2011 was a particularly hard year to look back on. Sure, there was plenty to celebrate, from Ragamala Dance’s exceptional year, to the opening of the Cowles Center for Dance, and a grant that gave the city of St. Paul close to $1 million to employ artists.
But 2011 was also a year marked by loss. Not just institutions we loved – like the Southern Theater – but people. Some left us at a ripe old age, after leading full lives – John Davis and Leonard Parker – but others left us way too soon. I’m thinking about playwright Tom Poole, poet Roy McBride and jazz singer Christine Rosholt. Here at MPR, we lost both Arthur Hoehn and Tom Keith.
So as we start 2012, let’s give thanks to those who helped us get here, but weren’t able to make the journey themselves.
Here are just some of the highlights of what happened in the arts world this past year:
501 Club closes
Garrison Keillor introduces guest hosts to A Prairie Home Companion
Wayzata poet Joyce Sidman wins Newbery honor for her book “Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night.”
Perennial Plate goes national
Frank Sonntag appointed director of The Cowles Center
Epp and Serrand launch new theater company
Ragamala Dance earns rave review from the New York Times
Garrison Keillor announces retirement… we think.
Hall of Fame broadcaster Arthur Hoehn dies after fight with lung cancer
Vestiges of Merce Cunningham’s dance find home at Walker
Sally Awards: And the winners are…
Rising river threatens theater, artist studios
SCSU art students seek tuition increase
Northeast Public Library re-opens
“Gather” replaces 20.21 restaurant at the Walker Art Center
89.3 The Current debuts “Local Current Music Stream”
MN Book Awards: and the winners are…
Native American shirt returns home after 300 years
The Southern Theater hosts a fundraiser in an attempt to keep its doors open.
Southern Theater lays off five, cuts hours of remaining staff
Cloquet community theater headed to national festival
Mankato theater students earn national accolades
Isaac Becker wins James Beard Award for his restaurant, 112 Eatery
Julie Andrews visits Perpich Center for the Arts
Mixed Blood Theater announces new “radical hospitality” program, allowing people to see its shows for free
Ranee Ramaswamy named 2011 McKnight Distinguished Artist
It’s the inaugural year of “Northern Spark”
The Southern Theater is reduced to a rental facility, with a staff of one.
Two Minnesota teens head to Broadway
John Waters floods the Walker with art
Play by Play Theatre Bookstore closes
Playwright Tom Poole hit by car, dies a week later
MN teen wins national musical theater award
Bill Kling, founder of MPR, steps down
The state of the arts in a state shutdown
John B. Davis, savior of schools and arts organizations, dies
Architect Leonard Parker dies at age 90
Duluth mural becomes source of controversy
Poet Roy McBride dies at the age of 67
Minnesota Historical Society launches online encyclopedia
Joyce Sutphen named Minnesota Poet Laureate
Cowles Center for Dance Opens
St. Paul gets close to $1 million to employ artists in “Irrigate” project
The St. John’s Bible is completed
Twin Cities actor Warren C. Bowles suffers cardiac arrest on stage
Newly expanded Weisman Art Museum reopens
Architects, preservationists raise concerns over Peavey Plaza’s future
Tom Keith, A Prairie Home Companion’s sound effects man, dies
Cowles Center Executive Director Frank Sonntag resigns
Poet Bao Phi gets rave New York Times review
National media light shines on Penumbra Theatre
Twin Cities jazz fans shocked at passing of Christine Rosholt
Loring Theater closes
What news defined the year for you? Share your memories of 2011 in the comments section.