Minnesota cultural news: MAEP, Hiawatha, TRC

Posted on July 25, 2008 under minnesota

The Daily Planet is reporting that the Minnesota Artist Exhibition Program is facing hassles and hurdles from a newly reorganized Minneapolis Institute of Arts.  The details from the vociferous public meeting at the Daily Planet; here’s a primer on the MAEP.

The MAEP is a democratic, self-governing exhibition program that is horizontal rather than hierarchical in its structure. A panel of artists elected by the program’s membership of artists curates five shows per year. Since 1977, the program has been administered by Stewart Turnquist, a museum staff coordinator who has reported directly to the museum director—putting him on an equal footing with the museum’s other curators. Two galleries in the museum’s new Target Wing are dedicated to MAEP exhibitions. The autonomous, artist-run program is unique to museums in this country, and it has operated smoothly since its inception as a pilot program in 1975.

Turnquist has recently resigned.

Also in the Daily Planet, Pipestone’s Hiawatha festival is celebrating its 60th and last year.  This was a re-enactment of Longfellow’s “Song of Hiawatha” in this small SW Minnesota town.  The festival is ending as a result of Pipestone’s declining population and growing disinclination to mount a 125-person pageant every year.   Pipestone may be familiar to readers of this blog as the subject of Sally Southwick’s Building on a Borrowed Past:  Place and Identity in Pipestone, MN, which analyzed and indicted the town’s appropriation of native culture for touristic purposes.  Though the “Song of Hiawatha” (which you can’t help thinking of while riding around south Minneapolis; we have the Longfellow neighborhood, Lake Nokomis, Lake Hiawatha, Minnehaha Creek) is less virulently awful than some other portrayals of First Minnesotans, it has no place as the center of a public festival.   60 years was too long a run.

Lastly, did you know that Liberia recently convened Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings?  They were in St. Paul.