The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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December 6, 2013

GSR Fine Art Festival brings diverse artists together for three-day showcase

GSR Fine Art Festival brings diverse artists together for three-day showcase

Bob Doring and Curt Dumdie have already made their mark in the area art community.

The longtime partners-in-art and fellow glass-blowers have been impressing southern Minnesota art connoisseurs for decades with glassware that is strikingly colorful and sturdy, yet delicate in form.

Doring is a pioneer of sorts in the glass-blowing community, studying as a teenager at what was one of the first such studios in the state. He hones his techniques at then-Mankato State College before — quite literally — building the glass-blowing program at Virginia Commonwealth University where he pursued graduate studies.

"We built it from the ground up," Doring said, "from pouring the cement to making our own tools."

Later, Doring became the first glass-blower at the Renaissance Festival, where he eventually met Dumdie. The two began working together, traveling around Minnesota and beyond to showcase their wares.

Now, however, the duo doesn't travel quite as often or near as wide as they used to. And, outside of a few stores in the area that carry some of their glassware — The Carnegie Art Center gift shop and Stones Throw Gallery in St. Peter most notably — it can be difficult to find their pieces.

But those interested will have no such trouble during the 11th annual GSR Fine Art Festival held today, Saturday and Sunday at the Verizon Wireless Center.

"We're done in the studio now," Doring said. "And I've got a lot more glass than I could show at one time."

Doring and Dumdie are among nearly 50 artists, most with ties to south-central Minnesota, who are exhibiting in the annual showcase of fine art.

Launched initially as a way for Stones Throw owner and jeweler Patty Conlin to reunite with her apprentices — hence the GSR acronym, which stands for "Goldsmiths' Reunion" — the event has blossomed into something much larger. Conlin and fellow organizers sift through applicants each year, admitting only those that are established, professional artists. The three-day event also includes food and beverage vendors as well as a full music lineup.

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