September 2015 

Welcome to In the D istrict: news from the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. You are receiving this email because of your interest in stories from the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District.  

Invest in Systems Not Products 

By Josh Blanc 


The Star Tribune has a small advice column in the Sunday business section that gives four or five snippets on where and how to invest money. The title was "Invest in systems, not products."

From the Star Tribune

This article really formalized for me a concept that the Board of Directors of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District is trying to accomplish. As artists we make attempts to make great "works," "ideas," "products," performances," etc. But the issue that comes up over and over is how do we promote and distribute information about the great accomplishments of the arts district community? Individuals rarely can do it all; creating, promoting, accounting, building, and socializing. The mindset we want to infuse into the artists and overall community is to see the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District as a system that benefits us all. The more we collaborate and develop channels of distribution and promotion of the whole arts community, the better all of us will do. 


Josh Blanc


Northeast P.E.E.P.s
(People, Events, Exhibits, Places)
Lynn Speaker: Painting with Fire
Interview by Karen Wilcox

Paperwhites (gunpowder on paper) by Lynn Speaker

KW: You draw your inspiration from natural materials you discover while hiking the North Shore of Lake Superior. What draws you to that area of Minnesota?

Lynn Speaker:  Lake Superior and the surrounding forests teach me humility. The rocks around the basin are some of the oldest on earth. Sitting on a sun-warmed slab of basalt I am aware of the layers of time that rest beneath my feet. It is an expansive landscape that brushes away human pesky flies.
     I gather, sort, and arrange: creating a dialogue with the objects I find on the North Shore. This work is foundational to all my art. I can be a bit obsessive looking for specific objects and then assembling them into relational groups. It is the way I respond to the landscape. The small objects are closer to human scale when contrasted by Lake Superior's vast horizon. 
Stone Groupings by Lynn Speaker
KW: Your compositions are beautiful, compelling, and mysterious. How did you come up with the idea of using gunpowder to create ghostly images of stones, bones and plant materials?

LS: My artwork is process-based, typically led by a specific line of inquiry. These questions direct my investigation and provide a framework to push against. This approach opens the process to chance occurrences that often overtake my original intent.
     My work with gunpowder developed out of this process. I love charcoal; it is an ancient, elemental material that I have worked with for decades. I began to wonder what other fire-based material I could use to make an interesting mark. My explorations of many types of materials eventually lead me to try gunpowder. It was frustrating to work with at first. My experimentation finally ended in an unexpected result. I was hooked. I continue to discover new aspects of this medium.
KW: What is the most interesting comment you have received about your work?

LS: I have heard many interesting comments during my 15 years of participating in Art-A-Whirl. One question that stands out was, "How do you shoot your gun to create the images?"
Forest Layers by Lynn Speaker
KW: What authors and artists have most influenced your work? 

LS: I prefer creative non-fiction, lyric essays, poetry, artists' writings, and art theory. Favorites include: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek  by Annie Dillard, News of the Universe  by Robert Bly, The  Wet Collection  by Joni Tevis, The Mind of the Raven  by Bernd Heinrich, and Writings by Agnes Martin.
     Many artists influence my work. Often they have an obsessive trait or draw on Asian influences. I like work that asks a question and then pushes to reach a conclusion but never quite finds the end point. Long-time influences include Michelle Stuart, Pat Steir, Brice Marden, Agnes Martin, John Cage, Richard Long, and Vija Celmins. Recently I have been looking at the work of Lee Ufan, Zarina Hashmi, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Joseph Cornell.
KW: You were awarded the Minnesota State Arts Board 2014 Artist Initiative Grant.  How did your work evolve during the grant period?  
2014 MnSAB Exhibit 
Liminal Space (installation) by Lynn Speaker
LS: The purpose of the grant period was to take time for experimentation without necessarily reaching a formal conclusion. I introduced new ideas and techniques that allowed me to linger in a transitional phase. I made a variety of found object sculptures, monoprints, and small paintings. I took a great encaustic collagraph workshop with Jeff Hirst at the Grand Marais Art Colony. My new work will carry many of these ideas forward.
KW: Why do you have a studio in the NE Minneapolis Arts District? 

LS: I came to Northeast in search of a larger studio, community, and proximity to interesting places. These are the reasons I'm still here. I've been at the Grain Belt Bottling House for 16 years.
KW: You have been very dedicated to working with Women's Art Resources of Minnesota (WARM) over the years. Please describe your involvement. Why do you feel it is important to support WARM?

LS: I joined WARM to connect with other women artists. I entered the WARM Mentor Program and worked with mentor Jackie Kielkopf for two years. I became a mentor soon after completing the program and served as a mentor for 12 years. I then took the position of program co-coordinator.  The mentor program is fantastic and one of the most formative experiences of my career.
KW: Your work is currently showing in "New Works by So-and So" at Instinct Art Gallery. (July 18 - September 12, 2015) 
LS: Yes, the group show at Instinct Art Gallery is outstanding; I encourage everyone to ignore Nicollet Mall construction and visit the gallery. Participating artists include, David Aschenbrenner, Elizabeth Garvey, Nancy Robinson, Judy Onofrio, Ben Moren and Jantje Visscher. Gallery Director John Schuerman has put together some thoughtful and provocative shows over the last year.
KW: Do you have any more gallery shows or events coming up?
LS: This fall I'll be participating in "Personal Best" an exhibition of two-dimensional art by artists who have received Artist Initiative grants in visual art from the Minnesota State Arts Board during 2013 and 2014. The show is at MSAB offices in St. Paul. "Personal Best" is part of the St. Paul Art Crawl. The opening reception is on October 9 at 7pm.

Private commission by Lynn Speaker

 View Ms. Speaker on TPT MnOriginal.

Three Main Goals 

of Arts District Planning


1. Continue to discuss who we are as a community. 

2. Continue to define the vision 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: 

1. The Creative Vitality Index 2014 Update. Click to read.  

2. Arts Districts & Economic Development study. Click to read. 

3. The Minneapolis Creative Index 2013 Report. Click to read.  

4.  Arts Impact Survey & Report on Arts Activity within the District (2013). Click to read  

Issue: 40
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Icebox Presents: "Argentine Iron Flowers" by Eduardo Blidner
Eduardo Blidner intimately explores a subculture of women body builders found in his home city of Buenos Aries. This exhibit provides a rare look at female body builders twisting and flexing their muscles in the nude. Each athlete is photographed in a straight on honesty that only raw black and white film can translate. 
Closes October 31, 2015.
(612) 788-1790




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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, Art Force, Altered Esthetics."
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