Monthly Archives: April 2013

St. Paul’s Historic Union Depot Board Game Nights Will Continue as Weekly Events

April 26, 2013

Giant-Size Versions of Classic Games Including Chess, Checkers, Tic Tac Toe, Jenga and More Ensure Fun for All Ages

SAINT PAUL, MINN. (April 26, 2013) – Starting immediately, the Wednesday Board Game Nights that St. Paul’s historic Union Depot launched as a four-week series in March will become a regular, ongoing weekly event.  Each Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. guests of all ages are invited to play giant-size versions of many of their favorite games including Chess, Checkers, Kinect Four, Dominoes, Jenga, Tic Tac Toe and others.  The events are free and open to the public and guests are also invited to bring their own games.

Board Game Nights take place in the Waiting Room space just beyond Christos Union Depot.  Guests dining at Christos Union Depot during Board Games Nights will receive their choice of a complimentary glass of wine, beer or a dessert with their dinner.  The Board Game Nights series is the first of many community-building events Union Depot is planning for families and people of all ages, designed to highlight the historic Union Depot as “The Living Room of St. Paul.”  For more information about Board Game Nights or the historic Union Depot, please call 651-202-2700 or visit

Union Depot to Participate in St. Paul Art Crawl

April 19, 2013

Works to Include Paintings, Sculpture, Mixed Media and More

ST. PAUL, MINN. (April 19, 2013) – The newly renovated Union Depot will participate in the 2013 St. Paul Art Crawl by serving as a gallery location featuring art by more than 15 artists. Some of the art to be displayed was created by artists with disabilities including some who are in the PAI (formerly called Phoenix Alternatives, Inc.) and Lifeworks programs.  The St. Paul Art Crawl will take place April 26-28 when art studios and galleries throughout downtown St. Paul will open their doors to the public to showcase a wide array of visual and performance art.  The gallery at Union Depot will be located in the spacious and historic waiting room.

PAI and Lifeworks are organizations that work with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to help them set and reach goals and gain the skills necessary to live as independently as possible.  PAI offers a program focused on art, and the work created by PAI clients is sold on the organization’s website to help clients earn income. The artwork that will be displayed in the Union Depot gallery show will include paintings, ceramics, sculpture, mixed media and more.

The following artists are among those participating in the Union Depot gallery:

Anne Spooner:  Anne creates mixed media avian-inspired paintings and clay work.  To her, birds have become a symbol for living through serious illness and they bring a message of compassion, hope, healing and protection.  Anne has exhibited locally and nationally and she is a longtime participant in the St. Paul Art Crawl.


Jill Lynne Ness:  Jill began her career as a writer, receiving the Emerson College Dean’s Award for Acquainted with the Night, a memoir about her experience with severe depression.  Years later, following family and physical crises, she returned to Minnesota with her young daughter and began to explore the visual arts as part of her healing process.  Since then she has sold many of her paintings, drawings and mixed media works and has earned numerous awards.

Gayle Wyant:  Gayle has been drawing and painting since she was a child.  In the mid-1990s she founded an arts group in a local community support program.  When she retired in 2003 she was able to devote herself fulltime to her art and to participate in many art shows for disabled artists each year.  Gayle is primarily a watercolorist though she also enjoys dabbling in mixed media, acrylics and freehand sculpture.  Additionally, Gayle is a writer and is currently working on writing and illustrating her own books.


Rob Spencer:  A native of Pennsylvania, Rob received his BFA from Edinboro University in Pennsylvania and his MFA at University of North Dakota.  He works with ceramics and printmaking and has taught ceramics at University of North Dakota and Edina Art Center.

Shelley Weithoff Jutila:  Shelley is a painter whose exuberant work is inspired by the energy of music and nature.  These energies and the colors in her palettes give her the bold, expressionistic quality she achieves.

The gallery in Union Depot will be open during St. Paul Art Crawl hours:  Friday, April 26 from 6-10 p.m.; Saturday, April 27 from noon-8 p.m.; and Sunday, April 28 from noon-5 p.m.  The event is free and open to the public.  For more information please visit or call 651-224-6000.

Union Depot Biweekly Free Public Tours Begin April 16

April 8, 2013

Online Registration Available for Reservations

ST. PAUL (APRIL 8, 2013)  — Online registration for free public tours at Union Depot in St. Paul is now up and running.

Free public tours of the newly restored historic train station will begin Tuesday, April 16 at 11 am and repeat every other Tuesday.

Online registration for the Union Depot public tours is available via:

The public can also request private tours by emailing or calling 651-202-2703.

Union Depot, built in the 1920s, re-opened to the public in December 2012 after a two-year $243 million restoration. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Tour participants, who want stay for lunch at Christos, located in the main room of Union Depot, will receive a free nonalcoholic beverage with the purchase of the buffet or entrée. To be eligible for the free beverage, tour participants must bring a printout of their registration confirmation. Offer is good only the day of the tour.

Artists Selected for Historical-Multicultural Murals, Human-scale Artworks at Union Depot

April 4, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn., April 4, 2013-The Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority (RCRRA) has approved the selection of artist Ralph Gilbert to create a series of six historical and multicultural murals in the grand waiting room of Union Depot, located in St. Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood. The artist will begin design work, which will involve research, outreach and input from community members. The murals are expected to be complete in late 2013.

Ralph Gilbert is a figurative muralist, experienced in painting narratives dealing with diverse cultures and history, including the Helene S. Mills Senior Center of Fulton in Atlanta’s historic Martin Luther King, Jr. district. Gilbert is a professor of drawing, painting and printmaking at Georgia State University. In 2005 he was awarded an Edwin Austin Abbey Memorial Fund Fellowship in mural painting at the National Academy of Design in New York.

Asked about his interest in the project, Gilbert said, “I fell in love with the idea of creating these murals. The prospect of making works of art about the history of a significant and beautiful structure in a great American city was irresistible, and I feel greatly honored to have been chosen.”

Gilbert was selected from a pool of 69 local and national artists. The majority of the funding for Union Depot’s $1.25 million public art program-80 percent-comes from the Federal Transit Administration, and could not be restricted to Minnesota artists only. Gilbert joins four other artist teams whose work is already underway. Artist selections were recommended by a review panel comprised of artists, art professionals, historic preservationists and community representatives.

As an effort to support emerging public artists, RCRRA also announced the selection of four artists and one artist team who will share a $50,000 commission for the newly restored transportation hub. Artists were invited to propose human-scale artwork-furniture, small objects or “Other Surprising Amenities”-to engage the public in unique and unexpected ways. The winning artists, selected from a pool of more than 50 local and national candidates, are all Twin Cities artists.

  • Michael Bahl is an artist with a studio in Lowertown, just blocks away from Union Depot. Bahl is a self-described “Paleo-osteological lnterpreter”-perhaps the only person working in this field-who uses the actual bones of contemporary mammals to create skeletons of ancient, imaginary creatures. His sculptural creation for Union Depot, which will hang in the concourse, will involve an elaborate and whimsical back story that will entertain and excite those young and old. ($8,000 commission)
  • Kyle Fokken is a sculpture artist who combines elements of folk and visionary art with toy imagery that is playful, yet references historical transportation vehicles, like trains, ships and planes. His work has been described as “retro-futurist,” for its tendency to “mash-up” distinct forms from far-apart eras or geographic regions. Fokken will create a sequence of three train sculptures for Union Depot’s grand waiting room that portray an evolution of his stylized vision, a sequence that will echo a nearby existing terracotta frieze that shows the real-life evolution of transportation in Minnesota. ($14,000 commission)
  • Josie Lewis creates vivid wall art and furniture with collage work embedded in layers of epoxy resin. Her work for galleries, corporations and private collectors has gained wide attention from various media. At Union Depot, Lewis will create a large handmade artisan table with a top surface of resin and collage referencing travel, rail, maps, time and Minnesota history. The table will serve as public meeting space, a brief stop for lunch on the go, or for simply lingering with a laptop, book or a conversation. ($7,000 commission)
  • Andrew MacGuffie, Noah Keesecker and Peter Haakon Thompson are a team of artists whose work involves, respectively: sculpture; composition and multimedia art; and interactive/participatory activities in unexpected places. The artist team-two of whom work in Lowertown-has embraced the concept of Union Depot as the “Living Room of St. Paul” by combining sculpture and community game play. They will create a sculptural steel, musical, participatory ping pong table that will engage people as a source of entertainment, a tool for creating conversations and an interactive musical instrument for exploration and expression. ($13,000 commission)
  • Aldo Moroni is a noted sculptor, curator, public artist and educator. For the past 40 years, Moroni has explored history, architecture and urban issues through his sculptural work. At Union Depot, Moroni will create four ceramic depictions of St. Paul at four different points in the city’s history: 1850, 1900, 1950 and 2013. His sculptures will be in the head house, greeting the public as they pass through the building. ($8,000 commission)

Photo courtesy of Ralph Gilbert