden Falls, Rice, Irvine, Kellogg, Lilydale, Indian Mounds, Mears, and Newell, among others.

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Avian Celebrities on Como Lake

Loons in Minnesota. (Photo: Steve Wall/Flickr Creative Commons)

We were halfway around Como Lake when I heard it—the long mournful three-tone whistle-cry that grew in volume. I stopped. What is that? What is that? I know that sound. But it was utterly out of context, and I had to think to place it. The bird called again. I stopped Doug and made him take out his earbuds. (He was listening to American Music Club on his iPod.) Doug, I hear a loon!

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Not Your Typical Irish Dancer

Deb dancing with Rince na Chroi (Photo courtesy Deb Pleasants)

Grabbing the ballet barre to support myself, I attempted to stretch out my right leg. My thigh felt like a vise was twisting it tighter and tighter. The pain was so intense, I was afraid to breathe. I hobbled out of the dance room and nearly collapsed on the hallway floor. Massaging my cramped leg, I watched those energetic adults and wondered how I, a forty-seven-year-old Black woman with no dance experience, ended up in an Irish dance class.

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The Best Place in the World

(Photos courtesy Saint Paul Public Libraries)

I have lived in Saint Paul most of my life, and I’d say my favorite place in Saint Paul is the St. Anthony Park Public Library. With its many shelves and millions of stories, each one unique, each one special in its own way, there is no place like it in the world. I love going to the library after school for hours on end, looking at the books. The St. Anthony Park Library is unique because of its architecture. The original library, now the adult-teen section, was part of a Carnegie Library built in 1917. It has been updated, and a children’s section, built in the shape of a large dome, was attached to the old building.

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