Mix of arts and community spells success for Marcy Arts Partnership

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Many folks in Southeast Minneapolis are the proud owners of new artwork this morning after the very successful Marcy Arts Partnership ABC Gala last night at the Soap Factor (ABC stands for auction/benefit/concert). The Gala is an annual event that raises money for the Marcy Arts Partnership, a group that exists to support arts at Marcy Open School. This past year, for example, MAP paid for Marcy-Holmes resident Robin Nelson to work with the first through fourth graders, teaching them folk dancing and singing, and Nicollet Island resident Ross Sutter, who came in to help third through sixth graders learn to make whistles.

The past couple years, the gala has been held at the Cedar Culture Center, but this year Ben Heywood, director of the Soap Factory (on Second Street SE off of Fif th Avenue), opened his gallery for the event. It was the perfect space: industrial but very comfortable, with a large open space for people to gather, as well as smaller, quieter rooms and a back porch with the perfect view of the skyline. It was also nice to have the event closer to Marcy school. Because it was so convenient, there were many people from the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood who walked down to enjoy the party, even though they don’t have kids in school.

For those of you who haven’t attended before, the gala is a wonderful party featuring lots of donated art works you can get through a live or silent auction, as well as food from local restaurants and music. Last night three groups performed—the Marcy Jazz Combo, Hot! Dish, and Trio Tipo. Approximately 80 artists and organizations donated art to be auctioned, including many Bridgeland and Northeast residents. Thirty-two restaurants donated food to serve, and 38 organizations and individuals donated their services to raise money in the silent auction. Quite a wonderful show of support for Marcy from local businesses and other organizations!

Marcy mom and Seward resident Linda Breitag did a great job emceeing the evening, Ann Arkell did a beautiful job presenting the food, and many other parents pitched in to set up, to bartend, to wrap art works, and to clean up at the end. Members of the MAP commmittee put in dozens of hours planning and executing the event; they are Melissa Bean (Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association) , Scott Bean (teacher), Linda Breitag (parent and artist), David Bruns (teacher), Jane Ellis (principal), Carmen Gutierrez-Bolger (parent and artist), Katrine Harrison (parent and artist), Ben Heywood (parent and Soap Factory director), Lydia McAnerney (MAP coordinator), Denise Mayotte (parent), Wendy Morris (parent and artist), and Gretchen Nichols (parent).

Also important, of course, are all the people who attended the event and purchased art. Besides being a key fundraiser, the Gala is also always a spirit raiser, as it comes in the spring, when parents and teachers are starting to wear out and when budget numbers for next year are looking grim. But at an event like this, your courage as a parent is renewed by seeing all the other wonderful and interesting parents, teachers, and community members who care about our kids and the public schools and are eager to show that support by getting together for a big party and shelling out some money for some cool art work so that Marcy kids can benefit from the talents and expertise of artists who come into the school.

It’s like Scott Bean said last night: the Marcy Gala is a kind of stone soup, where we all pitch in a little bit and together produce something wonderful. Thanks to everyone involved, especially the artists and the organizers, for creating a very special and enjoyable evening that will allow the kids at Marcy to enjoy another great year of arts education

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