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Posts about Minnesota artists

It's a spider! It's a mosquito! It's "Insectula!"

Posted by: Colin Covert Updated: March 12, 2015 - 6:28 PM
Where's the mosquito repellant?  Photo: Digital Melies

Where's the mosquito repellant? Photo: Digital Melies

Sometimes things that are deliberately ridiculous are big fun because they’re intentionally silly. Case in point, “Insectula!,” a micro-budget fan fiction film for admirers of B movies from 1950 to yesterday.

By far the most ambitious giant monster from space movie ever shot in White Bear Lake, it makes its Midwest debut at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. tonight at the Theatres at Mall of America. It shows twice nightly Friday through March 19 at 7:30 and 9:55 p.m. with 12:05 a.m. late shows Friday and Saturday.

Viewers who thrill to inside jokes about cult filmmaker Ed Wood’s stinkers, delightfully gross bloodshed, and the sort of moviemaking that puts as many attractive actresses in skimpies as possible will admire this proudly, shamelessly,  gloriously brainless production. It boasts the sort of unlikely plot that made “Sharknado” a cult smash – a man-eating mosquito-spider hybrid from another world splashes into White Bear Lake with a powerful appetite. Fear novelist R.L. Stine called the cut he viewed "a hilariously bad horror movie."

Four years in the making, “Insectula!” began in 2010 as a feature involving more family and friends than Hollywood talent. Mike Peterson, an art school graduate turned computer programmer did the script, direction, camerawork and PC-powered visual effects. His wife Danielle Cezanne, education director of the White Bear Center for the Arts, produced. Their daughter Arielle Cezanne plays the female lead, a wise casting choice, because she is charming. Peterson’s friend Pasquale Pilla plays the hero, an ineffective government agent who investigates after a mysterious life form pulls his lady friend to the bottom of White Bear Lake in many small pieces. When the alien mosquito-spider creature goes on a mad blood sucking rampage against the state capitol, the endangered occupants of downtown St. Paul include the couple’s little dog Kip. It’s 101 minutes of hoots.

Ace gallery director Dyani White Hawk Polk resigns AMRG post

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: March 10, 2015 - 2:20 PM

Artist and gallery director Dyani White Hawk Polk with artist Greg Bellanger at All My Relations Gallery; Star Tribune staff photo by Joel Koyama.

Award winning artist and curator Dyani White Hawk Polk has unexpectedly resigned her post as director of All My Relations Gallery (AMRG) in south Minneapolis, effective March 17.

During her four year tenure at AMRG, she combined inclusiveness and administrative savvy with a keen eye for top quality contemporary and traditional American Indian art, the gallery's speciality. Drawing on national contacts, she organized handsome shows of contemporary sculpture, paintings and installations as well as traditional beadwork, birch-bark containers, grass baskets, ledger drawings and jewelry.

Leading AMRG was "an unexpected turn in my career," White Hawk Polk said in an email announcing her plans. It had been "a joy, inspiration, and blessing" to work with the gallery's artists and supporters, she said, but now it was time to "make the leap and transition into a full-time studio practice, chasing my own dream as an artist."

A Sicangu Lakota from Madison, Wisconsin, White Hawk Polk has won awards for her own work at the prestigious Santa Fe Indian Art Market and a 2013-14 fellowship in visual art from the McKnight Foundation. Her paintings deftly incorporate Indian motifs (feathers, moccasin shapes) into modernist designs that have been shown at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Bockley Gallery and elsewhere.

After her departure, AMRG's operations will be overseen by Jay Bad Heart Bull, president and CEO of the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI), and Graci Horne, gallery associate. The gallery is located in a sunny street-level showroom in the headquarters of NACDI at 1414 E. Franklin Av., Minneapolis.


Northeast Minneapolis Arts District wins "Best" award from USA Today

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: March 6, 2015 - 4:12 PM

Gallery owner Anita Sue Kolman carries a painting by Patrick Kemal Pryor in their jointly-managed Kolman Pryor Gallery at the Northrup King Building in Northeast Minneapolis. Star Tribune photo by Marlin Levison.

The Northeast Minneapolis Arts District topped a USA Today reader's choice competition to claim the title "Best Art District," beating out nine other unnamed cities with pretentions to the title. Voting was conducted over a four-week period. Swinging Northeast was entered into the competition by Lindsay Pollock, editor in chief of Art in America magazine, and Joe Lewis, an art professor at University of California, Irvine.

A recent cruise through USA Today's crowded website of Reader's Choice categories didn't turn up any other contenders in the "Best Art District" award category. But maybe the site was having an off moment. Who knows?

In any case, there were many other "Best" categories on which dedicated USA Today readers might vote, among them: Best US Water Parks, Best Budget Hotel Brands, Best Birdwatching Sites, Best Breweries, Best National Monument, Best Gluten-Free Baked Goods.

You get the picture. Jump in and tout your favs. Maybe they too can share the glory with the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District.

Mpls Photo Center for sale as founders prepare to move on

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: January 21, 2015 - 3:35 PM

Abby and Orin Rutchick, co-founders of the Mpls Photo Center, at the popular Minneapolis venue. Star Tribune photo by Sara Glassman

After seven years nurturing the Mpls Photo Center, co-founders Abby and Orin Rutchick are looking to sell the business and move on. By next winter they hope to be settled in northern California, most likely Oakland, near their daughter Andrea, 36, and her four children, and not far from their son  Maxx, 27, who lives in Sonoma. 

"We're not looking for somebody just to manage MPC and we'd own it from a distance. We want out," said Orin, 63. "This is an opportunity for a younger person with passion and energy to create a future for themselves and take it to the next level, or for someone older and retired who wants to continue to be of service to the community."

Incorporated as a for-profit business, MPC is unusual in that it provides many of the educational opportunities and community features common to nonprofit organizations such as Highpoint Center for Printmaking or the Northern Clay Center. They all operate galleries that stage regular exhibitions, complete with publications, in their respective fields. All offer lectures, discussions, classes and workshops primarily for adults. They all have studios, work space and equipment for rent or cooperative use. Highpoint and the Clay Center have more ambitious and extensive educational programs for kids, but the basic services are similar in the three organizations.

The chief differences show up in the organizations' basic structures. Highpoint and the Clay Center have boards of directors to oversee their operations, and staff members who seek grants and help stage fund raising events. Their exhibition programs are more sophisticated and often feature international artists and complex exhibitions that require museum-style security and transportation. And both Highpoint and the Clay Center own their buildings.

By contrast, MPC is owned run by the Rutchicks with the assistance of a facilities manager, a part-time staff member, a bookkeeper and an accountant. Classes are taught by professional photographers operating as independent contractors. It's so down-home and personal that Orin even cooks the lunchs and prepares the snacks set out at openings.

"We offer about 25 classes per month taught by 10 different photographers," Orin said. "We try to provide classes that mold photographers from just learning how to use a camera to framing, editing, creating a personal project and then getting them out there to work."

The Rutchicks rent 12,000 square feet in an old brick warehouse into which they've invested "quite a bit of leasehold improvements," including building studios, digital labs, dark rooms, a gallery, storage and meeting spaces. They own the equipment -- printers, cameras, computers, lights and other photographic gear. 

"This was always built to be a self-sustaining entity that survives on its own revenue; it's a revenue generating machine," Orin said.

Even so, they investigated the possibility of transforming it into a nonprofit organization "but it appears to be so complicated to get anything out of it that a personal sale, a for-profit sale, makes the most sense." he continued.

"We have certain things that we make money with, things we spend money for. There's no secrets," Rutchick said. " Nobody is going to get rich but they can enjoy what they're doing. It's like a community center or a hobby farm for photography. Rather than playing basketball, they're doing photography."

Art Shanty Projects to hold fund-raiser at Fulton Brewery

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: January 19, 2015 - 11:49 AM

Art Shanty Projects is looking for cash to support its 2016 plans. For the past decade it has staged clever events in arty shacks on frozen lakes around the Twin Cities metro area. It iced that program this year for want of money and organizational moxy.

Even so Art Shanty Projects has won accolades. It claims to be among 32 candidates for the 2nd International Award for Public Art (IAPA) and one of 90 finalists for an ArtPlace America 2015 National Grant. Not content with those birds-in-the-bush, the organization is now seeking cash-in-hand.

In September the organizations' board-of-directors hired a new executive director, Dawn Bentley. Recently it gained official recognition as a non-profit organization with 501(c) (3) tax status.

A fund-raiser next month will feature performances by local musicians, appearances by former art shanty artists, a raffle, prizes, food-and-beverage sales to benefit the shanty project. It will be held from 5 p.m.- 9 p.m. February 28 at the Fulton Brewery, 2540 2nd St. N.E., Minneapolis. $15 advance tickets are available online through Brown Paper Tickets and artshantyprojects.org; or $20 at the door. Tickets include one free drink.


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