Scott Artley of Patrick's Cabaret participated in a Lake Street Cultural Connect gathering last summer. /Richard Tsong-Taatarii
The Twin Cities is losing one of its most unique artistic organizations, Patrick's Cabaret, but it intends to go out with a bang.
Founded by dancer/poet/provocateur Patrick Scully in 1986, Patrick's grew from a series of happenings in which Scully's penis often played a leading role into two Minneapolis performance spaces that supported the work of under-represented dancers, theater makers, poets, musicians and other artists (Scully has not been involved with the organization that bears his name for a decade).
Most recently located in a former fire station near Lake Street and Minnehaha Ave., Patrick's lost its lease in 2016 and attempted to continue its mission, serving artists and audiences "on the edge of culture," including people of color, people with disabilities and those with queer and trans identities. But that mission became more difficult when Patrick's shifted to performances in a variety of spaces, with no permanent home.
"It's been a struggle for a while, pretty much since we lost our building, in the same way many small arts organizations are living in constant struggle mode," says executive artistic director Scott Artley, acknowledging tough times for smaller arts group such as the shuttered Intermedia Arts and Bedlam Theatre.
"There's going to be a Patrick's Cabaret-shaped hole in the Twin Cities arts ecology," says Artley. "But our newest financial projections made it clear what our next step is."
Before closing operations after this summer, Patrick's will present a full slate of programming.
"We're really doing everything we want to do, on our own terms," says Artley, whose organization will try to raise $11,000 from individual donors to support a variety of upcoming progams, including Gabriela Santiago's science fiction-themed "Revolutionary Jetpacks: Reclaiming the Future" Feb. 16.-17 and a March 30-31 return of "Lightning Rod," in which random collaborators have a week to create works that are based on current events.
Between performances, educational programs and workshops, Artley says he and the Patrick's staff have been too busy to think about what's next for them, but he feels confident about next steps for the artists who have developed work via Patrick's and the audiences who supported it.
"There are other organizations who are poised to do this work and we're going to be spending our next eight months finding ways to pass the torch," says Artley, who likens these final events in the life of the roving arts organization as a chance for fans to "enjoy the sunset" of Patrick's Cabaret.