Northsiders ask what it means to be an artist working in the community

Decade anniversaries have a marked way of provoking both reflection and projection. Now in its 10th year, FLOW Northside arts crawl tried to do both: reflect on its past and move forward from it–beginning with their first ever artist talk. It centered on the question of what it means to be an artist working in the community, and specifically the Northside community.

Taking place at Homewood Studios in North Minneapolis, the gathering drew some two-dozen artists and community members. One of the main goals, explained FLOW Artistic Director Dudley Voigt, was to provide an opportunity for established artists and emerging artists to be in the same space and learn from one another. “Particularly for visual artists as well as writers, for a lot of us, it can be very solitary work. And FLOW is very public, and yet it’s still solitary in the sense that the artists are spread out and they don’t get to see each others’ work.” Voigt and Homewood founder George Robert led the discussion, which included seven of FLOW’s 10 artists whose work was selected as a part of the organization’s 10-year anniversary postcard series. Continue Reading

Why is FLOW Northside Arts Crawl Important?

In anticipation of the 10th Anniversary FLOW Northside Arts Crawl, FLOW’s artist liaison, Farrington Llewellyn asked three North Minneapolis artists, Why is FLOW important to you? Kenna Camara Cottman: Why FLOW Is Important from North MPLS. Watch Kenna also speak about FLOW 2015. Ms. Naima: Keep Flowing from North MPLS. Elder Naima Richmond, poet, storyteller, author, has more to say about FLOW. Continue Reading

“Your Crew vs. My Crew” creates community amidst competition at Rondo Days [Photos]

The second annual “Your Crew vs. My Crew” dance competition finished out this year’s Rondo Days, which celebrates the black community that once thrived where I-94 now cuts through St. Paul.

“Every year we celebrate Rondo Days and the people and community who once stood there,” Leviticus Martin, the host of the event, proclaimed to a cheering audience during intermission of the competition. “So keep that in your minds and in your hearts when you come to Rondo Days, to the festival, to the parade, to the competition, that’s what it’s about. It’s about the community, it’s about love.”

The competition took place at Gangelhoff Arena on the Concordia University campus on Saturday, July 18th and lasted almost three hours. The competition and dance exhibition included nine crews from Minnesota, Indiana, and Nebraska. Continue Reading

Residents respond to railroad “pipeline on wheels”

Two years ago on July 6, an oil train explosion in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, killed 47 people, and to prevent a similar catastrophe from occurring in Minnesota, Citizens Acting for Rail Safety-Twin Cities (CARS-TC) held a press conference in St. Paul on Tuesday, July 7, to address this threat in the Twin Cities. “There’s been some good, some bad and some ugly,” Representative Frank Hornstein said, commenting on the progress between railroads and public safety. CARS-TC hosted the “Minnesota in the Blast Zone” press conference on July 7. The press conference glossed over the danger of railroads in the Twin Cities and gave a legislative update on rail safety and a critical evaluation on the railroad industry’s response. Continue Reading

J4, the Hmong Freedom Festival [Photos]

If you live in Saint Paul, you probably know about J4, the annual gathering and freedom celebration that takes place each July 4th weekend in Como Park. The event has been going on for 35 years, and was founded to mark the anniversary of Hmong immigration into the United States. Continue Reading