Richard Abraham in the Cloister Gallery

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A white hot late summer day, half way between the dog days of August and the Indian summer of October, is a perfect time to slip into the halls of  House of Hope Presbyterian Church for a visit to the Cloister Gallery, where transplanted St. Paul artist, Richard Abraham is displaying his work from Sept 4 through October 2 .

Don’t be intimidated by the construction going on in back of the church, on Portland Avenue.  Actually, an observation of the pallets of slate and a view of the crews ascending the scaffolding and balancing on the steep slope of the Gothic building is reason enough for a visit.  The church was  designed by Richard Cramm and is among one of his many Gothic church designs.

I had to duck under some construction tape to ring the doorbell, and get buzzed in by an unseen hand. Luckily, I soon encountered an employee who walked me to the gallery, though the curator’s instructions were easy enough to follow, and are here: “turn left and follow the wall to your right and you will see the gallery going towards Summit Avenue next to the open courtyard.”  Trouble is, there are so many interesting things to look at while approaching the gallery, it’s easy to get distracted.

The gallery spans the hallway, punctuated by windows that view a fetching interior courtyard. An alcove provides another viewing area.  According to the current chair of the art committee, and curator of the space, Patty Paulus,  also a notable painter, the gallery has been around since the 70’s.

Artists picked to show in the gallery have all been local or regional artists from Minnesota, and are chosen by members of the Arts Committee at the church.  Interested in showing at the gallery? Portfolios – digital or pictures of art can be submitted to the committee.

According to Paulus, “sometimes the art has a religious theme, but that is not the intent of the gallery to only show works of that genre.

Art is for sale if the artist desires. They range in price anywhere from $100- $6000, depending on the artist.  The church does not take a percentage of the works that are sold, but appreciate a donation from the artist if sales are made during the show.

(We) try to feature a variety of media, subject matter and interesting art that might challenge our congregation …..and encourages their support of art produced by local artists.”

The Abraham show was a perfect choice for an early fall exhibit.  Richard Abraham, according to his biography, made a profound life change when he left a 14 year long production career in Madison, Wisconsin to move to the Twin Cities and study painting.

The collection of work here is a study in the power of changing mid-western seasons.  They are the kind of  landscapes that we view from the car window -so usual that we forgot to contemplate them. Finding them on canvas provides a moment to reflect on what we take for granted.

You can view the show and  talk with the artist  during a “coffee chat”  taking place on September 18 at 11 a.m.

Prices for paintings range from $500- $2300.

Here’s the viewing Schedule/Office Hours (Sept.-May)

Sun 8 am-noon

Mon & Wed 9 am-8 pm

Tues &Thurs 9 am-5:30 pm

Fri 9 am-4:30

Please visit St. Paul Spot on line, and download our app, on Android or iPhone, for a daily comprehensive listing of St. Paul events and St. Paul restaurants.