NOV 17, 2015



Mary Kline-Misol, "The Conversation" (2014), acrylic on canvas, 50 X 73 inches. The work was inspired by "an afternoon spent with my 93-year-old mother and her best friend. They are lifelong friends going back to high school," Kline-Misol says.

New Gallery Opens

The local gallery scene just grew again: Artisan Gallery 218 will host a grand opening tomorrow, Nov. 18,  5-8 p.m., in historic Valley Junction. 
 
Housed in a warm, inviting space with an exposed brick wall, the gallery at 218 Fifth St.  in West Des Moines features the work of the four founding partners as well as a rotating roster of juried consignors. At a sneak preview last week, we were inspired by the passion and talent of the artist-partners: well-known painter Mary Kline-Misol, fine arts photographer Victoria L. Herring, jewelry artisan Louise Mcilhon and vintage furniture specialist Anne Temple.
 
With a desire to have a permanent home for their work, instead of constantly traveling to shows, Herring and Temple about a year ago started exploring establishing an artist cooperative. Kline-Misol and Mcilhon soon joined the effort. "We discovered that each of us had a vision and a craft that would make for an ideal situation at a gallery," Kline-Misol says.
 
Currently, the gallery is also showing and selling the works of sculptor Hilde DeBryne and fiber artist Julie McCullough. In addition, the owners are planning to offer workshops, classes and events at the gallery. "All of the artists at Artisan 218 strongly believe in sharing our knowledge with the community," says Kline-Misol.To find out more, go to the gallery's website or Facebook page.

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Make your Thanksgiving (or any dinner) easier and add flavor to your vegetable dishes with these "Standout Sides."

Cheat Sheet for Thanksgiving
By Wini Moranville
  
If you want to take a kitchen shortcut or two this Thanksgiving, consider the "Standout Sides," available at Accents and Interiors.
 
These culinary blends are designed as a way to flavor-charge your fresh-made sides--without a lot of work on the cook's part. Each package comes with the ingredients you need to expertly season three pounds of vegetables. Options include Balsamic & Roasted Onion Veggie Roaster, Dijon Pepper Vinaigrette Veggie Roaster, Herby Dill and Garlic (for green beans) and Caramelized Onion and Chive (for mashed potatoes).
 
"Yes, it's cooking from a box," says Amanda Duncan, a buyer for the Urbandale housewares and home decor store, "but no one will know you're cooking from a box."
 
I gave the Caramelized Onion & Chive mix a go and agree that the dish avoided the powdery taste that many "from the box" seasonings bring. I appreciated the bold flavors of the onion and garlic, though I did find the overall dish more salty and peppery than I'd like. That's easily remedied: Next time, I'll simply use less of the mix than the instructions call for.
 
The bottom line: If, on a 10-point scale, a take-all-morning scratch-made version of caramelized onion and chive potatoes would rate a 10, this shortcut take rates an 8.
 
And sometimes, the convenience factor trumps those few extra points.
 
Accents and Interiors is at 2701 86th St., Urbandale; 515-276-7201.

Wini Moranville is a freelance writer who covers the food and dining scene for dsm. Follow her at All Things Food - DSM Wini Moranville

Andrew Samonsky portrays Robert and Elizabeth Stanley plays Francesca in the national tour of "The Bridges of Madison County." Photo by Matthew Murphy. .

The Small World of 'Bridges'

Everyone knows author Robert James Waller lived in Iowa when he set his tale of "The Bridges of Madison County" in and around Winterset. The Tony Award-winning musical production of his story launches a national tour Nov. 28 at the Des Moines Civic Center with fresh Iowa connections:
 
  •  Elizabeth Stanley, who plays Francesca Johnson, lived in Cedar Rapids and Denison as a child. She has fond memories of Okoboji camping and following her dad and her brother when they rode RAGBRAI.
  •  Composer Jason Robert Brown, whose score and orchestration for "Bridges" earned two 2014 Tonys, has family in Greater Des Moines. His brother David Brown is an executive at Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield,and his wife's cousin Jenny McCoy is director of corporate communications at Meredith Corp.

Other fun facts about the show:
  • In show biz, a performer who can sing, dance and act is called a "triple threat." "The Bridges of Madison County" can be considered a triple threat, too. It has been a novel, a movie and a stage musical.
  • Waller's slim first-time novel sold 50 million copies; the movie version grossed $182 million.
 
The musical will run through Dec. 5 at the Civic Center (times vary). Tickets range from $35 to $101 (subject to change). For more information and tickets, go to the Des Moines Performing Arts website 
Artist Amer al-Obaidi with one of his works.

Lost and Found
  
An evocative exhibit by Iraqi refugee Amer al-Obaidi caught our eye as it seems especially timely. "Lost in the Maze of Immigration," on display at the Des Moines Social Club's Viaduct Gallery, explores the immigrant experience in the United States.
 
An acclaimed artist, al-Obaidi is a former director of the National Museum of Modern Art in Iraq. He and his family fled the country in 2006 and have been living in Des Moines since then. 
 
The exhibit runs through Nov. 30.  


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