We are a perfection-obsessed culture. It shows up in how we make art and how we honor art made in public spaces. The drive to be perfect all the time can, in turn, block creativity and facilitate a culture of rigidity and a lack of expression. I am not writing this to give anyone advice on how to be more creative, I am writing to make the connection on how artmaking – especially in public spaces – unblocks the possibility of healing and protest in a hyper toxic climate.
On July 7, one day after Philando Castile was killed by St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez, a group of 12 artists and storytellers came together, through phone calls to one another, to process their grief and offer a different response to police brutality. They came together to make visible the community’s pain through art and erected a public mural in honor of Castile at the intersection of Lake Street and 20th Avenue.
“Prince was a very clear statement for a lot of queer folks. He was able to be that thing and embody this, I don’t know this energy that so many people have pent up inside or can’t express… Whatever it is, society doesn’t want to accept queerness, especially when it’s coming from black people, or masculine folks. I think Prince was just that thing, that epitome of what it means to be a carefree, queer, black, genderbending person.” –Mike Queenz Continue Reading
Taking a class with Cow Tipping Press was the first time Rob Bergerson had ever tried his hand at poetry–let alone read it aloud—which he did, at one of Cow Tipping Press’s public reading events. The reason he’d never done these things before was not, he said, because he didn’t think he could do them. He could. It was simply because until then, he hadn’t had an outlet. Continue Reading
“So often the terms and phrases applied to African American youth are negative: at risk, inner city, thug, gangster,” said Gary Hines, a three-time Grammy award winner and music director of the ensemble Sounds of Blackness. Continue Reading
Study abroad programs have been an international tradition for years, touted as a surefire way to expand global horizons and even change students’ worldviews. But ironically, they have a diversity problem – first and foremost, economically. Continue Reading
Minnesota is more than a thousand miles away from hip hop’s mainstays on either coast. Yet, Complex listed Minneapolis as one of the 15 best cities for hip hop fans in the United States, and Mic named the Twin Cities the “greatest hip-hop scene you’ve never heard of.” Continue Reading
“If Scott Seekins had taken photos of Auschwitz and inserted himself into those photos, I can’t even imagine the moral outrage,” said Anishinaabe artist and activist Ashley Fairbanks. “This is art about genocide.”
Inside the crowded Douglas Flanders & Associates gallery on May 14, one of Minneapolis’ most recognizable artists, Scott Seekins, opened his exhibit “The New Eden,” a collection of paintings and drawings depicting the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War. Many of the pieces seem to mimic Plains Indian art forms, including work created on ledger paper.
Images of Seekins himself appear throughout the collection, which is typical of his work. But when Seekins, a white man, paints himself next to Britney Spears — which he did throughout the 2000s — it’s different than inserting himself into cultural work dealing with genocide and oppression. Continue Reading
To the Guerrilla Girls, who got their start in New York in 1985, it was just a bit of visual humor–a prod at the patriarchy. But to the transgender and gender-nonconforming students in the audience, it didn’t seem funny so much as tone-deaf–and, frankly, insensitive. Continue Reading
Among the ways we choose to evaluate where we live, few reports are more respected than that of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI), an annual, comprehensive examination of cities’ laws, policies and services with regard to LGBT people and LGBT issues. Continue Reading