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Artists have been picked to design four installations totaling $1.05 million at Union Depot in St. Paul's lowertown. The 33-acre Union Depot site is being transformed into a regional transit hub for Amtrak and the light rail line linking St. Paul and Minneapolis as well as bus, bike and other transport modes. The art projects are to be installed in 2013.
The Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority (RCRRA) has committted about $1.25 million for art projects including $1 million in national funds from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). In addition to the four projects announced Aug. 7, the RCRRA plans to hire additional artists for smaller depot projects totaling about $200,000.
Depot renovation is scheduled for completion at the end of 2012.
Picked from 156 applicants, the chosen artists are:
Steve Dietz, Minneapolis, Mn: $500,000 to head a team that plans to develop an "interactive multimedia artwork platform." Best known locally as the impresario behind "Northern Spark," a one-night midsummer culture festival centered on the Mississippi River, Dietz will head a team that includes light artist Jim Campbell; Mouna Andraos and Melissa Mongiat, Montreal-based artists who "specialize in large-scale participatory art projects," Michael Murnane, a Twin Cities-based light-projection artist; architect Jeffrey Scherer; Sarah Peters who is billed as "a public engagement and community partnership specialist," and Cynthia Hilmoe, an "expert in user interface and design."
Tim Prentice, West Cornwall, Conn: $200,000 for a kinetic metal sculpture to be suspended over the depot's new Kellogg Entry where transit riders will ascend from the street to the train deck and waiting room.
Ray King, Philadelphia, Penn: $200,000 for a suspended sculpture -- most likely made of glass, metal and/or laminating films -- for the Great Hall Atrium.
Amy Baur and Brian Boldon, Minneapolis, MN: $150,000 for a ceramic-tile-and-glass mural along a 170 ft. wall in the carriageway that serves auto, taxi or other ground transportaton.
After winning architecture's top U.S. award in December, the Minneapolis architecture firm VJAA will be taking a well-deserved bow this week when a show of its environmentally sensitive building designs opens June 15 at Rapson Hall on the University of Minnesota's campus. (Reception 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Friday, free. Rapson Hall, 89 Church St. S.E., Minneapolis.)
The honor they got, the "Firm Award" which is presented annually by the American Institute of Architects, has gone to some of the world's leading architecture firms ranging from I.M. Pei (1968) to Venturi, Rauch and Scott Brown (1985). The 14-member VJAA firm credited some of its Minnesota projects for establishing the reputation that led to the award, among them its minimalist design for the Minneapolis Rowing Club, an elegantly understated 1997 home for arts patrons Kenneth and Judy Dayton overlooking Lake of the Isles, a modernist cabin on Gunflint Lake in northern Minnesota, and a pavilion and chapel renovation at St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Mn.
Elsewhere they've designed residences in Minneapolis, Chicago and New York as well as student centers in Beirut, Lebanon and at Tulane University in New Orleans. They're presently at work on a new entrance plaza for the Weisman Art Museum at the U of Mn. and a new Walker Library for Hennepin Av. in south Minneapolis.
Martin Friedman and his wife Mickey at the Mad. Sq. Art. gala.
(photo © BFA)
Composer Philip Glass played the piano. David Hockney, Claes Oldenburg and Christo reminisced. And an international A-list of additional artists, museum directors, gallery honchos and Minnesota friends celebrated former Walker Art Center director Martin Friedman's long and influential career at a New York gala last week (Thursday, May 31).
Staged by the Madison Park Conservancy the event drew 300 people and raised more than $1 million for Mad. Sq. Art, a free public art program that places contemporary art in Madison Square Park near the Flatiron building in Manhattan. Friedman has been an advisor to Mad. Sq. for the past eight years.
"It was amazing," said Emily Galusha, former director of Minneapolis' Northern Clay Center who attended with her husband Don McNeil, General Mills' art curator.
Other speakers included Chuck Close (who credited Friedman for launching his career with the purchase of "Big Self-Portrait," the first painting he ever sold); Claes Oldenburg (who raved about the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden), Ursula von Rydingsvard (who made the party favors) and museum directors Adam Weinberg (Whitney Museum of American Art), Richard Koshalek (Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden) and Olga Viso, the Walker's current director.
Other celebrities sighted include: architect Frank Gehry and artists John Baldessari, Lucas Samaras, Jackie Ferrara, Jene Highstein, Brian Hunt, Judith Shea, Joel Shapiro, Martin Puryear, Mel Chin, Lawrence Weiner and Steve Woodward.
Minnesotans and former Minnesotans on hand included Cameron Gainer, Stuart and Kate Nielson, Sue Weil, Dean Swanson, Erwin and Miriam Kelen, JoAnn Von Blon, Judy Dayton, Margaret and Angus Wurtele, Sally Lebedoff and Jon Oulman.
St. Paul interior decorator Timothy G. Fleming has been picked as executive director of the Textile Center starting June 25. He succeeds Margaret Miller, the Minneapolis organization's founding director, who is retiring after 18 years.
"I've been doing residential interior design for 30 years now and just wanted to do something else, so when this opportunity came along, I thought, why not?" said Fleming.
Through his firm, Timothy Fleming Interiors, founded in 1991, he has worked with clients in Florida, Hawai and especially Aspen, Colorado, he said. He also co-founded Ampersand, a home accessory retailer, and subsequently sold his interest in the business. He plans to shutter the interior design firm after moving to the Textile Center.
For the past 20 years he also has done volunteer work with various nonprofit Twin Cities organizations including the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, where he chaired the Textile Council, and the Goldstein Museum of Design at the University of Minnesota, where he was president of the board of directors. He also served on a capital campaign committee at Twin Cities Public Television.
Fleming earned a B.A. in art history from the University of Minnesota and has studied textile conservation and restoration at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, textile dating in Venice, Italy; and worked as a volunteer in textile preservation at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The Textile Center is an 18 year old consortium of artisans including weavers, knitters, quilters, dyers and other fiber related trades. After operating out of rented offices in St. Paul for seven years, it moved in 2001 into a former automotive showroom at 3000 University Av. S.E. in the Prospect Park neighborhood of Minneapolis just east of the University of Minnesota. The organization successfully raised about $2 million to buy and renovate that building.
In the past decade the center has grown to staff of 10 with an annual budget of about $800,000. Besides regular exhibitions, classes and fashion shows, it runs a shop and a library boasting one of the world's largest circulating-collections of textile books. Last year it hosted an international fiber art conference.
Fund raising and future expansion plans will be high on Fleming's to-do list. The organization has outgrown its present quarters and has been working with the James Dayton architecture and design firm on preliminary plans for new facilities.
University Av. near the center is presently torn up for the installation of light rail tracks, a project that should be finished this fall although trains are not scheduled to run until 2014. The center hopes to be the anchor tenant in a revitalized arts-oriented, mixed use neighborhood around the Prospect Park light rail station.
"Within five to 10 years we will definitely be in larger quarters across the street and we expect to start capital campaign funding in about two years," said Ruth Stephens, president of the Textile Center's board of directors. "Tim is very aware that this is on his plate for the Textile Center."