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Robyne Robinson is the M’s new board chair; ‘David Byrne: True Stories’ at the Walker

ALSO: Art Shanty Projects has a new artistic director; Four Ways to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing; and more.

Robyne Robinson
Robyne Robinson has been appointed board chair of the Minnesota Museum of American Art.
Courtesy of the artist

A Twin Cities personality, former KMSP-TV Fox 9 news anchor and past art director at MSP International Airport, where she developed its public arts program, Robyne Robinson has been appointed board chair of the Minnesota Museum of American Art. She will be the museum’s first African-American chair.

Robinson was recently named chair of the State Capitol Art Exhibition Committee to address multicultural representation and was appointed to the Minneapolis Arts Commission by Mayor Jacob Frey. She is the first African-American inducted into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame. In late 2018, she established the public art consulting firm Five x Five. Robinson is also an artist and a collector.

“I’m excited to work with Executive Director Kristin Makholm and share her mission to explore what it means today to be an ‘American Art’ museum,” Robinson said in a statement. “What is our identity? Whom does it include? The M should reflect the history and diversity of our community in its educational programming and exhibitions. It’s time to challenge traditional institutional ideas and give everyone an emotional stake in a museum with 21st century goals.”

One of the oldest visual arts organizations in Minnesota, the M opened its new permanent home in the Historic Pioneer Endicott in December 2018. A further expansion into more gallery space will take place in 2020.

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Art Shanty Projects has a new artistic director

Things are looking up for Art Shanty Projects. As recently as September 2018, the news was not good. A major grant had not come through and the 2019 on-ice program would not take place. The board was “grappling with difficult decisions regarding the future of the program.”

In January, Art Shanty Projects received “a significant anonymous grant for the purpose of operating the on-ice festival 2020 and 2021.” In June, it won a $10,000 MRAC grant for 2020’s On Ice, which will take place on Lake Harriet. Last week, it hired a new artistic director.

Art Shanty Projects has hired Erin Lavelle as its new artistic director.
Courtesy of the artist
Art Shanty Projects has hired Erin Lavelle as its new artistic director.
A public artist and producer, Erin Lavelle knows Art Shanty Projects well. She’s a longtime audience member and former on-ice installation artist with the Slumber Party Shanty. Lavelle has also worked with Northern since 2012 on various projects and has produced Northern Spark four times.

Art Shanty Projects has spent the past year working with the community to assess the program’s past successes and shortcomings. It has taken steps toward becoming self-sustaining. A call for 2020’s On Ice artists and performers will go out in July.

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The picks

Tonight (Thursday, July 18) through Saturday at the O’Shaughnessy: Momentum: New Dance Works Festival. This is week 2 of an important platform for new and emerging choreographic talent in the Twin Cities. Leslie Parker’s “crystal, smoke n’ spirits” was inspired by Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ book “spill: scenes of black feminist fugitivity” and Octavia Butler’s “Wildseed.” Gumb served as dramaturg. Jonathan van Arneman’s “Atlantis 13” took inspiration from stories of pregnant African women thrown overboard while crossing the Atlantic on slave ships. It imagines black bodies from 13 different tribes, summoned to found an underwater utopia. Created in collaboration with Peace Madimutsa. Performances will take place in the Frey, the O’Shaughnessy’s black box. 8 p.m. FMI and tickets ($20 advance, $25 door).

David Byrne starred and directed the 1986 film "True Stories."
Warner Bros.
David Byrne starred and directed the 1986 film "True Stories."
Friday at the Walker Art Center: “David Byrne: True Stories.” Byrne stars in and directed this 1986 film. In late 2018, he helped supervise the restored 4K digital transfer and new surround sound audio. Part of the Walker’s Lost Films & Restorations series, it features music from the Talking Heads, Kronos Quartet, Meredith Monk and more, and appearances by Swoosie Kurtz, John Goodman, gospel singer Pops Staples and Spalding Gray. 7 p.m. FMI and tickets ($10/8).

Friday at Orchestra Hall: Karen Gomyo Plays Piazzolla’s Four Seasons. In a rhythmic and percussion-filled Sommerfest, this concert promises to be a high point. Andrew Grams conducts, violin phenom Karen Gomyo returns to Orchestra Hall to play Piazzolla’s “The Four Seasons in Buenos Aires,” and William Schimmel plays accordion in Dominick Argento’s “Valentino Dances” Suite for Orchestra. The program will also feature music by Benzecry, Golijov and Ginastera. 8 p.m. FMI and tickets ($25-80). Plan to arrive early. Peavey Plaza is finally officially open.

Saturday: Four Ways to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing.

(1) The Science Museum of Minnesota will hold a terrific Apollo: First Moon Landing Celebration. See the “Apollo 11: First Steps Edition” documentary on the Omnitheater screen. Meet NASA astronaut Col. Mark T. Vande Hei, who lived on board the ISS and worked on other NASA missions from Mission Control. Take a simulated flight around the moon in a NASA Moon Trek VR experience. Do some hands-on NASA activities and ask a NASA Solar System Ambassador your pressing space questions. FMI and tickets. 12-4 p.m. Museum admission $19.95/14.95, Omnitheater $9.95/8.95. BTW there’s nothing like talking with a real astronaut. We’ve done it and It Is Awesome.

(2) In a “Discovery Days: Ideas With Impact” event, the Bakken Museum will screen the Smithsonian Channel documentary “The Day We Walked on the Moon.” Scientists and organizations will share ways the moon landing still inspires innovation and shapes our lives. Plus there will be family-friendly activities with the Minnesota Astronomical Society and more, and time to walk outdoors and explore those beautiful Bakken gardens. FMI. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free with museum admission ($10/8/5/free for 3 & under and members). The Bakken is just to the west of Bde Maka Ska (Lake Calhoun), with plenty of free parking nearby.

(3) The Bell Museum has a full day planned for its Apollo Anniversary Celebration, starting at 8 a.m. with outdoor activities. At 10 a.m., you can head indoors to see archival 1969 NASA and news footage, talk with NASA Solar System Ambassadors and make stuff. See actual genuine lunar rock and soil samples on loan from the Johnson Space Center. Check out NASA artifacts like Commander James McDivitt’s Teflon-coated pants from Apollo 9. View the Bell’s new planetarium production, “One Giant Leap,” which will put you on the surface of the moon with Neil Armstrong. You’ll probably want to get advance tickets for that. FMI. The celebration is free with museum admission ($12/10/9/UMN students and members free).

(4) The Challenger Learning Center of Minnesota and the Mall of America have teamed up for a Makerspace event in honor of the moon landing’s anniversary. The Rotunda will be a solar system with 40-inch-wide planets and a 16-foot rocket. (Bigger than your usual solar system mobile.) On the ground, kids can touch moon rockets from NASA and make stuff. People from the Bell Museum will be in the Northeast Court with a model-making activity; High Touch High Tech MSP will offer science experiments in Macy’s Court; and the Southeast Court, PCs and VR headsets will show the Apollo 11 moon landing. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. FMI. Free. Click on Deals for, well, deals. It’s a mall.