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New shows open at Mia and Highpoint; Regina Marie Williams reads ‘Fannie Lou Hamer: Speak On It!’

ALSO: A virtual SPCO “Postcards Across the Atlantic”; Hennepin History Museum’s Introduction to Crop Art; and more.

“Foot in the Door 5” will feature the work of 2,066 Minnesota artists ages 2 to 93. Everything submitted for inclusion had to fit within one cubic foot.
“Foot in the Door 5” will feature the work of 2,066 Minnesota artists ages 2 to 93. Everything submitted for inclusion had to fit within one cubic foot.
Courtesy of the Minneapolis Institute of Art

It’s not the same as having your art hanging on a wall or resting on a table at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, with long lines of people inching by to take a look. But despite the pandemic, Mia’s popular “Foot in the Door” exhibition, held once every 10 years, will happen this year. It will open Sunday (Nov. 1) … virtually.

“Foot in the Door 5” will feature the work of 2,066 Minnesota artists ages 2 to 93. Everything submitted for inclusion had to fit within 1 cubic foot. For framed works, that included the frame. For sculptures or multimedia works, that included everything. Artists had to supply their own images.

So the art isn’t actually in the building. This is not a criticism. Under COVID restrictions, Mia can’t welcome crowds right now. It’s amazing, actually, that Mia did this at all. Rather than set “Foot in the Door” aside for another year or two or decade, they continued a tradition in the best way they could. These days, in our eighth month of sheltering in place, working at home and distance learning, that’s huge.

Submissions were digital, and the show will be digital, but you can still take it in. And if you’re one of the 2,066 artists whose works are included, you can still claim bragging rights.

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For help finding your way through this very large show, submissions are organized into eight categories: prints (including digital), painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media, textiles, drawings and ceramics.

The first “Foot in the Door,” held in 1980, included work by 180 artists. By 2010, “Foot in the Door 4” became the state’s largest art exhibition, with nearly 5,000 works, including video and multimedia pieces.

“Foot in the Door 5” is on view through Jan. 10. A related Virtual Family Day will take place on Sunday, Nov. 8.

This time of year, Highpoint Center for Printmaking would normally present a general show titled “Stand Out Prints.” But there’s nothing normal about 2020. Recent events and growing demands for racial and social justice in America called for another kind of show: “Stand Up Prints,” on view through Nov. 21.

Curated by Ellen Y. Tani from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts in Washington, DC, and Esther Callahan, co-director of artistic programs at the Emerging Curators Institute, “Stand Up Prints” showcases ways that contemporary printmakers are amplifying the messages of people and communities. This falls well within the tradition of prints communicating social and political messages to mass audiences.

Highpoint’s exhibition includes 62 works by 59 artists from 24 states and Puerto Rico, plus American expats, selected from more than 260 submissions through a national call for entries. Most are prints; some are site-specific installations; some are objects, like Molly Vaughan’s dress and Laura Whitmore’s pile of stuffed pink fabric pigs. Callahan brought a local perspective, acknowledging the uprising after George Floyd’s killing.

Jo Sances, “Selma 1965/Portland 2020,” 2020, screenprint
Jos Sances, “Selma 1965/Portland 2020,” 2020, screenprint
A statement from the curators says, in part, “A print happens by way of pressure: it often involves the impression of one physical surface on another, but images can also be figuratively printed on the mind, in the form of a strong impression or image that lingers in one’s memory. 2020 has been a year of tremendous pressure and lasting impressions.”

The show is open for viewing through Nov. 21, following COVID protocols: up to 10 people in the gallery at a time, social distancing, masks required. Gallery viewing hours are Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. If you go, take some time for the mural on the outside of Highpoint’s building. It’s by local artist Peyton Scott Russell. You can also view the complete “Stand Up Prints” show online.

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The picks

V Now on TPT Passport: “Classic Albums.” What’s the story behind John Lennon’s “Plastic Ono Band”? Cream’s “Disraeli Gears”? Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours”? Episodes drawn from the long-running British documentary series explore the writing, recording, sounds, style and origins of 16 classic albums. As one reviewer wrote, “You think aging rockers talking about old albums would be boring? Think again.” Free to TPT members at the $60 and above annual level, which is less pricey than most streaming services, plus you’re supporting public television.

Janis Kelly as Pat Nixon and James Maddalena as Richard Nixon in “Nixon in China."
Photo by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera
Janis Kelly as Pat Nixon and James Maddalena as Richard Nixon in “Nixon in China."
Thursday (Oct. 29) on the Metropolitan Opera’s website: “Nixon in China.” The Met closed to COVID on March 12. Every night since March 16, it has made an opera from its extensive archives available for free streaming. The selection changes nightly. John Adams’ “Nixon in China” had its Met premiere in the 2010-11 season. Kathleen Kim, Janis Kelly, Robert Brubaker, Russell Braun, James Maddalena and Richard Paul Fink star in a performance directed by the composer. 6:30 p.m. CST. The stream will be available for 23 hours.

V Thursday (Oct. 29) online: Schubert Club: Lux String Quartet Virtual Courtroom Concert. Recorded in November 2019 in Landmark Center Courtroom 217, the Twin Cities-based ensemble plays a program that includes Debussy’s String Quartet in G minor. Noon. Free.

V Thursday (Oct. 29) and Sunday (Nov. 1) on Zoom: Pillsbury House Theatre Presents “Fannie Lou Hamer: Speak On It!” A staged reading of Cheryl L. West’s play meant to inspire hope and action. Hamer, a famed civil and voting rights activist, is played by the always magnificent Regina Marie Williams. Readings will be followed by discussions with Pillsbury House Artistic Director Faye Price. 7 p.m. both nights. FMI and tickets (pick-your-price with $5 minimum).

V Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 31 and Nov. 1) on the SPCO’s website: The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra: “Postcards Across the Atlantic.” Third in the SPCO’s Fall 2020 series of performances livestreamed from the Ordway Concert Hall stage. The music will include Errollyn Wallen’s “Five Postcards for Violin and Viola,” Sir William Walton’s String Quartet in A Minor, Arthur Bliss’ Oboe Quintet and the world premiere of a new composition by Ambrose Akinmusire performed by principal bass Zachary Cohen. Live performance at 8 p.m. Saturday, rebroadcast at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Free in the concert library.

Plan ahead

“The Architect” by Liz Schreiber
Courtesy of the artist
“The Architect” by Liz Schreiber
Saturday, Nov. 21 on Zoom: Hennepin History Museum: Introduction to Crop Art. Minnesotans are crazy about crop art. Each year at the State Fair, we line up to study, admire, and photograph images made of seeds and beans and lentils. This year’s fair was canceled, but the crop art competition continued in a virtual version. Have you always dreamed of creating your own crop art? Maybe entering the State Fair competition and bringing home a ribbon? Liz Schreiber has entered for 16 years, won many ribbons and taught multiple classes and workshops. Learn from a master. FMI and link to tickets ($43-50). The cost includes a materials packet that will be mailed to you ahead of time.