FLOW Northside Arts Crawl 2011: Bouncing back and giving thanks

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It’s been an exciting summer for the arts in Minneapolis. Self-guided tours like Art-a-Whirl and the brand new Northern Spark festival brought out huge crowds who enjoyed a “create your own adventure” experience. Twin Cities residents who missed out on one or both of these events have another chance to enjoy the art community and the waning summer season with the FLOW Northside Arts Crawl, taking place on July 30th.

The organization’s name for the event, FLOW, is not an anagram but rather a term that represents the Northside art community in general.  The word is “evocative of the movement that people will have as they go down Broadway Avenue” during the event, FLOW artistic director Dudley Voigt says.

This is the sixth year of the event being held, and it promises to be bigger than ever. There are clusters of activities that center around Emerson and Penn Avenue. Primarily between the hours of 3 and 8 p.m., Live music, breakdancing, photography displays, and a spoken-word showcase led by Tish Jones will all be featured. In addition, a huge number of local organizations, such as Juxtaposition Arts, will set up interactive displays that showcase what they are all about. “This will be a living mosaic of neighbors, community members, volunteers, and organizations,” FLOW’s organizers proudly announced in a press release.

The art collective’s brain trust has decided to make this an event that directly responds to the tornado that struck Minneapolis this spring and caused massive damage. From 5-6 p.m., a ceremony will be held at the intersection of Penn and Broadway to recognize the thousands of volunteers who helped clean up our city following the damage caused by the tornado. Volunteers who helped clean up themselves or through an organization are welcome to come and take part in a panoramic photograph that will later be made available as a free download.

There will also be art installments that take the disaster and turn it around into a positive force in various ways. You can watch as artists work on carved creations using chainsaws on trees which were uprooted by the tornado. Some of the trees are coming straight off people’s properties and onto the site. Murals, photography, and poetry will all be utilized to look back at the aftermath.

The activities focusing on the tornado best showcase FLOW’s message, which is broad and community-centered. “I think that theme usually is re-development,” Voigt said, “and as the sixth event, what I see looking back to the first one in 2006 is that it’s kind of cool to think about what’s changed.”

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