Starting in October the Minnesota Museum of American Art gets to hang its art on its own walls again.
Photo courtesy the MMAA
The museum will move into a street level suite of galleries in the Pioneer Building this fall, where it will be open for limited hours each week. The partial re-opening will allow the museum to see if the new location will work as a permanent home. Executive Director Kristin Makholm says the location, near the edge of the Lowertown neighborhood, will help the museum become more integrated with the downtown St. Paul community.
This new home is right along the light rail line, it's right on the skyway, it's two blocks from Union Depot and from the hub of the Lowertown artists' community, and this location really will reflect and signify our embeddedness in the community in a new and dynamic way.
Three years ago the museum was forced to leave it's home on Kellogg Boulevard in downtown Saint Paul to make way for redevelopment. A lack of both funds and leadership forced the museum to put its collection in storage.
Then director Kristin Makholm was brought on board, and ever since she's been working to raise the funds for a new home, while simultaneously keeping the collection alive in people's minds by touring the works in galleries across the state.
Makholm says this move means a great deal for the museum and the community:
It will be like a living room where neighbors can play a real part in helping to determine what the new MMAA will be like. The "on the road" exhibitions we've been doing for the past couple of years have been important for the MMAA because they've allowed us to share our distinctive collection in new venues throughout the metro and state and to invite new audiences into the fold. Those exhibitions will continue to happen in the next few years.
Makholm says the new home will allow the museum to reconnect with the public. She says now is the time for the museum to take the next steps toward establishing a new home.
Everyone wants to see the MMAA back in a strong and significant way, and there is much support for this new gallery, this location, and the kind of exhibitions and activities that will be offered in the space.
Our goal is a permanent home and so, like any nonprofit, fund-raising and "funds-sustaining " are the challenges we see on the horizon. We are optimistic because we have received so much support from the community and government sources alike, for the build out of this new space and for our operations in general, but it will be important to continue to bring in supporters from the entire metro, state, and region who understand the unique stories the MMAA can and will tell through art and through collaborations with artists and other organizations.
The historic Pioneer Building was once home to the Pioneer Press.
Face it, the old "boy meets girl" story is as old as the hills. So why not mix it up a bit?
Jomama Jones, with her back-up singers Bianca McClure and Kalean Ung
Photo by Michal Daniel
This weekend features an array of performances where gender lines are bent, blurred or completely rewritten. Here's a sampling:
Now in its 12th year, Dykes Do Drag is a monthly gender-bending cabaret show, mixing pop and politics and featuring dykes of all stripes strutting, singing and storytelling. Performances are tonight and tomorrow at 10pm at Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis.
Pop diva Jomama Jones is back on tour singing tunes from her latest album, Radiate. Performer Daniel Alexander Jones says Jomama chose him as her vessel for spreading her message of love. Through June 24 at Pillsbury House Theatre in Minneapolis.
Created and produced by 20% Theatre Company Twin Cities, The Naked I: Wide Open is made up of monologues, short scenes, and true stories by transgender/gender non-conforming individuals and allies. Performances tonight and tomorrow at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis.
There is now a working bar in the kitchen of Minnesota's first territorial governor, Alexander Ramsey.
The house where Alexander Ramsey lived when he first became a U.S. senator is now home to the occasional happy hour.
Photo courtesy of the Minn. Historical Society
As MPR's Rupa Shenoy reports, History Happy Hour is part of the Minnesota Historical Society's latest strategy to attract more visitors to historic sites.
Historical society program director Jayne Becker says Ramsey's wife, Anna, threw lavish parties and concerts, making the home a center of society in the years after the Civil War. Becker hopes to continue in that tradition.
"To walk in the door and hear, already, laughing, or hear talking, or clapping, it's just a way of stepping back in time and maybe actually getting a truer picture of what life was actually like when Alexander Ramsey and his wife lived here," Becker said.
The Ramsey family gave the mansion to the Minnesota Historical Society in the 1960s. Until about two-and-a-half years ago, the society had two full-time staff members working here. Budget cuts forced the Historical society down to one part-time staffer. The Ramsey House reduced its public hours.
The happy hour events could bring in money that would open the house again full-time, Becker said.
Tickets are $20 and come with two drinks. You can find out more about History Happy Hour here.
Posted at 4:11 PM on June 15, 2012
by David Cazares
Filed under: Culture
T. Mychael Rambo
Actor and singer T. Mychael Rambo is in the home stretch of a momentous project this week, guiding a chorus of rich voices to the Fitzgerald Theater's stage to highlight the role black men play in their communities.
On Saturday, Rambo will host Tying the Knot -- Song of Our Fathers, a multifaceted program that will feature award-winning authors, playwrights, singers and musicians.
Created in a partnership with Dads Make A Difference, Save Our Sons and Obsidian Arts, Tying the Knot aims to celebrate African-American fathers and fatherhood. The project takes its name from the coming-of-age practice of fathers or elders showing sons how to knot a tie and includes the work of local writers Brian Grandison, Louis Porter II, Carolyn Holbrook and Rambo.
We asked Rambo about the project. Here's what he had to say:
How did the Tying for the Knot project take shape?
The Tying the Knot project took shape out of a need within the African American community to acknowledge and celebrate the role of African American men as leaders and fathers within the community. The tying of the knot is a symbol of the unbreakable bond that ties the community to each other as family. We are partnered with incredible organizations and community partners such as Dads Make a Difference and Save Our Sons that are active here in the St. Paul that focus on education, outreach and support in order to bolster our young men as both fathers and sons within the community.
Is the show in anyway a response to the proliferation of bad and/or incomplete news on black men in media?
These things of course contribute to popular notions as to what a black man is. [But] this project seeks to highlight the positive. We are concerned with adding information to the amalgam of character that a black male can be. Certainly, we acknowledge the prevalent negative stereotypes that do exist in regard to that character. We are however much more focused on creating the space for stories to be told and voices to be recognized. In the workshops it is about democratizing that voice, and allowing the power of the story telling to be through the voices of the community members.
What specific stories do you hope to celebrate?
Spoken word artist and Father, Frank Sentwali gives us a really inspirational piece about perseverance and strength called No Pain, No Gain, Julius Collins III sings "You might find a man," which is about coming into one's own manhood and self discovery. Sarah Bellamy tells a wonderful story about hunting with her father and the lasting and important bond it has created. Manifest has written a piece about his experience and ethos as a father. So we have a diverse set of stories and with a diverse authorship. These stories all have a wide array of authorship and style and carry with an emphasis on community and the importance of our bonds to one another. We will also feature the incredible dance of Twin Cities notables. Christian Adeti, Alanna Morris, Marciano Silva Dos Santos.
Are you concerned about the paucity of stories about successful black fathers and leaders whose role is too often ignored?
Yes, of course. This is of great concern, but the fundamental way we look at taking the conversation back and moving forward in a positive way is through celebration. The different components give opportunity for individuals young and old to tell their stories of their biological fathers and their social fathers. It allows them to celebrate their father's strengths as well as acknowledge their weaknesses. We look forward to hearing stories from fathers and their sons and daughters through song and poetry Saturday night at The Fitzgerald Theatre.
Minnesota Public Radio is a sponsor of the program. MPR News will air an edited version of Tying the Knot at 9 p.m. Sunday.