Insight News

Feb 07th

Somali museum a part of 'Made Here' downtown arts showcase

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osman ali working 0353somali hut assembly credit kr nelsonWith several vacant properties throughout downtown Minneapolis the empty storefronts provide the perfect vehicle to showcase works – and in one case a whole museum's worth of works – by area artists.

somalit hut assembly 2014  kr nelsonThe "Parklot," Minneapolis' new, first-of-its-kind pop-up park, and "Made Here," downtown's new urban walking gallery, will launch from 7 p.m. to midnight, Friday, July 11, in the surface parking lot adjacent to the Orpheum Theatre between 9th and 10th Streets. The Parklot will be the center of the Hennepin Theatre Trust's Summer in the City celebration, a public party featuring free walking tours of the newly installed "Made Here" window showcases, large scale projections on the Orpheum's outer wall, a variety of street musicians, dancing, comedy improvisation by Brave New Workshop, a cash bar, a food truck and other highlights that organizers say will create a vibrant and welcoming city oasis.

aziz osman art somali museum joan vorderbruggenOne of the standout "Made Here" projects is a pop-up gallery located at 319 1st Ave. N. featuring works from the Somali Museum of Minnesota, highlighting two authentic huts shipped from Djibouti, Somalia, as well as artifacts, digital media and paintings demonstrating nomadic Somali life. According to Joan Vorderbruggen, the Hennepin Theatre Trust's cultural district arts coordinator, the inclusion of the museum works highlights the rich diversity of the area's cultural community.

"I made diversity a strong part of our initiative," said Vorderbruggen. "It should be everybody's priority to be reflective of the entire community that we're all a part of."

Vorderbruggen credited Osman Ali, founder of the Somali Artifact and Cultural Museum, 1516 E. Lake St., with assisting in showcasing and moving most of the museum to the 1st Avenue storefront location. The Somali artifacts will be on display in the downtown location for 90 days.

mouhamoud ali painting backdrop joan vorderbruggenThe Cultural District is an initiative with partners including Hennepin Theatre Trust, Walker Art Center, Artspace and the City of Minneapolis.

"With the arts and artists on display we want to reflect the current population of Minnesota, which is changing," said Karen Nelson, communications director for the Hennepin Theatre Trust in discussing the inclusion of the Somali museum display. "It's a reflection of who Minnesota is becoming."

Other displays include a project by artist Robin Schwartzman, a 2014 Jerome Grant recipient, who will install "No Vacancy," a video projection of lights, shadows and other figures on the second floor of the "Chevy's" building on 7th Street and Hennepin Avenue. In addition, artists Venus DeMars and Mach Fox are mounting "Space Lounge" with music and film projections in the former National Camera Exchange Building at 930 Hennepin. Additional "Made Here" window showcases will commemorate the Minnesota Twins All Stars and celebrate photographer Edward Curtis and the Native-American.

mouhamoud ali gathers supplies joan vorderbruggenIn addition to visual artists, the showcase windows are being created by a variety of organizations including the Arts Institute International Minnesota, the University of Minnesota College of Design, Dunwoody Institute and the University of Minnesota Duluth School of Fine Arts, the architectural firms of Perkins + Will, U + B and DLR Group and Minnesota-based companies including Andersen Windows and Faribault Woolen Mill Company. The window displays encompass 16 mediums including painting, photographs, textiles and even an art vending station. The displays show up on some various 15 downtown blocks. The "Made Here" July 11 launch kicks of at
7 p.m. at 930 Hennepin Ave.

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