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Awards all over; Roderick Cox returns to lead the Minnesota Orchestra

Leslie Barlow
Courtesy of Springboard for the Arts
Painter Leslie Barlow is one of Springboard for the Arts' 20/20 Artist Fellows.
Springboard for the Arts has announced its second group of 20/20 Artist Fellows. Designer and dancer Felicia Perry, poet and TruArtSpeaks founder Tish Jones, painter Leslie Barlow and Somali-born visual artist Kaamil A. Haider will each receive an unrestricted $15,000 award plus a $5,000 professional development stipend.

Tish Jones
Courtesy of Springboard for the Arts
Tish Jones
Supported in part by the Bush and Surdna Foundations, the 20/20 Artist Fellowship is open to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and Native artists who are creating tools, pathways, and systems of support for artists in their communities. It does not require recipients to create projects or exhibit artwork.

The 2017 fellows were Jose Alvillar and Leila Awadallah. The 20/20 Artist Fellowship is a three-year pilot program that will be offered through 2020. Applications are accepted through an open nomination process. Artists may nominate themselves or refer other candidates anonymously through Springboard’s nomination committee.

Nominations and applications for the 2020 fellowships (yes, those will be the 2020 20/20 fellowships) will open in January 2020.

$75K to East Side Freedom Library

The East Side Freedom Library in St. Paul has received a $75,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Trust. According to the Pioneer Press, the grant will help replace the library’s heating and cooling unit. It will also help fund its only paid staff member, Associate Director Clarence White.

Housed in one of Minnesota’s 65 Carnegie libraries, founded by Peter Rachleff and his wife, Beth Cleary, both former Macalester College department chairs (he in history, she in theater histories and directing), the East Side has a specific mission: to inspire solidarity, advocate for justice and work toward equity for all.


Its collections include books, journals, records, original works of art and posters related to the histories of labor and the working class, U.S. immigration, African-Americans and the African diaspora, Asian-Americans, women, and jazz and radical music. The Hmong Archives, a nonprofit, is located inside the ESFL.

Along with holding collections (and making them available to the public – not to check out, but to view and study), the ESFL hosts a variety of free community-building events including workshops, conversations, readings, film screenings, book clubs, and performances. On Tuesday (July 23), it will screen “Jim Crow of the North” as part of its ongoing series “The Fight for Housing Justice.” FMI. On Friday (July 26), musicians Steve Hirsh, Larry McDonough and Richard Terrill will explore the music of jazz percussionist and composer Paul Motian. FMI.

$150k to the SPCO

The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra has received a two-year, $150,000 Futures Fund grant from the League of American Orchestras “to support innovation and organizational learning.”

The SPCO is one of 19 U.S. orchestras to receive the grant, which ranges in size from $80,000 to $150,000. It will use the money to test different approaches to delivering digital concerts to the broadest audience in the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota. Through its online Concert Library, certain SPCO concerts are available as livestreams during performances and later as on-demand HD concert videos. All are free. The SPCO means to expand the number of people who can experience its performances.

In a statement, Managing Director and President Jon Limbacher said the funding will help the SPCO “achieve our goal of serving as many people in Minnesota through our online Concert Library as we do through in-person attendance.”


The Concert Library was launched in June 2017. Prior to then, the SPCO had a popular online listening library of audio only. The Concert Library combines the two. More than 100 videos and audio including 50 complete concerts are now available on the SPCO’s website. The library is easy to use, intelligently organized and searchable in many ways.

The Futures Fund grants are funded by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.

Artists, get ready for ‘Foot in the Door’

Once every decade, Mia accepts and displays all submissions by Minnesota artists – that’s anyone, working in any medium – as long as they don’t exceed 1 cubic foot in size (or 80 seconds, if your medium is video). “Foot in the Door 5” will take place in summer 2020.

In 2010, more than 4,800 artists took part. They waited in a long and winding line to submit their work, which was photographed and placed in the galleries by Mia staff. (Except back then they were still Minneapolis Institute of Arts-with-an-s staff. This was before the name change.) The show drew more than 102,000 visitors.

All 4,800 artists can now claim, without fibbing, that their art has been shown at a major museum.

Want in? Information on the submission process will be posted on Mia’s website in January. The museum will start accepting works in the spring. The exhibit will open July 10 in the Target Galleries.

TPT’s Minnesota Original did a sweet piece on “Foot in the Door 4.” Christopher Atkins was MAEP curator at the time. Take a look.

The picks

Now at the Park Square: “Agatha Christie’s Rule of Thumb.” Three one-act murder mysteries by the Queen of Crime are the perfect way to spend a summer evening, especially when it’s too hot to be outdoors. Austene Van directs all three (“The Wasp’s Nest,” “The Rats” and “The Patient”); her casts include Audrey Park, Peter Christian Hansen, H. Adam Harris, Rajane Katurah Brown and Bob Davis as Hercule Poirot – the dapper Belgian detective’s debut on the Park Square stage. Ages 14 and up. Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. FMI and tickets ($16-60). Ends Aug. 25.


Saturday at the Science Museum: Film Score Fest 2019. Maybe we’ll hear the next John Williams, Danny Elfman, Rachel Portman or Enrico Morricone. For this annual event, now in its sixth year, filmmakers and composers are randomly paired to create and score short films. Presented by MNKINO, it features a live orchestra. 7 p.m. FMI and tickets ($10/20 suggested donation). Also this year: a pre-show screening of films that didn’t quite make the cut, with the MIDI mock-up scores. 4:30 p.m. Free. Here’s a trailer.

Roderick Cox
Photo by Greg Helgeson
Roderick Cox will lead the Minnesota Orchestra in works by Afro-Cuban and Spanish composers and Beethoven’s “Eroica” symphony.
Saturday at Orchestra Hall: Roderick Cox Conducts Beethoven. Now based in Berlin, the Minnesota Orchestra’s former associate conductor has seen more of the world since leaving us last summer. He made his opera debut with the Houston Grand Opera in February, the first black conductor to stand on its podium in 27 years. He also made his debuts with the Cleveland Orchestra, the L.A. Phil, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and others. Cox will lead the Minnesota Orchestra in works by Afro-Cuban and Spanish composers and Beethoven’s “Eroica” symphony. 8 p.m. FMI and tickets ($25-45). Arrive early and walk around Peavey Plaza, which is now officially, finally open.

JC Sanford and Asuka Kakitani
Courtesy of Crooners
JC Sanford and Asuka Kakitani
Sunday at Crooners: Inatnas Orchestra: The Music of Asuka Kakitani and JC Sanford. She (Kakitani) recently won a 2019 McKnight Composer Fellowship; he (Sanford) won one in 2018. She composes and conducts; he composes and plays trombone. She had her own jazz orchestra in New York and released an acclaimed album; ditto for him. In May, he was named musical and artistic director of the JazzMN Orchestra. Relocating from New York to Minnesota in 2016, Kakitani and Sanford formed a new jazz orchestra here (its name, in reverse, is the first syllable of his last name and the last two syllables of hers). They also co-founded the Twin Cities Jazz Composers’ Workshop, opening the door to the creation of more new music. Sunday’s concert will be 17 musicians and, for the first time, a vocalist, soprano Carrie Henneman Shaw. In the main room. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($15-20).

Monday at Magers & Quinn: Catherine Chu presents “The Tenth Muse” in conversation with Steph Opitz. From Publishers Weekly to the L.A. Times, Buzzfeed to the BBC, everyone loves this novel about a brilliant young woman whose quest to solve an unsolved math problem leads to discovering her own identity. Opitz is founding director of the Loft’s Wordplay festival. 7 p.m. Free.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Sarah Nagle on 07/20/2019 - 03:39 pm.

    Kudos to Maestro Cox.

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