Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


Hodges wants no new 2015 public-art funding; MN Orchestra adds 2 series

ALSO: Scary Stories at Magers & Quinn; Cine Latino at St. Anthony Main; “Working: A Musical” at Rarig; and more.

Each evening of “Inside the Classics” begins with conductor Sarah Hicks, above, and violist Sam Bergman explaining what you’re about to hear.
Minnesota Orchestra/Greg Helgeson

Should Minneapolis continue to put new money into public art? Not in 2015, according to Mayor Betsy Hodges’ proposed budget. For more than 30 years, the city has funded art in public places with 1 to 2 percent of the net debt bond, a funding source in the capital budget that varies with how much debt the city issues. In 2014, public art funding was $480,000; in 2013, $605,000.

For 2015, the Department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) submitted, and the Capital Long-Range Improvements Committee (CLIC) recommended, a $545,000 funding level, the equivalent of 2 percent. Mayor Hodges recommended zero funding. Plans are to restore new funding in 2016, but for 2015, not a dime. (You can view the Mayor’s recommended budget here. In Section G – Capital Programs, go to page G39 and look in the Project column for ART01 Art in Public Places. The Mayor Recommended column is blank.)

In Minneapolis, funding for public art is neither a policy nor an ordinance, but it has been a longstanding tradition. St. Paul has an ordinance that allocates 1 percent of capital projects to public art and another one-half percent to maintenance of public art. According to the Minneapolis Arts Commission, most major cities allocate 1 to 2 percent of their capital budgets to public art.

If Mayor Hodges’ budget passes, 2015 will be the first year in decades when Minneapolis gives no new money to public art. This translates to no new art and no maintenance of existing artworks, except for what is already in the pipeline. There is a carryover of close to $900,000 from previous years, but this unspent money has already been committed to projects. No new money means no repairing artwork that is vandalized or damaged, and no chance to add public art to projects including the Webber Park renovation, the 40th Street pedestrian bridge over I-35W or the Commons.

Article continues after advertisement

Also, as the Minneapolis Arts Commission has noted, zero new funding sets a bad precedent.

Two public hearings will be held on the mayor’s budget proposal: at 6:05 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18, and at 6:05 Wednesday, Dec. 10, both in Room 317 in City Hall. The Minneapolis City Council will vote to adopt a final 2015 budget on Dec. 10, 2014. You can contact your city council member anytime.

The Minnesota Orchestra has announced two more concert series for its 2014–15 season, both with broad appeal for audiences beyond those already familiar with classical music and Orchestra Hall.

“Inside the Classics” returns for its sixth season of lively, informal evenings that combine performances by the Orchestra with discussion and humor. Each begins with a presentation by conductor Sarah Hicks and violist Sam Bergman explaining what you’re about to hear, why it matters and what to listen for. Then comes the music, and here’s what’s in store this year: Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 (March 13), Berlioz’s “Symphonie fantastique” (June 13) and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances (July 11). All concerts are on Fridays. Each is kind of like a class, but a fun class with charming, entertaining teachers and no tests.

The second series, “Symphony in 60,” is brand-new and made for people who can’t or don’t want to spend an entire evening at a concert. Each performance, always on a Thursday, lasts an hour. The orchestra calls the series “a burst of culture for busy lifestyles.” Music director Osmo Vänskä calls it “purely the main course.” No starter, no dessert. If you want, you can come early for a pre-concert Happy Hour, then stay after for an onstage gathering with the musicians. Or show up on time, listen and go.

Years ago, Vänskä mentioned in a planning session that the Copenhagen Philharmonic was offering a 60-minute concert format. A grant from the Wallace Foundation to support audience development led to a successful pilot concert on Feb. 25, 2012. (Remember Courtney Lewis conducting Elgar’s “In the South” and Beethoven’s Seventh? If so, you were in the test crowd). The inaugural season includes selections from Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet” and Bernstein’s “West Side Story” on Jan. 29, 2015, Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde” (“The Song of the Earth”) on April 9, and Sibelius’ Sixth and Seventh Symphonies on June 4. Vänskä will conduct in January and June; Mark Wigglesworth will lead the Mahler.

Subscriptions to both series are available now. Single tickets go on sale to the public Nov. 7 ($12 for children 6 and up, $29 for adults). Try one or a few, and before you know it, you’ll be eagerly scanning the 2015–16 season brochure for everything else the orchestra has to offer. At least, that’s what they hope will happen. And especially if you have never heard the Minnesota Orchestra, both series are good entry points that won’t break the bank.

A team of Minnesota-based filmmakers has won two prestigious prizes at the Festival des Libertés in Brussels. JT Haines, Tommy Haines and Andrew Sherburne of Northland films received the Salvador Allende Award and the International Federation of Human Rights Award for their feature film “Gold Fever,” about the destructive and exploitative impacts of transnational mining in the Guatemalan highlands.

The film has already won the Rigoberta Menchú Grand Prix at the 2013 Montreal First Peoples Festival and Best Documentary at the Big Water Film Festival. The award money will be shared with community organizations in Guatemala near the mine that is the subject of the film. 

Article continues after advertisement

Did you know you can stroll around the Minnesota State Fairgrounds and even walk your dog there? Neither did we, but we like the idea a lot, especially for this spectacularly beautiful fall we’re having (we’re hoping our mere mention didn’t just jinx it). The Fair has prepared a self-guided history walking tour. Download a brochure or listen on your smartphone. The whole tour is about 2½ miles. The grounds are open from 6 a.m. – 11 p.m. daily, except during major events. Park on the street and start at any one of the tour stops. See you there?

The Picks

Tonight (Tuesday, Oct. 28) at Magers & Quinn: Scary Stories with Benjamin Percy, Katherine Howe, and Wendy K. Webb. Not one, but three best-selling authors tell tales of horror, witches and gothic suspense. 7 p.m. Free.

Wednesday in the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center at Macalester: Music from Copland House: “Latin American Sketches.” MCH is the resident ensemble at Aaron Copland’s National Historic Landmark home in New York, now restored as a creative center for American music. “Latin American Sketches” features works by Copland, Chavez, Ginastera, Golijov, Villa-Lobos, Frank and Zyman. What’s the connection? Copland traveled frequently to Mexico and South America and championed many young Latino artists. 8 p.m. FMI. Free.

Thursday at Minneapolis Central Library: Talk of the Stacks with Dana Cowin. She’s been editor-and-chief of Food & Wine since 1995. Her new book, “Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen,” includes stories of her “culinary ineptitude” and lessons learned from all-star chefs like Tom Colicchio (“Top Chef”), David Chang and Alice Waters. She’ll be in conversation with our own celebrity chef, Andrew Zimmern. Doors at 6:15 p.m., program at 7. Free. Books will be available for sale and signing.

Opens Thursday at the St. Anthony Main Theater: Cine Latino. A seven-day celebration of Spanish and Portuguese film from Mexico, Central and South America and Spain. Presented by the Film Society of Minneapois St. Paul, the 38 films from 11 countries include U.S. and Minnesota premieres and a series of Mexican family-friendly films. With visiting filmmakers and guests, live Mariachi music, and special events at Mercado Central on Lake Street. A few screenings are at Heart of the Beast; take note when you book. FMI, times, tickets and trailers.

Opens Thursday at the U’s Rarig Center: “Working: A Musical.” From the book by Studs Terkel, with songs by James Taylor, Mary Rodgers, Lin-Manuel Miranda and others, featuring a large cast of U of M students. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($6–$16). Through Nov. 9.

Correction: The item on public-art funding has been corrected to reflect that money in the pipeline will continue to be spent in 2015 if Mayor Hodges’ budget recommendations are adopted.