We asked our Art Hounds to pick their arts and culture highlights of the year (you can see the first round here; the third and final will air tomorrow). Here is the second round of favorites:
The portraits that Wing took were so evocative and provocative. These are the faces of Saint Paul and the words each person chose to express him/herself were so engaging; they invited us to learn more about them. The scope of the exhibit (with portraits placed on the windows of University Avenue businesses, large scale murals on the sides of buildings and the nightly screening with music) filled the city with art in a very big way. We went several times and brought out-of-town friends each time.
-Sharon DeMark, arts administrator
The Great Game: Afghanistan at the Guthrie
The Great Game: Afghanistan cycle of plays from the UK’s Tricycle Theatre was equal parts education and art–it provided specific information about the checkered history of the West’s relationship with Afghanistan that cast new light on our current situation there. It also provided so many moments of pungent writing, great performances and human insight.
-Elissa Adams, director of new play development at The Children’s Theatre Company
The Arts Meander 2010 – The Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl
In one weekend, we had a chance to meet a wide variety of artists who live and work in West-Central Minnesota. One of them was an author, Brent Olson, who read two touching, funny stories to us from “The Lay of the Land,” and “Papa, Figuring out what Matters,” in a cozy space in Montevideo. The Arts Meander is a testament to the talented, amazing artists who live here.
-Emily Wright, musician
Mark Mallman’s Marathon 3
We streamed Mark Mallmans Marathon 3 via the internet. We made a special trip to St Paul during the 48th hour. No other art motivated me with its message more than M3.
-Corey McNally, artist
The Mushroom Picker at the Open Eye Figure Theatre
Patrick Dewane’s one-man show is the story of the author/actor and his grandfather, a Czech-American WWII vet. Their relationship expands when the author comes into posession of his deceased grandfather’s war memoirs. It is glowing, circling story of a man developing a new understanding of his family, his heritage, and himself.
-Jackie Smith, singer
CSA (Community Supported Art)
The CSA program (an initiative of Springboard and mnartists.org) was a genius way to support local artists, get art into the world, and share excitement about the art being made in our lovely state. I loved getting each shipment and, much like a produce CSA, being surprised with the contents and figuring out how to use the items I received.
-Bethany Whitehead, arts administrator
Bernardo Atxaga reading at the Loft Literary Center
Two great writers–Charles Baxter and Bernardo Atxaga–brought together by an amazing local press, Greywolf Press, for a powerful night of literature. I was blown away by Atxaga’s mastery of prose.
-Erik Brandt, musician
The Scottsboro Boys was as courageous, difficult, and enthralling a piece of theater as I’ve ever seen. It walked a seemingly impossible line between flashy Broadway-style entertainment and the portrayal of a horrific moment in our nation’s history, all the while co-opting the historically racist medium of the minstrel show. And yet, despite (and, perhaps, because of) the cognitive dissonance it provoked, the unavoidable sense of unease it elicited in its audience, and the story of humanity it portrayed, it is exactly the kind of work that the American theater should be producing.
-Sid Solomon, actor
The premiere of Urban Bush Women’s “Uncensored” works, produced by the Northrop Auditorium
The choreography was sensual, evocative, and easily captured the ability to tell a story via movement and song. The colors and stage setting utilizing only fresh, ripe fruits of the fall season was innovative, while the sparcity of setting leant itself to more imagination. The performance featured works censored by the NEA in the late ’80s/early ’90s, making the production an important historical marker.
-Janis Lane-Ewart, executive director of KFAI Fresh Air Radio
John Jodzio’s book of short stories, If You Lived Here You’d Already Be Home
John Jodzio totally knocked it out of the literary equivalent of Target Field with this quirky, hilarious story collection. More than just Jodzio’s debut at bat as an author of quirky, hilarious books, If You Lived Here You’d Already Be Home is also the premiere publication of Replacement Press, a small, scrappy upstart nipping at the heels of the Twin Cities publishing scene.
-Brian Beatty, comedian, writer