Artful sleds at Powderhorn Park; facing our faces at MCP

Sure, it looks like a refrigerator carton now, but it's really a future whale sled.
MinnPost photo by Molly Priesmeyer
Sure, it looks like a refrigerator carton now, but it’s really a future whale sled.

There’s a bitter irony in Minnesota’s bitter winters. For one thing, meteorologists here consider the word “dreary” a winter-weather condition, yet they never refer to a sunny spring day as “hopeful.” (If only our meteorologists could forecast that!)

For another thing, try as we might to embrace winter — to grit our chattering teeth and pretend stone-cracking temps make us survivors — sometimes it plays us for fools, and subzero temps force us to call off the party.

But Saturday promises to be near-balmy at around 20 degrees (above zero makes me hopeful), making it the perfect day for the Art Sled Rally at 2 p.m. on the slopes (OK, baby-bunny hills) of Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis. At least 30 handmade sleds will take to the mounds in the name of do-it-yourself snow coasters.

Will it slide? The art’s the thing
Anything goes here, and everyone is welcome to bring designed gliders of all kinds along for the ride. In fact, the sleds don’t even need to make it to the bottom of the hill. On a recent visit to a sled-making workshop at the Powderhorn Park Community Center, I saw refrigerator boxes being refashioned into ducks, whales, monsters, a rocket and giant Adidas shoe. Slide factor is secondary.  

Buckets of gluey water, paint cans and piles of wood turned the tiny room into a constant maze of near-spills. Drills whirred, papier-mache paste permeated the room and kids crawled through the snaggle-toothed mouths of monsters — their patience tested as the soggy papier-mache strips resisted drying.

Art Sled Rally organizer Julian McFaul can’t begin to predict how many sleds and their makers will show up for the event.  But so far, the sleds guaranteed to take the plunge include a dead fish, a gigantic two-person bovine puppet, frozen peas, a semi-tractor-trailer accident and a pair of giant dice. Does winter in Minneapolis get any better than that?

Will this child make it down the hill in this sled?
MinnPost photo by Molly Priesmeyer
Will this child make it down the hill in this sled?

Indoor art: our faces, our masks
Artist and award-winning photographer Barbara Cummard’s latest project, “Inside Out: Faces of Self,” will be exhibited starting Saturday at Minnesota Center for Photography’s annual ICY series linking the works of contemporary artists. (Check out the faces and masks here.)

For nearly two years, Minnesota-based Cummard took her community-art project all over the world. In workshops from her native England to New Zealand, she created masks with more than 165 people. She explored faces from all walks of life, from incarcerated youth and the homeless to family and friends in Minnesota. Aesthetically unique as they are, the masks were mostly an internal examination of self. 

The result is a striking and fascinating collection of “inside” and “outside” faces, individuals and their masks photographed by Cummard. The project’s mission is to show individuals as viewers see them and as they see themselves. The images of straight faces and their painted masks, displayed on a 6-foot by 20-foot photographic panel, offer surprising artistic counterparts to the real visage.

“I do this work as a way to create intimacy and dialogue and to visually manifest the connection that exists between people,” Cummard says. “The work provides a visible reminder of the complexity, power and beauty that exists in each and every human being, irrespective of who they are or the face and actions that they may present to the outer world.”

What: ICY: Clear Views 02: Barbara Cummard, EJ Major, Frank Rodick and Bastienne Schmidt
When: Saturday, Feb. 16; artist panel at 5:30 p.m.; opening reception 7-9 p.m. Through April 27.
Where: Minnesota Center for Photography, 165 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis
Phone: 612-824-5500
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