Susannah Schouweiler knows her art; she's an editor for mnartists.org. She writes about Franconia Sculpture Park:
I've been a fan of Franconia Sculpture Park for a while now, but I really fell in love with the place last September at Franconia's Art & Artists Festival and Celebration when we took our son, George, with us. Seeing our three-year-old explore the park, watching him scramble over, around, and on top of the sculptures to get at all their textures and small hiding places was instructive: Franconia, unlike traditional gallery spaces or museums, invites you to engage the work directly, to touch the pieces, to step right up and play with the art like a kid.
When you stop by, you're treated a bit like visiting family; the artists who live and work at Franconia (many of whom are there on two-year Jerome Foundation artist-in-residence fellowships) are likely milling around the park with you, happy to take a break in what they're doing to chat for a minute.
Most of the 75 or so pieces on view at the park rotate through after a couple of years of exhibition time, so there's usually something new to see. At the same time, pieces are around for a relatively long time; so, if you visit a couple of times a year, you'll see bunches of old favorites each time, too. It's such a pleasure to see the sculptures weather over time as they make their peace with the elements and earn a bit of patina.
I suppose my very favorite aspect of Franconia, though, is the ubiquitous evidence of human handiwork behind the grandeur and whimsy of the finished pieces - heavy equipment to haul and fabricate stuff, artists with tools and brushes touching up their pieces, people milling around the communal house. My son calls it an "art farm;" I think that captures the gist of Franconia's appeal beautifully.
You can find out more about Franconia Sculpture Park, its fall arts celebration and its sculpture-building workshops for kids here.
Have a favorite piece of art that belongs to Minnesota (i.e. public art, a cool building, or a piece of art that belongs to a Minnesota museum)? Let us know.
Children's Theatre Company (CTC) today announced the addition of Debra Baron to its education department. Baron fills the role of director of CTC's Theatre Arts Training (TAT) program, which serves more than 1,500 youth annually.
Baron most recently served as the director of education for Westport Country Playhouse, in Westport, Conn. Her experience includes the development of arts education curricula, student instruction, staff development as well as an extensive list of directing credits.
"Debra is a great addition to CTC," said Gabriella Calicchio, managing director for CTC. "Her experience couples creativity and artistic vision with the prerequisite management skills needed to energize and expand our TAT program."
Prior to Westport Country Playhouse and CTC, Baron served as the director of education for BlackRock Center for the Arts, in Germantown, Md., and the BoarsHead Theater in Lansing, Mich. She also served as the artistic and managing director for Manatee Players located in Bradenton, Fla.
Baron has more than 120 directing credits, including "Peter Pan," "Into the Woods," "Fiddler on the Roof" and "The Crucible." She is a member of the Actors' Equity Association, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. Baron received her jurist doctorate at Howard University in Washington DC.
Next week the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis is hosting two screenings of the National Theatre's production of "Phèdre," starring actress Helen Mirren. The production will be projected onto a large screen on the Guthrie's McGuire Proscenium Stage.
The screening is an experiment, similar to the broadcast of Metropolitan Opera performances at movie theaters across the country. New York Times writer Christopher Isherwood got to attend a preview of the screening at the Directors Guild of America in Manhattan.
His review? Mixed. There were technical glitches, and the interviews leading up to the performance came across as a bit too didactic. But he also recognized the uniquely theatrical experience of watching a stage actor up close:
Seen on digital video -- in tight focus, if you will -- the intensity of the feeling in the performance keeps you riveted. The theatricality is unmistakable, with Ms. Mirren making dramatic shifts in vocal register and declaiming the verse in sometimes archly wrought tones. But the precisely channeled emotion behind the effects all but obliterates your awareness of the actress at work.(1 Comments)
When Phèdre is first informed that the man she loves loves another, the camera moved in tightly on the back of Ms. Mirren's head. She turned slowly to reveal a face suddenly transformed into a mask of cold fury, creating a moment of tension magnified by the intimacy of the camera's gaze. It was not "live" theater, but the goose bumps felt just the same.