9 artists share $86,000 in public art grants; New Year’s Eve events

Mid-Career Project Grant winner Marcus Young in a video collaboration with Kulture Klub Collaborative called “Don’t You Feel It Too?”

Forecast Public Art has awarded $86,000 in grants to nine Minnesota-based artists for a wide variety of public art projects, installations and activities.

The $50,000 Mid-Career Project Grant, funded by the McKnight Foundation, goes to Marcus Young, who will create a new work tentatively titled “Open-Hearted Action.” It will look like wild, joyful dancing in the streets as it explores themes of protest and civic engagement and addresses the urgent political matters of our day. Young will lead a team of artists in this work, and it will be participatory; anyone will be able to try it. Sessions will begin in 2016, with larger events planned for 2017.

Ashley Fairbanks and Rory Wakemup have each won $8,000 Emerging Artist Project Grants, funded by the Jerome Foundation. Fairbanks, an artist, designer and exhibition developer, will create a mini-museum highlighting Dakota history mounted on a bike trailer, then pedal it to contested sites in Minneapolis to discuss Dakota history. As “Darth Chief,” Wakemup will collaborate with the Native American comedy group 1491’s for a community-designed public performance at the Minneapolis American Indian Center on Indigenous Peoples Day 2016.

Two $5,000 Mid-Career Professional Development Grants went to community-based Malia Burkhart and filmmaker Andrea Ellen Reed. Laryssa Husiak, Eric Avery, Mayuma Amada and a group of four Hmong women storytellers – Yang Mee-Moua Yang, Sao Her, Laichee Yang and Pa Na Lor – each received $2,500 Emerging Artist Research & Development Grants. 

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Why should a jazz festival happen just once a year? The Twin Cities Jazz Festival, which fills Mears Park and spreads out over St. Paul the last weekend in June (and earlier this year brought Dr. John into the new Saints stadium), will hold a daylong Winter Jazz Festival on Sunday, Jan. 31 – indoors, at the Saint Paul Hotel. Live music will be featured on four stages.

Unlike the summer jazz fest, this is not a free event, but the lineup is alluring and it’s indoors. (Some of us remember a winter jazz fest in 2007 that was supposed to take place in a heated tent on Landmark Plaza. Let’s just say that did not go well.) The headliners, who take the main stage at 6:45 p.m., are pianist Cyrus Chestnut, with festival artistic director Francisco Mela on drums and Gerald Cannon on bass.

Cyrus Chestnut

Performing throughout the day: Acme Jazz Company, Ancia Saxophone Quartet (presented by the Schubert Club), Jazz Central All Stars featuring Debbie Duncan, John Penny Trio, Patty Peterson with Dave Karr, Solomon Parham with Steve Kenny, a group of young musicians presented by the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education, and JoAnn Funk in the hotel’s Lobby Bar.

View the schedule and get tickets here ($30; $35 if you wait to buy them at the door).

The picks

Saturday and Sunday at Magers & Quinn: Three book signings for books that people you know would probably love. Saturday at 2 p.m.: Cathy de Moll and Will Steger sign “Think South: How We Got Six Men and Forty Dogs Across Antarctica,” the true story of the history-making 1990 International Trans-Antarctica Expedition. Sunday at noon: Andy Sturdevant and Mike Evangelist sign “Downtown: Minneapolis in the 1970s.” Sunday at 4 p.m.: Senator Amy Klobuchar signs “The Senator Next Door: A Memoir from the Heartland.”

Saturday at Common Good Books: J. Ryan Stradal signs his novel “Kitchens of the Great Midwest.” Stradal was born and raised in Minnesota, though he left us years ago for Los Angeles. His debut novel, a New York Times best-seller, tells of a young woman with a golden palate who becomes a star chef by exploring the flavors of her native Minnesota. Each chapter tells the story of a single dish (with recipes). We haven’t read this but we want to, very badly. A gift for your foodie friends? 1 p.m.

Courtesy of The Grand Hand Gallery
Wood carving by Roger & Jackie Becker; Sun Prairie, WI

More shopping suggestions:

•  SooVAC’s Local Artists’ Holiday Shop, 4th Edition. Prints, paintings, jewelry and sculpture from Minnesota artists and makers. Parking available. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

•  Northern Clay Center. According to Wednesday’s New York Times, handmade ceramics are the latest thing. (Eye roll. What took you so long?) Northern Clay’s on-site shop features work by potters from all over the country, and if you can’t choose, gift cards are available. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 

•  The Grand Hand Gallery. Owner Ann Ruhr Pifer’s unerring eye makes her St. Paul spot a primo place to find exactly the right handcrafted gift – one that shows “the hand of the artist” at work. Come here for jewelry, tableware, prints, paintings, and other beautiful things. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

And don’t forget the museum shops at Mia, the Walker and WAM, each curated almost as carefully as the exhibitions.

Holiday fare

If you’re Trailer Trash fans, you’ve already heard that after 22 years at Lee’s Liquor Lounge, now under new ownership, the popular Trashy Little Xmas Show was briefly homeless.  And you probably know that three of the four planned shows have been booked in other venues. So this is for everyone who has wondered about the show and thought about going but never quite made it. Maybe it’s coming to a neighborhood near you? Catch it Friday, Dec. 18 at the Parkway, Saturday, Dec. 19 at the Metropolitan Ballroom in Golden Valley or Wednesday, Dec. 23 at the Eagles Club. FMI and tickets ($20).

Monday and Tuesday: Lumina Women’s Ensemble Presents “Light in the Darkness: Music for the Longest Night of the Year.” Even in a winter that hasn’t felt much like one, the solstice is cause for celebration. Lumina is sopranos Kim Sueoka and Angela Grunstad, altos Linda Kachelmeier and Clara Osowski. Their mostly a cappella programs are drawn from Medieval chants and carols, Renaissance motets, folk-song traditions, and works by Minnesota composers. Expect a Bob Dylan cover – but which one? 7 p.m. Monday at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Minneapolis, same time Tuesday at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in St. Paul. Tickets at the door: $15 general admission, $10 students and seniors.

Haven’t yet nailed down New Year’s Eve? It’s not too late for these.

•  The Artists’ Quarter Goes to Hell. Oh, all right, the real name of this event is “An AQ New Year’s Eve Reunion Party with Carole Martin and Friends on Thursday, December 31, 2015 at Hell’s Kitchen in Minneapolis.” When the AQ closed in 2013, many regulars were left without New Year’s Eve plans. Will this take the place of that popular tradition? We can hope. With the inimitable torch singer Carole Martin, guitar master Dean Magraw, former AQ owner Kenny Horst on drums and Davis Wilson at the door. Includes complimentary hors d’oeuvres, champagne toast and party favors. 9 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. at Hell’s Kitchen. FMI and reservations ($64/$100 VIP).

•  Dinner and Jazz at Parma 8200. A three-course dinner plus live music that pairs perfectly with dinner, like the right wine. 5 p.m.: Chet Baker-like vocalist Thomas Bruce. 7 p.m.: cool and elegant vocalist Maud Hixson. 9:30 p.m.: the swinging, sophisticated Benny Weinbeck Quartet. $70 per person, champagne toast at midnight. Call 952-896-8888.

•  Lizz Winstead in Lizz Misérables at the Cedar. “A Hilarious, Tragic Review of 2015” by the co-creator and head writer of “The Daily Show” and co-founder of Air American Radio, where she hosted “Unfiltered” with Rachel Maddow. Most recently, Winstead was on a national comedy tour to benefit Planned Parenthood. With comedy writer Frank Conniff of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” and finger-style acoustic guitarist Sam Breckenridge. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8. FMI and tickets ($40-$65). Also Wednesday, Dec. 30.

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