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Posts about Funding and grants

Go ahead, vote on some public art

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson Updated: February 10, 2014 - 4:31 PM

MIMMI, an interactive sculpture lit from inside by LED lights that changed color, won the 2013 Creative City Challenge in the program's first year.  Photo by Renee Jones Schneider.

Remember that giant multicolored UFO-like sculpture hovering over the plaza by the Minneapolis Convention Center last summer? The city is bringing back the program that made it possible, expanding funding for the winning entry from $50,000 to $75,000. They've also added a partner, Northern Lights.mn, the force behind the annual dusk-to-dawn outdoor arts extravaganza known as Nothern Spark, at which this year's winning public artwork will make its debut (June 14).

The Creative City Challenge competition for a "temporary destination artwork" was launched last year as a way of attracting more people to hang out on the plaza, actually a green roof across the street from the Convention Center.  It is open to individuals or teams of designers, artists, architects and engineers, but at least half of the members must be based in Minnesota.

The public can vote online for one of this year's jury-selected  finalists, all of which encourage interactivity. The proposals will be presented publicly at the University of Minnesota's School of Architecture and Design, Rapson Hall at 6 p.m. tonight (Monday Feb. 10). They are:

  •          Balancing Ground by Amanda Lovelee, Christopher Field, Kyle Waites & Sarah West: A welcoming interactive space that weaves play and peacefulness together through the use of sound, light, text and group movements to create meaningful engagement and the opportunity for intimate, public conversations. The installation will consist of long rows of wood benches interrupted with a series of playground teeter-totters which will be surrounded by a large wood structure with a canopy of prisms and reflective fragments strung between rafters.
  •          Chrysalis by Wil Natzel & Jerry Natzel: An assemblage of deployable elements including a series of entry archways where the lighting reacts to people’s movements, a communal seating court and a tower pavilion through which the public will be guided. Once inside the pavilion, the public will experience an overhead explosion of baroque pattern, light and decoration, which will transform each month to display different exotic designs and configuration.
  •          SPark by Will Peterson, Bill Ferenc, Melissa Gagner & Trygve Nordberg: A colony of autonomous, self-moving “flowers” in which visitors are welcomed and encouraged to walk among to experience these human-sized components. SPark responds to visitors through movement and light, and each sculptural flower is a self-governed entity, linked to the other flowers by a wireless network. Through different interactions, visitors will be able to make SPark come to life: it can move, pulse and even breathe. 

Voting runs through Feb. 28 at http://www.startribune.com/a2560

Intermedia Arts gets $1 million grant

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson Updated: February 3, 2014 - 6:49 PM
In 2013, Intermedia Arts created a pilot project with the city of Minneapolis, pairing artists with city planners to come up with orginal ideas for improving neighborhoods.Pooling the talents of the wonks and the dreamers for a little "creative city-making" produced results including small area plans for DInkytown, Linden Hills, Penn Ave. N. and a southwest-Minneapolis LRT station. The project was funded with $325,000 from national grant giver ArtPlace.

Now Intermedia, known for its community involvement and outreach to all demographics, can expand on that initial effort, because the Kresge Foundation has given them $ 1 million to do just that over the next three years.

Intermedia will help to select local artists to work with up to five city departments, said Theresa Sweetland, executive and artistic director of Intermedia Arts. Both current mayor Betsy Hodges and former mayor R.T. Rybak were on hand at an early afternoon gathering at Intermedia's space  on Lyndale Ave. S to announce the news.

Results of the 2013 pilot program are on display in an exhibit called "This Is Our City!" at Intermedia through March 8.

Photo: Director Theresa Sweetland of Intermedia Arts, which announced a $1 million grant from the Kresge Foundation Monday.

Victoria Theater to be rehabbed

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson Updated: January 16, 2014 - 9:47 AM

 The Victoria Theater at 825 University Ave. in Frogtown will be refurbished to put on live shows once more. Photo by Kimmy Tanaka.

If the walls of the Victoria Theater could talk, they'd sing. And dance. Singing and dancing will be happening there again if a neighborhood booster group can raise enough money. The century-old space with a colorful history in St. Paul's Frogtown won't become a parking lot, said writer/director Tyler Olsen, founder of the St. Paul troupe Dangerous Productions. The Twin Cities Community Land Bank will buy the Franklin Ellerbe-designed theater on behalf of the Victoria Theater Arts Initiative, a group that wants to restore the vacant eyesore, most recently a lamp store, and turn it into a combo-use space including an intimate (200-seat) theater and possibly elements of a community center.

Built in 1915, the theater originally showed movies before becoming a nightclub and then a speakeasy during Prohibition."Moonshiners' Dance: Part One," an historically influential song included in the American Anthology of Folk Music, was recorded there in 1927.The St. Paul City Council granted the Beaux Arts building historic designation in 2010.

The bank paid about $275,000 for what is “right now, a shell,” Olsen said. “No furnace, no bathrooms, but if you look hard, you can see a theater.” He said that while Bedlam Theatre’s move to Lowertown is a good thing, the closing of Gremlin Theatre on University last year leaves a need for another small performing space in St. Paul. “This brings theater out to a part of the city that thousands of people will be commuting through every day, the Central Corridor. Our goal is to engage those people as well as the neighborhood.”

A fundraising campaign is being planned, Olsen said.

$1.7 million in grants for arts touring in Minnesota

Posted by: Graydon Royce Updated: January 9, 2014 - 2:10 PM


Theater Latte Da's "Steerage Song," which was produced last fall, will tour the state because of a state arts board grant./photo by Michal Daniel.


The Minnesota State Arts Board has posted the winners of 2014 arts touring grants. The program allows groups and individuals to bring the arts to greater Minnesota. Forty-one grants were made, totaling just more than $1.7 million.

The largest grants, for $100,000 each, went to Asian Media Access for a tour of a pan-Asian dance drama to three cities and to the Minnesota Orchestra for a Common Chords residency in Bemidji.

The jazz group, The New Standards, was awarded $93,000 to tour several cities throughout the state, including a holiday show in Rochester. VocalEssence will be granted $92,000 to tour southeast Minnesota and Theater Latte Da is authorized to use $88,000 to tour its original show, "Steerage Song," about the early 20th century immigrant experience.

The grants come with reporting requirements and certain levels of accountability. In the case of the Minnesota Orchestra, for example, the grant would only be paid if the organization has its musicians back at work for the September program in Bemidji. The Orchestra previously conducted a Common Chords tour to Grand Rapids in 2011, and in Willmar in 2012.

The full list is here.

Jon Hassler Theater is closing

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson Updated: November 22, 2013 - 5:15 PM

The Jon Hassler Theater in Plainview.   Photo from theater's Facebook page.

The Jon Hassler Theater in Plainview, Minn., is closing. Named for the esteemed writer who grew up in the town of about 3,300 northeast of Rochester, this little drama house on the prairie founded 14 years ago drew critical praise for the quality of the more than 60 plays staged there. Its home, a former farm-plement dealership, also houses a bookstore and art gallery.

The rising costs of putting on shows factored into the decision to close,said Dean Harrington, CEO of the Rural America Arts Partnership, the umbrella orgnazation that runs the theater. But that was only one reason.

“Attendance plateaued after the first few years and after that we didn’t get the increases we needed,” Harrington said. “Also part of our mission was to produce challenging work, and there was some audience for that in this area, but not enough to make it a satisfying endeavor.”

The Hassler will continue to house productions on a rental basis through 2014, to honor prior commitments to high school and community groups who have planned shows and other events.

“We hope the school or someone else might buy it so it can continue being used as a theater, but if there’s no interest it will be redeveloped as a commercial space of some sort,” Harrington said. 

“It does take a bigger investment than just ticket sales to keep a theater going,” said Brett Olson, a supporter of the Hassler who runs a  rural-arts advocacy nonprofit called Renewing the Countryside. “The Guthrie couldn’t survive on that. The money that goes to the urban arts may be geographically proportional to the amount of taxes paid, but the rural areas can wind up being left out.”


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