Category Archives: Northeast Minneapolis

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

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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/

Eat My Words — A Moveable Feast

Decades ago I had the  experience of helping to move a library – actually the substantial library of the institution formerly known as the College of St. Catherine.  The move was from the basement of Jeanne d’Arc Chapel to a magnificent new facility across the campus.

The operation was masterminded by Sister Marie Inez (aka Alice Smith) with the precision of the Normandy Invasion.  We trudged up what felt like 100 narrow steps from the basement then trekked across campus toting a meticulously ordered and labeled stack of tomes to a pre-determined destination determined on the shelves of the new library.  The rewards were irresistible – time out of class and a cookie/bar at the end of each delivery.  It was a grand experience – and to this day I doubt that a single volume was lost or mis-shelved upon arrival!

All of this comes to mind in vivid detail as I anticipate the forthcoming move of Eat My Words!, my favorite indie bookstore in Northeast Minneapolis.   Proprietor Scott VanKoughnett and his assistant Jennifer Bailey press on with the unflappable spirit of Sister Marie Inez.  Though I’m not privy to the details, I share their optimism for the Grand Relocation, if not for the move per se.  (I suspect Scott has lined up real movers not college students and that their pay will be more negotiable than cookies….)

It’s an upward move – i.e. EMW will be moving about a block up 13th Avenue Northeast to a gracious setting heretofore the home of Two 12 Pottery.  More than ever, visitors will be able to relax and relish the used book selection in the environment described thus on the EMW website: “Spending an hour at Eat My Words is like going to the home of friends – friends with 20,000 books to show you and share with you.”

The relocation setting is well known to denizens and visitors to the Northeast arts community. For many years Two 12 Pottery has been a favorite haunt of discriminating shoppers with a yen for high quality goods at real people prices. Times change, Bob Sorg, the potter and proprietor of Two 12 Pottery, will be exploring other options while EMW will inherit the lovely site and the residual good vibes that Two12 has long emitted.   Learn more about Two12 here:  (http://www.two12pottery.com/about/4590772963)

EMW is not only a bookstore, it is a gathering place of people with ideas.  For example, EMW is is one of the several entities in Northeast that continues to welcome and support community initiatives to engage in civil discourse during these troubled political times.

(https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/11/10/heeding-the-clarion-call-to-civil-conversation/)  Somehow the staff will continue to host their robust calendar of events during and after The Move.  You can check these out here.  http://www.eatmywordsbooks.com/events/?view=calendar&month=June-2017  (Tip: You really want to sign up to be on the distribution list for forthcoming events.)

Personally and selfishly I am delighted that we have been assured that there will continue to be space and a welcome mat for Voices of Northeast, the series of videotaped interviews with Northeast writers and literary artists that we have produced in the EMW “parlor” for the past many months.  (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/02/06/hungry-for-a-good-read-try-eat-my-words/)

We thank the proprietors of Two 12 Pottery for the many ways in which the unique merchandise and gracious staff have met the wishes of artists and visitors to the shop.  It’s a beautiful hand-off from Two 12 Pottery to Eat My Words.  The Northeast arts community has been and will be enriched by both enterprises and by the customers who appreciate and frequent shops that have

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!