The future of Twin Cities arts, today

This Thursday, June 12, at 5:30 pm in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the future of arts in the Twin Cities will be determined.

Or not. But in this fairly unprecedented convocation of Minneapolis institutions convened by the City of Minneapolis Arts Commission, the discussion will happen. With the attention given the Minneapolis arts scene having arguably peaked in 2005, with additions to the Walker Art Center, the Children’s Theatre Company, the MIA, etc., where do we go from here? How do we sustain our reputation as a national arts center? How do we get more people through the doors while maintaining artistic integrity? Those are the topics of this panel discussion involving curantor Philippe Vergne of the Walker Art Center, curator Jennifer Komar Olivarez of the MIA, John Miller-Stephany (he of the excellent Jane Eyre and many many other great shows there), exec. director Jocelyn Hale of the Loft Literary Center, and Lilly Schwartz, special projects coordinator for the Minnesota Orchestra (she who has launched the excellent new jazz series there).

Disclosure: I serve on the Minneapolis Arts Commission and hope as many people come to the panel discussion on Thursday as possible. But that’s for many reasons: one, I, like many people here (because Minneapolis factored so significantly in its conclusions), have read Bowling Alone as well as The Rise of the Creative Class and I don’t take our relatively privileged lifestyle here for granted. And as an arts critic I also genuinely wonder: what happens when a city rises to another level–do we expect more blockbuster, populist Frida Kahlo and Little House on the Prairie musicals to get enough people through the doors? Do we anticipate them, even enjoy them, and also reap the benefits of smaller shows underwritten by the blockbusters? Minneapolis has long had an indie complex–we don’t like things that get too big, too inclusive (show of hands: how many people think the Replacements, the REPLACEMENTS, sold out?), even as we argue that we do.

The details: 5:30, Pillsbury Auditorium, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, questions taken from the public and moderator Robyne Robinson. Learn something, interact, and by all means keep the discussion going. Nothing will be determined in one night, but anyone who knows what it’s like to live in less cultural surroundings has an interest in keeping this place moving forward.

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