Music filtered into the evening air last Saturday night through the front doors of the Minnesota Museum of American Art. The Get Out the Vote concert was set to be held on the museum’s popular patio, but due to the rainy conditions, the bands were moved indoors. The main floor gallery was cleared of its normal artwork and instead was filled with patriotic voices. Poster art was projected onto a screen as the bands played.

The crowd was mostly college-age; between sets, many wandered to a table set up by MPIRG to register as new voters. MPIRG (Minnesota Public Interest Research Group) representatives greeted everyone by asking, “Are you registered to vote? Are you registered to vote at your current address?”

MPIRG’s goal is to register 10,000 new voters by October 14, which is the last day to register before the presidential election. The group has already registered about 5,000 new voters and is well on the way to its goal. The Get Out the Vote event at MMAA is just one of many events MPIRG is holding throughout the Twin Cities. They recently held three musical events at First Avenue and an event at the Bryant-Lake Bowl. In addition, they are involved with 15 different campus groups. Events like Get Out the Vote usually produce 30-50 new voter registrations, and halfway through the MMAA event, MPIRG had already registered 25 new voters.

The Art Here poster exhibit at MMAA was, first and foremost, about voting. Posters reading “Left or Right just pick one,” “Speak,” “Vote with your heart,” and “Be Alive Vote” flashed on the screen; many others just displayed the word “Vote” in different ways. In addition to being projected on the screen, the posters were displayed in a separate room just off the patio. The diverse crowd visibly enjoyed the down-home honkytonk feel of A Night in the Box, just one of five bands who played that night.

The Minnesota Museum of American Art has become one of the top places to see music in St. Paul—even in the rain. Kudos to events coordinator Phil Borreson for making this year’s concert patio series such a hit.

Melissa Slachetka is a freelance writer and photographer who lives in Minneapolis and contributes regularly to the Daily Planet.

MMAA Patio Nights in the Daily Planet:
• Melissa Slachetka on Awesome Snakes, Dance Band, and Storyhill
• Jason Ericson on Spaghetti Western String Co. and Kid Dakota