Art Hounds: 2011 Highlights, part three

We asked our Art Hounds to tell us about their Minnesota arts and culture highlights of the year. Here is the third and final installment (here are links to part one and part two).

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Northern Spark

We loved Northern Spark, a dusk to dawn art happening in June in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. The events going on were mostly focused around the Mississippi River. In Minneapolis there was everything from a community kazoo band to projections on the mill buildings and throngs of people enjoying art together. In St. Paul, there were light installations on the river banks and art on a riverboat, among many other happenings. We heard people say that it felt like Barcelon – and it did. People are still talking about it six months afterward. It was the city we deserve.

-Debra deNoyelles, The Soap Factory and Molly Balcom Raleigh, Forecast Public Art

Formation of the Rural American Contemporary Art group

The group started as a facebook page that Brian Frink, artist and art professor at Minnesota State University – Mankato, and it grew to 400 members nationally within one week. I think it has captured a movement that’s going on among contemporary artists that choose to live in rural or small town areas. The boundaries don’t exist anymore. You don’t have to live in an “art city” to engage in the kinds of intellectual conversations that foster contemporary art.

-Stephanie Wilbur Ash, writer and performer

City of Music: The Cloak Ox perform “Vacuum Cleaner” from MPLS.TV on Vimeo.

The Cloak Ox debut show at The Turf Club

My most memorable local music event of this last year happened in January: The Cloak Ox’s debut show at the Turf Club. The Cloak Ox is a new rock band fronted by Andrew Broder of fog and Martin Dosh. Given their experiemental backgrounds, I didn’t know what to expect but their sound was more of straight-ahead rock and I was pleased to see they were a succinct, tight band. That night was also the second or third night that The Turf Club was open again ater it closed on New Year’s Day. So it was reassuring to see that The Turf Club was still going to be around and still a cornerstone of the St. Paul music scene.

-Jon Gilbert, First Avenue website manager

Amiri Baraka’s “Wise, Why’s, Y’s” produced by Tru Ruts’ Freestyle Theatre

The performance visualized critical elements of the African American experience from the 1800s to 2011 through dance, spoken word, music and intricate paintings. Historical references were placed in a context any audience member could grasp. The audience response to the work was incredibly visceral and clearly indicated a desire to experience the performance again and again.

-Janis Lane-Ewart, cultural actvist and executive director of KFAI Fresh Air Radio

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