Tag Archives: Northeast Minneapolis Arts Area

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!

Theater Thrives in Northeast: Dark & Stormy Productions

I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being. Thornton Wilder

For some “outsiders” the image of the Northeast Minneapolis arts community has been one of visual art, the art that draws massive throngs to Art-A-Whirl and to the myriad exhibits of paintings, sculpture, mobiles and other visual art.

Less known beyond the Northeast neighborhood is a thriving world of theater that thrives in the creative environment of Northeast.  Theaters and acting groups abound, energized by and major contributors to the robust arts scene. Theatre Latte Da, Nimbus Theatre, the Morris Park Players and others are covered in previous posts. The time is now to share the word about Dark & Stormy Productions and their holiday production of The Norwegians.

Dark & Stormy Productions (http://www.darkstormy.org) is a professional theater company committed to artistic excellence and thought-provoking productions that inspire and engage the audience and the players. The specific goals of Dark & Stormy are 1) to foster new audiences with initiatives that include reduced rates for young (i.e. under age 30) attendees; 2) to sustain current audiences by offering “intimate, unconventional, immediate, exciting productions” that feature top talent from the Twin Cities’ rich theater community; and 3) to support the robust community of professional artists, including actors, stage managers, directors and the range of creative folk who contribute to the artistic excellence of the theater experience.

This holiday season Dark & Stormy Productions has tackled a lesser known “dark comedy” – with a Minnesota spin: The Norwegians by C. Denby Swanson (http://www.darkstormy.org/p/special-events.html) The TC’s premiere production, produced in partnership with Artspace, will run through December 30.

The theater is located at 77 13th Avenue NE, just off University Avenue. Phone 612 929 4764. Learn much more about Dark & Stormy Productions on their excellent website (http://www.darkstormy.org)




Northeast artists roll out holiday welcome mat!

Neither snow nor cold nor political upheaval will stay these local artists from their appointed rounds

The hundreds of artists of every stripe who live and work in Northeast Minneapolis face every challenge – economic, social, artistic or political – with abundant creativity and boundless hope. In the weeks to come the artists of this vibrant community will share their words, works, vision and hopes through a host of venues scattered throughout the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Area.

Following are just some of the highlights of what’s to come – all are free and open unless noted.

November 17 – Janaya Martin hosts the popular “Writers Read + Open Mic” readings and discussion at Coffeehouse Northeast http://thecoffeeshopne.com at 29th and Johnson NE. Learn more about the popular local series in a recent issue of the Northeasterhttp://www.mynortheaster.com/wp-content/news-archives/161102Northeaster/

November 18-20 — Visit Artblok Open Studio and Sale in the former General Mills labs, 2010 East Hennepin near Stinson. http://www.minneapolis.org/calendar/2016-art-blok-open-studio-tour/ Meet and learn about the work of a host of local visual and literary artists – painting, paper arts, drawing, printmaking, jewelry metalwork, ceramics, woodworking, sculpture and more.

November 19– Opening event at The Public Functionary, 1400 20th Avenue North. (http://publicfunctionary.org) The Feminist highlights the interdisciplinary work of Charles Phillipe Jean Pierre.   (http://publicfunctionary.org/charles-philippe-jean-pierre-the-feminist/ Following the opening reception, Public Functionary will host Disrobing Masculinity: An Artist Talk and Discussion on Saturday, November 19, 2016 at 1:00 PM.

November 25 – Release Party for writer Penny Johnson’s The Forget-Me-Nots at Eat My Words bookstore, 13th and 2nd Streets NE. (http://www.eatmywordsbooks.com) Billed as a “counterpoint to the madness of Black Friday” the event features homemade cheesecake and cookies and seed packets of forget-me-not flowers.

November 26 – the fun goes on– topped with discounts — at Eat My Words. It’s the Annual Corporate Excess Sale, a highlight of Shop Small Saturday. At 3:00 historian and former Army musician Bruce P. Gleason will share a reading and discussion of his book Sound the Trumpet, Beat the Drum: Horse-Mounted Bands of the U.S. Army, 1820-1940, an exploration of the distinctive role that mounted bands played in American military history.

December 1 – First Thursday – A Northeast Minneapolis Arts Area tradition – Open Studios 5:00-9:00 PM on (virtually) every street corner – Some highlights:

  • Artspace Jackson Flats, 901 18½ Avenue Northeast
  • Casket Arts Building, 681 17th Avenue NE
  • Casket Arts Carriage House, 1720 17th Avenue NE
  • Grain Belt Studios, 77&79 13th Avenue South
  • Northrup King Building, 1500 Jackson Street NE (http: Northrupkingbuilding.com)
  • Q.arma Building, 1224 Quincy Street NE (http: quarmabuilding.com)
  • Solar Arts Building, 711 15th Avenue NE
  • Thorp Building, 1618 Central Avenue NE

December 3, 11:00 AM-5:00 PM –The American Craft Council, located in the iconic Grainbelt Brewery on Broadway and Marshall, hosts a Craft Sale+Open House in the Library. Featured artists will be on hand to describe their unique crafts. Archival materials on display, a used book sale, topped by complimentary hot cider! Shopping starts at 10:00.

December 3, 10:00-4:00 – Betty’s Holiday Bizarre Bazaar at Betty Danger’s Country Club, 2501 Marshall. Artists, crafters and artisans are invited to display and sell their “quirkiest and garish” handcrafted holiday gifts and decoration. Emphasis at Betty’s Bazaar is clearly on the bizarre-ness of the item.

December 10-12 — 2nd Annual A-Mill Maker’s Market, 10:00AM Saturday to 5:00 PM Sunday. Hosted by BridgeArts. A-Mill Artist Lofts, 315 Main Street SE. Sculpture, photography, fiber arts, millinery goods and more. Refreshments and pastry items, hourly raffle, entertainment by resident musicians, fashion show on Saturday.

And there is so much more to explore, enjoy, learn and even purchase in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Area — check it out online or, better yet, on foot!









Treat Your Palate to a Mixed Menu of Readings at Eat My Words

If you’ve discovered Eat My Words, you’ve been there often. If not, the next couple of weeks offer a great chance to explore this charming bookstore nestled in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Area.   Whether you’re a veteran visitor or a newbie you’ll find the agenda of readings during the early holiday season is intriguing, even irresistible.

Start this week, with a talk by Aaron Isaacs, author of Twin Ports by Trolley: The Streetcar Era in Duluth-Superior.   Sounds like a tome well-suited for a community pondering the possibilities of a streetcar serving Northeast. Isaacs’ talk is Wednesday, December 10, 7:00 p.m. at the bookstore.

Then, on Saturday, December 13, return to Eat My Words for the launch of Festival in Crime, the newest anthology from the Twin Cities Sisters in Crime! The spell-binder will fill the stocking of the best-read mystery fan on your shopping list. The launch is set for 7:00 p.m. but come early so you have plenty of time to browse the book-laden shelves.

On Sunday, December 14, 2:00 p.m. children’s book author Alison McGhee will read from Star Bright: A Christmas Story, described as “a perfectly angelic – and perfectly charming – Christmas story that offers a creative twist on the classic tale of the Nativity” for children ages 4-8.

For a change of pace, drop in on Tuesday, December 17, at 7:00-ish for First Case of Beers, featuring P.M. LaRose, known locally to readers of the PiPress. “Beers” is actually the nickname for the protagonist, James Alfred Biersovich, head of security at LaScala, a trendy Minneapolis department store (aren’t they all trendy?) It’s a holiday thriller, complete with Santa and the Scalabrino clan.

Rounding out the week is a Spoken Word Showcase on Saturday, December 20, 7:00 p.m. Local authors and spoken word artists Thressa Johnson, Lewis Mundt, Taylor Seaberg and Chava Gabrielle Davis will share their recent work, showcasing several media formats and various approaches to their art.

Eat My Words is at 1228 2nd Street Northeast in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Area (picture close to the iconic Grainbelt Brewery – one of many in the NEMAA neighborhood) www.eatmywordsbooks.com, eatmywordsbooks@gmail.com, (651) 243 – 1756

Nimbus Theatre Opens 2nd Season in Northeast

Creative space is in the eye of the beholder. Today  Nimbus Theatre, 1517 Central Avenue Northeast (Just off Broadway!)  is a glowing and growing presence on the Northeast arts scene.  When theatrical Liz Neerland and Josh Cragun, took a look at the structure that fills the former alley between the Alamo Building and the commercial property next door they saw an ideal site for their theater.  That takes youth, vision, commitment and a whole lot of courage.  And this spirited couple had the creative imagination and energy to see the possibilities they now realize as they move into their second production season.  For Nimbus supporters and for the Northeast arts community, the benefits are great.

For a decade Nimbus broken new ground in experimental and challenging theater in the Twin Cities.  Their interest is selecting and producing “an engaging mix of under-appreciated works by established playwrights, new plays by emerging playwrights and innovative company-created productions.”   Writing on their website the Neerland and Cragun tell their story:

Above the maddening din of pat answers, advertising chatter, and pop culture jingles, nimbus asks our audiences, collaborators, and conspirators to question ideas, emotions, and easy answers. We present work that entertains, provokes, challenges, and just plain baffles.

The second production in Season Two meets the mark:  Opening December 2, Woyczak, is a 19th Century work by German playwright Georg Buchner, directed by Nimbus company member Brian Hesser.  Buchner’s play, written in 1827, was later turned into a famous 20th century opera with music by Alban Berg of the second Viennese school.

Recognizing that “the play’s the thing” the theater space itself deserves its proper moment in the spotlight.  First, it’s huge – 4200 square feet of virgin territory, 17 foot ceilings replete with skylights that bathe the daytime theater in sunshine, space waiting to be filled with the life that theater – and audiences – bring.

There’s room for a generous stage where actors can move with ease – room for 75 playgoers who are comfortably ensconced in wonderful old seats with ample room for elbows and knees – room for actors to prepare and for stage gear to be stashed between productions – room a gracious lobby where audiences can gather, chat, and eventually have a sip of something – room for spacious restrooms the owners have constructed with careful attention to accessibility and convenience —  best of all, there’s room to park!  Nimbus has made parking arrangements with a neighbor manufacturer whose parking lot empties out well before theater goers arrive

Performances of Woyzeck are scheduled Thursday through Saturday evenings (7:30) and Sunday afternoons (3:00) through December 17.  Because one goal of Nimbus is to encourage theater goers by keeping the price of tickets within reach;  tickets for Nimbus productions are generally $10-$12.

Clay Squared Opens Holiday Shop at Gavidae Common




If downtown doesn’t come to Northeast, we will go to downtown.  That is the attitude of two artist/entrepreneurs who have long worked in their Northeast studio and who are now testing the downtown waters by opening a “seasonal” shop at Gavidae Common.  The artists are husband and wife Josh Blanc and Layl McDill and the studio/shop, Clay Squared to Infinity, has spawned a skyway gift shop, Suite 129 of Gavidae at 551 Nicollet Mall.  When I stopped by today the couple were busily putting the vibrant finishing touches on the shop which is right at a most propitious crossroads location.

ClaySquared-on-the-Skyway (my name)  will open November 1 and remain open until December 31.  Hours are Monday-Friday 10 AM to 7 PM, Saturday 10 AM-6 PM and Sunday Noon-5:00 PM.  Theme of the shop is “made in NE Minneapolis” with an emphasis on clay artists.

Artists include Sue Christensen of Nameless Wildness, Martha Enzler of Martha Enzler Designs, Stephanie Kaczrowski, Wendy Penta of Stone Hollow Tile, Emily Dyer of Dyer Ceramics, Kirsten Walstead of SoMi Tileworks, and Jane Swan.  Furniture maker Kirsten Arden will “create an environment where the work will be shown and for sale.”

Proprietors McDill and Blanc are brimming with special features incoming an artist trunk show highlighting artists from the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District.  On November 18 they will host a “NE Artists Invade Downtown” party – details TBA.

In the spirit of the season McDill and Blanc will donate 5% of their sales from the downtown location to the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District.

All Skyway roads lead right past the shop – stop in, spread the word to friends and family, and don’t forget to pick a “made in Northeast” holiday gift that will charm the recipient and support NEMAA.

Congratulations and best wishes to McDill and Blanc on this bold, exciting and timely adventure!