Plains Art Museum expands programs for regional Native American artists

Submitted by Plains Art Museum.

Plains Art Museum is launching a three-year project aimed at expanding opportunities, career development, and recognition for Native American artists in the region. The project, Creativity among Native American Artists, will bring visibility to Native artists in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin through expanded exhibition, professional development, and programming opportunities at Plains Art Museum. The project will also build a network of artists, Native and other nonprofit organizations, and audiences across the region.

Funding for the project comes from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation (MACF), which recently awarded the Museum $450,000 as part of its Native Arts and Cultures grantmaking in the Upper Midwest.

“This project builds on programs and collections already in place at the Museum. We’re thrilled to have earned the support of the MACF to cultivate an expanded network of communication, recognition, artistic, and audience development with the larger goal of having Native American artists thrive,” said Colleen Sheehy, CEO/director of Plains Art Museum.

The Museum has presented Native American contemporary artists in recent exhibitions and programs, including Frank Big Bear, Andrea Carlson, and George Morrison, and has actively collected work by Native artists.

“We take on this project realizing the trust-building and respect that must be part of the process,” Sheehy said. “We will increase our knowledge by connecting with specialists in Native arts who can help us better understand and interpret works in our collections, and by adding a program director experienced in Native American arts and culture to undertake the outreach that will make these programs effective.”

Photography exhibition uses hand portraiture to tell the stories of the elderly

“Instruments of Grace: A Collection of Photographic Hand Portraits” by Char-Marie Flood
August 1 – 31
Opening reception Friday, August 1, 3 – 5 p.m.
Edgewood Vista, 4440 37th Avenue S, Fargo

Submitted by Char-Marie Flood.

The human hand can be the jumping-off point for no end of fascinating stories, as our every exploit and struggle indoubtedly involved them, and a new exhibition of photography by Char Marie Flood at south Fargo’s Edgewood Vista Gallery is putting them on display.

“Hands tell the story of our lives,” Flood says, “just think how many babies they’ve held, letters they’ve typed, or wood they’ve chopped. It’s all revealed in the hands.”

The photographs, which will open to the public this Thursday, depict the hands of those whose hands have lived a lifetime: the elderly.

Roys Hands

“I’ve always had a heart for the elderly,” Flood says. “It originates from my love of my grandmother.”

Edgewood Vista regularly showcases the art of area artists at The Gallery within their community. Art classes are also scheduled to promote creativity, enjoyment and stress relief.

“Art is an important component of our wellness program at Edgewood Vista,” says Serena Jiskra, marketing director at the assisted care facility.

Char-Marie Flood - Artist Portrait

Flood is a fine art photographer who relocated back to the area three years ago. An original Minnesota resident, she returned to the area after 30 years of living in major cities throughout the country. During her time away, she volunteered with Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly for 17 years while living in both San Francisco and Chicago. This body of work is an outgrowth of that experience.

“My hope is that people will take time to stop and think about the amazing gifts we’ve been given in life, and to honor those whose hands are wrinkled and shriveled, from a lifetime of living,” Flood says.

Images, from top: “Rings of Love,” photograph; “Roy’s Hands,” photograph; Char-Marie Flood. All images courtesy of Char-Marie Flood.

Summer Arts Intensive’s ‘Spamalot’ is just an unladen African swallow’s flight away

Presented by West Fargo High School’s Summer Arts Intensive
August 1, 2, 7, 8 & 9 at 7:30 p.m.; August 3 @ 2:30 p.m.
West Fargo High School

King Arthur and his band of knights, a group of sparkly cheerleaders, and a boy dressed up like an old woman all sit in the West Fargo High School auditorium. They’re buzzing with laughter, practicing their choreography, and playing around with rubber fish.

This colorful cluster of characters make up the cast of the school’s Summer Arts Intensive production of “Spamalot.” Their rehearsal process began just a few weeks ago and the resulting show will run for the first two weekends in August. The show is based off of the cult classic film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Although the show includes the occasional inside joke from the film, director Adam Pankow says that even those who don’t know the film will enjoy the show.

“Spamalot,” which won the Tony for Best Musical in 2005, has been a long-running success. The rights only recently became available, so Summer Arts Intensive will be one of the first amateur companies to produce the show.

photo 3

Pankow decided to do the show this year because it fits the Summer Arts Intensive’s mission.

“There are a ton of kids in this town who are just hungry for opportunity,” he says, “this company is an opportunity for a closer one-on-one experience for them.”

This summer the company consists of only a 20-person cast, which gives students a greater opportunity to work more closely on their craft. The script is written so that each actor plays multiple characters, giving students an opportunity to explore more of their talents and stretch their skills.

Izzy Dahl, who will attend NDSU in the fall to study theatre performance, says the flexible schedule has kept him coming back to the program for the last four years.

He has been a part of Summer Arts Intensive every summer since it began. He says the age range of the program has helped him grow as a performer, as well as mentor some of the younger students. The company was originally only open to high school students, but this year the cast includes quite a few college students.

“The age ceiling has gotten higher over the years which helps us get more out of the experience,” Dahl says. “The older students have been studying theatre in college and they bring those skills. They give the younger kids something to look up to.”

“I think that raises the maturity of the production,” adds Lucas Rutten, who studies music industry at MSUM. Rutten has assistant directed for Pankow at West Fargo High School for three years, but this is his first year being a part of Summer Arts Intensive. He’s excited to return to the stage, having not performed in almost three years.

“The schedule is really attractive to us older students,” he says. The students didn’t start rehearsing until the beginning of July, and have evenings and weekends off in order to work or enjoy their summer break.

Dahl and Rutten describe the comedic show as “Python-esque” and an “equal opportunity offender.” They add that no one is safe from the humor of the show, but that every kind of person will enjoy it.

“I feel like this show would be an enormous failure if all of the pieces weren’t there,” Rutten says, “but all of the pieces are there. They place a great book and lyrics and nonstop hilarity on top of an incredible musical.”

Even though they’ve only been rehearsing for a few weeks, Dahl says the cast has gotten incredibly close, another benefit to the smaller casts of Summer Arts Intensive.

“The other day we all watched the movie together, and we went out for a late dinner,” Dahl says. “It’s nice to be part of a cast that fits around one table at Perkins.”

Images, from top: the Knights of the Round Table (“they dance whenever they’re able!”) rehearse at West Fargo High School last week; Adam Pankow (right) gives instruction to the Ladies of the Lake during a “Spamalot” rehearsal, presumably as part of some farcical aquatic ceremony. Photos by the author.

The Week Ahead: ‘Spamalot’ | Tierney Sutton Trio | Nicholas David

Fargo area arts events for the week of July 31 – August 6, 2014
Through the weekend

“Camelot!” “Camelot!” “Camelot!” “…it’s only a model…” For you Python fans out there, West Fargo High School’s Summer Arts Intensive has something to make your coconuts migrate: “Spamalot,” the popular musical adaptation of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Our summer intern, McKenzie, will have more coverage of the show on the blog tomorrow, but in the meantime put Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, 2 p.m. on your calendars with the speed of an unladen African swallow. Tickets: [WFHS Theatre]

It’s the final weekend for Trollwood’s “How to Succeed in Business Without Even Trying,” running Thursday through Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. [Trollwood]

At the Fargo Theatre: “Snowpiercer,” “I Origins,” and “Third Person.” Showtimes: [Fargo Theatre]

Thursday, July 31

Plains Art Museum continues its Thursday Night Live series of socially engaged art evenings with resident artist and Plants for Patients founder Meg Roberts, who will lead discussion on how simple acts of compassion through artwork can provide meaningful experiences for people when they need it most. 5 – 8 p.m. [Plains Art Museum]

At the HoDo Lounge: Boots (roots/bluegrass) takes the stage at 8 p.m. No cover. [Hotel Donaldson]

At the Aquarium: soul/funk powerhouse Nicholas David (aka Nick the Feelin’) did a number on the nation as a finalist on The Voice a year or so back, and it’s good to see him coming back through town. Pat Lenertz supports. 21+, doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $18 in advance. [Tickets 300]

Friday, August 1


World-renowned metal sculptor Albert Paley’s latest endeavor (above), one of his most ambitious to date, collectively weighs more than 100 tons and spans three-quarters of a mile along of the nation’s most illustrious thoroughfares. “Paley on Park Avenue,” airing on Prairie Public at 9:30 pm CT, follows Paley and his team as they create 13 original sculptures designed to grace the median of Park Avenue in New York City for six months. [Prairie Public]

Saturday, August 2

The August installment of Red Raven Espresso Parlor’s Maker’s Market runs from 5 – 9 p.m. Plus, psychedelic folkers Oh, Rose will provide musical mischief starting at 7 p.m. [RREP/Facebook]

Jazz vocalist Tierney Sutton (like many jazz artists) isn’t a household name, but there’s no denying the strength she brought to last year’s release of “After Blue.” It was nominated for a Grammy (Best Jazz Vocal Album) and lovingly reimagines the music of the immortal Joni Mitchell. She’ll be bringing her delicate-yet-powerful style to the intimate Studio 222 for an 8 p.m. performance. Tickets are $30. [Studio 222]

You just know this is gonna be crazy (the right kind of crazy). Bad Weather Burlesque will host Queer Fest this Saturday at the Aquarium with drag performances, singing, dancing, and all-around fun via the gayest parts of Fargo. All are invited, although it is 21+, and proceeds from the $10 door charge benefit area LGBT groups. [Bad Weather Burlesque/Facebook]

Sunday, August 3

The North Dakota Museum of Art will open three new exhibitions in a reception starting at 2 p.m. this Sunday, including “Fractured: North Dakota’s Oil Boom,” (top of page) a documentary project that was one of the first gallery responses to the oil boom and debuted at Chicago’s Field Museum last year. The exhibition will tour throughout North Dakota through 2015. [NDMOA]

Wednesday, August 6

The Fargo Park District will host another concert in the park with kid’s group Penny and Pals at Elephant Park (100 19th Ave N, Fargo), 7 – 8:30 p.m. [Fargo Parks]

Images, from top: Terry Evans, “Oil Waste Dump Between Tioga and New Town,” October, 2011, via NDMOA; Albert Paley, “Composed Presence,” 2013. Paley Studios Ltd., courtesy of Prairie Public.

The ARTSpulse Show 08: Rebecca Meyer-Larson

Dayna talks to Rebecca Meyer-Larson, speech and drama instructor at Moorhead High School and director of Act Up Theatre. Meyer-Larson (or, “Mey-Lar,” as the kids call her) discusses the experience of coaching national award-winning speech students, this summer’s two Act Up productions (“bare” and “Next to Normal”), and their upcoming trip to perform both productions at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the world’s largest fringe theatre festival.