Explore worlds where dragons fly through the skies and elves and dwarves live in clans throughout the land at Light Grey Art Lab in Minneapolis.

The art gallery, situated just two blocks from Eat Street on Nicollet Avenue and the Minnesota Institute of Art, won’t disappoint any adventurous spirits looking for an escape from reality. Visitors can expect to see dozens of works as part of Magic: The Gathering and The Ultimate Fantasy exhibits that opened earlier this month.

The display commemorates the 25th anniversary of Magic: The Gathering, a ‘90s card game that has been making a comeback in dingy basements and game stores across Minnesota. Ask any millenial and they’ll probably tell you stories of playing the game with their closest friends during Minnesota’s long and brutal winters or of long lost cards or decks that were “sooooo op” (overpowering).

No amateur player truly knows all the rules to the game, that usually takes an expert. But you don’t need to be an expert to enjoy the show at Light Grey Art Lab. For Calvin Bauer, event coordinator and content creator at Light Grey Art Lab, he became interested in the game because of the unique and tasteful artwork displayed on every individual card.

“It’s a game that exists because of its artwork,” Bauer said, adding that the name of artists who design each card is visible so players can follow their work. “Magic has always been a source of inspiration.”

Bauer himself has a piece in the exhibition, inspired by the card game’s fantastical creatures and monsters. The creature in the piece appears to be a human down to the torso and winged beast with two large handlike claws below the hip.

The work is called “Vampiric Spirit.”

The Magic community is very open to new players and is incredibly inclusive, Bauer explained. Strangers can sit down and enjoy a game and by the end, become friends.

“People are seeking out an object of value and an experience that they can share with people,” Bauer said.

In general, he believes board and card games are becoming more popular again.

“We have to find something to do during the winter months — that’s why this (gaming) culture thrives here,” Bauer said.

The Ultimate Fantasy exhibit contains pieces that have been inspired by other games and stories, said Gallery Manager Jenny Wells, noting some of the artists work on the sets of big name fantasy television shows, movies and video games like Game of Thrones and War Hammar. Some are also based on popular board games or depict gaming culture.

The exhibit will be open through the end of August. Originals and prints will be available for sale through the duration of the exhibition.

Staff Reporter

Alex Chhith is a staff reporter at the Chaska Herald. In her spare time, she enjoys walking her dogs (Cody and Sam), catching up on the Game of Thrones and finding new restaurants. Follow her on Twitter @AlexChhith.

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