In the coming year, I resolve to listen patiently to musicians, management, and the board of directors of the Minnesota Orchestra, about issues related to the ongoing lockout — the costs of remodeling Orchestra Hall, the compensation demands, and the aspirations of everyone to do the right thing. I will hold my tongue when I think I’m listening to malarkey, with the confidence that once aired, complaints can be resolved and problems solved. I resolve to be compassionate with members of the board of directors, who are volunteers living in our community, and trying to navigate the divisive social landscape that we now inhabit in Minnesota. We seem to have lapsed from the “we’re in this all together” culture that is the bedrock of our social compact in this state. We are neighbors. We need each other. Long live the Minnesota Orchestra!
Minnesota has a wonderful theater scene, partially because there are so many small theater companies with unique individual visions. But we can be even stronger with a collective identity as “Minnesota artists.” It’s an identity already being shaped by several efforts — including Leah Cooper’s MN Theater Alliance, the emerging leaders group, the Ivey Awards, the Fringe Festival, and even the Twin Cities Horror Festival. Minnesota theater is strong but can get stronger if we’re all moving forward together.
My wish for the arts scene in 2014 pertains to state lawmakers. Minnesota State Arts Board grants made it possible for me to attend writer’s conferences in Vermont and Tennessee that changed my life as an artist. In 2013, the Minnesota State Legislature banned out-of-state travel for Minnesota State Arts Board grantees, severely limiting options for artists who wished to learn about or practice art elsewhere. In 2014, let’s give Minnesota artists the chance to expand their knowledge and influence by funding grants to travel beyond our state borders.
As far as local music, I would like to see more of a focus on bringing national and international attention to what we have going on here. I’ve felt like this scene is on the verge of breaking out every year since I moved to Minneapolis 12 years ago, and this year is no different, thankfully. Let’s keep the focus on the younger artists coming up, rather than the history of this music scene. We have a great past here, but if we want to keep it growing, we need to pay attention to what’s going on around us today.
You might file this under ‘pipe dream,’ but I’d like to see regular sportscasting commentary about visual art on prime time television. The commentator should be knowledgeable about what contemporary art means to the community, and someone who can break down the walls between artists and viewers. You don’t have to be an artist to appreciate art, just like you don’t have to be an athlete to appreciate sports.
My hope is that the stigma associated with suburban arts organizations (that of being inferior to urban arts organizations) will lessen or, dare I say, evaporate completely. I hope that more Minnesotans venture beyond their usual art attractions to explore just a few of the many worthy arts experiences found outside Minneapolis and St. Paul.