CEO Mitchell retiring from Ordway; ARTCRANK show to open

Photo by Bill Kelley
Patricia Mitchell

After eight years as the Ordway’s president and CEO, Patricia Mitchell has announced her retirement. Her accomplishments during her tenure have been significant and praiseworthy. Peacemaker and builder, she brought calm, stability and wit to a once fractious venue.

When Mitchell arrived in 2008, the Ordway had two performing spaces, one with 1,900 seats and the other with 300. The four main users of the performing arts center – the Ordway, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Schubert Club and the Minnesota Opera – competed for the bigger room.

Today the four Arts Partners work together, and together they raised the funds needed to replace the little-used McKnight with an elegant, acoustically superb 1,100-seat Concert Hall.

In a statement, Schubert Club director Barry Kempton called Mitchell “a genuinely great colleague” and “a very hard act to follow.” Incoming board chair Laura McCarten said, “She’s really been a transformational leader and we’re going to miss her.” Mitchell will stay until December while the board conducts a national search for her replacement, after which she plans to “read books in the daytime.”

Last November, Cynthia Gehrig announced that she would step down after 36 years as president of the St. Paul-based Jerome Foundation, a major supporter of emerging artists in Minnesota and New York City. During Gehrig’s tenure, Jerome’s endowment grew from $9 million to $100 million. The foundation awards millions of dollars each year to emerging artists, jumpstarting careers, nurturing exploration and experimentation.

After a national search, Jerome announced Monday that Ben Cameron will take over on Jan. 4, 2016. Cameron comes to Jerome from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation in New York City, where he was program director for the arts. Before then, he was executive director of Theatre Communications Group. He worked in the Twin Cities in the 1990s at Dayton Hudson and Target and looks forward to returning to Minnesota.

Jerome chair Charlie Zelle called Cameron “a perfect fit.” Cameron will also head Jerome’s France-based sister foundation, Camargo.

Several Minnesota artists and arts organizations have recently won Jerome Foundation grants. Among them are IFP Minnesota, Zenon Dance, Northern Clay Center, the Soap Factory, the Playwrights’ Center, Pillsbury House Theater, and Tofte Lake Center in Ely. Northern Clay Center received $13,580 in support of a new Jerome Ceramic Artist of Color residency program; the Playwrights’ Center received a two-year grant of $94,000 in support of Many Voices Fellowships and Mentorships for emerging playwrights of color.

The Playwrights’ Center has announced its new Core Writers and 2015-16 Many Voices fellows. Four core writers – Carlyle Brown, Christina Ham, Rachel Jendrzejewski and Kate Targer – are from Minneapolis. Sherry Kramer is from Dorset, Vermont; Meg Miroshnik and Alice Tuan are from Los Angeles; Jen Silverman is a New Yorker. All will receive professional and artistic support from the Center through June 2018.

The new Many Voices Fellows are Cristina Castro of Minneapolis and James Tyler of New York. Each will receive $10,000 plus an additional $4,000 in living expenses and development funds.

After serving as interim director since January, James Scott has been named director of the Capri Theater, a 250-seat arts event space owned and operated by the Plymouth Christian Youth Center (PCYC). Scott took over management of the Capri in November 2014, when former director Karl Reichert left to become executive director of the Textile Center, and was named interim director in January. He served as general manager at the Guthrie from 2007-14 and has been a member of PCYC’s board of directors.

“The Capri has captured my imagination,” Scott said in a statement. “I see so much potential for this theater and this community.”


Independent Filmmaker Project Minnesota has announced the 2015 McKnight Fellowships for Media Artists. Each fellow receives a $25,000 cash award and other professional support from IFP Minnesota and McKnight including opportunities to meet with local and national artists, a public discussion series, classes and workshops through IFP Minnesota, and help attending the annual IFP Independent Film Week in New York City.

Eric D. Howell (St. Paul) is a writer, director, stuntman and actor whose credits include “North Country” and “A Serious Man.” His short, “Ana’s Playground,” was shortlisted for an Oscar nomination. He’s currently in postproduction for his first feature film for producer Dean Zanuck.

Ann Prim
Photo by Ann Marsden
Ann Prim

Ann Prim (St. Paul) is a narrative and experimental filmmaker, sound designer and screenwriter. Her films have been shown in national and international festivals. Locally, you might have seen them at the Walker, the Minneapolis Saint Paul International Film Festival, and/or on TPT. Her latest film, “Notes from There,” is currently making the festival circuit.

Jesse Roesler (Minneapolis) is an Emmy-winning filmmaker who has been making films since 2005. His debut feature documentary, “The Starfish Throwers,” took top honors at several film festivals; Huff Post called it “the most heartwarming film of 2014.”

Tom Schroeder (St. Paul) has been making hand-drawn animated films since 1990. His films have been broadcast on Independent Lens and Sundance, seen in France, Spain, Australia, and Canada, and played widely on the international festival circuit, winning more than 30 awards. 

The picks

Now at Highpoint Center for Printmaking: Jerome Residency 2014-15. Jerome Foundation grants gave artists Kieran Riley Abbott, Christopher Alday and Drew Peterson nine months of access to Highpoint’s printmaking facilities. See prints, printed material, objects and site-specific installations created during their time there. In the main gallery. Mondays-Fridays 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturdays 12 noon – 4 p.m. Through June 20.

Thursday at Rapson Hall on the U’s Minneapolis campus: John H. Howe. Known as “the pencil in Frank Lloyd Wright’s hand,” Howe (1913-1997) was Wright’s chief draftsman for nearly three decades. A charter member of the Taliesin Fellowship, he spent 33 months in prison during WWII for refusing induction. He later established an independent career as a residential architect in Minnesota. This show features drawings and photographs of built works. In HGA Gallery. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday 1-5 p.m. 89 Church St., Minneapolis. Free. Ends Sept. 13.

The weekend

Saturday at the roomy new Fulton Brewery: ARTCRANK Opening Night Party. Thousands of people attend this annual celebration of bike art, with beer. Raise a glass to the fact that Minneapolis is the only U.S. metro on a just-released worldwide index of bike-friendly cities. (We’re number 18, not too shabby.) The ninth annual ARTCRANK features original prints by 50 local artists (the most ever), all priced at $40. A portion of the profits from beer sales goes to the Minnesota Cycling Center and Musella Foundation for Brain Tumor Research and Information. Why Musella? To honor ARTCRANK artist Aaron Purmort, who created posters for the show from 2009-2014 and died last November of brain cancer. 4 – 10 p.m. Free. (With free valet bike parking.) After the Fulton opening, the show moves to St. Paul for an extended run at Hamilton Ink Spot in Lowertown, June 12-27. FMI.

ARTCRANK poster by Drew Preiner
Drew Preiner
ARTCRANK poster by Drew Preiner

Sunday at Hamline’s Sundin Music Hall: “Music with Friends, by Paul Schoenfield” CD Release Concert. A concert devoted to chamber works by the acclaimed composer and pianist, with Schoenfield himself at the keyboard. He and Young-Nam Kim, violinist and artistic director of the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota, have been friends for many years, and two of the works on the program (and the CD) are the result of their friendship: Partita for Violin and Piano, written for Kim on a Schubert Club commission, and “Three Country Fiddle Pieces,” which celebrates Kim’s receiving U.S. citizenship. CMSM’s season finale concert also features Ariana Kim on violin, Tom Turner on viola, Tony Ross on cello and Mary Jo Gothmann on piano. 4 p.m. FMI and tickets ($15-$25).

Tickets please

Because cats. Tickets are on sale now to the Walker’s Internet Cat Video Festival, which moves this year to St. Paul’s CHS Field, home of the Saints. Barb Abney hosts. Wednesday, Aug. 12, 6:30 – 10 p.m. FMI and tickets ($10 adults, $8 Walker members, $6 ages 6-12, free 5 and under). The 2015 videos are curated by Will Braden, creator of “Henri Le Chat Noir.”

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