This year’s Art Attack will be different from all the rest. An annual tradition since 1998 at the Northrup King Building, the Twin Cities’ largest collection of artists’ studios under one roof, it will be more than art, artists, live music, food and demonstrations. It will also be the final Art Attack before the building’s ownership and leadership are transferred to Artspace Projects, Inc.
Debbie Woodward, who has managed the building since 1996, and Shamrock Properties, Northrup King’s owner and operator, announced in September that the building – actually a six-building, 317,000-square-foot complex – had been sold to Artspace, with a closing date before the end of 2019.
The first time Woodward entered the building 23 years ago, it was dark, confusing and almost empty. She wondered if she should be carrying Mace. Her father, Jim Stanton, had bought the Northrup King with a partner and tasked her to fill it with tenants. She filled it with artists and arts-related businesses. Other buildings followed suit – the California Building, Casket Arts, Q.arma, Solar Arts – and today the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District is nationally known. In 2015, USA Today named it Best Art District.
In an old, familiar story (see St. Paul’s Lowertown and Minneapolis’ North Loop), the arts-rich area became attractive to developers. And breweries, once Gov. Mark Dayton signed the “Surly Law” in 2011. By September 2018, a MinnPost headline asked, “There’s a lot of beer, boutiques and luxury apartments in Minneapolis’ ‘Arts District’ these days. How much longer will it have any artists?”
A year later, we had an answer. Greg Handberg, Artspace’s senior VP of properties, said in a statement, “We are committed to keeping Northrup King Building a place for artists for decades to come, preserving this important anchor of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District.”
And this, from the same Artspace press release: “Pressure to sell [the Northrup King] to developers increased in 2017 after the passing of Woodward’s father, developer Jim Stanton. By 2018, the Northrop King Building became the most requested property in her late father’s real estate portfolio, with requests to purchase coming from developers all across the country.”
As Northrup King prepares to “pass the torch” to Artspace, sculptor Joel Sisson has created a torch for Art Attack weekend. Artists and visitors are invited to third-floor Gallery #332 to write words celebrating the arts on paper (provided). These will be glued onto a symbolic illuminated flame.
Art Attack will take place this Friday (Nov. 1) from 5-10 p.m., Saturday from noon-9 p.m. and Sunday from noon-5 p.m. Some 350 visual artists will open their studios and galleries to visitors. FMI. See the Facebook event page and click on See Discussion.
Tonight (Thursday, Oct. 31), Friday and Saturday at Hidden Falls Regional Park: 26th Annual BareBones Halloween Extravaganza. A community-created nighttime spectacle pageant of larger-than-life puppetry, drama, stilting, dance, fire, music and song, presented by a cast and crew of more than 100 people. This year’s theme: “… and the fires will burn.” Rah Diavola and Angie Courchaine are co-artistic directors, Kristin Freye is choreographer, and Venus DeMars is music director. As always, the pageant includes a ceremony in which people are invited to honor friends and relations who have passed on by calling out their names. Stay for the reception after the show, with free hot food from Sister’s Camelot. 1305 S. Mississippi River Blvd., St. Paul. Gate opens at 6:30 p.m. All shows start at 7 p.m. Pay what you can; a $10-20 donation at the gate is suggested. FMI – be sure to read for important parking information.
Friday at the American Swedish Institute: Schubert Club Mix: Danish String Quartet: Last Leaf. Schubert Club Artistic and Executive Director Barry Kempton has an ear for top talent. He tapped Sheku Kanneh-Mason for his International Artist Series before the phenomenal young British cellist played at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. And he chose the Danish String Quartet as the Schubert Club’s featured ensemble for the 2019-20 season before they were named Musical America’s Ensemble of the Year, though they had won a heap of other honors by then. At the ASI, they’ll play music from “The Last Leaf,” their album of traditional Scandinavian folk music – one of the top classical albums of 2017. This concert is sold out, but turnbacks happen. And the Danes (and one Norwegian) will return in May to play the full cycle of Beethoven string quartets over a series of six concerts. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($30; sold out).
Friday at Moon Palace Books: Nathalie Handal. Palestinian poet Handal will share the spotlight with Rep. Ilhan Omar at Mizna’s 20th Anniversary Benefit on Saturday. The night before, you can see her at Moon Palace and hear her read from her latest collection, “Life in a Country Album.” 7 p.m. Free.
Friday and Saturday at Orchestra Hall: Leila Josefowicz Plays Stravinsky. And Juraj Valčuha conducts, making this the return of two Minnesota Orchestra audience favorites. Violinist Josefowicz was last here in 2016, performing a work written for her by John Adams. Valčuha is the conductor of the Teatro di Sa Carlo in Naples and the principal guest conductor of the Konzerthausorchester Berlin. He made his Minnesota Orchestra debut in 2015, returned in 2017, and now he’s back – as a possible Vänskä successor? This weekend’s program will include Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto, Webern’s “Im Somerwind” and Strauss’ “An Alpine Symphony.” 8 p.m. both nights. FMI and tickets ($30-97).