Art briefs: Advocates rally for creative jobs lost during pandemic

Also: CMAB announce artist awards, upcoming Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival

brightly colored portraits of a bus driver, a mailman, and a pharmacist
Artist Carolyn Olson's portrait series of essential workers. Arts advocates gathered Tuesday at the Capitol to rally for a bill to would fund the rehiring of jobs lost in the creative sector during the pandemic.
Courtesy of Carolyn Olson

Arts advocates rally for creative jobs lost during pandemic

Arts advocates gathered Tuesday at the state Capitol to rally for a bill that would fund the rehiring of jobs lost in the creative sector during the pandemic. From the state's budget surplus, the legislation would direct $190 million to the State Arts Board for grants. 

Sarah Fossen of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts says that arts and culture is the only sector to not have received state relief funds.

“It helps 1,500 organizations in the arts, culture and entertainment sector, rehire jobs that were lost over the last three years,” Fossen told MPR news. “When we think about industries that were hit hard, no one was hurt more than the arts. So, 57 percent of arts and culture jobs were lost during the pandemic.”

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Minnesota's creative economy generates about $12 billion annually.

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CMAB announces artist awards

The Central Minnesota Arts Board, or CMAB, have announced winners of the organization's Individual Artists Awards.

CMAB is funded by the Minnesota State Arts Board to provide grants to individual artists and community organizations in Region 7W. This area includes Benton, Sherburne, Stearns and Wright counties.

The Individual Artists Awards this year will provide $21,500 total, given to eight artists. These include one playwright and seven visual artists, who work in mediums that include oil paintings, graphite drawings and digital photography.

A complete list of winners can be found on the CMAB website.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival is April 13-27

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival (M-SPIFF) has announced a slate of films made in Minnesota. These include the world premiere of "40 Below: The Toughest Race in the World," a documentary about the grueling Arrowhead 135 that takes place in Northern Minnesota in January.

A person with a red face walking in the snow
‘Epic’ Bill Bradley during the brutally cold Arrowhead 135 race in 2019 when a polar vortex plunged Minnesota into dangerous cold. He is one of the featured athletes in “40 Below: The world’s toughest race.”
Courtesy of Marius Anderson | London Road Films

Other films include "Minnesota Mean," a documentary by Dawn Mikkelson about the Minnesota Roller Derby and "Wild Life," a film about conservationist Kris Tompkins. "Wild Life" was directed by Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, who won the 2019 Oscar for their documentary "Free Solo."

M-SPIFF runs April 13-27.

Children's Theatre Company 2023-24 season

The 2023-24 season of the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis will be the last for artistic director Peter C. Brosius. The theater announced its slate of plays for the season.

Brosius will direct shows based on classic children's stories — "Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "Alice in Wonderland" and "A Year With Frog and Toad."

Other plays in the season include a Korean food-inspired show called "Cookin’," and a collection of Japanese and Okinawan fables called "The Carp Who Would Not Quit and Other Animal Stories.”

Remembering Beverly Cottman

Longtime Minneapolis storyteller and educator Beverly Cottman died March 11. 

She was also an arts community advocate and a high school biology teacher. In her Twitter bio, she described herself as a Renaissance Woman.

Bill and Beverly Cottman
From left to right: Beverly Cottman and husband Bill.
Courtesy of Scott Streble 2020

Roger Cummings, of Juxtaposition Arts in North Minneapolis, has known Cottman since he was a teen. When the nonprofit was just starting, Cottman was its first annual donor.

"She impacted a lot of people that are older than me and younger than me,” Cummings told MPR news. “And so on some level, it's kind of like electricity in a way, it's that connector is a thing that — she just made a way for community, for us to do what we're doing here at JXTA, or just an individual artist she helped pave that way. Through storytelling, through support, conversations, negotiations and just holding your hand."

According to a Facebook post from her daughter, Cottman died while traveling in Egypt.

Springboard for the Arts education opportunities

Springboard for the Arts has announced a variety of free and variable cost educational opportunities for the next few months. Classes are offered via Zoom and live in various locations in Minnesota, including Fergus Falls, Grand Rapids and St. Paul.

Classes include instruction in website design for artists, sustainability in fiber arts and grant writing. The complete list of classes and locations can be found on the Springboard for the Arts website.

Absolute Bleeding Edge

The MPR News arts team offers suggestions for the best in avant-garde, experimental and off-the-beaten path arts and culture.

Film: Lux Æterna”

Yves Saint Laurent approached provocateur film director Gaspar Noé in 2019 with a simple proposition: They would pay for a 15-minute film about anything, so long as it included clothes from the fashion house. Two weeks later, Noé returned with a 51-minute long, largely improvised film that ends with a 10-minute strobe-light sequence deliberately designed to provoke seizures.

The film features Béatrice Dalle, an actress beloved by French horror filmmakers for her willingness to deteriorate onscreen into an emotional frenzy. Here she plays the director of a catastrophically failing film about a witch trial, and the climax gives her ample opportunity to detonate. Charlotte Gainsbourg plays her witch, and when the strobing begins, the camera largely focuses on her protracted agonized panic. 

There’s a metaphor here about the arts relying on monetizing the suffering of women, and Noé — as guilty of this as anybody — wants the audience to share in the pain. 

“Lux Æterna” is now available on streaming services.

This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.