Art Hounds: Three ways artists support each other

A photo of an art gallery.
Walrus, a gallery on Lyndale Avenue in north Minneapolis, features artworks by Minnesota artists.
Courtesy of Michelle Courtright | Walrus

As we approach the one-year anniversary of performance spaces going dark under the coronavirus pandemic, Art Hounds this week recommend three different spaces — two virtual, one physical — where performers, songwriters and visual artists can come together.

Christopher David Hanson, a singer-songwriter in Babbitt, Minn., first encountered Minneapolis singer-songwriter Sarah Morris as he assembled his weekly radio show. Hanson’s program for WELY features all Minnesota musicians. An avid supporter of Minnesota’s musical scene, Morris invited him to join the Singer Songwriter Songwriting Challenge group on Facebook. The group offers a songwriting prompt once a week in the summer and every other week in the winter. Members share their new music and offer encouragement and feedback.

Hanson said the challenge of writing songs from regular prompts has transformed his writing practice and connected him with a community of fellow songwriters across the state. He singles out Morris, calling her a  prolific and talented songwriter, and active member of the songwriting challenge group who give valuable creative feedback. For more of her work, he recommends watching the performances Morris films from her #biggreenbathroom.

Artist Katherine Story-Sutter of St. Louis Park looks forward to the grand opening Thursday of Walrus in Minneapolis’ Camden neighborhood. The new gallery is a space to buy and sell local art as well as vintage pieces. Story-Sutter loves the physical space inside an industrial building that looks like a castle — with high beamed ceilings and chandeliers.

“When I first walked in, I was stunned by the variety of art on the walls already,” said Story-Sutter. They are excited to volunteer in a space that celebrates local artists, Story-Sutter among them.

A photo of an art gallery.
Walrus is located on Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis.
Courtesy of Michelle Courtright | Walrus

Walrus was founded by Michelle Courtright of Fig + Farro restaurant. Ten percent of net profits go to Juxtaposition Arts, a youth-staffed center in north Minneapolis.

Like other performers, Minneapolis-based singer-actor Ann Michels misses being on stage. In the absence of live theater, she appreciates the ongoing “Meet the Artist” series from the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts.

Every two weeks, there’s a new conversation with actors and theater-makers who have connections to Ordway productions, past and planned. The artists are nationally known; the hosts are local. Ordway artistic director Rod Kaats co-hosts the conversations with a rotating cast of Minnesota theater artists. The free conversations each stream on one night.

The conversation Tuesday features Brittney Mack, who played Anne of Cleves in “Six,” co-hosted by Twin Cities actor China Brickey. The conversation on March 23 features Tamara Tunie from the Ordway’s 2019 production of “42nd Street,” co-hosted by Twin Cities actor and community organizer T. Mychael Rambo.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.