Blogs Field Guide

The Inevitable Relationship Between Fluxus and Social Practice: Sarah Schultz Interviews Natilee Harren

What do Walker Open Field, the avant-garde art movement Fluxus and socially-engaged art practice have in common? That is what the Walker’s Education and Community Programs department explored through this summer’s program, FluxField. This project took advantage of the concurrent timing of Open Field and the opening of Walker exhibitions Art Expanded: 1958-1978 and Radical […]

What do Walker Open Field, the avant-garde art movement Fluxus and socially-engaged art practice have in common? That is what the Walker’s Education and Community Programs department explored through this summer’s program, FluxField. This project took advantage of the concurrent timing of Open Field and the opening of Walker exhibitions Art Expanded: 1958-1978 and Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, both containing a strong Fluxus presence.

We invited a range of artists to create projects or events for Open Field inspired by or in some cases in reaction to the works, philosophy, and cosmology of Fluxus. FluxField artists included Beatrix JAR (Bianca Pettis and Jacob Aaron Roske), BodyCartography Project (Olive Bieringa and Otto Ramstad), Andy Ducett, Mike Haeg, Rachel Jendrzejewski, Chris Kallmyer, Maria Mortati, Margaret Pezalla-Granlund, and Jenni Undis. The indomitable Laurie Van Wieren also jumped into the flux fray with her Open Field piece, 4×4 = 100 Choreographers Dancing Outside. Key Fluxus figures Alison Knowles and Benjamin Patterson were invited to perform their work during the summer and fall.

To set the stage for FluxField, we invited the Los Angeles–based art historian Natilee Harren to begin to draw connections between these practices with a talk in the Walker’s Star Tribune Foundation Art Lab. This interview between Harren and Sarah Schultz, the Walker’s former Curator of Public Practice, is drawn from an essay Harren is writing called Notes on the Inevitable Relationship Between Fluxus and Social Practice.


Maria Mortati’s FluxField Interpretive Trail. Photo: Maria Mortati

Sarah Schultz: Natilee, what exactly is Fluxus? I find myself stumbling over this question and have never have seen or heard it described the same way twice!

Natilee Harren: The simplest and yet most difficult question to answer! Fluxus began as a neo-avant-garde artist collective founded in 1962 by George Maciunas and was active throughout the US, Europe, and Japan at least through the 1970s, although some would argue that Fluxus is still active today. It has acquired the reputation of being an unrepresentable or undefinable art movement, similar to how Dada and Surrealism were once perceived, but I think that’s simply because we haven’t yet arrived at a satisfying framework for understanding what Fluxus artists were up to. If we look at the main modes of Fluxus production—performances and multiples—it becomes clear that the common denominator of Fluxus practice was a reliance on scores and other forms of instruction. And that implies a production that was process-oriented, iterative, and often delegated. A Fluxus work almost always entails multiple realizations and therefore multiple authors, performers, and audiences. Fluxus artists’ utilization of scores was a crucial contribution to the post-modern expansion of artistic practices in the 1960s and a major thrust behind their efforts to look beyond the art world—to related fields like music, theater, literature, architecture and design—for models of art’s production and distribution.


Mike Haeg’s Penny Event. Photo: Maria Mortati

Why is the score such an integral form and idea within Fluxus? What does the score enable?

It all goes back to the search for alternative models for art’s production and distribution. A score allows for risk, failure, and experimentation, especially in the wake of 1950s innovations in musical notation and the embrace of indeterminacy by New York School composers like Morton Feldman, Earle Brown, and John Cage, with whom many Fluxus people studied. A score creates an opportunity for collective and collaborative production. A score allows the work to happen in different times and places with different performers and different audiences. And yet, despite all this risk, chance, and variability, a score allows the work to be continually understood as a particular work, and to maintain its identity in however loose a way despite the differences in its varied manifestations. A score can provide a very loose structure or form, but the form is still there. It persists.


Rachel Jendrzejewski’s Walker Yam: 100 Scores for Open Field. Photo: Steve Cohen

The score feels like a connecting thread between Fluxus and Open Field. Why do they make good companions?

I think Fluxus and Open Field are natural complements because there is an integral relationship between the commons (the social-spatial model for Open Field) and scores. If you look at any theory of the commons, there is always the provision that commons require a set of agreed-upon and collectively upheld rules—just like Open Field’s own Field Etiquette. These rules could just as well be thought of as Open Field’s “score.” If commons rely on a score-like set of rules, then I think it’s equally fair, and rather interesting in fact, to imagine that a score in the expanded sense brought to us by Fluxus creates a commons, if only temporarily.

Some of the most explicit examples of Fluxus scores that can be thought to produce commons are those highly graphic in nature, like Benjamin Patterson’s Pond and Dick Higgins’s Graphis series. I am particularly interested in these because they remind us that Fluxus scores were not all text pieces but came out of an emergent culture of experimental notation that utilized not only text but really wild diagrams and drawings. Notation in the expanded field, you could say. The Patterson and Higgins scores involve grids and tangled webs of lines that are enlarged and transferred from the score to the floor of the performance space, providing a full-scale map to organize the bodies of performers and viewers.


BodyCartography Project’s Feeling the City on Nicollet Mall. Photo: Sarah Schultz

But perhaps even more so than Fluxus artists, the architect Lawrence Halprin was one who understood the link between scores and commons, since he designed public space with choreography in mind. He was the partner of dancer Anna Halprin and author of The RSVP Cycles, an amazing book about the social uses of scores. And he was the designer behind the renovation of Nicollet Mall in 1966. The RSVP Cycles includes his own “motation” study, a score for how people might move through one block of the redesigned street. I loved that we performed Alison Knowles’s pieces there, mapping them onto Lawrence Halprin’s extant score for pedestrians in the form of his carefully designed cityscape.

This connection between scores and commons helps makes sense of why Fluxus artists would go from performing a touring concert program to establishing artists’ housing in Soho and, at least in the case of Maciunas, planning communes in Massachusetts, Japan, and the Caribbean. Or more simply why everyday, life-sustaining activities such as cooking would figure into their practice.

Speaking of Alison Knowles: one summer highlight was working with her at the Walker to perform several of her iconic Fluxus scores including Proposition #2: Make A Salad, Shoes of Your Choice and Piece for Any Number of Vocalists (Song of Your Choice). Can you talk about your experience of the salad, the shoes and the song?

of2014air_ak_salad Open Field; Artist-in-Residence; Education; Public Programs; Visual Arts; Exhibitions. Alison Knowles: Make a Salad, July 10, 2014, in The Grove. A leading member of the Fluxus artist group, Alison Knowles will be in-residence with her collaborator, Joshua Selman, to restage her iconic event score Make a Salad on Open Field. Event scores involve simple actions, ideas, and objects from everyday life recontexualized as performance. While each iteration of the piece is unique, the basic ingredients include Knowles preparing a massive salad by chopping the ingredients to live music, tossing it in the air, then serving it to the audience. Originally performed in London at the Institute of Contemporary Art in 1962. Knowles?s work is included in the Walker?s new exhibition Art Expanded: 1958?1978, on view June 14, 2014 ? March 8, 2015 in Galleries 1, 2, 3, and the Perlman Gallery. Curated by Eric Crosby.

Alison Knowles’ Make a Salad. Photo: Gene Pittman

With those performances I was profoundly struck by Alison’s spirit of adventure, curiosity, and commitment to those pieces throughout all these years. Those works were written in 1962 and 1963! Her relationship to them is a perfect example of Fluxus performance culture. There is a commitment to the work, a comportment of earnestness and seriousness despite the work’s lightness and wit, and an attitude—an ethics, even—of generosity and denial of mastery and ego. The recent Walker events demonstrated that after all these years Fluxus scores still have something to give us, something to show us, due to their flexibility and durability and strength, cannily built in from the very start. They bring different things into relief in every environment and era in which they are performed.

ecp2014air-knowles-wkshp Education; Community Programs; Open Field; Artist-in-Residence; Visual Arts; Exhibitions. Alison Knowles Workshop July 11, 2014 Art Lab; Nicollet Mall; Hyatt Hotel in Downtown Minneapolis. Part of Alison Knowles Open Field residency, and by extension, the exhibition Art Expanded. Two of Knowles' scores were reinterpreted: #6 Shoes of Your Choice (orig. March 1963), and #7 Piece for Any Number of Vocalists (orig. December 1962).  The event/workshop was not advertised or open to the public. Sarah Schultz sent an invite to Staff and a small group was assembled. Collaborators include Laurie Van Wieren, Eric Crosby, Chris Kallmyer, Bianca & Jacob from Beatrix*JAR, Marcus, Rachel J., Laura, and Natilee.  Andy Underwood documented the scores on location; still photos by Lacey Criswell.

Alison Knowles’ Song of Your Choice. Photo: Lacey Criswell

And then there is always the danger involved in their performance, especially when we took them out into the streets of Minneapolis. With Shoes of Your Choice, which we performed on Nicollet Mall, there was the danger of enfolding passersby into the piece who had no idea what Fluxus is, and then with Piece for Any Number of Vocalists (Song of Your Choice), which we performed at the Hilton hotel’s indoor pool, there was the danger of having no audience at all except that one guy who was already swimming laps. But then several people, including some in ballroom dance costumes, came out onto their balconies to hear us and it was so lovely. The works are open to all possible outcomes. As George Brecht once said, “No catastrophes are possible.”

So finally, what kind of connections can we draw between Fluxus and contemporary, socially-engaged art practices? If it’s helpful, I am using the phrase socially-engaged art, a term I know can be frustratingly vague,  in the broadest sense, to encompass any number of art practices (activist, performative, community-based, pedagogical etc.) that are created by and grounded in social interactions and exchange between people.

of2014air_kallmyer-pcat_0717 Open Field Artist-in-Residency Chris Kallmyer, Play Catch, All Together, July 17, 2014, Open Field. Grab your baseball glove* and join Kallmyer and Twins organist Sue Nelson for a work focused on the sound of people playing catch alongside a baseball stadium organ. Participants are invited to oil their gloves, do some light stretching, and throw around a lemon as warm-up?an homage to Fluxus artist Ken Friedman. Afterwards, have freshly-squeezed lemonade, meet Nelson, and take home a copy of Kallmyer?s score for Play Catch, All Together.

Score for Chris Kallmyer’s Play Catch, All Together with Twins organist Sue Nelson. Photo: Gene Pittman

Speaking art historically, I think that artists working within the framework of social practice today owe much to the Fluxus milieu’s expanded understanding of a score, whether they are explicitly working with scores or not. To help make sense of these links I’ve begun to think of different types of social organization as scores that organize the movement of bodies through space—everything from music, recipes, and games to architecture, digital coding, ritual, and law. The best social practice work exposes how our lives are scored, orchestrated, or performatively designed for better or for worse, in both utopian and dystopian fashions.  At the Walker for example, you’ve invited artists like Lucky Dragons and Fritz Haeg to mount projects that capitalize on the innate community-building aspects of music and the preparation of food.  This summer Chris Kallmyer drew out some of the meditative, aesthetic aspects of the cultural ritual of baseball on Open Field with his work Play Catch, All Together.  In Los Angeles where I live, artists like Elana Mann and Juliana Snapper of the People’s Microphony Camerata explore the political and aesthetic potential of the People’s Mic, and Michael Parker carved a gigantic obelisk a parcel of land adjacent to the LA river, which became a platform for performances and critical discussions about art and the local ecology.

As artists move further and further away from the production of discrete, conventional art objects, I find the idea of the score—and all that it entails in terms of the work’s ontology, production, distribution, and reception—to be an increasingly helpful way of understanding what an artwork is now and how it moves through the world.

Benjamin Patterson, a key figure in the Fluxus network of artists, visits the Walker on October 9 as part of the exhibit Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art. Art Expanded, 1958-1978, which explores the expanded arts of the 1960’s and 1970’s, is on view through March 2015, and includes the work of Alison Knowles and George Macunias, among other notable Fluxus figures.

Let’s Make Comedy from Art and Art from Comedy


Hi, my name’s Levi Weinhagen.


From now through January 2015 I will be the Artist in Residence for the Walker Art Center’s Education and Community Programs department. This opportunity will give me the chance to combine my work as an all-ages comedy and theater writer, improvisational performer, and public engagement artist and find new and exciting ways to play with people young and old who are coming to the Walker to learn and grow.

There are two core driving forces influencing every move I make with my work. I want to deepen the understanding of and highlight the importance of intergenerational connection. And I’m on a mission to show the world how tremendously powerful comedy is as a tool for connection and understanding of everything from the very simple to the incredibly complex.

There may be nothing I find more frustrating than adults showing condescension towards young people. Children are full of amazing thoughts and ideas and are in constant search for adults who will show them respect and work with them. Sadly, the same kind of treatment is often shown towards the very old in our society. The work I’ve been a part of over the past 15 years has been more and more created for the very old, the very young and everyone in between with the idea that creating truly shared experiences for people of all-ages creates more opportunities for connection between them and fosters the sharing of ideas and builds relationships.

I believe deeply in the uniting power of comedy and am fascinated by what we can learn about cultures, regions and communities by examining the comedy culture of a place. Comedy as an art form and as a tool is often held in low regard, partly because it is so prevalent but partly because when it is used properly no one can see the hard work that has gone into creating something comedic. I want to help people understand how powerful and important various forms of comedy are to their lives.

My deep belief in the power of comedy to connect people and ideas and my drive to break down generational barriers can coalesce in remarkable ways. I want to create opportunities for children to feel like leaders amongst their peers as well as amongst adults. I want to create opportunities for aging people to feel they have a voice that is heard, respected, and valued. And I want to use the tools that are unique to comedy to make these challenges seem less daunting and more enjoyable to confront.

question logo biggerA few big questions I’m always seeking answers to are: what’s funny about today, what’s funny about art, and what can we learn about ourselves by being honest and vulnerable without being self-serious?

A few specific questions I hope to answer in my time at the Walker include: where’s the best place to do a pratfall in the Walker? Is it easier to write puns or knock-knock jokes inside an art museum? What’s the best part of a guided museum tour led by a five year old? Which color is the funniest? Which color is the least funny?


Make a Salad, Making a Salad, Made a Salad

“. . . that’s what you’re doing. You’re only making a salad. And these are the best salads.“—Alison Knowles As summer days slip away, perhaps you’re thinking back to your “best salad” of the season. For me, it’s the one documented below, the salad Alison Knowles made for Walker Open Field on July 10. Knowles […]

. . . that’s what you’re doing. You’re only making a salad. And these are the best salads.“—Alison Knowles

As summer days slip away, perhaps you’re thinking back to your “best salad” of the season. For me, it’s the one documented below, the salad Alison Knowles made for Walker Open Field on July 10. Knowles is a founding member of the avant-garde art group Fluxus, and her work is currently on view in the exhibition Art Expanded, 1958–1978. Known for her sound works, installations, performances, and publications, Knowles came to the Walker to present one of her most iconic event scores, Make a Salad. What follows below is a sequence of images and thoughts that long to reinstate the moment itself—the moment when it was happening—when we were only doing what we were doing. Making a salad. The best salad.
The artist introduces herself and her collaborator, Joshua Selman. A fresh tarp is on the ground. The late afternoon light is soft through overcast skies and it’s pleasant.
Listen to subtle and sporadic sounds: a recorded voice set in static, silence, the voice again, then the  buzz of an amplified paper shredder. Notice a faint scent as sheets of nori become thin ribbons, slipping into the bowl or drifting to the ground.


The choppers are ready. The artist signals. The choppers begin.
Radishes thud as they strike the tarp. Greens, dressed in balsamic vinaigrette, make softer smattering sounds. The artist cuts and reams 3 lemons. She pours the mouth-watering juice over the salad. The citrus scent wafts.
Helpers toss the salad. The mass of vegetables provides resistance to the rakes. Shovel back and shovel forward.
Serve a salad. Be served a salad.
Share a salad. Notice what you’re doing. Remember this for later.

Of course, if I say, “remember a salad,” that’s vastly different from my saying “make a salad.” What remains once the action ends? And how did the artist’s instruction exist before being enacted? These questions point to abstractions: suppositions, ideas, memories, residues. The in-between, while arguably more ephemeral, is less complicated, as Alison Knowles eloquently expresses of her iconic score, Make a Salad:

“. . . that’s what you’re doing. You’re only making a salad. And these are the best salads.”

All photos by Gene Pittman

Drawing Club at #Catvidfest


People came to the picnic tables on Open Field and were prompted with cat-themed phrases to encourage them to draw the many cats on their minds and in their imaginations.

Some of these phrases included: Fat Cat, Leonardo Di-Catprio, Catastrophe, Digi C@, Cat Burglar, Live Long and Pawsper, and many more. People also took liberty and drew cats unprompted, because… well, why wouldn’t you?

Here are some of the wonderful drawings made at the Internet Cat Video Festival.


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Cat is Art Spelled Wrong: Making a Book About Cat Videos


There are plenty of cat books out there in the world.


Clockwise: Fashion Cats, Why Paint Cats, The Big New Yorker Book of Cats, Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book

But of all the cat books out there, there is no book quite like the book that Coffee House Press (with help from the Walker Art Center) aims to publish next fall. Using the Internet Cat Video Festival (#catvidfest) as inspiration,we’re currently working on a book that is all about cat videos: why we love them, why we hate them, and why we are powerless to resist them. There’s just something about cat videos.

Substantial research on our end helps confirm that statement:


The Internet Cat Video Festival in (top-bottom) 2012, 2013, 2014

In order to fund this book, and the many moving parts that an effort of this size entails, Coffee House Press has launched Catstarter – a Kickstarter that’s cat-themed. For all intents and purposes, it acts as a way for you to pre-order your copy of the book, titled Cat is Art Spelled Wrong, get it shipped directly to you, and, oh yeah, get your name printed in it as a token of appreciation.

The book will take the form of a collection of essays – thoughtful, varied, and by a roster of some of our favorite writers and friends, including Matthea Harvey, Alexis Madrigal, Rhonda Lieberman, Elena Passarello, Stephen Burt, Jillian Steinhauer, Kevin Nguyen, Sasha Archibald, Will Braden, Joanne McNeil, and Carl Wilson. (Fun fact: Wilson’s book about Celine Dion for the 33 1/3 series, Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Bad Taste, was a huge source of inspiration for the project for Coffee House Press’ Caroline Casey. Although it seems odd to mention Celine Dion and cat videos in the same sentence… is it really?)

Already the book has gotten some love from Cool HuntingThe Washington Post, and ARTINFO.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. Take it from Henri, le Chat Noir:

Read more about the project and  support Catstarter today! 

As we’re sure you’re aware, with Kickstarter, it’s all or nothing. The project must be funded in full by Saturday, September 13 or it will see exactly $0 of the pledged funds.

A First-Timer’s Take on Open Field (2014)

Born and raised in Minneapolis, it is rather unsettling to me that I had never experienced the magic of Open Field before this year. Lucky for me, the Field welcomed me – the intern – with open arms and heart and it didn’t take long for me to feel at home within all its chaos […]


Born and raised in Minneapolis, it is rather unsettling to me that I had never experienced the magic of Open Field before this year. Lucky for me, the Field welcomed me – the intern – with open arms and heart and it didn’t take long for me to feel at home within all its chaos and beauty.

Open Field knows how to do it big. 

We set a Guinness world record, made a salad and shared it with 274 people, and hosted a Cat Video Festival that attracted over 9,000 kitty fanatics. But we also know that the more intimate is just as valuable. Open Field offers a place and a time that allows us to connect, create, and explore – together, of course.

This year, Fluxus-related activities took over the field.

Fluxus also serves as an appropriate metaphor for the field and its various happenings: seemingly random and disorderly, yet in specific ways orchestrated and controlled, with ample space for inspiration, improvisation, and spontaneity.

OF2014_100Scores_0731_03Look Sideways, Listen Close: 100 Scores for Open Field – Rachel Jendrzejewski

OF2014_FluxRun_0628_01 (2)

Fluxus Running Club – Mike Haeg

OF2014_Baseball_07 (2) (1024x768)Play Catch, All Together – Chris Kallmyer

OF2014_Salad_0710_06 (2) (1024x768)Make A Salad – Alison Knowles

Open Field is a place where the line between being a casual spectator and an active participant is thinly drawn, and where one is always gracefully toeing both sides.

No matter where you stand at any given moment, there is always an opportunity to sit back and take it all in; but never as an outsider.

OF2014_Choreographers_0712_21 (2) (1024x768)4×4=100 Dancing Outside – Laurie Van Wieren

OF2014_ChopsInc_0703_06Anatomy of a Drum and Bugle Corps – Chops, Inc.

OF2014_StereoTrees_0719_04Stereo Trees – Areca Roe

OF2014_Compline_0720_4113Pesher Compline – Brian Dowdy

We cracked our knuckles before coercing and refining our creative skills.

OF2014_Cursive_02 (2) (768x1024)Cursive Writing for the Contemporary Artist – Alyssa Baguss and Jenni Undis

OF2014_AnimationCreation_0628_08Animation Creation Station – Peter Nelson and Michon Weeks


Into the Blue: The World of Cyanotype – Nathan Lewis


Drawing, Far Away So Close – Keith Braafladt and Margaret Pezalla

We stretched, expanded and exercised our minds and our bodies.


Gorilla Yogis

OF2014_StarTrekYoga_0731_03Star Trek: A Narrated Yogic Adventure – Yoga Quest

Open Field was even edible.


Get Soaked (With Local Muesli) – Karin Norby


Take a Bite, Shape the State! – Presley Martin

In the midst of all of this, communities were formed and connections were discovered because Open Field offered a place to do some cool stuff and meet some cool people. I took part in Paige Tighe’s Walk With Me project, where I walked and talked with someone whom I may never have done so with otherwise. I also watched as strangers collectively played “Find Your Spot” with Scooper.

I got to spend this summer learning, growing, and making new friends, and watched as art and other such crazy experiments united interesting people. Open Field would in no way be possible alone or within a vacuum – it really is what we make together.



Can I Have an Idea



The new Mobile Cart is just right for summer in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. On weekends, the grounds are teeming with visitors from all over the world. We’ve seen wedding guests dressed to the nines, families picnicking in front of Spoonbridge and Cherry, and mini golfers waiting for tee-times. Like our visitors, the Mobile Cart has a purpose for being outside.


Designed for pop-up outdoor activities, the handsome and nimble cart reflects the genius of Museum Exhibit Designer Maria Mortati. It has a casual feel, like a food cart. In fact, someone tried to order ice cream from us! Seriously, people have approached us with practical questions concerning weddings, mini-golf, and the location of Garden Café, which contrary to its name, is inside the Walker Art Center.

The Mobile Cart is a magnet for visitors desiring more interaction with art and ideas.

A stop at the Mobile Cart outfits visitors with supplies for Can I Have an Idea, a hands-on drawing experience. This activity is loosely related to the exhibition Art Expanded currently on view at the Walker Art Center. Can I Have an Idea plays with decision-making and offers a simple direction for action. It resembles a musical score that comes alive when someone actually performs it.

Can I Have an Idea looks like this. There are 2 bins with instructions for drawing typed out on small paper cards. The first bin is labeled “Take an Idea and Make a Drawing.” It contains single directions, such as, “draw the nearest sculpture” and “spin around and draw a spiral.” The second bin, “Take 2 Ideas and Make 2 Drawings,” is for participants who appreciate experimentation.

The girl pictured below was eager to try as many ideas as possible.

Her grandma turned to me and said, “She’s from an arty family living in Winnipeg, Canada.”

This activity also intrigued two visitors from the Museo d’Arte Modernae Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto in Italy. Full disclosure, these museum educators asked to replicate Can I Have an Idea in their museum, and I gave them what they needed.

Closer to home, we’ve engaged families from the Twin Cities who were visiting the Garden for the first time. The presence of the Mobile Cart generated conversation about Family Programs and encouraged a number of families to return to Walker’s Free First Saturday offered throughout the year.

This summer, Yaneth Quintero, a STEP-UP Intern, hosted the Mobile Cart with me. She wraps up her internship at the Walker this week so  it’s appropriate to record her impressions about the Mobile Cart. When asked, she quickly replied, “I realized how much I miss drawing. When I was a child, I drew all the time.”

Ilene: What did you notice about the crowd?

Yaneth: There were many curious on-lookers. Young and old people approached us and loved the cart. Some even asked me if they were too old to participate! But, as Ilene says, ‘There’s no age limit to creativity’. They were eager to try out the scores; just draw!

Ilene: What did they want to know?

Yaneth: I had a multitude of people ask me when we’d be out with the cart again. Others asked about the Walker and were curious about activities happening inside the building. We were a mini info hub. I also got questions about the master mind behind the Mobile Cart or directions to places.

Ilene: How did they interact with the drawing activity?

Yaneth: Some people came to try out one score while others got deeper into it. They made more personal drawings based on their interpretations of the scores. Some just kept coming back for more ideas.

Ilene: Thanks, Yaneth, for being so attentive, welcoming and creative. Keep drawing!


Attending An Internet Cat Video Festival: A How-To Guide

In just over 48 hours, the Walker Art Center’s backyard will become a haven for cat video lovers, cat lovers, amused bystanders, reluctant participants, and everything in between at the Internet Cat Video Festival. Mostly, it will become a place for all of us to come and watch 70 minutes of internet cat videos together. […]


In just over 48 hours, the Walker Art Center’s backyard will become a haven for cat video lovers, cat lovers, amused bystanders, reluctant participants, and everything in between at the Internet Cat Video Festival. Mostly, it will become a place for all of us to come and watch 70 minutes of internet cat videos together.

To help communicate the full range of fun and delight we have planned for you, and, more importantly, to help you plan for the event, we have compiled this guide that will hopefully answer your questions and make your Thursday as enjoyable as possible.


This event is free and open to everybody.
That’s right – this is an all ages, no tickets required, totally free event. Everybody can come, from your baby to your grandma.

Everybody… including my cat?
We strongly encourage you not to bring your cat. Maybe some cats have a lot of experience hanging out in a crowd of thousands of people, but we’re willing to bet that most of them don’t. So please, for the comfort of your cat, please leave him/her at home. If you do decide to bring Fluffy, be aware that the field has no shade, and we have no facilities (litter boxes, water bowls, cardboard boxes) for animals. (That means dogs, too. If you absolutely want to bring your pup, please be aware that if any cat fights break out, we’ll have to ask you to leave.)

What time do the videos start, though?
The actual cat videos will start at dusk (approximately 8:40 pm). Come early! Activities start at 6, and Jack Klatt and the Cat Swingers, a cool band with an even cooler name, will play from 7-7:50 pm.

In addition, the event  will be ASL interpreted. We also have an area that will be roped off for ADA access.


Getting Here
You may have heard that it was super packed in 2012, and yes, we had a full hillside. But the hill is big enough for everybody, and the act of watching cat videos together will make you feel that much closer to your neighbors, literally and emotionally.

However, we encourage you to plan ahead. Please bike, walk, or take public transit to Catvidfest. It’s easy!

1. Bike – We will have 35 bike racks set up on site. Half will be at the top of the hill on the south side of the Walker (Groveland Terrace) and half will be along Vineland Place (between the Walker and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden). Lovely volunteers will be at these locations to greet you and your bike and direct you to the racks. We also have a NiceRide station!

2. Bus – Metro Transit has offered free bus rides to anybody heading to Catvidfest! Simply fill out this brief survey and download your passes. Be sure to have them in hand when you get on the bus. You can reach the Walker on lines 4, 6, 12, and 25. Download your pass here. Map your route here.

3. Walk – It’s going to be a lovely evening. Stretch those legs!

4. Drive – If you’re from out the area, the Walker has an underground parking ramp available on site. We expect this to fill up early in the evening, so please plan accordingly. Event rate parking is $7, and CASH ONLY.

Event parking is also available at St. Mark’s Cathedral on Hennepin Ave. for a $10 flat fee. There are two parking lots available to attendees, either at the cathedral at 15th Ave and Oak Grove St or at 1730 Clifton Place. Information and maps can be found here.


  • No reserved seating is available; all space is first-come, first-served. Bring thick blankets to sit on, as much of the field is currently covered in wood chips.
  • Please don’t bring lawn chairs, as it makes sightlines difficult for your new friends behind you.
  • No shade is available on the field, so bring proper sun protection.
  • No outside alcoholic beverages.
  • Pack it in, pack it out: Please take any disposables you bring on site back home with you.

Screenings in the Walker Cinema

If you can’t make it this Thursday, not all hope is lost! We’re screening the new program of videos in the Walker Cinema on Thursday, September 4 at 7 pm (preceded by Cat Poetry) and Saturday, September 7 at 2 pm. Tickets go on sale on Friday, August 15.


Now for the Fun Stuff

– Dress for the event! There is a lot of stylish cat gear out there in the world. You can also get catted up at the event by donning a brand new Catvidfest T-shirt for 2014. Then you can head over to the Walker’s booth and apply a special edition artist-designed cat tattoo to help you show your devotion (at least for a couple days). After that, if you feel like you’re still missing something, head over to Animalist’s booth to apply some whiskers with the help of a team of face painters. Then, to document your new look, you can head to Animal Planet’s animated GIF photo booth for a digital keepsake.

– Eat and drink at the event! There will be two cash bars on site. We’re working with St. Paul’s Flat Earth Brewing Company to provide their special cat-themed beers: Hep Cat and Tabby Cat (pictured above), both refreshing summer ales. Prefer something fruity? Try the Sourpuss Cocktail, a blend of  Prairie Organic vodka, sweet and sour, lemon juice and soda, garnished with a lemon wedge and a cherry. (Other non-alocoholic beverages will be available as well.)

For sustenance, grab a salad or sandwich from the Garden Café inside the Walker, or a treat from one of the three food trucks parked outside: AZ Canteen, A Cupcake Social, and Gastrotruck.

– Meet two real engineers! Paul and TJ from “An Engineer’s Guide to Cats” (and current People’s Choice Award nominees) will be here, and they’d love to meet you and talk about cats or engineering (but probably more so cats). You can catch them at the Feline Rescue booth from 6:30-7:30 pm.

– Grab a seat at Cat Drawing Club with local artists Todd Balthazor, Alyssa Nassner, and Shannon Joyce. Draw from several catty prompts, including “Live long and pawsper” [see: engineers], “Meow-na Lisa,” and “Cats with laser eyes,” among others.



Oh, and BUB.
Lil BUB, “the most amazing cat on the planet,” will be making a special guest appearance on stage as a guest of Animal Planet. You can meet her at a ticketed event in Minneapolis on August 15.


That’s all for today. We can’t wait to see you, and most importantly, we can’t wait to watch cat videos with you.

On the day, share your photos and your fun using hashtag #catvidfest. Questions? Hit us up on Twitter (@catvidfest) or Facebook.

A final Pesher Compline Performance – August 3rd

For the past two Sunday evenings, Sky Pesher has been filled with the melodic harmonies of compline set against a sunset backdrop. If you are unfamiliar with compline performance, check out choral director and musician Brian Dawdy‘s description and discussion on why he chose to bring compline to Sky Pesher. There’s no mistaking that this is a unique […]

For the past two Sunday evenings, Sky Pesher has been filled with the melodic harmonies of compline set against a sunset backdrop. If you are unfamiliar with compline performance, check out choral director and musician Brian Dawdy‘s description and discussion on why he chose to bring compline to Sky Pesher.

There’s no mistaking that this is a unique space in which to perform compline; with the sunlight waning, the humming melodies and play between silence and subtle sound become increasingly distinct and tangible. Entering and exiting one by one, meditating on each movement and sound, the performers invite audience members to sit and relax in peaceful contemplation.

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When: Sunday, August 3rd

Where: Sky Pesher (at the top of the hill)

What: A compline performance sung by 4 choral performers


Look Sideways, Listen Close: come together at Open Field

This Thursday, playwright and interdisciplinary artist Rachel Jendrzejewski  shares one hundred newly published Fluxus event scores written just for Open Field. In a program titled Look Sideways, Listen Close: 100 scores for Open Field, she invites participants to perform these  “playful prompts designed to sharpen senses and stoke imaginations” using a microphone, and a variety of props. The […]


This Thursday, playwright and interdisciplinary artist Rachel Jendrzejewski  shares one hundred newly published Fluxus event scores written just for Open Field. In a program titled Look Sideways, Listen Close: 100 scores for Open Fieldshe invites participants to perform these  “playful prompts designed to sharpen senses and stoke imaginations” using a microphone, and a variety of props. The scores ask us to notice details (“Be with the clouds”, instructs Listening Event 1), and  approach old problems in new ways (“Full time salaries for independent artists, cut all the strings with scissors” reads Allocation Piece).  This call to imagination and attention fits perfectly with the evening’s other Open Field programming, which invite us to participate in similar ways: look  sideways, listen close; let your senses be sharpened and your imagination stoked.

Look sideways

Scooper the Clown

Scooper the Clown

With their program Drawing, Far Away So Close, artists Keith Braafladt and Margaret Pezalla take a new approach to drawing. The two encourage participants to use a microscope to draw the extremely small, then use a telescope to draw a scene placed far in the distance. Braafladt and Pezalla are both “fascinated with drawing and looking for the nearly invisible.” In another Thursday night program, Scooper the Clown invites your to play “Find Your Spot”, Scooper (Shannon Forney) explores the way a clown and her game might help you engage with your community. “Find Your Spot” points to commonalities between strangers: “Find your spot if you live in zip code 55403! Find your spot if you took public transportation today!” You might leave the field with a greater appreciation for your neighbors.

Listen Close

The Ericksons

The Ericksons

Bring an ipod of your favorite songs and transcend your fear of dancing in public thanks to Don’t You Feel It Too?, a project that is “the practice of freeing your spirit through dancing your inner life in public places.” Together we’ll dance on the field, listening close through our own set of headphones. Mindfulness: Be Here NowTM, a series of fifteen-minute meditations in Sky Pesher, encourages participants to listen close in another way, tuning into breath and the present moment. Close out the evening by listening to Acoustic Campfire with Lydia Liza (Bomba de Luz) and Eric Mayson (Crunchy Kids), followed by local folk favorites The Ericksons.

Let your senses be sharpened and your imaginations stoked

Star Trek Yoga Quest

With Star Trek: a narrated yogic adventure, Yoga Quest aims “to explore the power of storytelling and engage minds and bodies in a yogic adventure; to find ways to make wellness appealing to folks who otherwise wouldn’t engage with it.” While some like to bring their imaginations to life via Star Trek-themed yoga, others prefer games. Grown-up Club returns with more Recess Games, if you haven’t had a good dose of Kick the Can and Capture the Flag this summer. If you prefer a less action-packed activity, join the Drawing Club team at the picnic tables.