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The M launches search for new ED; Bach Roots Festival to begin

ALSO: Authors John Toren and Matt Schuth at SubText Books; Open Courtyard Family Days at Mill City Museum; and more.

The Minnesota Museum of American Art has been without an executive director for more than a year.
The Minnesota Museum of American Art has been without an executive director for more than a year.
Courtesy of the Minnesota Museum of American Art

The M (Minnesota Museum of American Art) in St. Paul has a job opening: executive director. The public phase of its national search for a new ED was announced Aug. 2, when a dedicated web page went live with a position description and instructions on how to apply. A professional search adviser, 8 Bridges Workshop of St. Paul, has been retained at the recommendation of a large and diverse Search Committee that has its own set of advisers.

In brief: “The M is seeking a seasoned, energetic Executive Director who can immediately step into a critical juncture in the M’s organizational development. The path forward requires a timely push to complete the new facility’s capital campaign; reopen the museum’s existing galleries; and plan, fund, and launch a robust, innovative pipeline of new programming in collaboration with the staff, board, and community.”

The M has been without an ED for more than a year. In July 2020, then board chair Gregory Page announced in a statement that Kristin Makholm, who had led the museum for over a decade, had been released from her position. The museum closed to COVID in March 2020 and has not yet announced a reopening date, though it continues with programming in its own street-level window galleries and skyway. NewStudio Gallery in St. Paul’s Creative Enterprise Zone is currently hosting part of its “Many Waters: A Minnesota Biennial” exhibition, and “Overflow,” a companion exhibition of additional work, is on display in the Qarma Building in northeast Minneapolis.

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Statewide book club, chapter five

Need summer reading? What about a good mystery? The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library suggests Marcie Rendon’s proven page-turner “Murder on the Red River.” They’ve chosen it for their statewide book club One Book | One Minnesota and have arranged for you to read or hear it for free from now through Sept. 26. Go here and choose print or audio.

Murder on the Red RiverRendon, an enrolled member of the White Earth Anishinaabe Nation and winner of the 2020 McKnight Distinguished Artist Award, is the fifth author to be featured in One Book, which brings Minnesotans together around a common title. Through your local library, you’ll have access to author videos, reading guides, and virtual book club discussions. Libraries will also have copies of the book.

On Aug. 31 at 7 p.m., you can view a free conversation between Rendon and Allison Waukau (Menominee/Navajo), one of Library Journal’s 2021 Movers & Shakers and a member at large with the American Indian Library Association. Registration is required for that event. Find links to resources and more information here.

Marcie Rendon
Marcie Rendon
“Murder on the Red River” is Rendon’s debut mystery novel, first in a series about a tough 19-year-old Anishinaabe woman named Cash Bigbear. Taken away from the reservation as a child, she grew up in foster homes and now works as a farm laborer and pool shark in Fargo. She also solves cases with her longtime friend, Sheriff Wheaton.

The four previous titles in the series are Kate DiCamillo’s “Because of Winn-Dixie,” “A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota,” edited by Sun Yung Shin, Louise Erdrich’s “The Plague of Doves” and Pete Hautman’s “Slider.”

Here’s an interview with Rendon from Aug. 2020, when her McKnight was announced.

The picks

V is for virtual, L is for live and in person.

V Thursday, Aug. 12, 7 p.m., SubText Books: John Toren and Matt Schuth. “There are advantages to having … a home in the city that has a woodsy feel,” Minneapolis author Toren writes in his latest collection of essays, “Cabin in the City.” He also writes about pea soup, visiting the Bell Museum (not the fancy-schmancy new one, but the old one on the U of M’s Minneapolis campus), a modest proposal to move National Poetry Month from April to November, books he’s reading, excursions into the city, and other smallish, comforting topics of daily life, making this book its own quiet refuge. Schuth’s book, “Nature at Our Doorstep,” is like taking a walk with a good friend who happens to be a naturalist at the Landscape Arboretum. Both are published by Nodin, a steadfast local press that deserves our support. Free with registration.

Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin in "Respect."
United Artists Releasing
Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin in "Respect."
L Opens Friday, Aug. 13, at the Lagoon: “Respect.” Aretha Franklin hand-picked Jennifer Hudson to play her in this song-filled biopic of the Queen of Soul. (And Hudson flew to Detroit last week to watch a private screening with Franklin’s family.) Here’s the trailer. FMI and tickets ($12/$8.25/$7.50).

Mill City Museum's outdoor space, the Ruin Courtyard, is one of the great Minneapolis locations.
Courtesy of Mill City Museum
Mill City Museum's outdoor space, the Ruin Courtyard, is one of the great Minneapolis locations.
L Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 14 and 15, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Mill City Museum: Open Courtyard Family Days. A Minnesota Historical Society property, the Mill City Museum reopened in June – outdoors. The indoor experiences are still closed. But its outdoor space, the Ruin Courtyard, is one of the great Minneapolis locations, a shell of a building on the riverfront, open to the sky. Enter from West River Parkway to enjoy family activities, share your Minneapolis story at the participatory exhibit, and take in the ambiance. Free.

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L Starts Sunday, Aug. 15: Bach Roots Festival. Formerly known as Oratory Bach Ensemble, led by Matthew J. Olson, Bach Roots Festival specializes in the choral-orchestral music of J.S. Bach. The singers and musicians haven’t given a live concert for two years. They’re ready and eager to do so, and you can take your pick of relaxed or more formal venues (breweries, parks, churches) in five locations (Minneapolis, St. Paul, St. Louis Park, Edina, Winona). Some concerts will be witty, comical crowd-pleasers, some will be sacred, some will be thrilling. Most are ticketed ($15-25) and a few are free, including a family concert in Edina. This year’s finale on Aug. 20 and 21 will include the Magnificat. FMI and tickets.

On sale now

Dec. 2: Leslie Odom Jr.: The Christmas Tour. Is it too soon to be buying tickets for Christmas concerts? Looking at the seating chart at what has already sold for this show, the answer is no. Good tickets are still available, but if you want to hear the Tony-winning singer (for Aaron Burr in “Hamilton”), don’t delay. 7:30 p.m. at the State Theatre. FMI and tickets ($50-104).