Category Archives: Arts

In Minnesota “Made Here” really means made here

Take empty windows and storefronts in downtown Minneapolis and fill them with the work of local artists to create a walkable urban art experience. That’s what Hennepin Theatre Trust has been doing since 2013 with the Made Here project. ~~ M.A.Rosko

Sponsors were series about the “made here” guidelines when they launched this season’s Future: Made Here campaign (http://madeheremn.org/about/main) last April.  The results, representing the work of more than 40 Minnesota artists and 120 students, are to be found throughout the summer months throughout the downtown’s streets and open spaces.  Made Here is sponsored in large part by Andersen Corporation, Le Meridien Chambers Minneapolis, supplemented by a grant from the McKnight Foundation. (More about sponsors here http://madeheremn.org/partners)

Twice a year Made Here gives life to windows and other underused spaces throughout the West Downtown Minneapolis Cultural District (aka the WeDo District).  According to planners, the project has grown over the years to now feature visual displays in windows, live performances, artist markets, pop-up galleries in more.”  Planners note that “the intent is to infuse underused public spaces with art and art-inspired experiences – and transform them with the spirit of what is possible.” To learn more about the spirit and history of Made Here, click here: http://madeheremn.org)

The displays, selected in an open competition judged by a community panel people from a range of disciplines.”  The displays reflect months of creative work by area artists of every medium.  To follow the energy, ideas and fun of the Made Here exhibit, click here: http://madeheremn.ojecorg/blog

Or take an armchair tour of what you’ll find at each Made Here window, pop-up display performance, by clicking here http://madeheremn.org/showcases.  Then follow the lively Made Here blog here: http://madeheremn.org/blog

The virtual tour and blog posts will inspire you to get up out of that armchair and head downtown for an up close and personal look at each of the wonderfully unique Made Here exhibits.  Equip yourself with this map showing exhibits and performance areas (http://madeheremn.org/map)

Clearly, Made Here thrives as a living, growing success.  Since its launch the project has produced over 300 window displays as well as scores of performances and pop-ups.

  • Learn more about the Hennepin Theatre Trust here:  hennepintheatretrust.org
  • Learn more about the West Downtown Minneapolis Cultural District here:  wedompls.org

Made Here will infuse life into the streets and storefronts of downtown Minneapolis throughout the month of August.

 

Art exhibit inspires visitors to “see the person, not the illness”

You may remember reading a couple of years ago Andy Steiner’s thoughtful piece about John Bauer’s compassionate and courageous Kickstarter campaign.  (https://www.minnpost.com/mental-health-addiction/2015/04/grieving-father-hopes-upcoming-art-exhibit-will-inspire-conversation) It was the story of John Bauer, a Grand Rapids father on a mission to help others by sharing his own grief caused by his adult daughter’s suicide.

A photographer and public radio host, Bauer’s chose the medium of art.  With community support he created a traveling art exhibit. The exhibit, which he named “What’s Left”,  inspired visual artists, poets, sculptors and others to share their work.  Their common goal was to create an environment that would inspire and encourage people to talk about mental illness and suicide, to “see the person, not the illness. “

“Whats Left” is now making a return visit to the Twin Cities.  Community Grounds coffee shop in Columbia Heights is sponsoring the exhibit as a community outreach project to encourage neighbors to think and talk about suicide and mental health in their own circles. Throughout the month of July they are invited to meet, discuss, and share support resources that will be on display.  On the evening of July 20 there will be a community program and discussion.

Community Grounds is located at 560 40th Ave NE in Columbia Heights.  https://www.facebook.com/pg/CommunityGroundsMN/about/?ref=page_internal

 

Some Summary Thoughts on the Summit…..

The Rural Arts and Culture Summit meeting last week on the bucolic campus of the University of Minnesota-Morris, rates a 100% positive score!  The RAC gathering was genuinely and consistently informative, inspiring and certifiably Way Above Average!

The biennial Summit drew 400+ representatives of arts organizations and community groups, visual artists, writers, educators, elected officials and just a few of us who simply care deeply about arts and culture in our communities and our lives.

Though most attendees were Minnesota-based the speakers came from communities around the country, each selected because of her or his unique perspective on the arts and culture.  My post-Summit reflections on the plenary sessions, the small group presentations, the exhibits and the casual conversations, are through the lens of stories and a profound of sense of place, threads woven throughout the Summit.   The threads represent the myriad ways in which the arts both create and tell the story of the community, of a unique place and its people.  In new ways I understand the arts, broadly defined to include visual arts, music, theater, literature and more, as unique streams of light, creating and reinforcing a sense of community in which the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Sponsors of RAC at the Center for Small Towns at the University Minnesota-Morris (http://www.morris.umn.edu/cst/) and Springboard for the Arts (https://springboardforthearts.org)

Happily, Springboard for the Arts has magically posted videos of the plenary sessions on their Creative Exchange: (http://springboardexchange.org/rural-arts-culture-summit-videos/) .  Check them out – you’ll understand intuitively the reason that conversations among attendees over lunch and during campus strolls were spirited, free-wheeling and bursting with creative energy.  In my mind’s eye I see the sparks from Morris igniting place-oriented art and cultural activities in small towns and neighborhoods throughout the region.

Creativity is a magical force.  When people of good will gather not to preach or posture but to learn and share, the flow of ideas is palpable.  When the environment is idyllic, those ideas flourish, morphing and adapting in unique and wondrous ways, ever at the ready to enliven a community whether that community is a small town, a neighborhood or an arts organization.

And that’s how change happens!

+ + + +

For glimpses of ideas in motion at the RAC Summit click here:

* http://ias.umn.edu/2017/06/06/rural/

* https://twitter.com/hashtag/racsummit?src=hash

* http://www.ruralartsandculturesummit.com/press/

Business skills for those whose work is their art

Though artists would prefer to create beautiful and evocative expressions of truth many are learning that “doing art” may well  evolve into a successful business.  The challenge is to learn and practice the skills of marketing, pricing, record keeping, tax considerations, social media and the importance of thoughtful planning.  It is said that some creative artists even begin to appreciate the art of creating a successful business!

Towards that end, Springboard for the Arts is joining with Hennepin County Library to address the opportunity to shape business skills programming specifically targeted to the needs of creative artists.  Last Winter sponsors launched a weekly series entitled “Work of Art” a program focused on identifying and honing business skills for artists facing the hope and challenge of making it in a robust business environment.

That venture was such a success that the series has is being fine-tuned in readiness of a second series that will begin tomorrow, June 10, at the Northeast Library, 2200 Central Avenue, in the heart of the Northeast Minneapolis arts community.  Sessions are held Saturday afternoons, 1:00 – 3:30 in the Library.  All of the sessions are free and open.  Registration is requested for individual sessions or for the series.

The summer schedule:

June 16: Time Management. Analytical tool-based approaches to tackle hurdles related to efficiency, flexibility and work-life balance.

June 23: Portfolio Kit: Focus on the essential elements of the portfolio; sharpening the artist statement, tailoring the artistic resume, selection and formatting work samples

June 30: January 11. Marketing for Artists. Defining the product, discovering the target audience, making decisions about selling, and identifying a budget and strategy for an artistic business.

July 14 – Social Media Basics for Artists. Focused on Facebook and Twitter examples – core functionality, best practices and exercises to build an online strategy for an artistic business. 

July 21: Pricing: An analytical approach to defining key elements to calculate costs and prices of art for a variety of markets.

July 28: Recordkeeping:  Tracking revenues, making informed projects, gaining a clearer understanding of artistic business finances.

August 4: Legal Considerations.  General information about intellectual property, contract basics and structuring artistic business.

August 11: Funding.  How to think creatively about diversifying funding streams, exploring traditional and new models for generating value, resources and revenue. 

August 18: Business Plan Essentials.  How to prepare a simple business plan in art-friendly language to help organize the various aspects of artistic practice and informed business decisions.

For more information or to register for individual sessions or for the series click here: https://springboardforthearts.org/professional-growth/work-of-art-program/work-of-art-business-skills-for-artists/

Art-A-Whirl: Northeast Mpls artists open studios, create community

Art – along with a certain amount of dust – is in the air as the creative makers of the Northeast Minneapolis arts community ready themselves and their workspaces for Art-A-Whirl 2017!   A-A-W is the crowning jewel in the star-studded diadem of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Agency.  (https://nemaa.org/about/ne-minneapolis-arts-district)

Much of the dust is coming from the studios of the artists – a sure sign that this is no ordinary “art fair.”  A-A-W is, first and foremost, the nation’s largest open studio tour of the working spaces of artists and crafters who work, and often live, in Northeast.  Paintings, pottery, mobiles, furniture, photos, tapestries, sketches, rugs, art books, and a host of unique renderings of the artists’ imaginations and talents are poised for last minute touch-ups and final presentation to the public.

Music also fills the air, much flowing from the studios of A-A-W host artists and crafters. Neighborhood boutiques, coffee shops and the renowned eateries and pubs of Northeast are primed for visitors!

A totally family-friendly weekend  A-A-W offers the rare opportunity to tour not only galleries but artists’ working spaces.  Visitors of all ages will have a chance to observe the makers of art at work – sculpting, glass blowing, painting, weaving, printmaking, creating photo images, collages, and mixed media works that marry sound and visual images.   Future makers will be able to touch, feel, smell, even try their hand at creating art.

A-A-W’s virtual welcome mat will be out beginning Friday, May 19, 5:00-10:00 p.m., Saturday, May 20- Noon-8:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 21, Noon- 5:00 p.m.

Visitors are welcome to wander randomly through the studio buildings, home studios, galleries and storefronts in the neighborhood.  Personal experience suggests that a bit of advance planning about walking the hood, identifying studio locations and exploring public transit options is worth the effort.

Fortunately, print and digital guides to A-A-W abound.  If you live, work or frequent the hot spots of Northeast, you can pick up a copy of the Artist Directory and Guide at any one of the arts buildings in the community.   Or click here (https://nemaa.org/art-a-whirl.)  for links to the essentials – the artist directory, map, dining guide, parking information and updates on A-A-W and NEMAA. Take special note of the “How to Whirl” section!

To appreciate the roots of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Area, take a few minutes to read about the unique history here: (https://nemaa.org/about/history)  It’s an evolving story of community development focused on an understanding of the role of the arts in the local economy and in the life of a neighborhood that thrives on creative expression!

Library Salon Series explores role of art, crafts

The lessons I first learned from knitting keep showing me this truth: that a kind of radical acceptance of errors and an appreciation for our human capacity for resiliency – that’s what’s truly precious. – Bernadette Murphy

These thoughts of a needle worker, quoted in the most recent BookWomen, reflect the theme of the first in the forthcoming series of Library Salons sponsored the American Craft Council Library.

The Library Salon series begins on Wednesday, March 8, when the speaker will be Dr. Amy Elkins, assistant professor of English at Macalester College. (https://www.macalester.edu/academics/english/facultystaff/emyelkins/) Elkins presentation, “The Craft of Survival,” will “trace the history of needlepoint from King Tut’s tomb and Florentine tapestries to Victorian drawing rooms and contemporary creativism.”

Future Library Salons will feature these guests.

  • April 12 – “Situated Somewhere In-Between: Paper Works by Mary Hark.” (http://www.maryhark.com) Papermaker and educator Mary Hark makes high quality paper from urban bio-waste.   Her materials include local plants found on a restored prairie in rural Madison, WI. She also works with Ghanaian colleagues to establish a small paper mill for art, design and small industry. In both settings her goal is to build a creative life grounded in making and community-building.
  • May 10 – Objects and Installations: The Work and Residencies of Artist Emily Nachison. (http://www.bullseyeglass.com/art/emily-nachison.html) Through sculptural objects and installations the artist investigates the use of story, symbols and materiality to mythologize natural phenomena, escapism, and the desire for secret knowledge.

Library Salons meet at 7:00 PM at the American Craft Council Library, located in the historic Grain Belt Building, 1224 Marshall Street, in Northeast Minneapolis. The Salons are free and open to the public; all are wheelchair accessible. Sponsors of the Library Salon Series include Northeast Bank, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and T-Rex Cookie Company.

 

 

 

 

 

Wintertide offers warm welcome to art lovers in NE Minneapolis

The world – well, Minnesotans and neighbors for sure – know Northeast Minneapolis as home of Art-a-Whirl, the springtime extravaganza showcasing the work of hundreds of artists who create works of art – and often live – in Northeast Minneapolis. Less well known is Wintertide, the biennial juried art exhibition that celebrates the work of the ever-growing community of the arts represented through the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association. (NEMAA)(https://nemaa.org)

The 2017 Exhibition is currently happening in Northeast Minneapolis– ongoing through February 11. Exhibition site is the Public Functionary ((http://publicfunctionary..org/wintertide-biennial-jured-art-exhibit/), Public functionary is located at 1400 12th Avenue NE – this is on Buchanan Street NE, just North of Broadway)   Visitors to the exhibit will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite “Audience Choice” award to be announced at the closing reception.

Exhibit hours are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, Noon–6:00 p.m. with special open hours Friday, February 10, 7:00–11:00 p.m.  The exhibition is sponsored by Cedarwoods Foundation.