Art Hounds explores art 'Out of the Box'

Miko Simmons's "Just Us, Awakening Liberatory Consciousness"
Miko Simmons' "Just Us, Awakening Liberatory Consciousness" at Modus Locus in Minneapolis.
Courtesy of Miko Simmons

Kathy Howell, an educator from Bloomington, says the current exhibition at Modus Locus in Minneapolis “stopped her in her tracks.”  The “outstellation” — multimedia paintings viewable from the outside, is entitled “Just Us, Awakening Liberatory Consciousness” by Miko Simmons.

Howell described the show as having multiple iterations. Phase I occurred when the safety plywood came down, revealing the paintings through the windows. Phase II allows for in-person, appointment-only experiences, which Howell highly recommends.

Brother Love, The Danger Series, 2020, by Miko Simmons.
"Brother Love, The Danger Series, 2020," by Miko Simmons.
Courtesy of Miko Simmons

“The intertwining of Miko’s theatrical projection design with his brilliant and powerful painting is breathtaking,” said Howell. “And a brand new creation is made as the windows reflect you, there, merging with social justice…His paintings’ effervescent Black joy and majesty [along with] the lurking, ever-present danger stopped me in my tracks. In a sense, this is an extension of the George Floyd Memorial space just six blocks away.”

The exhibit runs through December, and the third phase will involve collaborations with spoken word artists, storytellers and instrumentation in a live-streamed format.

Katherine Lucht of Eden Prairie has enjoyed watching performances at Stages Theatre Company in Hopkins since she was a child, and now she enjoys them with her children. During the pandemic, Stages has been putting on “Out of the Box” productions that can be experienced from home. Lucht says the September show designed for very young children had her 3-year old daughter acting along with the show several times a day for the five days it was available.

The current show is designed for children ages 5 and up. Titled “Enchanted Mystery: a Detect the Story Adventure,” it’s part mystery, part scavenger hunt, part puzzle room, and all interactive theater. The show is designed to be experienced either in downtown Hopkins or in your own home. Tickets come with a limited access video performance and a clue box, which can either be picked up in Hopkins or shipped to you. The show runs through Nov. 19.

Dave Casey, assistant curator of the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, recommends the Winona Color Project, an ongoing series of public art installations by Sarah Johnson, who is the city’s first Creative Laureate. Winona has long had a poet laureate, but in 2020 they expanded the position to include other forms of creative work.

Through the Winona Color Project this year, Johnson has painted a series of vibrant murals on walls, garages, and fire doors across the city, with positive messages like “Glad you are here” and “Art is for everyone.”

Johnson’s most recent project, unveiled last weekend, has been to facilitate a mural by Our Voices, a group of students of color in the Winona Schools. Each student created their own letter to spell out “Hear Our Voices.” Find this newest addition on the corner of Eighth and Franklin streets in Winona.

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