Holding Minnesota’s ‘arts identity’ to the light

The folk organizing next week's Minneapolis Arts Commission event on Minnesota Idenity and the Arts are pretty clear they don't expect to come up with any hard and fast definitions.

"We aren't necessarily trying to find an answer to this question," says Commission Member Kate Nordstrom.

What they do expect is some interesting discussion as they unleash photographer Wing Young Huie, choreographer Ananya Chatterjea, musician Adam Levy and web documentarian and all round whizz kid Chuck Olsen to talk about the issue.

The event, to be moderated by Andy Sturdevant, will be held at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis next Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 7pm.

Nordstrom, who also programs the music for the Southern Theater says the event also involves such partners as the Bryant Lake Bowl, TPT, and the Red Stag Supper club which also play an important role in encouraging and presenting work of many kinds.

"This conversation with those different partners involved can really be much bigger than just 'what cool art is happening,'" she says."It's like how does this art shape us in our business life, and in larger organizations, and stuff that we don't ordinarily think of as arts related, like the restaurant industry, so that is part of the conversation as well."

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Te debate is going to feature lots of audience interaction led by Works Progress, a group which organizes the ongoing Give and Take series at Intermedia Arts.

"The premise is that art matters in this town," Nordstrom says. "The conversation is 'is there a shared identity then from that, from the fact that art is important and built into our culture in a particular way?"

Again, she doesn't expect a solid answer. She shot me an email later.

"The end result, I think, will be a greater understanding of how art has shaped Minnesota culture, in more ways than simply producing great art and artists," Nordstrom wrote.

It sounds like it will be a good discussion.