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A MCAD staff member finished installing the last McKnight Foundation visual art exhibition in January 2014. Star Tribune staff photo by Richard Sennott
Eight Minnesota visual artists have received $25,000 each from the McKnight Foundation in a program administered by the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD). The winners are: David Bowen of Duluth, and Sam Gould, Alexa Horochowski, Michael Hoyt, Alison Malone, Lamar Peterson, Joe Smith, and Tetsuya Hamada, all Twin Cities residents.
A support program for mid-career artists, the McKnight Artist Fellowships for Visual Artists provides each winner with three things besides the money: critiques with national critics; a limited edition book about their work; a speaking opportunity. The public exhibitions that were an element of the program for 32 years were discontinued this year in favor of the book/talk component. When the exhibitions were cancelled, the number of visual art grants also was increased from four to eight.
Five of the 2014/15 Fellowship winners are academics. Bowden is an associate professor of sculpture and computing at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. Horochowski is a sculpture professor at St. Cloud State University. Smith is an art professor at University of Northwestern in St. Paul. Peterson, an assistant professor of drawing and painting, and Yamada, an associate professor of art, both teach at the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus.
The other three winners are engaged in various activities. Gould is a writer/ publisher who co-founded Red 76 and is the editor/designer of the Journal of Radical Shimming. Hoyt produces arts-based community development projects. Malone is a photographer who documents American subcultures.
Fellowship winners were picked by three jurors: Xandra Eden, exhibition curator at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro; Hesse McGraw, vice-president of exhibitions at the San Francisco Art Institute; and Deborah Willis, artist, professor and chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch Center for the Arts at New York University.
Stanley E. Hubbard, a radio pioneer who created one of the most successful broadcasting companies in history, will be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.
Hubbard, who passed away in 1992, put the Twin Cities on the map when he launched WAMD, airing the popular dance show "Where All Minneapolis Dances." He later went on to create what many believe is the first regularly scheduled daily news broadcast.
Other inductees include Charlie & Hannigan, Barry Farber, Jon Miller, Agnes Moorehead, Dick Orkin and "This American Life" with Ira Glass.
Ceremonies will be held Nov. 9 in Los Angeles.
Four Minnesota composers will get $25,000 each as winners of this year's McKnight Composition Fellowships. The fellowships are administered by St. Paul-based American Composers Forum. They were selected from 63 applicants. The judges for this year's selections were composers Amir ElSaffar (New York, N.Y.), Stacy Garrop (Chicago, Ill.) and Daniel Trueman (Princeton, N.J.) The 2014 winners are:
Alex Freeman, who teaches at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn. and has written and recorded chamber, choral and piano works.
Jocelyn Hagen, of Minneapolis, who was a longtime composer-in-residence for The Singers, and is now composer-in-residence at North Dakota State University in Fargo.
Michelle Kinney, of Golden Valley, a cellist and composer who is Musician in Residence at the University of Minnesota's Dance Program and a member of the quartet Jelloslave.
George Maurer, of Minneapolis, a composer and jazz pianist whose work has been performed by orchestras, ballet troupes, jazz ensembles and musical-theater producers.
Another McKnight program awards $15,000 each to two artists from outside Minnesota to spend two months or more in the state working on projects. Robin Eschner of Forestville, Calif., will produce a song cycle related to the the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon in northern Minnesota, and Pamela Z of San Francisco will compose a work focusing on Minnesota "farm-to-table" movement as it goes from farms to farmer's markets and restaurants.
The McKnight Foundation, founded in 1953, contributes about $1.7 million each year to individual artists via fellowships and other programs. American Composers Forum, founded in 1973 as Minnesota Composers Forum, has a worldwide membership of 1,700 artists, organizations and community members.
Twin Cities arts leader Catherine Jordan is being honored for her longtime championing of arts and culture.
Jordan, who has served such organizations as the Bush Foundation, Intermedia Arts and Circus Juventas over the past several decades, is one of the recipients of the first annual Artspace Artist Awards, which will be presented Monday in a celebration at the Cowles Center for Dance in Minneapolis.
The award comes from Artspace, the nation’s leading nonprofit arts developer with a billion dollar portfolio of nearly three dozen residential and office properties across the nation, including the Cowles Center.
Jordan is one of four winners annnounced; the others, all of whom live in Artspace properties and each of whom will receive $5,000, are photographer Tabatha Mudra of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; poet and visual artist Linda Cover of Santa Cruz, N.M.; and Quest Skinner, a painter and teacher in Washington, D.C.
Monday’s celebration, called “Breaking Ground,” features the dance and drum duo Buckets and Tap Shoes; singer Ashley DuBose from NBC’s “The Voice”; and New Orleans jazz trumpet supremo James Andrews.
John Moe, host of American Public Media's comedy show "Wits," will do similar honors Monday.
Tickets, $20, are on sale.
Three of Minnesota’s esteemed theater practitioners will all be getting honorary doctorates this spring.
Penumbra Theatre founder Lou Bellamy (right, photo by Ann Marsden) will receive an honorary doctorate of divinity on May 18 from United Theological Seminary.
In the same month, Jack Reuler, who founded Mixed Blood Theatre, will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Macalester College, his alma mater, while Tony-nominated director Marion McClinton will be similarly honored by Concordia University.
“One of the things that’s always been an issue [in the academy] is artists having enough respect so they can speak for themselves,” said Bellamy, who founded Penumbra in 1976, the same year that Mixed Blood got its start.
“The scholars used to send the artists out of the room then would begin discussing what they [artists] meant in their work. What this [honorary degree] means is that artists are being given institutional respect for their intellectual accomplishments as well as their craft.”
“I do feel a little like Scarecrow from ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” Reuler said Tuesday. “Now, I’ve got to get up there and recite something.”
Coincidentally, all three honored men were inspired by Ernie Hudson, who was then an athlete and actor at the University of Minnesota. Hudson starred in “The Great White Hope” at Theatre in the Round Players in 1975, a production that proved so popular, the theater wanted to extend the run. Hudson wanted to continue playing the part as well but he sought compensation for his talents. TRP, a community theater that has historically not paid actors, was unwilling to do.
The production enjoyed a commercial run in a transfer to another venue in Minneapolis.
“It was a monumental performance that changed my life,” said McClinton, who spent two years at the U but never finished. “I had intended to go into film but when I saw that, I knew that that was my calling. It opened my eyes about the kind of statements you could make onstage.”
“That episode showed how few opportunities there were for artists of color at that time,” added Reuler.
Reuler, who intended to go become a veterinarian while a student at Macalester, founded Mixed Blood as a summer job after graduation. But he met diverting success with the theater whose mission involves living out some of the principles espoused by Martin Luther King, Jr.
“It’s the summer job that’s lasted 38 years,” he said.
Bellamy also founded Penumbra with similar intent. Now all three men are national figures.
Reuler is a leader in the field who teaches in California and serves on multiple panels. His company regularly premieres new plays and has given work and opportunities to hosts of artists.
The same is true for Bellamy, also a field leader while his theater, the largest African-American company in the nation, is esteemed for its jazz style of directing and the talent it has nurtured. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson was a company member at Penumbra, which is known as the finest interpreter of his work.
McClinton (right, photo by Tom Wallace) was Wilson’s director of choice for 15 years toward the end of the latter's life. McClinton staged “Jitney” in London, where the production won an Olivier Award, the English Tonys, and in New York, where McClinton won an Obie. He also directed Wilson's “King Hedley II” on Broadway, for which he was nominated for a best-director Tony.
“I used to play baseball and softball over at Concordia when I was a kid,” said McClinton. “It’s nice to be honored in your home.”
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