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Press Release

American Swedish Institute Presents ‘Paper Dialogues’ Exhibition

December 7, 2021 By Eric Wilson

MINNEAPOLIS — December 7, 2021 — Imagine a massive, 30-foot paper dragon, intricately designed and roaring to life through shadow and light. Or seven white dragon’s eggs, cut from paper and mounted between panes of glass, which explore the story of life. Visitors will be treated to these visions and more at Paper Dialogues: The Dragon and Our Stories, an exhibition at the American Swedish Institute (ASI) exploring similarities between Nordic and Chinese culture through paper cutting, an art form that traces its roots back more than 1500 years. The show at the American Swedish Institute opens February 19 and runs through July 10.

ASI is the second U.S. stop after Seattle for the world tour of the exhibition, featuring artists Karen Bit Vejle (Denmark) and Professor Xiaoguang Qiao (China) exploring a motif common in both Nordic and Chinese art—the dragon. Joined by Jersey Island artists Layla May Arthur and Emma Reid, the artists explore the intersections between cultures and traditions through their delicate paper works.

“We are thrilled to present these stunning works, showcasing a decade-long, cross-cultural dialogue between these artists,” says Ingrid Nyholm-Lange, director of experience, ASI. “In addition, we’re looking forward to opening our doors to related workshops and events that will encourage local papercut artists of all skills and experience to join in this experience.” Visitors may recognize Bit’s style from her 2014 ASI exhibition, Papercut! The Incredible Psaligraphy of Karen Bit Vejle.

“This art highlights the importance of understanding how shared traditions of different cultures help us find common ground despite language barriers,” says Bruce Karstadt, president and CEO, American Swedish Institute. “We are excited to continue our tradition of bringing world-class exhibitions to Minneapolis.”

Paper Dialogues will be joined at ASI by Thermal: Meditations on Climate Change, a multidisciplinary installation of form, movement, and sound centered on Earth’s changing environment, featuring the work of Twin Cities artist Kim Heidkamp alongside ARENA Dances performing the work of Mathew Janczewski. In addition, Our Dragon Story, ASI’s newest Family Gallery installation, will be designed in partnership with local students. ASI’s Family Gallery will transform into a vibrant and immersive space for young visitors to experience stories created by local artists Magdalena Mora, Seth Eberle and Bart Buch, and Trent Stadler, and fifth grade students at Hope Academy. Illustration and sculpture, large- and small-scale play elements, and areas for quiet play and reading, will offer hands-on play and learning opportunities for children and accompanying adults.

Visit the ASI website for available in person and virtual classes related to the exhibition, including rosemaling, folk painting, watercolor batik class and book binding. Tickets to all February – April events and programs go on sale beginning December 17 for members and 10am December 20 for general admission.

ASI is located at 2600 Park Avenue in Minneapolis. Regular hours are 10 am to 8 pm on Thursdays, and 10 am to 4 pm on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. In addition to the museum, visitors can enjoy FIKA Café, and the curated Museum Shop.

General admission, which offers access to all exhibitions on view, as well as the historic Turnblad Mansion, is priced as follows: Free for ASI members and children five and under. $6 for ages 6 to 18 and students of all ages. $12 for adults. $8 for seniors age 62 and over. Walk-up museum admission is available. Visitors are also welcome to register for museum admission in advance. Special events have individual pricing, see the ASI Events online for details.

Face coverings are required indoors for all visitors over the age of three, staff, and volunteers, regardless of vaccination status. Masks may be temporarily removed while eating or drinking at FIKA. Face coverings are not required for outdoor events.

Paper Dialogues is produced in partnership with ArtHouse Jersey and the Museum for Papirkunst. The exhibition is presented by Fredrikson & Byron. Major support provided by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, the Karin Larson Estate, and ASI’s members and donors. The exhibition’s media partner is the Star Tribune.

The American Swedish Institute (ASI), designated to the National Register for Historic Places, is a historic castle-like mansion, museum and cultural center, and a gathering place for all people to explore diverse experiences of migration, identity, belonging, and the environment through arts and culture, informed by enduring links to Sweden. ASI, which The Wall Street Journal calls “[a] model of how a small institution can draw visitors through exciting programming,” is located at 2600 Park Avenue in Minneapolis. For more, visit asimn.org.