This past October, Edina welcomed a new art gallery to the city with the opening of the upscale apartment complex known as 71 France. Set in the heart of Edina, the 71 France development consists of three buildings with 241 apartments and ground-floor retail space in two of the buildings. An added luxury for both residents and the community is Gallery 71, a curated exhibition space featuring art and conversation.
The idea for the gallery space came from Mark Reiling, EVP and chief investment officer of IRET Properties. As the developer for the 71 France building, Reiling reviewed the plans and suggested widening the connecting hallway between two of the three buildings to make it large enough for a multipurpose space. After brainstorming a few ideas, Reiling suggested making the space into an art gallery for both the residents and the public to enjoy.
“Creating an art gallery connects the community,” says Reiling. “It’s a space that everyone can enjoy and in Edina it fits right in.”
Gallery 71 features four exhibitions per year, with a specific theme planned by curator Mary Bergs. “The theme for each exhibition brings together artists with work that visually plays off of each other,” says Bergs. “Based on the themes, we are able to feature a wide variety of work from some well-known Minnesota artists.”
The first exhibition, “Floor Plan,” featured work from local artists Jehra Patrick, Pete Driessen and Sean Smuda. The three artists have all run alternative gallery spaces in the Twin Cities. “All of our artists had featured the works of others in their galleries,” says Bergs. “It was time to recognize each of these artists for their own contributions and showcase their talent.”
In launching the new exhibitions, the gallery hosts an opening night, followed by a conversational evening with the artists at a later date. Both events are open to the public and Bergs stresses that the events are informal so visitors can browse the art and come and go as they please.
The second exhibition, “Collaboratory,” opened in mid-January, with paintings and sculpture by husband-and-wife teams Andrew Nordin and Lisa Bergh, and Margaret Pezalalla-Granlund and Timothy Granlund. During the conversation evening the couples shared how they collaborate with each other, as well as what it’s like having two artists under the same roof.
The current exhibition, “Would,” is a play on words and features artists that have worked with wood or used it as subject matter. The featured artists include photographer Beth Dow, wood carver Jim Sannerud and Jenny Nellis, a sculptor who uses wood to create botanical forms.
An added benefit of the location of Gallery 71 is that it ties into the Edina Promenade and is connected via walking paths to the bustling Centennial Lakes Park. With art winding through the walkway, mostly in the form of sculptures, the gallery is yet another stop for art lovers and anyone passing by to enjoy additional art from Minnesota artists.
Exhibitions are planned through the fall and are open to the public during certain hours. For gallery hours and more information, visit the gallery website at 71France.com.