The Science Museum of Minnesota yesterday announced the conclusion of a capital campaign so successful it overshot the goal by more than $5 million. The first capital campaign since 1999, the year the museum moved into its riverfront facility, “Because Science is Essential” focused on making the museum better. Funds raised went toward revitalizing core exhibit galleries, expanding access to programs, and positioning the museum to better serve future generations. Among other projects, the “Wonder Years” exhibit about early childhood development was created, the Twin Cities Museum School Collaborative (which subsidizes museum field trips) was formed, and the Opportunity Fund was established. The fund supported three exhibitions: “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed,” “RACE: Are We So Different?” and “Ultimate Dinosaurs.” The campaign goal was $35 million; public and private contributions exceeded $40 million.
Last week, Hennepin Theatre Trust launched its Parklot, a pop-up park fronting Hennepin Avenue. Made from recycled materials, it takes up part of the Orpheum Theatre’s surface parking lot and serves as a mini-oasis on a busy street. Imagine – someplace to sit, relax, and people-watch! On Hennepin! Free! Pardon the exclamation points, but for years downtown Minneapolis has seemed allergic to the idea of giving people someplace to sit without handing them a menu. Now, what about some free entertainment? That’s next. The Parklot will host a daytime speaker series on Fridays from noon to 1 p.m. and a happy hour music series on Tuesdays from 5 to 6 p.m. The programming is still in the works, but the first speaker is set. Monica Nilsson, director of community engagement for St. Stephen’s Human Services, will speak tomorrow (Friday, July 18) on whether art has a role in ending homelessness. Bring your lunch or check out the Gastrotruck. The Parklot is next to the Orpheum at 910 Hennepin Ave.
This fall’s Club Book series, presented by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, has something for nearly everyone: fans of coming-of-age fantasy literature (à la Harry Potter), mystery, history, suspense, romance, bestsellers, literary fiction and poetry. The nine authors, who will appear at libraries around the metro, include Sue Miller, Hampton Sides, Nikki Giovanni and Lev Grossman. All events are free and open to the public. Here’s the skinny.
Weeknight tix to “The Cat in the Hat” at the Children’s Theatre, which ends July 27, are just $20. Snap them up. Starring Dean Holt as the Cat and Gerald Drake as the Fish, this thoroughly entertaining play based on the Dr. Seuss book was extended once but now must close. Kids love it. Grown-ups love it. We loved it.
For musicians: The American Composers Forum is accepting applications for this year’s Jerome Fund for New Music (JFund) grants, which support the creation, presentation, and subsequent life of new music in all genres. About 10 grants are available: up to $7,000 for the time to create the work, and up to $1,500 to help make it happen. Deadline: Aug. 15. Guidelines and application here.
Tonight at Minneapolis Institute of Arts: Bike Night. Ride to MIA and through the museum doors; cool off with a beer in Target Park. Then enjoy three hours of bike-related activities and stuff: bingo (the prize: a Surly bike), new gear and apparel, free bike check-ups, hand-painted art bikes, Finnish bicycle design (inside the galleries), a Nice Ride MN photo booth, live music by Southside Desire, and the first official food bike of Minneapolis. Coming from St. Paul? Omnium Bike Shop is organizing a ride to the event. 6-9 p.m. Refreshments for sale. This is MIA’s most popular Third Thursday event.
Tonight at Plymouth Church in Minneapolis: “Spheres of Influence.” Join the audience as VocalEssence rehearses and records a new choral set by young prize-winning composer Paul John Rudoi. Hear it first, before it premieres on MPR’s choral stream later this year. Doors at 6:10 p.m., rehearsal at 6:30, recording around 8:50. Free. Rudoi is also a tenor with the male vocal group Cantus.
Tonight at the Walker’s Open Field: Be part of a concert for baseball organ and catch. As Twins organist Sue Nelson plays a stadium organ, you’ll toss around balls (and lemons, a nod to Fluxus artist Ken Friedman) with a bunch of strangers. Sound artist Chris Kallmyer, who’s here as Open Field artist-in-residence, will use the sounds generated during the evening to create a music score about playing catch. Bring your own glove. Balls, peanuts and lemonade provided. 7 p.m. Free.
Friday at the Mpls Photo Center: Opening night for “National Camera Exchange: 100 Years of Photography and Cameras.” National Camera Exchange is one of the oldest camera stores still in business in the USA. Opened in 1914, it remains a family business. On display: its collection of unique cameras spanning 100 years of photography, and photographs from some of Minnesota’s most prominent photographers. Through Aug. 31. Opening reception 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Food, beverages, live music. Free. On Tuesday, July 22, U of M art historian Robert Silberman and documentary photographer Tom Arndt will give a talk on the history of cameras and photography in Minnesota. 7 p.m., also free.
Friday through Sunday in St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood: Highland Fest. Live music, juried art fair, petting zoo, wiener dog races, inflatable rides and games, 5k road race, beer tent, community picnic, meat raffle/bingo, wine tasting, movie in the park, Zumba in the park, and (fanfare, please), the inaugural All Ford Car and Truck Show, commemorating 86 years of the Twin Cities Ford Assembly Plant. FMI.
Saturday and Sunday at the Old Arizona Theater: “Sasquatched! The Musical.” Written by Minnesota composer and author Phil Darg, this musical comedy premiered in July 2013 as an official selection of the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Broadway World called it “the quirky, new pop-rock musical that will get your Bigfoot tappin’.” Darg depicts the mythical creature as a gentle, dignified talker. A family-friendly show. Thursdays–Sundays through July 27. 7:30 p.m. (2 p.m. on Sundays). FMI and tickets ($15–$20).
Sunday at Caponi Art Park: “Over the Rainbow: Cinema Classics New and Old.” For their annual summer concert, the Dakota Valley Summer Pops Orchestra and Chorus perform music from “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Mission: Impossible,” “Forrest Gump,” “Jaws,” and classic MGM films. 6:30 p.m. $5 suggested donation per person. In the event of bad weather, the performance will be rescheduled for July 27.
Honoring and celebrating the Twin Cities theater community, the Ivey Awards is one of the year’s best red-carpet parties, with nationally and locally known presenters, live theater entertainment, and that see-and-be-seen factor. This year’s Iveys happen Monday, Sept. 22, at the State. Tickets are on sale now ($35-$125).