March 2017

Happy New Year! Welcome to In the District: news from the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. 

Josh Blanc

"We the People" at 2001ASpace Gallery
Loretta Bebeau interview by Karen Wilcox

24 x 60 Loretta Bebeau
Festival Loretta Bebeau

K W: How did you get started on your current body of work in the exhibit "We the People?"
The paintings for "W e the People" evolved from earlier work that I've done with text, but also came naturally by way of how I choose topics to explore in my work. I start my projects by assessing where I am in my life and what I need to say at the time I begin a new project.
I grew up in a small town in western North Dakota where there's not much diversity. I started to think about how I wanted to show my appreciation for the rich experiences I have had while living in the Twin Cities. I've had the good fortune to make friends with many different types of people here.
KW: You are a second-generation immigrant. What personal experiences or circumstances have most influenced your work?
While teaching art at an alternative school I met many immigrant teenagers who learned English in foreign refugee camps. They didn't remember much of their original vernacular, and never learned how to write in their native  language. Their experience reminded me of my family history. I was raised in a bi-lingual household. My family spoke a language based on German, combined with Yiddish and Russian. My parents and my grandparents spoke the language, but no one taught the language to the children. It is not pure German, and therefore is unique to our family culture.
That language, like so many languages of immigrant people, will be lost as our elders pass away. I began to research languages common to this area and contacted Minneapolis Public Schools as a resource. I've also  made friends in the Native American community.

60 x 72 Loretta Bebeau
General Meeting_ Loretta Bebeau
My series of paintings include two Native languages and nine languages from Africa, along with several European languages. This spectrum corresponds to the settlement of Minnesota and to the heritage of the United States. Swahili, Somali, and Oromo were the first African languages I included, t hen I researched early colonial days to discover Yoruba and Zulu.
KW: You focus on local immigrant people's experience. What is the reason for choosing the word "health?"

LB: I chose the word "health" because it is a positive word, a word that we can unite around. I wanted the celebration of diversity that could be interpreted as a wish for the future.
Interestingly, I discovered that each culture conveys the wish for health in a different manner. Many Native American languages don't have the word "health"; they use the word "wisdom." The Hmong language uses a phrase to communicate "health" according to the situation.  This concept stymied me at first, but t he spokesperson at the Minneapolis School District pointed out that the mix of phrases and words would convey stronger and deeper meaning.
KW: Describe your process of gathering handprints and written text.
LB: The handprints came about almost accidentally. Beginning in 2013 during Open Streets NE, and for three consecutive summers, I set up a table on Central Avenue and invited people to trace their hands. Open Streets NE seemed to be an inviting and inclusive event.  At first, people were suspicious of me, but now most participants see it as an interesting project and want to contribute their written language, especially if they see it's missing from my paintings.
In 2011, I received a Minnesota State Arts Board grant to create nine paintings using 27 languages. Since then, I've continued collecting and researching languages. Currently I have worked with 53 languages of Twin Cities' residents.
Two of my large paintings using the languages and hand tracings  were exhibited in 2015 in " Made Here," the store-front display project on Hennepin Avenue.

24 x 60 Loretta Bebeau
Immersed Loretta Bebeau

KW: Talk about your choice of materials.

LB: "We the People" features paintings on canvas and photo documentary of my working process.

KW:  I like what you say in your artist statement about working with Sheetrock :
"Sheetrock is a marginal material. It has value and it has no value, it's important for building shelter but not as home decoration. It offers duplicity, of attraction and repulsion, amazement and distrust, and it allows me to play with that tension in my art."
LB: I work between projects, using Sheetrock that is reclaimed.
I prime it, paint it, then stencil or draw on it. It allows me to experiment freely without the mental restrictions that arrive with clean canvas or clean paper. The experimentation often leads to new and interesting discoveries. Sheetrock is a material with magic properties. It sets off the rejection modality, creating
a tension within the viewer.
KW: You moved your studio out of the Warehouse District in 2003. What brought you to Northeast?
My studio building on Washington Avenue North was sold and the new owners wanted the artists out. Fortunately, I met someone who knew about a space available in Northrup King Building. I'd gone to the early Art-A-Whirl events, so I was familiar with the area. Initially I moved my work  into a storage space in NKB. A few years later I bought a house and planted roots in NE. I've moved three times within the NKB and finally have my own studio.
Loretta Bebeau is former President and Board Member of NEMAA.  She exhibits her work locally and nationally, notably The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and The Armory Show in New York, NY.  Bebeau participates in open studios on First Thursdays and Art-A-Whirl. Visit her at the Northrup King Building #343 and at: 


Northeast P.E.E.P.s
(People, Events, Exhibits, Places)

Chank Diesel Interview in Minnesota Daily
Chank Diesel's is interviewed by Minnesota Daily
Diesel has had many companies utilize his fonts including Cartoon Network and PBS Kids. A recent client is Disney with Stan Lee's "The Zodiac Legacy" books.Click here to read the article

Kolman & Pryor Gallery at SCOPE New York March 2 - 7

Kolman & Pryor Gallery will be participating once again in  SCOPE New York. SCOPE New York is a juried show that runs concurrently with New York's Armory Show, March 2-5. We will be showing artwork by gallery artists  Betsy Ruth ByersKate Casanova,  Patrick K. PryorJodi Reeb and  Cameron Zebrun

Sensitive Indicators, new work by Betsy Ruth Byers
Artist reception Saturday, March 25, 7 - 9 pm
Exhibit: February 25 - April 15

"We the People"
"We the People" is a  timely Northeast community generated-exhibit by Loretta Bebeau
Opening Reception Friday, March 10, 7-10pm. Exhibition runs through March 31

Nick Harper featured in Tattoo Life Magazine
Tattoo Life
The newest issue of Tattoo Life Magazine, an international bi monthly magazine published out of Milan. It is currently on stands in Europe.

Artist Videos Needed
In the internet age artist have been turning to videos to showcase and promote their work. The Arts District is looking to showcase your videos of your process, work, studio or your experience working or living in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District.  Have you done a episode on MN Original? Please send us the link. Working in your studio or giving a talk, we would love to share it. We are not looking for your cat videos but we are looking for the artist experience of NE Minneapolis so please send your videos to

We have our own channel. 

Three Main Goals 
of  Arts District Planning

1. Continue to discuss who we are as a community. 
2. Continue to define the v ision of the next 10 to 15 years, in order to drive the decision making.
3. Start a framework on how we can finance the goals of the district. This goal is only possible to discuss if the other two goals can be met.
Recent studies to consider reading: 
5.   Take the survey for the  CREATIVE MINNESOTA
Issue: 59
In This Issue
Know when to go! Check the Arts District Calendar for events.

Check the Arts District Calendar for events -


or add your District event by clicking here 

Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter 

Join Our Mailing List


Kolman _ Pryor Gallery 



Interested in being a sponsor?
Contact us 

In case you missed it Arts Insights page in the Northeaster? 






Want to support the  district?

Your donation is tax deductible!

The Northeast Minneapolis Arts District & the Arts District Committee is an outcome
of the Arts Action Plan.

"The Northeast Minneapolis Arts District Committee is comprised of interested volunteer community members, and is fiscally managed by the Northeast Community Development Corporation (NECDC). Additional support has been provided by Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (NEMAA), Clay Squared to Infinity."
Want to get involved? Contact us