Alil Momeni


Uri Sands


Local artists get seed money

  • January 25, 2010 - 8:40 PM

Galleries are great, but every artist itches to take over a whole building. That's what University of Minnesota art professor Ali Momeni and a team of artists will do next year at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA), thanks to Chicago's Joyce Foundation.

The award is among five $50,000 Joyce grants to arts organizations in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois. Each will support new work by an artist of color.

St. Paul's Ordway Center also got a grant to commission a new dance from St. Paul-based choreographer Uri Sands, top right, inspired by the paintings of black artist Ernie Barnes. TU Dance, a troupe headed by Sands and his wife, Toni, will perform the piece in the Ordway's 2010-11 season.

Momeni, bottom right, an Iranian-born musician and technology artist, working with colleague Jenny Schmid and a team of Minneapolis artists and teens, will project images about war and its global effects onto the exterior of the MIA. The performance will include original music, computer-manipulated drawings and audience participation. A signature element in the museum's new contemporary art program, the event also will be documented in a multimedia gallery show linking current events to historic material in the museum's collection including Persian textiles and 16th-century Mughal paintings.

Three other Joyce grants went to organizations in Chicago and Milwaukee. In Chicago the Old Town School of Folk Music will commission a vaudeville-inspired multimedia performance from the Carolina Chocolate Drops, a black string band, and Steppenwolf Theatre will do a new play based on the biblical book of Job by black playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney. The Milwaukee Art Museum will mount an exhibit by Theaster Gates incorporating pottery, sculpture, video and music.


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