Minneapolis has some of the most robust and cumbersome permitting and processes I’ve ever run across. So much so that other local administrators and I have a running joke between us about our Minneapolis permit BINGO cards. (I think I’m winning/losing.) We’ve opted for forms and frameworks instead of a more fluid system that encourages artists to share their light with the city, and that needs to changeRead More
Playing by the campground rules: On wearing many hats, transitional planning, and objectivity in the workplace.Read More
Altered Esthetics moves to the less-leaky Q.arma Building, kicking it off with the next edition of our video game art series, Level_13: Bonus Round.Read More
When the storm hit hard things got scary in a hurry…Read More
So the saying goes, “Don’t quit your day job,” but what if you’re laid off?Read More
Minneapolis, MN - May, 2006
A beautiful spring afternoon in May, the first annual Bike Art exhibit, Art-A-Whirl, and Walking Shadow Theatre Company...Read More
In this post I revisit the Art of Sin exhibit, my meet-cute with my dear friend Sue Christensen, and some of the incredible work that came out of that call for art.Read More
I “fixed” my window with duct tape and plastic, and that’s the way it remained until the car finally bit the dust completely a few years later. And I decided that I would use what was left of my savings to pay for the nonprofit fee—instead of fixing my car.Read More
My first solo exhibit gave Altered Esthetics some additional exposure and gave me an opportunity to dig into the wonderful feeling of creating art for art’s sake...Read More
My music friends in Minneapolis were some of Altered Esthetics’ first core supporters, especially in the early days. They came out to all of our exhibitions and played until sunup as we danced at opening receptions. Their presence added diversity of media we wouldn’t see at the gallery again for years to come, when we gradually began to bring music back into our openings.
In the second year of operations I was contacted by my friend Jon, who was launching a new event at the Dinkytowner. The Dinkytowner was great basement bar near the University of Minnesota. They featured breakfasts to cure even the worst hangover, pool tables in the back, and a dance floor up front. My friend wondered if I would be interested in setting up some art during what would become a regular event: Convergence. No constraints on what we could show, just local art for local music-goers. “Sounds great!” I said excitedly. I connected with some artist friends and the next weekend I packed a rolling cart with supplies and artwork. I then headed to Dinkytown, Minneapolis, to set up our first pop-up gallery.
That night was to be the first of many art exhibits in unusual venues. For several years in a row we hosted mobile exhibits in downtown Minneapolis during Bike/Walk to Work Week. When the annual Bike Expo was held in the Minneapolis Convention Center, I set up a Bike Art exhibition with several of our regular artists. Our presence added a creative element to the largely industry-centric event. I even helped curate a small exhibit of photography for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Peace Coffee’s parent company, for its twentieth-anniversary event.
These pop-ups were all great opportunities to connect with community members that might not have come through our gallery door otherwise, and they also provided us with ways to connect with artists that hadn’t yet heard about Altered Esthetics. Over the next decade, pop-up galleries and art exhibitions would become increasingly popular and well executed, particularly as the place-making movement took root in the Twin Cities. Through these pop-ups I learned the importance of not remaining behind the gallery walls, but getting out into the community too.
This post is adapted from It’s Never Going To Work: A Tale of Art and Nonprofits in the Minneapolis Community with illustrations by Athena Currier. Post graphics by Jamie Schumacher. ©2018 Jamie Schumacher.
It’s Never Going To Work is a light-hearted, illustrated book that offers real-life insights on founding a community space and nonprofit. It provides tools, tips, resources, and camaraderie to community organizers and anybody attempting something new.
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Altered Esthetics was a DIY space in a era of increasing accessibility in the arts, and it was great to be part of a growing movement within the creative community.Read More
Seal Beach, California - 2002
When you’re thinking about something new - a new project, a new idea - what encourages or discourages you? What motivates you to move forward?Read More
I, like many other artists, will often use creative work as a channel for grief, finding it a healthy way for me to process intense emotions…Read More
Minneapolis, MN—September 2004
Video games: art you can play with!Read More
Video Games: Art you can play with!Read More
Quincy Street, Minneapolis, MN—April 2004
On finding the right place, at perhaps not exactly the right time…Read More
Quincy Street, Minneapolis, MN—January 2004
On finding the first home for Altered Esthetics in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District.Read More
Minneapolis, MN—November 2003
I wanted this space to be different...
I had so much to learn!!!Read More