2010 in review


I have a terrible memory. And so when thinking about posting a "Year in Review"-style piece, I wondered what I'd have to write about.

It turns out, a lot.

Much has happened in the past twelve months. The recession brought with it budget cuts and layoffs, several institutions changed leadership, others marked significant anniversaries, new companies started up, other companies shut down, talented people died... (and I imagine, many talented people were born, too).

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I've tried to capture the main highlights below, broken down month by month. Click on the links to find out more about each story, and take stock of what an amazing year it's been.


Theater critic Dominic Papatola "leaves" the Pioneer Press to work at a local foundation... and is roasted mightily by the theater community. He must have enjoyed it, because he continues to write for the PiPress on a semi-regular basis.

Local artists do what they can for Haiti in response to the earthquakes which struck the island nation.

Graywolf Press, Coffee House Press, Milkweed Editions and the Loft Literary Center all celebrate significant milestones


The Minneapolis Institute of Arts hosts its fourth "Foot in the Door" exhibition, and receives a record-breaking 4,800 submissions.

Southern Theater marks its 100th Birthday.

Dawn Upshaw renews her three-year contract with the SPCO

Prince gives a song to the Current.


Daniel Klein launches his online show dedicated to local food (including road kill), "The Perennial Plate."

New local publishing house Replacement Press publishes its first book.

Sally Ordway Irvine Awards are bestowed upon VSA Arts of Minnesota (Vision), Myron Johnson (Commitment), Bedlam Theatre (Initiative), and T. Mychael Rambo (Education).


Community Supported Art is launched, and the shares are sold out in a matter of hours

MN Original, the new TPT program dedicated to profiling Minnesota artists makes its debut.

Two "new music" composers, Franz Kamin and James Brody, die in a Roseville car crash.

The Minneaposis Institute of Arts launches it's contemporary art department with "Until Now" and "Art Re-Mixed."

Minnesota Center for Book Arts asks for resignation of Executive Director Dorothy Goldie.

The 22nd Annual Minnesota Book Awards takes place; review the winners here.

Jay Coogan is inaugurated as the new President of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Fred Gaines, playwright and teacher, dies.

Minneapolis Institute of arts Curator Bob Jacobsen resigns.

Walker Art Center announces it's suspending its annual "Movies and Music in the Park" series for the summer, which causes first an outburst, then a response - a new series of their own.


Photographer Wing Young Huie's University Avenue Project is installed in storefront windows and on the sides of buildings lining the Twin Cities corridor, where it hangs for several months.

Starting Gate Theater closes its doors.

Minnesota Opera President Kevin Smith announces his retirement, making way for new director Allan Naplan.

Open Book celebrates its 10th birthday.

Goldstar.com moves to the Twin Cities.

Bedlam Theatre's floor collapses due to a long slow leak of hot water.

Metropolitan State University honors photographer Gordon parks, a St. Paul native, by renaming its gallery "The Gordon Parks Gallery"

The Walker Art Center cuts its budget by 8% and eliminates nine staff positions.

Folk musician Bill Hinkley dies at the age of 67.

Both the SPCO and the Minnesota Orchestra begin offering recordings for download or streaming online.


First Avenue announces it plans to change up the names on the stars adorning the building.

The Childrens' Theatre Company announces it's eliminating approximately 9% of its full and part-time staff positions, and eliminating two shows from its coming season (Ballonacy and Lord of the Flies) in an effort to trim its budget to a more sustainable size.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts Kaywin Feldman is appointed the president fo the Association of Art Museum Directors.

Bravo launches its new show "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist" - one of its contestants is Twin Cities artist Miles Mendenhall.

SPCO musicians agree to an 11.3% pay cut.

The McKnight Foundation names Minnesota-based sculptor Siah Armajani as the 2010 McKnight Distinguished Artist.

The Playwrights' Center names new director Jeremy Cohen.

The Shubert Center is renamed the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts, in honor of Sage and John Cowles.


Intermedia Arts wins a major grant from the Kresge Foundation, which breathes new life into the center's programming.

The Minnesota Chorale and MacPhail Center for Music announces they are forming Voices of Experience, an "artistically ambitious" 50-voice chorus of Twin Cities seniors.


American Craft Council moves to Minneapolis

On the same weekend, the Twin Cities host the Minnesota Fringe Festival and the National Poetry Slam, as well as the Powderhorn Art Fair, the Uptown Art Fair, and the Loring Park Art Festival. Phew!

For the first time in its 17-year history, the Fringe Festival sells more than 50,000 tickets.

Scottsboro Boys makes its regional premiere at the Guthrie Theater, before moving on to Broadway.

The University of Minnesota College of Continuing Education announces a new graduate program aimed at Minnesota arts professionals.

The Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists honors its Artistic Director Emeritus Wendy Lehr, by naming its new theater after her.

National Endowment for the Arts Chair Rocco Landesman visits Minnesota.

Dancers perform to raise money for long-time friend Jeff Bartlett after he suffers numerous injuries in a work-related fall.


Bedlam Theatre is forced to leave its Cedar-Riverside home.

Eclipse Records closes, again.

100 year old Fitzgerald Theater makes the National Register of Historic Places.


Walker Art Center decides to let teens in its doors for free.

Weisman Art Center closes for a year to make way for the final stages of its Frank-Gehry-designed expansion.

Rapper Mike Eyedea Larsen dies of an accidental overdose at the age of 28.

GiveMN starts charging 2.9% transaction fees to the recipients of donations made on its site.

Judi Dutcher resigns from Museum of Russian Art

Minnesota Center for Book Arts names Jeff Rathermel as its new Executive Director.

Artist-in-Residence Lucinda Naylor is let go from her position at the Basilica of St. Mary after she begins collecting DVDs sent out by the Archbishop promoting marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Naylor then transformed the DVDs into a work of art.


David O'Fallon, CEO of MacPhail Center for Music, moves to take the position of President of the Minnesota Humanities Center.

Movement artists Eiko and Koma roll around naked in dirt at the Walker Art Center all month long.

Bush Foundation ends Artist Fellowships

Give to the Max day raises more than $8 million for Minnesota non-profits.


A major blizzard essentially brings the Twin Cities to a standstill, and almost every performance scheduled for that Saturday night is forced to close.

Nina Archabal steps down from Minnesota History Center, and Michael Fox is named to replace her.

Walker Art Center screens "Fire in my Belly," a controversial video pulled from an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.

Managing Director Eric Bunge resigns from the Commonweal Theatre in Lanesboro, upon the request of the Board of Directors.

So what do you think was the biggest arts story of the year? Share your thoughts in the comments section. And Happy New Year!