Grammy’s Bob Dylan photo exhibit coming to Hibbing

Bob Dylan playing chess

This photograph of Bob Dylan playing chess is just one of many snapped by Daniel Kramer who enjoyed extraordinary access during the prime of Dylan’s career. Kramer’s collection is coming to Hibbing, Minnesota this year for Dylan Days and through the summer. PHOTO: Daniel Kramer

Here’s a stroke of great news amid a rough year for Bob Dylan fans in the music legend’s hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota. The Grammy Museum exhibit “Daniel Kramer: Photographs of Bob Dylan” will be making its United States debut after stops in Paris and London. Not in New York. Not even in Minneapolis. The Kramer exhibit is coming to Hibbing, Minnesota, in the heart of the Mesabi Iron Range.

I’ve been one of the organizers of Hibbing’s Dylan Days event every May since 2001. We had a major setback this year with the closure of Zimmy’s, the Bob Dylan-themed bar and restaurant that doubled as a music and arts hub for this gritty Iron Range town. My Dylan Days colleague and co-owner of the recently closed Zimmy’s, Linda Stroback, successfully connected with folks at the Grammy Museum a couple years ago and worked with them on a Dylan project. In partnership with the city of Hibbing and several interested parties, Hibbing was thus able to attract the Kramer exhibit to the Paulucci Space Theatre on the campus of my employer Hibbing Community College.

Starting with Dylan Days on May 23, 2014, and running through Aug. 23, “Daniel Kramer: Photographs of Bob Dylan” will be free and open to the public at the Paulucci Space Theatre. Many people at the city of Hibbing and Hibbing Foundation worked very hard to help make this happen.

In addition to the travelling photo exhibit, other local collectors and Dylan Days allies will be helping put additional touches on the exhibit, making this stop in Hibbing a true experience for any Dylan fan able to get here.

Much is made of the relationship between Bob Dylan and his hometown. Dylan was born in Duluth and raised in Hibbing. For decades, the conventional wisdom was that Hibbing never cared for its hometown son, nor did he fondly remember Hibbing.

The reality, however, was always more complex. And as time has gone on, both Dylan and now Hibbing have shown clear understanding and respect for one another. To have a major traveling exhibit from L.A.’s Grammy Museum make its American debut in a small mining town like Hibbing is a huge step forward. Sure, there are naysayers on bar stools, but that has always been true in matters pertaining to Bob Dylan.

Paulucci Space Theatre

The Paulucci Space Theatre in Hibbing, Minnesota, functioned as a working planetarium for three decades. Though it still does occasional sky shows, its regular schedule ended in 2012.

Personally, I’m excited that this Bob Dylan photo exhibit will show off the fact that:

  1. Art is a viable way to bring people to town,
  2. there remain exciting alternative uses for buildings like the Paulucci, and
  3. that this is the best chance we’ll ever get for Hibbing to recognize Bob Dylan and the arts in a permanent way.

Join us in Hibbing this spring and summer. Join us as Dylan Days goes through major changes. Bring your own ideas and passions. There is room for us all in the future of the Iron Range.

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