Music and Movies fans rise up

When news broke last week that the Walker Art Center was putting its annual Music and Movies in the Park series on hiatus this summer, an outcry immediately rose up amongst Twin Cities residents. Here’s just a sampling of some of the comments that shot out across Twitter:

aulku: Noo! 🙁 Summer RUINED

meretewells: WHAT?! Not cool, Walker.

AlludedInSquint: Riot in the park, anyone?

When Matt Barthelemy heard the news, he sprang into action. Along with friends he created a facebook page to organize people interested in making the festival happen this summer – with or without the Walker Art Center.

As of this writing, his group “The 34th Year (of Movies & Music at Loring Park)” has 1700 members. Barthelemy says he’s “super-excited” to see people joining the cause.

The community doesn’t want to burn any bridges with the Walker Art Center – I’m a huge fan of the Walker – and the best thing that they do is movies and music in the park. But they cancelled it without allowing the community to have a voice in the decision. If funding was an issue, or logistics was an issue, they could have at least brought other people to the table to help out.

Barthelemy is now working to form a non-profit, and get a park permit. He says he’d love for the Walker Art Center to at least be involved in the conversation.

Barthelemy says Minnesotans live for summertime and, like the May Day Parade, the Loring Park series is a significant part of the Minneapolis summer experience.

The Walker Art Center’s Rachel Joyce says the PR department was contacted by Barthelemy, and has responded to him.

We know about the page, we’re aware of it, and it sounds great. We support anyone doing anything in the community around the arts. Obviously it wont be the Walker’s movie and music series, so it won’t be the Walker’s “34th year of movies and music.” The next one we host will be “the 34th” – this is their first year.”

Walker Director Olga Viso wrote on the museum’s blog that she appreciates the special significance of the movie and music series to the civic life of the metro area and is extremely grateful to the community for embracing it all these years:

As a contemporary art center committed to bringing art, artists, and audiences together in innovative ways, we think it is critical to re-evaluate all of our programming from time to time and experiment with new ideas that inspire us as individuals, cultures, and communities…

Summer Music & Movies and other Walker programs–Rock the Garden, Momentum, and Choreographers’ Evening–have taken hiatuses in the past only to return reinvigorated and better than ever. We hope you’ll take part in the many free activities planned at the Walker all summer long as we re-envision how a popular program like Summer Music & Movies can be even better in the future.