You’ve read the articles. You’ve heard about the state of performing arts in the Twin Cities. Many articles report on the depressing lack of funding the arts receive and the subsequent loss of many local programs. However, in many ways, the Twin Cities arts community is thriving and blossoming into a renowned hub for arts, culture, and music. The Twin Cities is the third largest theater market in the country, boasting the second highest theater seats per capita, only behind New York City. While powerhouse organizations like The Loft Literary Center, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, First Avenue, and The Guthrie keep the cultural gears turning, it is easy to forget the smaller arts organizations here that fill in the cracks, keeping this vibrant web of arts strong and prosperous.
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Many of these are small and deeply embedded in the communities in which they reside. Not only are they crucial to the larger arts community, they are vital to their communities, providing a space for often underrepresented voices, and a common area fostering genuine connection between those of the community. One such organization is Patrick’s Cabaret, located in the Longfellow community of Minneapolis.
Patrick’s Cabaret prides itself on being a quirky, provocative nonprofit theater working on the edge of culture. Seeking to support artists of all backgrounds in their growth and development, the Cabaret encourages artists to try new things, take risks, or present works in progress. Their first priority is to serve the needs of local performers while serving a diverse range of artists, from emerging to experienced, teenagers to seniors. Patrick’s Cabaret specifically reaches out to GLBT/queer identified artists, artists of color, local artists, and those with disabilities, carrying out the goals of founder, Patrick Scully.
During any show, the Cabaret is transformed into a colorful microcosm of the Twin Cities. The cozy living room-esque lobby is bursting with artists and performers, dreamers and doers, idealists and lovers, friends and family, activists, helpers, optimists. All there in that tiny space in support of experimental art, local artists, underrepresented stories, and community building, creating a beautiful one-night-only connection. It is a genuine, unanimous understanding of the importance of art in our community and the benefits it brings. Performing Arts Curator, Scott Artley explains, “Community is built by the people that show up, and I need to make opportunities for that community to come together and build it.”
Performances tend to be equally as diverse, ranging from storytelling and spoken word, to a variety of dance ensembles, to singer/songwriter performances. Performances are completely free of censorship, allowing artists full artistic liberty. While each cabaret has a general theme, artists can interpret that theme in any way they choose. The subsequent show consists of six acts, all unique, creating an eclectic mix of art forms. Artley comments, “What’s exciting is the only constant is variety.”
Because the Cabaret believes artists should be able to perform their art and get paid for doing so, 100% of ticket sales during a show go to the artists performing. It is truly a space created exclusively for artists’ development, supported exclusively by the community that attends each show. Thus, Patrick’s Cabaret is grateful of all donations it receives.
In order to keep this free space operating, the Cabaret is having a fundraiser on October 25th at 7pm called MEAT RAFFLE. Though not a typical meat raffle with ribs and steak, it includes a date auction with plenty of artist meat to bid on. Artist-designed games, crop art, vintage book button making, and beer and wine are also included in this feisty Midwest-themed throw down. Classic 90’s music and dancing will be a perfect culmination to a night celebrating local art, artists of all backgrounds, cultural relevance, and Patrick’s Cabaret. Tickets are $15 at the door, with all proceeds going to support the organization that is both a necessary part in the Twin Cities cultural web, as well as a crucial resource to local artists of all backgrounds.