Category Archives: Minneapolis/St Paul

Mid-summer Meanderings on the Mississippi

The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful book – a book that was a dead language to the uneducated passenger, but which told its mind to me without reserve, delivering its most cherished secret as clearly as if it uttered them with a voice. And it was not a book to be read once and thrown aside, for it had a new story to tell every day. ~~ Mark Twain.

Though summer days and evenings are long and lush, there just are not enough of them – so many opportunities to relax and learn, so little time! The powerful flow and the majestic beauty of the Mississippi flow inspire writers, painters, photographers, musicians, creative spirits and nature lovers to its banks. As the Mississippi flows through these parts it welcomes all of those who live and work along its path to know the influence of the river on its neighbors.

Following are just a few of the  summer activities inspired by the Mighty Mississippi.

One major happening is the FLOW Northside Arts Crawl, set for July 27-29. Over the past decade the FLOW has grown in reputation and attendance; the arts crawl has morphed into a huge three-day community celebration that stretches for over a mile and a half from the Mississippi to Penn Avenue North. The celebration features the range from fine art by over 300 local artists and makers to graffiti created by expressive amateurs – plus  music, music, music!  One feature familiar to FLOW-goers is the “clusters” at Freedom Square and The Capri Theater, Juxtaposition Arts and the KMOJ Stage. FLOW is a program of the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition. (http://westbroadway.org)  All the details here: (http://www.northmpls.org/flow2015)

Through Labor Day the National Park Service, in collaboration with Mississippi Arts Connection and Friends of the Lock and Dam, will be sponsoring public tours, guided or unguided seven days a week.  Writing in MinnPost Peter Callaghan gives an excellent overview of the locks, their history and current operations, along with details about the tours. https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2017/06/possible-sign-things-come-national-park-service-again-offers-tours-st-anthon

Now that you’re in the mood, grab a camera (any camera) and take a stroll along the banks of the Mississippi Riverfront (http://www.minneapolisriverfront.org/) has issued a call for entries to the Mississippi Minute Film Festival.  They’re looking for films that “inform, energize, and inspire people to action – all in 60 seconds!”  Entries are due September 15.  Learn more here:  http://www.minneapolisriverfront.org/riverfront-initiatives/mississippi-minute-film-festival/

The dust has hardly settled on the magnificent Northeast Parade and yet the community is priming for Open Streets Northeast.  (It’s Sunday, August 6, 11:00-5:00.  This is a City of Minneapolis event hosted by the Our Streets Minneapolis, formerly the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition (http://www.ourstreetsmpls.org)

And you will be right on the river when you visit the Twin Cities Polish Festival August 11-13.   Planners say their mission is to “immerse Minnesotans and visitors in ‘all things Polish” by presenting a kaleidoscope of unique cultural and educational displays, food and top-notch entertainment.” Mere words cannot convey the “feel” of the event – music, dancing, history and culture – all on Old Main Street on  the banks of the Mississippi.  Learn more here: http://www.tcpolishfestival.org.  Free and open!

There’s much more to see and do, but stop now to  take time to relax, find a cool spot – preferably near water – to read these reflections on Ol’ Mn River written by John Anfinson: http://www.minneapolisriverfront.org/john-anfinson-vision-river/  It will inspire you to keep  on exploring the wonders – to walk, photograph, paint, write , read or simply be grateful for the Mississippi River in our midst and in our lives.

The Mississippi, the Ganges, and the Nile,…the Rocky Mountains, the Himmaleh, and Mountains of the Moon, have a kind of personal importance in the annals of the world ~~   Henry David Thoreau

 

Sister Cities – A good time to make friends with the family!

It’s probably yesterday in at least one of our Sister Cities, so it’s late but not too late to write and think about Sister Cities Day – It’s tomorrow, July 16, 2017, 1:00 – 5:00 PM at the Nicollet Island Pavilion.

Joining in the festivities will be representatives of all of the Sister Cities, some of which have sent remarks, others have arranged for performances that represent their homeland and especially the music and dance of the Sister City.

The City of Minneapolis produces an outstanding guide to each of the Cities – If can’t attend the Nicollet Island event, do take time to enjoy the digital tour of our siblings – start your digital globe trotting here:  http://www.minneapolis.org/partners-and-community/sister-cities/sister-cities-day/  

 If you can’t attend in person, enjoy a virtual tour of the Sister City community of which Minneapolis is a member.  If you are able to join the Nicollet Island festivities, you’ll out-smart the masses if you did a digital dive first.  You’ll have a chance to meet and greet new friends from around the globe with whom you can share family fun and Ice Cream!  The event itself is free and open!

Mother King – A life, a movement, an inspiration for these times

Before you read on, pause to view this short YouTube story about Alberta Williams King: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVp8Tj7h6GM  Then read a bit about the death of MLK’s mother here: http://www.atlantamagazine.com/civilrights/the-murder-of-alberta-king/

You will want to know and to think more about the life and influence of this grand woman.

The beautiful fact is that the story of Alberta Williams King is now immortalized in an opera that premieres this month.   Mother King, produced by OperaWorks52, opens next weekend at the Public Functionary in Northeast Minneapolis (https://www.facebook.com/events/1390516824378444/) 

Mother King is described as a “conceptual Black opera” that interprets the story of the slain activist. The libretto is based on a series of poems by Venessa Fuentes (https://www.linkedin.com/in/venessa-fuentes-00b49b9/) and the musical score is the work of Dameun Strange. (http://www.dameunstrange.com)

Through the words and music of  Mother King six local vocalists, including Liz Gre in the title role, share the story of “Black birth, Black resilience, and Black joy.” Joining Gre on stage are local vocalists Michael McDowell, Sarah Greer, Roland Hawkins, Kevin Moore, and Ava McFarlane.  They are accompanied by a twelve-member instrumental ensemble.

This is the first production of OperaWorks52, a collaboration formed by Fuentes and Strange.  The partners describe theirs as “a music and story-telling partnership that aims to highlight overlooked narratives, including the stories of individuals of color, Native people, women and those in the LGBTQ community.” (https://www.facebook.com/operaworks52/ )

Mother King is produced through a partnership between OperaWorks 52 and Public Functionary, an art exhibition and “social space” in Northeast Minneapolis.  Public Functionary is also the venue for the premiere production. (http://publicfunctionary.org)

Read a great interview with Fuentes and Strange in this recent issue of Twin Cities Arts Reader.  (http://twincitiesarts.com/2017/07/10/interview-venessa-fuentes-dameun-strange-mother-king/)

Performances for Mother King are at 7:00 p.m. July 20-22 and 27-28 at the Public Functionary, 1400 12th Avenue Northeast in Minneapolis.  Tickets are available online at Brown Paper Tickets ($8 students and elders; $12 general admission)

 

 

Craft’za 2017 Issues Call for submissions

Craft (noun): an activity that involves making something in a skillful way by using your hands; a job or activity that requires special skill.

In their call for submissions to Minneapolis Craft’za 2017 planners note that they welcome handmade items that are “high quality, appropriately priced, and distinctive.”

The 6th annual Minneapolis Craft’za is a two-day extravaganza scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, November 18-19, 2017 at the Grain Belt Bottling House in Northeast Minneapolis.  Conveniently scheduled just in time for holiday shopping Craft’za is free and open to the public!

Submissions are due by July 31 – though it is free to apply, the 100 participants selected will incur a reasonable  $125 payment for space.  Crafters will be notified by August 15.  Online applications include a one-day form.  Planners suggest that the application include a detailed description of the product as well as good photos; email address is required.

Lots of helpful FAQ’s online at http://www.craftstravaganza.com/ where interested crafters and craft-lovers can sign up to get on the email subscription list.

 

 

 

 

Fragments and foments for the 4th

That which distinguishes this day from all others is that then both orators and artillerymen shoot blank cartridges. ~John Burroughs

This wry observation on the forthcoming Fourth of July inspires random thoughts and a dip into the scattered notes that don’t quite sum to a cogent theme – or post.  Thinking that some may be of interest – and that the 4th is about more than parades and fireworks I share the some of those notes in hopes they spark some flickers for folks who are enjoying a long holiday weekend… It seems to me a legitimate alibi to share a few of the virtual “pokes” that have yet to make it to the blog. Their time has come….

Since you may be house-bound over the holiday, you might want to think about actually doing some research on the history of your home. Just last week  Greta Kaul, writing in MinnPost offered some basic tips and starting points – find the article here:  https://www.minnpost.com/data/2017/06/what-public-records-can-tell-you-about-history-your-house   What the journalist failed to mention is that the staff of Special Collections at Minneapolis Central Library  has sponsored several excellent workshops on the topic in recent months.  There’s one more Researching the History of Your Minneapolis Home session scheduled for Saturday, August 5, 10:30-11:30 a.m. at Roosevelt Library.

Thinking about starting or joining a book group?  The South Dakota Humanities Commission has a new and very useful guide.  http://sdhumanities.org/media/blog/how-do-you-start-a-book-club.

Feel like learning a bit more about our neighbors to the West?  Renowned North Dakota poet Tom McGrath sets the tone in this video produced some years ago by the Center for International Education (Mike Hazard) (http://www.thecie.org/mcgrath/). The Movie at the End of the World: Thomas McGrath is on YouTube Movie at the End, a lovely introduction – or reminder – of the poet and his North Dakota roots. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABDUGe2kGNs

As long as you’ve let your mind wander a bit, check out The Ephemera Society of America, Inc. (ephemerasociety.org) Located in Cazenovia, New York, the national organization pays attention to all of the little stuff the rest of us don’t even notice.  Though the website is a bit quixotic, ephemera do not categorize easily – and that’s the fun of it!  Relax and wander freely through the world of ephemera!  The local authority on the Ephemera Society of America is author and intrepid researcher Molly (Moira) Harris

For some time I’ve been following the work of Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services (http://www.brycs.org) a project of the Migration and Refugee Services at the US Conference of Bishops.  The BRYCS website and clearinghouse does a great job of sharing elusive information on practices, studies, events, interview with immigrant youth and more.   Try dipping in to learn more about whatever it is you want to know more about.

Earlier this week this timely piece popped up on the email.  Its value lies in the fact that it suggests an inclusive definition of food chain workers while underscores the ways in which women forge essential links in the food chain.  https://foodtank.com/news/2016/01/women-we-love-27-influential-women-in-food-and-agriculture/

In the spirit of the 4th, take time to check out this short read.  It’ll make you think: https://www.reddit.com/r/shutupandwrite/comments/6k2fyn/article_patriot_hasnt_always_been_positive_words/

We need an American with the wisdom of experience. But we must not let America grow old in spirit – Hubert H Humphrey

MPRB records now at Central Library!

Not so long ago but in another journalistic era I spent many hours enjoying the rich resources and incredible staff of  Special Collections at Minneapolis Central Library.  My quest was to learn and share the stories of the parks and neighborhoods  of Northeast Minneapolis.  (See attached)

In those days my key leads to park records were the MPRB website (https://www.minneapolisparks.org/about_us/history/) , the library’s “vertical file,” crammed with clippings, posters, letters, newsletters, and other mementoes of park history,  the brief outline of MPRB posted on the Hennepin County Library website, the grand plan for the Grand Rounds (https://www.minneapolisparks.org/_asset/vkz2qm/grand_rounds_masterplan_1999.pdf)  and David C. Smith’s  essential guide to the park system: https://www.minneapolisparks.org/about_us/history/city_of_parks_book/

Both the Grand Rounds and my series of posts about the magnificent park system remain works in progress….

As I enjoy the sights and sounds of  the city’s parks these summer days I often vow to complete that series of posts – and  a recent note from Edward (Ted) Hathaway, head of Special Collections at Minneapolis Central Library, inspires  me to take long overdue action.  Clearly, the task of researching the histories has been greatly simplified for all of us who want to be more engaged – or who just want to better understand – the city’s magnificent park system.

The essence of the news is this: The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and Hennepin County Library (HCL) are excited to announce the successful transfer of a huge collection of MPRB proceedings, reports and other historic documents to Minneapolis Central Library.

Attached is the announcement  that explains the full import of the move and offers more information about access.  Because it seems relevant I’m also attaching a list of park/neighborhood related articles and posts from this blog.

~~~

Attachment #1 –  Announcement:

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and Hennepin County Library (HCL) are excited to announce the successful transfer of a huge collection of MPRB proceedings, reports and other historic documents to Minneapolis Central Library.  (See full  notice attached.)

Thousands of documents providing a detailed, fascinating record of Minneapolis park history are now open to the public at the James K. Hosmer Special Collections located on the fourth floor of Central Library. This collection holds archival material that shows the growth, improvement and programming of the Minneapolis park system from the early 1880s through the 1960s. It includes:

  • Proposals and correspondences tracing the evolution of the Minneapolis park system as it grew to encompass 15% of the city’s land
  • Reports and petitions illuminating significant park issues across different eras
  • Official Board actions including agreements, policies and contracts

James K. Hosmer Special Collections is open to the public Monday-Thursday, 10 am-4:30 pm, as well as the first and third Saturdays of the month, 10 am-4:30 pm.

Discover the history of your neighborhood park or learn more about the development of iconic Minneapolis landmarks in the Minneapolis Parks Collection, now available at Central Library.

If you haven’t discovered the wonders of the Minneapolis Central Library’s James Hosmer Special Collections start here:  http://www.hclib.org/specialcollections#visitors-guide

Attachment #2  – Links to the park stories posted or published to date – more to follow!

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/