By now you’ve probably heard that the 2021 Uptown Art Fair, scheduled for Aug. 7-8, has been canceled due to unrest and safety concerns in the neighborhood. In case you missed it, this is from the official statement issued Tuesday on the website:
After much consideration, the Uptown Association is disappointed to have to announce the cancellation of the 2021 Uptown Art Fair. We remained committed to making this year’s 57th annual event a great success for our artists and the community but were unable to overcome several unanticipated challenges and events that are beyond our control.
Considerable time and work was put in to navigating the challenges our city is facing to ensure a safe and welcoming space for our artists, vendors, sponsors and guests. Multiple options were considered and planned, including moving the event to an alternate location a few blocks away to showcase the greater Uptown community. However, despite our collective best effort, we were unable to reach a consensus among the many stakeholders it takes to successfully put on an event of this size and scope. Because of multiple evolving issues and the logistics of a large-scale event, it was not executable.
This is the second year in a row that Uptown won’t happen, since COVID quashed it in 2020. To the hundreds of artists who were scheduled to show, to the hundreds of thousands of people who make it an annual destination, to the bars and restaurants and other businesses on the surrounding streets who benefit, the loss – two years in a row – is crushing.
To be very clear, we are not comparing any of this to the loss of life that took place on June 3, when Winston Smith Jr. was fatally shot by members of a federal task force on top of a parking ramp adjacent to the former Calhoun Square, and on June 13, when Deona Knajdek was struck and killed when Nicholas Kraus slammed his SUV into her parked car. Two people are dead and there is no comparison.
But we are also thinking about the artists who won’t have an Uptown for the second year. During the pandemic, we’ve heard and read a lot about restaurant employees out of work, singers, musicians and actors whose calendars emptied overnight, museums in trouble, performing arts venues that closed and have stood empty ever since. But we haven’t heard much about the individual artists – the painters, photographers, illustrators, printmakers and sculptors, jewelers, fiber artists, ceramics and glass and mixed media artists – who work mostly alone in their studios, making work with their own hands, selling it in person at art fairs and farmers markets (and doing all the set-up and takedown that requires), paying their rent and insurance, supporting themselves and their families. They don’t have lobbyists and unions. They’re mostly on their own.
Of the 300 artists who showed at the 2019 Uptown Art Fair, the last year for which an artists’ directory exists, almost a third were artists from Minnesota.
State Fair Grandstand schedule is complete
Last week we learned the lineup of free-with-admission concerts at the Minnesota State Fair – more than 100 acts and 900 shows. But except for Miranda Lambert, the Doobie Brothers and Tim McGraw, the Grandstand was still a work in progress.
The news came in a rush on Wednesday morning – the complete Grandstand schedule, with all on-sale dates. Here’s the whole lineup, including the previously announced shows.
Thursday, Aug. 26, 7:30 p.m.: Miranda Lambert with special guest Lindsay Ell. On sale now.
Friday, Aug. 27, 7:30 p.m.: Maren Morris with special guest TBA. On sale July 21.
Saturday, Aug. 28, 6:30 p.m.: The Current’s Music On-A-Stick featuring Lake Street Dive with special guests Low Cut Connie and Kiss the Tiger. On sale July 14.
Sunday, Aug. 29, 7 p.m.: TLC and Shaggy with special guest Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. On sale July 21.
Monday, Aug. 30, 7 p.m.: The Spinners with special guests Little Anthony & The Imperials and the Grass Roots. On sale July 14.
Tuesday, Aug. 31, 7 p.m.: The Doobie Brothers 50th Anniversary Tour with special guest Dirty Dozen Brass Band. On sale now.
Wednesday, Sept. 1, 7:30 p.m.: Tim McGraw with special guest Midland. On sale now.
Thursday, Sept. 2, 7:30 p.m.: The Chainsmokers with special guest GASHI. On sale July 14.
Friday, Sept. 3, 6:30 p.m.: Music, Movie and a Conversation with Kevin Costner with special guest Modern West. On sale July 21.
Saturday, Sept. 4, 7:30 p.m.: George Thorogood & The Destroyers “Good to Be Bad Tour: 45 Years of Rock” with special guest Night Ranger. On sale July 21.
Sunday, Sept. 5, 7:30 p.m.: Minnesota State Fair Amateur Talent Contest Finals. Free.
Monday, Sept. 6, 4 p.m.: Darci Lynne: My Lips Are Sealed (Except When They’re Not) with special guest Okee Dokee Brothers. On sale now.
It’s the usual reliable mix of country, the Current, R&B, hip-hop, and classics with a couple of twists: Hollywood star Costner with his country-rock band, a live Q&A and a screening of “Field of Dreams,” and singer/ventriloquist/TV talent show winner Darci Lynn.
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community to exhibit at the Fair
The Minnesota State Fair is older than the state of Minnesota, yet it has never hosted an exhibit by a tribal government.
This year, it will. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) will be the first. A new exhibit on the east end of the education building will feature information about the SMSC, Minnesota’s 10 other tribal nations, and the SMSC’s Understand Native Minnesota campaign for Minnesota schools.
The exhibit will feature an interactive, walk-through tipi-shaped display that will stand nearly 12 feet tall. The exterior walls will include informational videos. Inside, more information about Native American culture.
SMSC Chairman Keith Anderson said in a statement, “As the original inhabitants of Minesota, Native people have made important contributions to the state for centuries and continue to do so today. But many Minnesotans don’t know much about the state’s tribes, their history, culture and governments.”
This first-of-its-kind exhibit is a step toward fixing that.
Between now and the Fair, the SMSC will hold its annual Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Wacipi (Pow Wow), a cultural and social celebration of dancing, singing and visiting, at the WACIPI Grounds in Shakopee from Aug. 20-22. This family-friendly event will feature hundreds of Native American dancers and drum groups, vendors of Native American crafts and foods, and fireworks. All are welcome to attend. FMI.
Native music from the Cedar
The Cedar hasn’t yet opened its doors to the public, but starting tonight (Thursday, July 8), you can tune into its public access channel for the MNI SOTA (mini show tah) Native Music Series.
Curated by Alex Buffalohead, a member of the Cedar’s 2020 Artist Collective, Arts and Cultural Engagement Manager at All My Relations, keyboard player and vocalist in the Minnesota-based band Bluedog, this virtual series will premiere a new program every Thursday through July 29. All are available for free, with a suggested donation to cover the costs. All artists will be paid.
Tonight’s program will feature Keith Secola, a multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter whose “NDN Kars” (Indian Cars) is considered the contemporary Native American anthem. On July 15, the Wake Singers will perform. See Corey Medina & The Brothers on July 22. Ending the series, Secola will host an Artist Showcase on July 29 with Annie Humphrey, Dana Thompson, the Pretendians (a Native rock band) and Bluedog.
When will the Cedar reopen? In early August. Live and in person concerts are already being booked through May 2022.