Legislators Did Well by the Arts; Turnaround Arts Coming to Four Minnesota Schools

By Espeland, Pamela | MinnPost.com, May 23, 2014 | Go to article overview

Legislators Did Well by the Arts; Turnaround Arts Coming to Four Minnesota Schools


Espeland, Pamela, MinnPost.com


The arts advocacy and watchdog organization Minnesota Citizens for the Arts reports that our "strange and very brief" legislative session was a winner for the arts. Nine arts projects were funded in the state bonding bill, instead of the usual one or two. Winners include the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden ($8.5 million), Duluth's NorShor Theater ($6.9 million), Chatfield Center for the Arts ($5.3 million), the Palace Theater in St. Paul ($5 million) and the Ordway ($4 million). In addition to these arts-specific projects, the St. Paul Children's Museum received $14 million, and money will go to rehabbing the Rochester Civic Center, which is used by some nonprofit arts organizations. MCA notes that "the success of this many arts projects is due to arts advocate Rep. Alice Hausman, chair of the bonding committee, who made several speeches about her belief that the arts revitalize downtowns in every corner of the state." Now all we need is the governor's signature.

In another acknowledgment that the arts matter, the White House announced Tuesday that 35 schools across the country -- including four in Minnesota -- will participate in the expanded Turnaround Arts program, which brings arts education into low-performing schools. The Perpich Center for Arts Education will manage the program, and the four participating Minnesota schools will be named this summer. Celebrities Sarah Jessica Parker, Citizen Cope (songwriter/performer Clarence Greenwood) and actor/singer Doc Shaw will "adopt" and visit the schools. A program of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities -- funded nationally by the U.S. Department of Education, the NEA, the Ford Foundation, and other private foundations and companies, and in Minnesota by the Legislature and the Minnesota State Arts Board -- Turnaround Arts brings arts and music teachers, teaching artists, art supplies and musical instruments into schools and supports arts integration into core subject areas such as reading, math and science. Sen. Richard Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, who has served on the President's Committee since 2009, said in a statement: "We have extensive research suggesting the correlation between arts education and academic achievement ... . It is significant and can truly turn around a school's trajectory. It's very rewarding to know that four Minnesota schools are going to benefit from this program." We could say something here about how the arts have been systematically stripped from our schools over the past several years, but we won't.

There's regular mini-golf, and - only in Minnesota, as far as we know - there's Artist-Designed Mini Golf. Just north of the Walker's Open Field and west of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, 18 holes are open now through Sept. 1. Forget the windmills and tiki heads; this is the Walker, where Astroturf is a medium and putting is a means of enlightenment. One hole references Marcel Duchamp; another "merges multiple meanings of transcendence" with colorful, glittery fiberglass rocks. (If you're wondering, sculptor Aaron Dysart's "Rock! Garden." predates Jim Hodges' stainless-steel-clad boulders in the Open Field). There's a giant gumball machine, a mirrored, tilting maze that takes skill and muscle to navigate, a cemetery, a curling sheet, a pool table, a foosball hole with garden gnome strikers, a hole that maps the summer sky, a hole that employs Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, a gopher hole and a snake in the grass. "Holey Lighted," a canopy of pierced and folded steel created by Jeffrey Pauling and Tyler Whitehead, calls into question the nature of nature -- so convincingly that a robin has built a nest in it. Look up to see her sitting on her eggs, and later, baby birds. Open every day except June 20-22. Thursday-Saturday 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday-Wednesday 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Nine holes, $12-$9; all 18, $15- $13.50. Kids 6 and under free with a paid adult. Every ticket includes free gallery admission. FMI.

Each year a limited number of art lovers have the opportunity to buy original art by Minnesota artists at a bargain. …

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