This program, Northeast Artists at MSP Airport, has been in the works for nearly two years. From concept to reality, what a fantastic journey it has been! Here are the people who made it happen:
Denise S. Tennen, Program Manager
Denise brought the idea for this project to the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District board in 2019. She took the lead in managing all aspects of the program from writing the program proposal, recruiting artists and curators, and reviewing the work for the web pages, slideshow and historic context display. She is a sculptor, public artist, arts educator, writer and community organizer since 1988.
“I dreamed of this exhibit ever since Arts@MSP first called for curated shows. I wanted to work with a large group of artists, to promote their work both regionally and internationally through this venue. Working with the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District, I became familiar with the work of hundreds of artists, and had the opportunity to work with a terrific group of curators and tech experts.”
Remo Campopiano, Program Webmaster
Remo set up the online application process, web jurying technology, the three web presentation systems for Slideshow, Abstraction and Passages. He came up with the Banner Art idea to use slideshow images for this website’s banners, and in essence did the tech-work for everything you see on this website. He is an installation artist, painter and conceptualist. As an arts organizer Campopiano co-founded ARTPAPER in the ’80; lead the didgital art movement in NYC called ARTNETWEB in the ’90; and currently he is a board member of the NECDC, AKA, the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District.
When I take off my oganizer’s hat, I am inventing new art machines. Since covid, I dedicated myself to creating a machine to help painters paint. When I get back to the studio in June (or whenever I get my covid vacine) I will be looking for collaborators to take my invention on a test drive.
Leslie Palmer-Ross, Overall Program Support
Leslie represented the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District Board and oversaw the process from RFP submission to fruition. She currently is the Director of Art Services for Art Force, which provides art and art services to businesses and organizations of all types.
“I have been involved with artists in the District for a couple of decades and I am continually delighted and impressed by their talent and creativity. Seeing this project through renewed my sense of wonder and encouraged me to re-engage with artists known to me and reach out to those who are new to me or the District. I hope that those traveling through MSP are revived, relaxed, and inspired to connect with the rich artistic resources in Northeast Minneapolis.”
Margo Ashmore, Historic Context - District History
Margo Ashmore compiled, designed, and selected photos for the history “A quarter century of arts — Northeast Minneapolis.” As a board member of Northeast Community Development Corporation/Northeast Minneapolis Arts District, she was a project liaison with Leslie Palmer-Ross. Formerly a curator for Franklin Bank and longtime publisher of the Northeaster community newspaper, Margo’s arts are photography, writing and organizing.
“As a newspaper publisher, I am ingrained in a smaller format. It was fun learning to work in a larger format. It’s fascinating how organizations and cities promote themselves and explain their histories. Knowing that this history was destined for the airport required communicating to outsiders what is to us so familiar, and allowed a synthesis of social history others have observed and written at different scales and covering the broadest possible timeline.”
Alyse Emanuel, Video Slideshow Designer
Alyse compiled over 700 individual images of varying sizes and, through the thoughtful organizing of the sequence of the artwork as well as placement on backgrounds, designed them into the powerful presentation that is our Slideshow Video.
“I have been living and working in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District for almost 5 years and working on this project has brought me so much joy. I felt so connected to this wonderful community while putting together the video and getting to know each piece. These artists and their work are truly inspiring!”
CURATORS FOR THE ART OF ABSTRACTION
The co-curators for Passages are Christopheraaron Deanes and Maggie Thompson.
As a curator, Christopheraaron Deanes is interested in exploring the ways that people make connections through culture and communication, seeking fresh narratives that embody empathy and social capital. For example, people of color have been displaced through the absence of communication due to broken languages as well as misunderstanding. Language and its perceptions are derived from subcultures fueled by human migration.
These narratives can be heard differently and spoken differently because of colloquialistic dialogue. What if we question what we understand and press for a future language and understanding that is more inclusive of all the people in the world?
The history of portraits and the painting of people have traditionally stood on the foundations of understanding through a singular lens: European genres. Deanes expands the lens to include the migration of culture and how we communicate the diverse cultural connections that come from the transitory movement of humans, including the emotional expression of that result.
Reflection on this Exhibit:
“I aim for fresh ways of being inclusive and introducing thoughts about being: what are the ways people make connections?
This exhibit speaks to the migration as well as integration of body and spirit, a deeper exploration of human conditions as people move through time and space and across cultures. Co-curating with Maggie led me to see the works in surprising new ways.”
Maggie Thompson (Fond du Lac Ojibwe) was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Textiles at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2013. As a textile artist and designer she derives her inspiration from the history of her Ojibwe heritage, exploring family history as well as themes and subject matter of the broader Native American experience. Thompson’s work calls attention to its materiality pushing the viewer’s traditional understanding of textiles. As an emerging curator she is drawn to work that has strong conceptual narratives and that is visually engaging through its construction or composition. Being emotionally transparent is a fundamental value in her own work and is also something that she seeks out in the work of others.
Reflection on this Exhibit:
“While curating this exhibit I really enjoyed seeing how the Artists interpreted the meaning of passages conceptually through their different mediums. I wanted to highlight work that emphasized the many ways in which people move through physical space, emotions, identity and psyche within a lifetime.”
CURATORS FOR PASSAGES
The co-curators for The Art of Abstraction are Ta-Coumba Tyrone Aiken and Sarah Nicole Knutson.
Ta-Coumba Tyrone Aiken
I create my art to heal the hearts of people and there communities by evoking a positive spirit. In my service as curator I look for quality, truth and the creators’ authentic visual voice.
Reflection on this Exhibit:
“My goals as curator are to find strong visual voices that represent the theme and the artist’s ability to share their unique vision. The exhibition space is always critical to determine what does or does not work. Through this curatorial collaboration and understanding of our aesthetic process, we present to you: The Art of Abstraction.”
Sarah Nicole Knutson
Sarah Nicole is an artist and curator based in Minneapolis. Her emphasis on an overall beautiful but poignant aesthetic evokes a sense of empathy or thoughtfulness for visually implied meaning. After receiving a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design in 2018, she began producing exhibition opportunities and community events – taking inspiration from her contemporary research. Sarah currently works at the Minneapolis based gallery, Public Functionary, and maintains a studio practice in Studio 400. She participates as an artist and curator annually during Miami art week in conjunction with Art Basel.
Reflection on this Exhibit:
“It was a great experience to co-curate this exhibit with fellow curator Ta-Coumba Aiken and the exhibit organizers. I appreciate the diverse modes of making present in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. I hope the selected works engage travelers and employees of the airport to stop for a moment and think about creativity and expression.”
Many Thanks to our partners at the Airport:
Sam Fuentes, Exhibitions Coordinator, Arts@MSP, Airport Foundation MSP
Ben Owen, Director, Arts@MSP, Airport Foundation MSP
Sam held our hands from start to finish: from giving feedback on our initial proposal, covering the cost of all our printed materials within his exhibition budget, receiving artwork from our exhibit artists in a COVID-safe manner, to installing our exhibits based on the layouts provided by our curators. Thank you Sam for helping make our exhibits sing!
Ben leads the arts and culture program at both Terminals 1 and 2 at MSP International Airport. He provided oversight on this project to ensure that the subject matter of all images included is appropriate for the airport’s all-ages, all-cultures audience.
Additional Thanks to
Mike Vennewitz for providing funding for this project in memory of Minnesota State Representative Diane Loeffler, a longtime supporter of the arts in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District and statewide.