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Calling all Minneapolis Sculpture Garden lovers: Preservation is at hand!

The Minnesota State Legislature is voting in the next few weeks on a bonding measure that could fund a badly needed renovation of the 22-year-old Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. The article below, from the upcoming issue of Walker magazine, outlines the details.  Please take action by visiting http://garden.walkerart.org/bonding today. It’s quick, easy and will make all […]

The Minnesota State Legislature is voting in the next few weeks on a bonding measure that could fund a badly needed renovation of the 22-year-old Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. The article below, from the upcoming issue of Walker magazine, outlines the details. 

Please take action by visiting http://garden.walkerart.org/bonding today. It’s quick, easy and will make all the difference.

MSG for bonding issue blog postWelcoming more than 7 million visitors since it opened, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden has become an integral part of Twin Cities life. When the Walker and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board partnered in 1988 to create the first major urban sculpture garden in the country, the vision, still very much alive today, was to combine an amazing outdoor space with world-class art and culture—two assets for which the state is renowned.  

 While Twin Cities and Minnesota residents are regulars, thousands of students and hundreds of schools groups from across Minnesota and the region visit each year. “It’s a unique place for learning,” says Lockie Chapman, a teacher who brings her Orono middle-schoolers to the Garden each year. “My students enjoy seeing works like the Spoonbridge and Cherry, which challenge their definitions of what a sculpture should be.”

And nearly half of the Garden’s visitors are tourists—from the all corners of the United States and far-flung countries alike. That amounts to $16 million in direct annual economic impact, according to Meet Minneapolis, the city’s official convention and visitors association. Melvin Tennant, its president & CEO, calls the Garden “a true destination for visitors to our state.” Walker director Olga Viso adds, “For more than two decades, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden has welcomed visitors into our park system and introduced them to the state’s remarkable arts community. Nearly everyone goes home with their own iconic image snapped in front of the Spoonbridge and Cherry. 

But years of wear and tear have taken their toll on the Garden. To renovate and preserve it, the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, with the wholehearted support of the Walker, is pursuing $8.5 million in state bonding. “Every garden has a natural life cycle, and plants periodically need to be refreshed. For instance, the lifespan of arbor vitae—the trees that create the walls of the outdoor galleries—is about 20 years,” says Park Board superintendant Jon Gurban. “Also, in a place as heavily trafficked as the Garden, significant infrastructure needs must be addressed to maintain this vibrant public space.”

After a careful study, the prominent landscape architecture firm oslund.and.associates has recommended a range of necessary upgrades throughout the 11-acre landscape. Tom Oslund notes that “by taking advantage of efficiency improvements in mechanical systems and lighting in the past 20 years, we can significantly reduce the Garden’s carbon footprint. For instance, an eco-friendly irrigation system would allow us to capture rainwater runoff to maintain the plants. And improvements to the drainage system, as well as repairs to concrete walkways and granite walls, which were not designed with the expectation of millions of visitors, will allow us to preserve the unique experience of visiting the grounds.”

Preserving the Garden is in many respects a cost-saving measure, an idea borne out by comparing its original budget of $16 million—funded by private contributions—to those of newer sculpture gardens in other cities, ranging from the 4.5-acre Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines ($46 million, 2009) to the 22-acre Kansas City Sculpture Park ($95 million, 2007) to Seattle’s 9-acre Olympic Sculpture Park ($85 million, 2007). The Minnesota legislature is currently considering this bonding measure—if passed, it will ensure that the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden remains a vibrant icon for the state, not to mention a home to the single largest cherry in the country.

Please encourage your state legislator to fund the renovation of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Visit garden.walkerart.org/bonding today to draft and send an e-mail showing your support.

Getting married in James Turrell’s Sky Pesher

In March, my girlfriend and I decided to get married. Neither of us were keen on the idea of a long engagement and a complicated wedding planning process. After some consultation with family on availability, Memorial day weekend was our time. The short timeframe (just over two months) left us with more limited options for […]

In March, my girlfriend and I decided to get married. Neither of us were keen on the idea of a long engagement and a complicated wedding planning process. After some consultation with family on availability, Memorial day weekend was our time.

The short timeframe (just over two months) left us with more limited options for location. We initially looked at getting married in the Cowles Conservatory, but it was booked for the dates we wanted. While scouting other locations in the Sculpture Garden and Loring Park, the idea of having the wedding in James Turrell’s Sky Pesher occurred to us. The seed was perhaps planted by the Skyscape/Soundscape concert series happening in Sky Pesher over the summer. After checking with our registration department, we had the OK to get married in the artwork.

Getting married Tunnel/Aisle

Our photographer, Kimberlee Whaley sent us a few initial pictures, which I’ve posted to flickr. And some of my new family also blogged about our wedding and posted photos.

We were initially worried that 30 people would be close quarters, but thankfully everyone was able to sit on the benches surrounding us during our ceremony. To the best of my knowledge, no one has been married in Sky Pesher before. We liked it as a location for the wedding. My wife and I are not religious, but there is a sanctity and spirtuality to the space. My wife is studying to become a landscape architect, so a connection to the earth is a big part of both of our lives right now.

After the wedding ceremony, we quickly ducked into the Sculpture Garden and got the necessary Spoonbridge and Cherry wedding shot, with jumping:

Spoonbridge and cherry wedding jumping

We kept things relatively casual and fun, having a delicious dinner at Azia, followed by bowling at Memory Lanes. In between dinner and bowling, a number of our guests slipped back to Sky Pesher to see the lights change at sunset:

Light show in Sky Pesher

Photo by Lisa Longley

Despite the fact that we got married there, my wife and I had never seen a sunrise or sunset in Sky Pesher. After all our guests had left town on Monday and we came back to see it for ourselves. The optical illusion of the sky descending into the space is subtle, but stunning, and it was the perfect way to cap a great weekend.

Broomball: The Lumber Barons are ever victorious

Broomball: A Canadian team sport resembling ice hockey and played with sticks and a ball. (via) Lumber Baron: …a partially informal term used to refer to a person who has reached a prominent place in a particular industry (or set of industries) and whose wealth has been derived primarily therefrom. (via) The occupation of T.B. […]

Broomball:

A Canadian team sport resembling ice hockey and played with sticks and a ball. (via)

Lumber Baron:

…a partially informal term used to refer to a person who has reached a prominent place in a particular industry (or set of industries) and whose wealth has been derived primarily therefrom. (via) The occupation of T.B. Walker, founder of the Walker Art Center.

broomball_team_photo_2009

The 2009 Lumber Barons. Top row, L to R: Rebecca Yaker, Justin Heideman, John Vogt, Joe King, Ashley Duffalo, Dawn Fredericks. Bottom row: Megan Leafblad, Brian Lesteberg, Peter Eleey, Gene Pittman, Jess Durant.

For the past several years, the staff of the Walker Art Center has formed a Broomball team. Being sequestered indoors for the 6 months of winter isn’t a lot of fun, and broomball is the only team sport left if you can’t ski or skate. I’ve played for two years, and we’ve yet to win a game (yes, this is sad). We’re working up to it.

Each year, a team member designs a new logo for our jersey. Here are two of them:

Logo for the 2007 Lumber Barons

Logo for the 2007 Lumber Barons

Logo for the 2009 Lumber Barons

The 2009 Lumber Barons


Games are played outdoors and are only canceled if there is a windchill below -40 or temperature below -15. Each year, it seems as if we end up with one game that freezes the hair in your nose and another game where the ice turns into a lake. How cold is that? Here’s a photo that explains:

lumber_barons_2009_joes-head

Here’s a sample of our dominating gameplay:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBRMEkwWGME[/youtube]

The Walker’s Christo-wannabe

The Walker has a Christo imitator lurking around. He hit Witt Siasoco, Teen Programs Manager. From the WACTAC blog: At least the mouse stayed fresh while on vacation.

The Walker has a Christo imitator lurking around. He hit Witt Siasoco, Teen Programs Manager. From the WACTAC blog:

At least the mouse stayed fresh while on vacation.

RNC Hangover: Vanity Fair-Google Party at the Walker

The Walker has been the site of some pretty swell shindigs over the years, and the Vanity Fair-Google party last Thursday has to rank right up there – after all, the hosts were two media powerhouses, old and new. (How did Vanity Fair get its name to come first?) Walker staff watched for two days […]

google-vf-party.jpg

The Walker has been the site of some pretty swell shindigs over the years, and the Vanity Fair-Google party last Thursday has to rank right up there – after all, the hosts were two media powerhouses, old and new. (How did Vanity Fair get its name to come first?) Walker staff watched for two days as party planners decked our halls with white leather furniture, tons of pillows, elaborate A/V gear, and trompe l’oeil window clings in the Cargill Lounge.

Vanity Fair‘s “Politics & Power” blog has a post on the party (RT Rybak stopped by to comment!), which leads with the alluring image above, from Andy King/WireImage.com. Seeing as how it is “non-partisan” and all, the blog also has a post on the bash that VF and Google threw for Democrats in Denver the previous week. Not having attended either, I’d still wager that one had the better setting, while the other had better guests – or at least more glamorous celebs.

eavesdrop 07.02.08

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5eHlW2AQgs[/youtube] Without a vehicle like “American Idol” to discover the next great voice-over talent, programmers at the Walker turned to their own colleagues to pluck the voice for upcoming radio spots to promote the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s Ocean. Here’s a glimpse from the casting couch at Wednesday’s auditions.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5eHlW2AQgs[/youtube]

Without a vehicle like “American Idol” to discover the next great voice-over talent, programmers at the Walker turned to their own colleagues to pluck the voice for upcoming radio spots to promote the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s Ocean. Here’s a glimpse from the casting couch at Wednesday’s auditions.

eavesdrop 06.19.08

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3y6mtzYlgw[/youtube] For 15 years or thereabouts, the Walker Art Center’s frame shop has held a one-day sale, open only to staffers, to clean house of the dozens of hand-built frames from exhibitions past that are no longer usable. The latest was Wednesday — and my first here on staff — and I was stunned to […]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3y6mtzYlgw[/youtube]

For 15 years or thereabouts, the Walker Art Center’s frame shop has held a one-day sale, open only to staffers, to clean house of the dozens of hand-built frames from exhibitions past that are no longer usable. The latest was Wednesday — and my first here on staff — and I was stunned to see loads of sturdy, elegant wood frames of varied sizes for less than $10. Bargain-conscious staffers streamed into the Cinema, cash in hand, when the doors to the Walker Cinema opened at 10 am (My rookie move: Leaving my wallet at my desk). The smallest frames, which are the most functional and practical on living room walls, were the first to go. Some staffers horded a dozen or more, squirreling them into a corner to measure them, before committing to the all-sales-are-final buy.

eavesdrop 05.07.08

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aIa3JyddbQ[/youtube] Performances of Trisha Brown’s Planes happen on the half-hour between 11 am to 2 pm Saturday and 6 to 9 pm Thursday, in the Walker’s Medtronic Gallery, through the run of the exhibition of Brown’s drawings, So That the Audience Does Not Know Whether I Have Stopped Dancing. Here, three dancers perform at May’s […]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aIa3JyddbQ[/youtube]

Performances of Trisha Brown’s Planes happen on the half-hour between 11 am to 2 pm Saturday and 6 to 9 pm Thursday, in the Walker’s Medtronic Gallery, through the run of the exhibition of Brown’s drawings, So That the Audience Does Not Know Whether I Have Stopped Dancing. Here, three dancers perform at May’s Free First Saturday (about a dozen are on rotation in this trio) and, afterward, discuss the work.

Cover Up: More Than Meets the Eye

There are a couple notable distinctions to the May/June issue of Walker magazine. The first is the cover — or, more accurately, two covers. Open the front, which bows to the 20th anniversary of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and you’ll find a second cover, featuring an untitled photo from Richard Prince’s cowboy series — a […]

May June Cover WrapThere are a couple notable distinctions to the May/June issue of Walker magazine. The first is the cover — or, more accurately, two covers. Open the front, which bows to the 20th anniversary of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and you’ll find a second cover, featuring an untitled photo from Richard Prince’s cowboy series — a nod to the Walker’s Prince exhibition. Why two covers? The short of it: Twice the happiness. The medium of it: We recognize two programs worthy of the cover’s spotlight.

By the way, in house, we don’t call the first cover a cover (not if you want to preserve your kneecaps). It’s a wrap — the first in the short history of the magazine in its current format. It’s printed on rough paper stock and, if one were so inclined, easily pulled away from the glossy magazine proper. Hypothetically, one could carefully pull the wrap away and present the May/June issue with a Prince cover. Nobody would be the wiser (indeed, the issue date and magazine logo are reserved for the inner cover).

Who would do such a thing? And why? You could pin the entire summer slate of Garden-related events (they appear on the back of the wrap) on your refrigerator or on your bedroom wall, alongside your black-light posters. Perhaps you’d like a Prince keepsake on the cheap. The Walker doesn’t recommend engineering this cover separation at home — or at your own museum — nor is the Walker responsible for any ensuing injury.

The second distinction is the illustration adorning the wrap. Again, this is new to the magazine, which traditionally devotes the cover to artwork drawn from a current/upcoming exhibition or publicity still from a performance group or film. This tableau is drenched in PMS 802 — the official color of the summer-long Garden anniversary celebration. Dare to imagine your summer day in the sculpture garden bathed in day-glo green.

eavesdrop 04.09.08

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0auy5H1wBv0[/youtube] Marc Bamuthi Joseph and his collaborators marked their steps Wednesday afternoon in a tech rehearsal for the premiere of the break/s. Real performances are today through Saturday at the Walker.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0auy5H1wBv0[/youtube]

Marc Bamuthi Joseph and his collaborators marked their steps Wednesday afternoon in a tech rehearsal for the premiere of the break/s. Real performances are today through Saturday at the Walker.

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