To the list of people who stepped down from arts-related posts in 2016, or announced they soon would – Jeff Prauer of the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC), Damon Runnals of the Southern Theater, Jeff Larson and Ann B. Erickson of the Fringe, Sue Mackert of Perpich Center for the Arts (on Jan. 2), Tom Hoch of Hennepin Theatre Trust (in mid-2017) – add one more name: that of Ivey Awards founder Scott Mayer.
Ivey Awards board member Amy Newton will act as interim leader for the transition team.
Mayer founded the Iveys in 2004 to honor and showcase the work of professional theater companies and artists in the Twin Cities. Believing our theater community deserved a brighter spotlight, he gave it one, big time. Held in September, the Iveys became one of the best-attended live-theater award events in the country, second only to the Tonys. It has also been one of the year’s most anticipated, glittering and seriously fun parties, complete with a red carpet and open to anyone who can buy a ticket. The tickets for 2016 started at $35.
The awards themselves are loose and noncompetitive. There are no nominees, no set number of awards, and only two set categories, the Emerging Artist Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award. The artists and organizations receiving special recognition are determined by volunteer theater evaluators who see plays and report back. For the 2016 awards, over 150 evaluators saw more than 1,200 performances. Participating theaters vote for the Emerging Artist and Lifetime Achievement winners.
“In my mind,” Mayer said in a statement, “the trophies handed out at the show are secondary to the feeling of camaraderie as theater professionals and fans came together to celebrate each other and enjoy the recognition that our community has something special in our appreciation of theater.”
The first two years of the Iveys were funded mostly by Ameriprise Financial, with 48 participating theaters. In 2016, there were 35 sponsors and 84 professional theaters. Several corporations including Target and Best Buy have been consistent supporters, along with City Pages, Mpls.St. Paul Magazine and the men’s store MartinPatrick3.
“Though the Ivey Awards is currently financially stable,” Newton said, “we recognize and look forward to developing new partnerships, all of which will be critical in our efforts to ensure the Ivey Awards is able to continue to pursue its mission in the years to come.”
(In October, the SAGE Awards for Dance announced that it would “gracefully exit, effective immediately” after its primary funder, the McKnight Foundation, decided it would no longer continue its financial support.)
Mayer wrote on Facebook, “Although my passion for our theater community has not diminished, producing the project has become an almost full-time job, which does not allow me for other interests that I am also passionate about.” He plans to devote more time to another nonprofit he founded, the One Man Project, which seeks to engage more young men in their communities as volunteers, mentors and role models. Mayer is also involved in the Charlie Awards, an annual celebration of the local food and beverage scene organized with Sue Zelickson and named for the late, lamented Charlie’s Café Exceptionale. The sixth annual Charlies were held at the Pantages on Nov. 13.
Picks from now to the New Year
Artscape will take a holiday break next week and return Jan. 3. (In the meantime, MinnPost will feature some special pre-2017 lists over the holidays.) We’ll leave you with a few ideas for things to do between now and then.
Today (Friday, Dec. 23) at the Food Building: Last Call: A Holiday Market. Two reasons this is super interesting. 1) It’s an excuse to visit Kieran Folliard’s Food Building, a food production hub that’s home to Red Table Meat Co., the Lone Grazer Creamery and Baker’s Field Flour & Bread. 2) The vendor list is deeply intriguing: Elixery (lipstick made from scratch in a vintage lab), Calvit’s Drinking Shrubs (“artisanal beverage mixers”), The Bitter Buffalo (on-site custom gift wrap), Urban Undercover (“underwearables”). This is possibly the hippest of all holiday markets. 3-9 p.m. FMI. Free. P.S. SooVAC’s Artists’ Holiday Shop is still open, through Dec. 30, with art and gifts by Minnesota artists and makers. FMI. And the holiday sale at Northern Clay Center continues through Jan. 1, with pots by more than 60 year-round NCC artists and 24 guest artists. FMI.
Today in Loring Park: Holidazzle’s last day. The last fireworks display (at 6:30), the last movie (“A Charlie Brown Christmas” at 7 p.m.), the last opportunity to meet Santa (noon – 9 p.m.). And the last chance to cram in some last-minute Holidazzle shopping. Extended hours: noon – 10 p.m. FMI.
Monday, Dec. 26 through Saturday, Dec. 31 at the Bell Museum: A classic museum’s final days. After more than 75 years, the Bell Museum of Natural History will close its public galleries on the U of M’s Minneapolis campus. (It will reopen in new digs on the St. Paul campus in summer 2018.) Stop by to share memories and bid bon voyage to your favorite exhibits and dioramas, or take a look if you’ve never been. Note the special extended hours: 9 a.m. -7 p.m. all days.
Tuesday, Dec. 27 at Crooners: Nancy Harms and Jeremy Siskind. Brooklyn-based, Clara City-born jazz singer Harms, who’s been making fans and friends all over the world (she spent most of 2016 touring and performing in places like Paris, London, Rome and Copenhagen), is coming home to Minnesota for the holidays. She’ll be joined by her musical collaborator, pianist and arranger Jeremy Siskind, for two sets in the Dunsmore Room, made and meant for listening. 7 and 9 p.m. FMI and tickets ($22/$15, dinner show $47).
Tuesday, Dec. 27 through Sunday, Jan. 1 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum: Bruce Munro: Winter Light. Internationally acclaimed British artist Munro creates immersive, large-scale light-based installations inspired by language, literature, science, music, and shared human experience. His work has been shown all over the world, but this is his first exhibition in Minnesota, and his most northern U.S. show to date. For the Arboretum, he created five outdoor installations and two indoor installations, including a series of digital light animations. The exhibition uses over 70 miles of optical fiber and more than 98,500 component parts. We haven’t seen this yet, but we’re dying to. 5-9 p.m. FMI and tickets ($17/$12). Closes April 9.
Tuesday and Thursday, Dec. 27 and 29, at a movie bigaplex near you: “The Return of Doctor Mysterio.” The new “Doctor Who” Christmas special includes the 60-minute program, a making-of extra, and an inside look at the “Doctor Who” concept of a modern superhero. With Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. 7 p.m. Go here, click Buy Tickets, and enter your ZIP to find the theater near you.
Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 27 and 28 at the Dakota: Rio Nido. The vocal jazz trio of Tim Sparks, Prudence Johnson and Tom Lieberman was one of the most beloved Twin Cities bands of the 1970s and ’80s. They went their separate successful ways, then reunited in December 2015 for a show at the Dakota. It was such a hit (they’re all superb musicians, arguably even better now than they were back then) that they returned in May, and now again, this time for three sets. 7 p.m. Tuesday, 7 and 9 p.m. Wednesday. FMI and tickets ($35/$25).
Wednesday, Dec. 28 through Friday, Dec. 30 at the Walker: The 2016 British Arrows Awards. The always entertaining reel of the U.K.’s best advertising is nearing the end of its month-long run at the Walker. As of this writing, tickets are still available for 15 more showings in the Cinema and the McGuire Theater, but we wouldn’t advise waiting until the last minute. FMI and tickets ($14/$11.20).
Saturday, Dec. 31: Our top dozen going-out picks for New Year’s Eve.
Monday and Tuesday, January 2 and 3 at the Dakota: Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective Live Album Recording. A multiple Grammy-winning trumpeter and composer – he’s made several CDs, along with writing and performing original music for many movies – Blanchard is cutting his next album in a series of live concerts in Minneapolis, Cleveland and Dallas, three cities scarred by the escalation of tension between law enforcement and unarmed African Americans. His new album, “Caravan,” will be a sequel to 2015’s “Breathless,” named for the last words of black New Yorker Eric Garner. 7 p.m. FMI and tickets ($55-40).