American Swedish Institute… fluidity in glass

The American Swedish Institute is currently featuring the US premiere of “Being”, an immersive glass experience where we as guests are invited to explore how light from our smart phones interacts with glass vessels created by Swedish artist Jo Andersson to create intricate light mosaics. It is amazing how the light from different phones and different angles creates different experiences.

The artist explains the exhibit like this:

“BEING is a light installation which is intended to help bring individuals into the present moment. I wanted to create a safe space where viewers could lose themselves and fully experience the work as well as their responses to the work. Each Light Vessel is made to be a tool for meditation, personal insight and contemplation. The vessels are handblown and their shapes are inspired by the fluidity of glass creating organic, flowing forms. The vessels are then filled with water to increase their feeling of magnitude as well as intensify their interaction with the light that passes through them. The Light Vessels are meant to be a mirror for the viewer. They allow the individual to lose themselves and go within, into the present moment to meet themselves.” – Jo Andersson (she/her) 

In Swedish, FIKA is the delightful custom of enjoying a coffee and a treat with friends. We enjoyed a delicious lunch at FIKA, the restaurant in the American Swedish Institute.

We had a great view of the original mansion completed in 1908 for Swedish immigrants Swan and Christina Turnblad as we ate our lunch, then moved on to see the rest of the exhibit in the elegant, historic mansion.

It seems hard to imagine building this 33-room castle-like mansion as a home for a small family with only one child and modest social ambitions. When Turnblad donated the property to establish the “American Institute for Swedish Arts, Literature and Science” in 1929 it made sense… it had been his plan from the beginning.

The stunning mansion is still the centerpiece of the Institute. At Christmastime rooms are decorated for holiday entertaining, representing traditions in 5 different Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Denmark). The woodwork is amazing, as are the ornate ceilings. One of the docents told us that 20 volunteers come and ‘swiff’ clean all the wood every week… it takes the 20 of them half a day! No wax or polish… just swiffing off the dust, and the wood just gleams.

Today, the Turnblad mansion is a blend of period rooms and exhibit galleries which showcase art and and artifacts from the American Swedish Institute‘s permanent collection as well as special exhibits, many of which come directly from Sweden. A magnificent mahogany two-story fireplace is the focal point of the majestic Grand Hall, and 11 distinctive porcelain tile stoves (kakelugnar) are found throughout the mansion.

It is a wonderful venue for special events and weddings, as well as a beautiful place to showcase special exhibits such as the current glass exhibit which also includes pieces from their permanent collection.

Fluidity: Identity in Swedish Glass is on exhibit February 1, 2023 – May 28, 2023 at the American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407.

Glass moves. Glass heals. Glass speaks.

Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results – shensrud@homesmsp.com

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I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity.

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