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Marissa Lingen

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In a good cause: arts organizations [Nov. 8th, 2016|03:15 pm]
Marissa Lingen
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Well, here we are. I said I’d make a post about worthy charities every week until the US election, and–this is it. I’ve enjoyed doing it, actually, and may at some point do another series of charity posts just because I feel like it. Because I am nowhere near out of good charities. Not by a long shot.

Today I wanted to talk about arts organizations. I think pretty much anyone who reads this blog is interested in some form of the arts and is familiar with Patreons and Kickstarters for supporting individual artists directly. And hey, more power to them! Please feel free to link to your own or someone else’s project in the comments. (Really. Please.) But larger arts organizations are important too, for wider community outreach than a single person can do, for structural support, for projects that take infrastructure and are bigger than one artist. So that’s what I’m focusing on with this post.

Many of my examples will be Minnesota-local, but

Let’s start with Juxtaposition Arts. Youth-oriented visual arts center in Minneapolis. They have a lot of great programming across cultural and arts genre lines. Here in the south suburbs in Eagan, we’re trying to get an arts center of our own, and Art Works Eagan is the group doing that. Nor are they resting on their laurels in the meantime; AWE has been hosting events in other local spaces until they get a permanent home.

Within the last week, I’ve been to hear music at the Cedar Cultural Center and at Orchestra Hall, home of the Minnesota Orchestra. Venues like these don’t stay alive on ticket prices alone, or tickets would be too expensive for the community. They also rely heavily on volunteers for various duties around the venue–a great opportunity if what you have to give is time and enthusiasm rather than cash.

I’ve also just made my first visit to The Museum of Russian Art, and I’ve been a member of the American Swedish Institute and Minneapolis Institute of Art for awhile now. These museums have a variety of great programming–again, spanning cultures and media–and serve as community focal points.

If you don’t know what the equivalents are in your community, why not find out? You don’t have to be a big city to have theater groups, art groups, music groups that need support. If you look at a program, they’ll start listing names of donors sometimes at the $50 level or below–which just shows you how much these donations matter. And when a $50 donation matters and you don’t have $50, an evening of volunteer work for which they don’t have to pay $50 also matters. Putting the word out that these groups are out there and talking about their various exhibits and productions and projects also matters. We all need the solace of art on our hardest days as well as the joy of art on our brightest ones.

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux


[User Picture]From: pameladean
2016-11-08 08:35 pm (UTC)
At greater length than I could do on Twitter -- Ten Thousand Things. Here's their website: http://www.tenthousandthings.org/

With minimal sets and props and a lot of doubling of parts, they perform everything from Shakespeare to brand-new plays for people in prisons, homeless shelters, juvenile detention centers, and other places people really don't want to be. They also do paid performances at Open Book and occasionally at other venues like Bedlam Theater. They have done the best Othello and the best Henry IV, Part 1 I've ever seen. One is never more than four rows from the stage.

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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2016-11-08 09:18 pm (UTC)
That sounds amazing, Pamela. Well spotted.
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[User Picture]From: pameladean
2016-11-09 06:22 pm (UTC)
They did a hip-hop (also rap, folk, and gospel, but it was described in the program as hip-hop) version of The Seven Against Thebes that was just devastating, with outbreaks of sheer hilarity. It may be the closest I'm likely to come to the experience of seeing a classical Greek play with a chorus where the music is contemporary, as it was to the Greek audiences.

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