Blogs mnartists.blog

Will Intermedia Arts Be the Next to Fall?

After months of bad news for local arts organizations, over the past few days we’ve gotten a flurry of emails with still more sad tidings, this time from the folks at Intermedia Arts. This 35-year-old multidisciplinary arts center—home to an array of beloved programs, from the popular B-Girl Be hip-hop festival to its acclaimed literary […]

After months of bad news for local arts organizations, over the past few days we’ve gotten a flurry of emails with still more sad tidings, this time from the folks at Intermedia Arts. This 35-year-old multidisciplinary arts center—home to an array of beloved programs, from the popular B-Girl Be hip-hop festival to its acclaimed literary series, visual arts exhibitions and annual performance spectacle, Naked Stages—is in the midst of a funding crisis that threatens their very survival. In what has become an all-too-familiar refrain, the organization attributes its current budget shortfall to same the hounds barking at the door of most (if not all) other nonprofit organizations of like size, whether they’re arts-focused or not.

Photo courtesy Intermedia Arts and mnartists.org

Photo courtesy Intermedia Arts and mnartists.org

Intermedia Arts’ website describes their situation bluntly: “Over the past several weeks [we have] experienced sharp reductions and significant delays in funding. As a mid-sized arts organization, we rely on foundations and funders for our general operating support—foundations and funders who have lost enormous amounts of their assets in our current economic crisis.”

The circumstances are undeniably stark. All their full-time staff have already been moved into diminished positions where they’ll work part time, as contract or hourly staff, and as of January 9, the gallery will be shuttered and poetry library hours canceled until future notice.

The fact is Intermedia Arts is fighting for its life, but the organization is fighting. They’re rallying the troops with a community town hall meeting this Friday at 5:30 pm. There they hope people in the arts community will offer up their solutions for Intermedia Arts’ immediate struggles, but they would also like for the conversation to range broadly enough to include thoughts on how arts supporters and artists can work to better ensure the longevity of other arts organizations in our region. To this end, they’re asking “all friends, fans, supporters, members, artists, participants—anyone and everyone who cares about the future of Intermedia Arts” to attend and offer ideas for the center’s long-term survival, as a show of support and, of course, to open their wallets for the cause.

The Intermedia Arts Town Hall Meeting will be begin at 5:30 pm on Friday, December 19 on site in Minneapolis. (They’ve indicated that free childcare will be available.)

Some related links:

Minneapolis Star-Tribune: “Money Woes Spur Drastic Cuts at Intermedia”

MPR: “Intermedia Arts closes gallery, lays off staff”

MinnPost.com: “Intermedia Arts troubles: Is art the next thing to go?”

Minnesota Independent: “Slammed by economy, Minneapolis’ Intermedia Arts to Close Gallery, Lay Off Full-Time Staff”

MinnesotaPlaylist.com: “Will Intermedia Arts Be Next?”

Fresh.mn: “The Struggle at Intermedia Arts”

Southwest Journal: “Intermedia Arts in Financial ‘Crisis’”

Drawing Monsters

I love monster anything…monster trucks, monster cookies, monster cables, muppets, dunnys and Nessie.  I often find myself drawing monsters. Maybe its the freedom to draw creatures completely from imagination, unbound by expectations, or perhaps it is the sense of whimsy and horror.  Most likely I never grew up and or cared to find proper subjects to draw… so now I draw […]

I love monster anything…monster trucks, monster cookies, monster cables, muppets, dunnys and Nessie.  I often find myself drawing monsters. Maybe its the freedom to draw creatures completely from imagination, unbound by expectations, or perhaps it is the sense of whimsy and horror.  Most likely I never grew up and or cared to find proper subjects to draw… so now I draw furry white monsters holding freshly baked pies.  I know I am not alone.  In fact I would bet that nearly everyone has drawn a monster at one point…probably aside notes at your the last work meeting.

Midway Contemporary Art, located in NE Minneapolis, is hosting a very unique and accessible fundraising event this Saturday, December 13th at 6:00 pm.  The Monster Drawing Rally (the title is actually a play on Monster Truck Rallies, not exclusively monster drawings) will feature 50 local artists creating drawings in hourly shifts over the course of the evening.  Each drawing will be created on-site and immediately available for sale for the flat fee of $35.  The Monster Drawing Rally concept began at Southern Exposure, a San Francisco-based arts organization.  For the last seven years they have used the drawing event as a fundraiser to support exhibitions and education programs.  Midway Contemporary is excited to bring the event to Minnesota.  The event provides the rare opportunity to watch artists work and purchase original artwork at discount prices.  Unlike many fundraisers, filled with expensive auction items, beyond the budget of most attendees, the Monster Drawing Rally offers an opportunity for art patrons of all income levels to support the institution and take home an original work of art. While the subject matter is open for each artist to choose, I am certain a few monsters will pop up amongst the evenings creations.

Here is the lineup of participating artists:


6:30PM 7:30PM 8:30PM
Gary Batzloff Luke Aleckson Nate Anderson
Heather Bren Mitchell Dose Shea Bartel
Ernest Bryant Kris Douglas Betsy Byers
Jennifer Danos Andy Ducett James Dayton
Allegra Denton Welles Emerson Isa Gagarin
Pete Driessen John Fleischer John Grider
Brett Gustafson John Gaunt Emily Hadland
Randy Hartten Noah Harmon Brian Jorgensen
Bethany Kalk Jay Heikes Matt McAuliffe
David Lefkowitz Val Jenkins Derek Miller
Janet Lobberecht Rick Love Kristina Mooney
Kirk McCall Michael Mott Suzanne Murphy
Natasha Pestich Todd Norsten Margaret Pezzalla-Granlund
Melba Price Tim Roby Justin Schaefer
Chad Rutter Justin Schlepp Andrea Stanislav
Josi Severson Scott Stulen Bruce Tapola
Emily Sheehan Oakley Tapola Aaron Van Dyke
Joe Smith Tectonic Industries Megan Vossler
Chris Osgood, guest emcee

The Rally is Free and open to the public.

Midway Contemporary Art
527 Second Avenue SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
612+605+4504

Merry Craftsmas, Indeed

I’m not someone who enjoys the shopping frenzy of the Christmas season—the madding crowd freaks me out, to be honest. You can keep your doorbusters sales; give me a fast Internet connection and half an hour of undisturbed time. I’d much prefer to do my gift-buying online, in my PJs while sipping a cup of […]

I’m not someone who enjoys the shopping frenzy of the Christmas season—the madding crowd freaks me out, to be honest. You can keep your doorbusters sales; give me a fast Internet connection and half an hour of undisturbed time. I’d much prefer to do my gift-buying online, in my PJs while sipping a cup of coffee.

That said, every year I defy my homebody inclinations and head out to brave the crowds at the No Coast Craft-O-Rama. This wonderfully eclectic, whimsical craft festival is only in its fourth year, but already it feels like a holiday tradition in our house. Every year No Coast’s organizers—a cohort of DIY-minded folks from the Crafters Local 612—pull together a satisfying assortment of irresistible handmade jewelry, hip baby and kids’ stuff, one-of-a-kind apparel from local designers, cheeky greeting cards, cool posters from some of the area’s best printmakers, fine craft glasswork, ingenious handbags and artwork. It’s a local wares wonderland—the selection of vendors is tight and smartly curated, and the mix of things to purchase is unfailingly appealing. Trust me, you can check off everyone on your gift list and get something extra special from a local artist, all without breaking the bank. And after you’re done shopping, you can grab a snack from one of the many options at Midtown Global Market. Even if you prefer to avoid the usual consumer crush, it’s a lovely way to gin up some holiday cheer.

Here are the details: No Coast Craft-O-Rama, Friday, December 5 (3 pm-8 pm) & Saturday, December 6 (9 am-5 pm), admission is FREE and open to the public

There are a host of other holiday art sales and craft fairs going on in the coming days. Below are the ones I’ve put in my own calendar (you can check the mnartists.org calendar to browse through a bunch more going on across the state):

The Handmaidens present Craftsmas: This craft show will feature wares from more than 50 local artists; if you can’t make No Coast Craft-O-Rama, you’ll find a number of the same artists and crafters have work for sale here, too. When/Where: December 7 @ Uptown Minneapolis VFW, Minneapolis, MN

Ruby3 Progressive Holiday Trunk Show: Anna Lee’s outlandish, gorgeous cocktail hats and a selection of new cold-weather accessories, as well as screenprinted legwear by Calpurnia Peach and holiday cards by Maybe You Should Die. When/Where: 7 pm-10 pm @ Miyagi Salon, Minneapolis, MN; 10pm-midnight @ The Red Stag Supper Club, Late Night Happy Hour featuring live music by Faux Jean and his Fake Friends, Minneapolis, MN

College of Visual Arts Holiday Art Sale: Paintings, prints, drawings, photographs and more by students, alumni, faculty and staff are all available. Select art from the CVA archives are also included in the silent auction, and all proceeds benefit the CVA Scholarship Fund. When/Where: Preview December 5, Holiday Art Sale December 6, 10 am-3:30 pm @ CVA, St. Paul, MN

SSCA Annual Holiday Art and Bake Sale: Fundraiser for the gallery with artwork and baked goods by local artists for sale, proceeds go to Stevens Square Center for the Arts. When/Where: December 6, noon-5 pm @ Stevens Square Center for the Arts, Minneapolis, MN

Irresistible: A Local Arts and Crafts Sale at SooVAC: Wares include a variety of jewelry, bags, accessories, and other crafts. Including work by Soo Too artists Jennifer Davis, Joe Sinness, Bethany Kalk, Liseli Polivka, and Amy Rice. Other artists with work in the sale: Brittany Foster, Glamoramapuss, Emily Johnson, Margaret Nimocks, Sisbro, Collaboration Thursday with Swank Dollar, Drive by Bags, Zeichen Press. When/Where: Sale runs from December 17-24, special sale event on December 20th, Saturday, 10-4pm @ Soo Visual Arts Center, Minneapolis, MN

On the Road Again: Rochester, MN

This Sunday, I’m hitting the road with one of my favorite writers (and the only guy I know with publicly acclaimed facial hair), Andy Sturdevant; we’re taking a daytrip to Rochester Art Center to see Deep North, the new exhibition of work by St. Paul native, Chris Larson. I last saw this pop-savvy aburdist-philosopher’s work […]

Deep North, film/video installation by Chris Larson

Deep North, film/video and sculptural installation by Chris Larson

This Sunday, I’m hitting the road with one of my favorite writers (and the only guy I know with publicly acclaimed facial hair), Andy Sturdevant; we’re taking a daytrip to Rochester Art Center to see Deep North, the new exhibition of work by St. Paul native, Chris Larson. I last saw this pop-savvy aburdist-philosopher’s work at the Creative Electric Gallery a couple of years ago – and once you see Larson’s work, you don’t quickly forget it. He’s the savant of pop-cultural margins and unlikely juxtapositions, but there’s surprising depth to his multimedia art as well. He’s especially good at revealing the weirdness inherent in mainstream American middle-class living: the strange cultural conventions of office work and modern family life, our estrangement from physical labor, our ambivalent relationships with technology. I’m eager to see his newest stuff.

So, I’m taking the carseat and trashy bits out of the old ’99 Corolla (I’m probably going to leave the dog hair in place, though–sorry, Andy); we’ll get some bad food on the road and just make a day of it.

I’m curious – what was the last show (music, visual art, theater, whatever) you were willing to leave town to see?

(NOTE TO SELF: pick up an assortment of healthy snacks – beef jerky, pink lemonade Jolly Ranchers, powdered donuts…)

Can’t Get It Out of My Head: Breaking into Commercials, Television and Film for Minnesota Musicians

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiL8tafYcxc[/youtube] The Five Dollar Foot Long song featured on the recent Subway restaurant ads is one of the greatest ad jingles ever.  Its an earworm, scarily addictive, annoying as hell, and frustratingly memorable.  I have actually caught myself unconsciously singing the droning song just to playfully annoy my wife. If you haven’t had enough of the song yet….there is actually a dance remix of […]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiL8tafYcxc[/youtube]

The Five Dollar Foot Long song featured on the recent Subway restaurant ads is one of the greatest ad jingles ever.  Its an earworm, scarily addictive, annoying as hell, and frustratingly memorable.  I have actually caught myself unconsciously singing the droning song just to playfully annoy my wife. If you haven’t had enough of the song yet….there is actually a dance remix of the song available to download on Subways website. The song was composed by Jimmy Harned (of the boutique music outfit Tonefarmer) taking the approach of the equally irritating and repetitive HeadON: Apply Directly to the Forehead ads. Both ads are incrediably effective in cutting through the barrage of media we see everyday to become pop culture moments. 

The ad jingle is quickly becoming a lost art. More and more companies are forgoing jingles and instead using cleverly edited tracks from hipster indie rock bands. Apple is largerly responsible for breaking bands like CSS and the Tings Tings to a broader audience through their inclusion in ipod ads.  Both sides of the debate are convincing regarding the merits of selling out to beakout, however I personally find there is something disheartening about hearing The Fall or Iggy Pop in a Chrysler ad.  However it doesn’t come close to my disappointment with Devo and Of Montreal for actually re-writing “Whip It” and “Wraith Pinned to the Mist (And Other Games)” to pitch for Swifer and Outback Steakhouse.       

So how are ad jingles commissioned and created?  How do musicians get songs into commercials, television programs and soundtracks for films? Find out this coming Saturday, November 15th, 4-6 pm at the Summit Brewery, 910 Montreal Circle in St. Paul.  mnartists.org will be presenting a FREE panel discussion titled Breaking into Commercials, Television and Film for Minnesota Musicians with several accomplished industry professionals.

The panel of industry experts includes:

Bob Hest and Steve Kramer - “The Kings of the Jingle” and founders of Hest & Kramer Music. Known for their creative and strategic ability to infuse brands with signature music that resonates with customers.  Their work has received many honors, including induction in to the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Craig Rice -  is an award-winning producer and director, and nationally recognized for his distinguished career in the television and film industry.  His work has been nominated for four Emmy Awards and a NAACP Award. Rice recently served as Executive Director of the Minnesota Film and TV Board.

Gary Rue - Songwriter, composer and founder of the internationally acclaimed pop quartet Rue Nouveau.  Rue is also a Professor of Composition at McNally Smith College of Music

Chris Beaty – Twin Cities-based composer, performer, instrumentalist, engineer and producer

After the panel discussion Radio K will DJ and Free Summit Beer will be served for those 21+, all ages are welcome to the event however. What more could you ask for on a chilly November evening.  And if you ever want to track down that catchy song within a commercial or verify your favorite band has sold out to a national steakhouse chain check out AdTunes. 

mnSPIN is presented in association with Springboard for the Arts, McNally Smith College of Music, and the Diverse Emerging Music Organization.

The Minnesota Museum of American Art to close indefinitely

In sad, but not surprising news The Minnesota Museum of American Art (MMAA) in St. Paul, Minnesota announced Friday that it is “temporarily closing its public exhibition space as of Sunday, January 4, 2009, and reducing its staff, accordingly.”  The MMAA has been in transition since director Bruce Lilly resigned last summer after 11 years […]

Minnesota Museum of American Art building in downtown St. Paul

In sad, but not surprising news The Minnesota Museum of American Art (MMAA) in St. Paul, Minnesota announced Friday that it is “temporarily closing its public exhibition space as of Sunday, January 4, 2009, and reducing its staff, accordingly.”  The MMAA has been in transition since director Bruce Lilly resigned last summer after 11 years as head of the museum.  Coupled with the loss of its current space to redevelopment in mid 2009 and the current economic climate, the decision was made to close the MMAA indefinitely.  The situation for the MMAA is more complicated than a typically gallery closing due to its large collection.  Staff will be retained to manage the collection while the museum is assessing its options.  Hopefully a new home and sources of support can be found for the MMAA in the near future, but the closing of its doors, even temporarily, is a foreboding indication of current options.

 

This is the second mid-level art organizations to close its doors in the last few months.  The Minnesota Center for Photography closed abruptly at the end of July citing the downturn in the economy as a contributing factor.  I fear it won’t be the last.  In the present economy most arts organizations will be forced to trim budgets while still trying to maintain the same quanity and quality of programming. On a positive note, tough times can also lead to a re-evaluation and refinement  of current programing to better serve audiences. It could also be a time of opportunity for local artists.  Museums, galleries, and arts organizations may turn to more local artists to fill exhibitions as travel and transportation costs rise for national and international exhibitions.  It will be an anxious year for many organizations as they await funding from fellowships, grants and corporate sponsors. Hopefully most organizations will be able to adapt to the economic challanges in the coming year so that situations like MCP and MMAA becomes the exception instead of the trend.

 

 

 

 

 

Take our blog survey, win an iPod Shuffle

Every so often we like to take a survey of our readers to see what you think. Our last survey was in March of 2007, so it’s time for a new one. The questions are focused on the blogs and a little demographic information, which you can skip if you like. We’re sweetening the deal […]

Every so often we like to take a survey of our readers to see what you think. Our last survey was in March of 2007, so it’s time for a new one. The questions are focused on the blogs and a little demographic information, which you can skip if you like.

We’re sweetening the deal this time. If you take the survey, you can enter your name into the pool and we’ll select one person to win a 1GB iPod Shuffle.

Take the survey.



Photo by bluetsunami.

mnartists.org is voting YES

mnartists.org is voting YES. There are legitimate reasons, both fiscal and philosophical, to resist public funding of the arts. And, certainly, in difficult economic times it is even more difficult to consider an increase, however slight, to our tax burden. After carefully considering the arguments, mnartists.org believes the benefits of The Clean Water, Land and […]

mnartists.org is voting YES.

There are legitimate reasons, both fiscal and philosophical, to resist public funding of the arts. And, certainly, in difficult economic times it is even more difficult to consider an increase, however slight, to our tax burden. After carefully considering the arguments, mnartists.org believes the benefits of The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment greatly outweigh the costs, even in this uncertain economic climate. This is an important and rare opportunity to substantially support areas of our society from which we all benefit, but that we often take for granted. For the reasons below mnartists.org is voting YES on November 4th.

mnartists is voting YES because natural resources and the arts are a civic priority.

Protection of our native landscapes and cultural heritage is a cause central to the common good. The endangerment of these civic resources raises important questions for all of us: How do we want to live? What resources do we want to have available to us? What do we want to preserve for future generations? For me, the priority Minnesota has placed on cultural enrichment and insuring that the arts institutions our state has nurtured for generations are still available to our children make for the most compelling reasons to support The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. Minnesota offers a rare confluence of stunning national resources and plentiful, world-class cultural opportunities. Like the comforts of home, we take this abundance for granted, assuming our resources will remain strong, even without our vigilant support. Unfortunately this is not the case. The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment offers a firm infrastructure for that support, which makes the long-term stability and conservation of what we value about our way of living a shared priority.

mnartists will be voting YES to keep our natural resources clean and intact for future generations.

There is surprisingly little money set aside for the ongoing protection of our water supply and environmental resources. The funding provided by The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment will help to assure long term protection of our drinking water, parks, trails, wetlands, prairies, forests, and fish, game, and wildlife habitat. It is far cheaper to take steps now to preserve these resources than to attempt to restore destroyed habitat in the future.

mnartists is voting YES to be forward-thinking.

Politics are based in the concerns of the present; campaigns naturally tend to focus on immediately pressing issues rather than preventive action. The tendency to defer dealing with issues until some future point of greater urgency is natural. We often convince ourselves that someone else will step in at the last minute to provide funding or support. We are better served, in the long run, if we’re realistic and plan ahead to protect those things we value. Sustained support is the foundation on which thriving art communities are built; and it is that promise of support which attracts and retains top talent in the arts within our community. Passage of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment is an assuring statement that our future will remain protected.

mnartists is voting YES to support programs statewide.

The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment will support art organizations throughout the state, not just those serving the Twin Cities metro area. While support is needed at the larger institutions in the metro as well, the impact of this funding throughout smaller communities is especially dramatic. The funds provided by this amendment will keep the doors open at countless regional theaters, art centers, workshops, festivals and arts organizations. In tough economic climates traditional funding sources for the arts recede and many small regional organizations are forced to close or dramatically reduce programming and educational offerings. We need to provide arts opportunities to citizens residing throughout the state, not just to those concentrated in the urban centers. Statewide support provides a fairer balance of support, with equitable opportunities for residents in rural and urban areas alike.

mnartists is voting YES because school arts programs continue to be cut.

With projected budget shortfalls into the foreseeable future, arts programs will continue to be cut in schools throughout the state. Many such programs have already been cut completely; once eliminated, those arts education programs rarely get reinstated, even after school district budgets recover. As a consequence of ever-decreasing funding for the arts at in public schools, regional and institutional arts organizations are asked to fill in for lost programming and missing arts education opportunities. Local museums and arts institutions have attempted to fill the void and continue to step in with efforts to bridge the gap in arts programming for kids and families. The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment would provide desperately needed support to those organizations, thereby insuring continued opportunities for a well-rounded education for every Minnesota child.

mnartists is voting YES because the arts mean business.

Support for the arts is a solid business investment. Over one billion dollars is annually contributed to the state economy by the nearly 1400 arts organizations statewide. There are over 20,000 artists working in the state who contribute $250,000 of their annual incomes to local businesses. What’s more, locales rich with arts and culture amenities are simply better places to live, attractive hubs for commerce and business drawn to the quality of life such culturally vibrant places offer both prospective clients and employees. A strong cultural base attracts long-term residents and business development and encourages talent to remain within the state.

mnartists is voting YES to support and enhance our reputation and quality of life.

Minnesota is known for is its lakes and beautiful natural resources as well as its rich cultural community. By strengthening funding to preserve our environment and cultural organizations we help to attract tourists, retain business and raise the quality of living for everyone who lives here. The arts, outdoors recreation opportunities, and even professional sports teams, all work together to create a well-balanced and thriving state economy.

mnartists is voting YES, but with an acknowledgement of its subsequent responsibilities as a citizen of the arts community.

With the passage of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment also comes responsibility. With that sort of civic support, artists and arts organizations have an obligation to contribute to the greater cultural welfare of our state’s citizenry. Sometimes that will require us to challenge the status quo, or to encourage debate and create new dialogue. But, in the end, this vote of citizen support for the resources we share can only result in a greater sense of community and shared fortunes. A committee of eight members of the public and four legislators will make proposals about how the dollars are spent, but ultimately, the elected officials of the Minnesota Legislature will have to approve spending. This provides a valuable reassurance that there will be multi-tiered accountability as to where and how our tax dollars are allocated.

Ballot Language

The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment will appear this way on your 2008 election ballot.

“Clean Water, Wildlife, Cultural Heritage and Natural Areas.” Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to dedicate funding to protect, enhance and restore our wetlands, prairies, forests, and fish, game and wildlife habitat; to preserve our arts and cultural heritage to support our parks and trails; and to protect, enhance and restore our lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater by increasing the sales and use tax rate beginning July 1, 2009, by three-eights of one percent on taxable sales until the year 2034?” Yes; No.

Remember! If you skip this question on the ballot, your vote will count as a “No” vote.

Mnartists urges you to weigh the issues and please vote on November 4th.

Scott Stulen
Project Director
mnartists.org