24th Street Urban Farm Coalition’s Medicine Garden knits Minneapolis American Indian community together

Most community gardens are small rented plots, paid for and maintained by individuals who buy and plant the seeds and put in sweat equity for a small harvest. The 24th Street Urban Farm Coalition’s Medicine Garden (in Ojibwe, Mashkiikii Gitigan), in the Ventura Village neighborhood of Minneapolis, is different. Less a community garden and more a communal garden, it’s a place where members of the mostly American Indian community can come to help maintain, harvest fresh vegetables—sharing work, food, and knowledge.The garden, has been open since 2011, on a tract of land donated by and across from the Indian Health Board. The mission of the garden expanded this year when Christina Elias, its first farmer (yes, it’s an official title), was hired. Elias has gone beyond the garden’s original mission working, she says, to make this garden a place to come for community, art, spirit and connections to the Earth. “There’s a spiritual element,” said Elias, “that comes from making the garden beautiful and artistic. You can’t grow food without a spiritual connection.”In spiritual center of the garden is the Three Sister’s Spiral, a turtle shaped circle of corn, beans and squash plants. Continue Reading

Franklin Art Works plans move, seeks streamlined space

On July 18, subscribers to the Franklin Art Works newsletter were met with a press release in their inboxes stating that the local arts organization would be temporarily closing its doors and relocating to a new space after 13 years at their current location on 10th and Franklin.Franklin Art Works opened on November 20, 1999 and, at the time, was the only nonprofit in the Twin Cities devoted to presenting an annual series of solo exhibitions featuring contemporary art—along with cities like Miami, New York, and Los Angeles, among others.Over the years Franklin has worked tirelessly to advance the careers of a diverse array of artists including Rob Fischer, Aaron Spangler, Santiago Cucullu, Aïda Ruilova, Jacob Kassay, Shinique Smith, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Kehinde Wiley, Nicola López, and Zak Smith. They are also responsible for introducing more seasoned artists like Ghada Amer, Uta Barth, Wangechi Mutu, Christian Marclay, Paul Chan, and Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle to the Twin Cities.After over 140 solo exhibitions featuring new work by artists from around the world, the Franklin Art Works board of directors have decided to sell the 10,000-square foot facility and suspend their programming for several months on August 10, 2013. According to director Time Peterson (who will remain on staff full time), the space will be on the market within the coming week and there are already several interested buyers. The process of selling the nearly 100-year-old building will directly enhance Franklin’s financial resources ensuring the longevity of the organization—especially in regards to maintenance costs and oversight. With building upkeep a thing of the past, Franklin’s staff will be better suited to dedicate more time to developing programs and outreach.Today, about a third of the current facility is used for Franklin’s mission, and once the move has been complete Franklin will focus on developing a space that will serve for the next decade. Continue Reading

Public art: Ephemeral but essential

I keep waiting for the news that the Peace House mural is being torn down. It could happen any day now, since Peace House has officially moved into its new home. The organization is going to be in a much better building that fits its needs, and in the space where the rather dilapidated building stands now, there will be nice new affordable housing units, so all in all, everybody’s happy—except maybe the people, including me, who love that mural.I pass Angela Carlson Talle’s glittering mosaic several times a week. When the sun is setting, it sparkles with color and light. It makes me happy. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Baking and breaking bread in the Phillips neighborhood

For the past few weeks, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church has been engaging their members, local residents, ‘shelter’ residents, and ‘transitional housing’ community by creating an outdoor community oven. This wood-fired brick oven will be available for community bake days (under supervision) for many people whom have never experienced the opportunity to create their own breads and/or pizzas. This religious community has put their faith and belief into action by welcoming others and have truly been “Inclusive”. There is a plan for a local pizza bake day for National Night Out on August 6th. Please come and join them as they celebrate another wonderful event and outreach. Continue Reading