So many places to go!

6 Nov

I spent an incredible Friday with my friend and erstwhile mentor Margo Ashmore. She took the new Director of Arts and Culture at City of Minneapolis, Gulgun Kayim, and I on a 3-hour tour of the arts in North Minneapolis.  Wherever we walked, people would stop Margo to say hello, to tell her they wanted to meet up with her to share some news, and she took it all in stride, making notes in her little pocket-sized notebook. She seems to know everyone in all the nooks and crannies of the neighborhood. 

Margo’s an editor and co-owner of two neighborhood papers in Minneapolis, The North News and The Northeaster. So even though it’s a job requirement to know the movers and shakers, she is a natural conversationalist, supporter, and documenter. She takes obvious pride in her neighborhood and that pride is contagious.

After our three-hour tour with Gulgun (a lovely, English-accented, performance-artist who’s just “come out” in her official city role), Margo and headed over to Northeast Minneapolis for the Casket Building open studio event. Our first stop was Sight Line Tile , the studio of Amy Baur & Brian Boldon. The two of them were so welcoming and loved to share their process (a hacked copy-machine deposits pigmented glass frit onto the surface of a pane of glass and is then kiln-fired to secure a picture-perfect image onto the tile forever. Brian also has a gallery-full of amazing kinetic sculptures (praxinoscopes and mobiles)  and stunning glass spheres that take his photographic images and make them appear as though they’re being projected onto the walls of the bubble from within. They stop me in my tracks everytime I see them. I love that feeling. (He doesn’t have any images of the spheres online, but you can see them if you visit his studio in person at the Casket Arts Bldg. 681 17th ave NE, studio 121, minneapolis, mn   55413 )     

Just before my feet gave out, they traipsed me across the quad to the recently-opened Franconia in the City@Casket where I met the founders of the Franconia Sculpture Park . Most memorably, I chatted with two Mary’s who are artists in iron and whose energy and laughter and encouragement were the cherry on the top of the day. Mary Johnson was so kind to hear out my frustration over working in a soft medium that can’t weather the elements like bronze or iron and she showed me that there are only a couple steps missing in  making a transition to outdoor sculpture. 

 I left knowing that I will be applying for the Franconia Iron Pour and give my dreams of a public art career some legs. (Check out the other Mary’s work here,

Thanks, Margo, for getting me out into the world and talking to the many people whose hearts are in the arts. They’re some of the best people and certainly the finest neighbors.


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