Reframe Minnesota: Art Beyond a Single Story

Mark your calendars for Friday, June 24, 6-8 p.m. for the new gallery show: Reframe Minnesota: Art Beyond a Single Story. It will be a joint show by neighboring galleries: All My Relations Gallery, 1414 East Franklin Ave.,and Two Rivers Gallery, 1530 East Franklin Ave.

The shows explore the future of public art at the Minnesota State Capitol. It features original works from 12 Minnesotan artists as well as student artwork from schools across the state. According to the announcement:

In light of the ongoing State Capitol renovations and the discussions of its art Reframe Minnesota shares the diverse Minnesota stories that are too often unheard.  Local artists, including painters, printmakers, photographers, and sculptors, respond to the Capitol artwork, its depictions of Native Americans, and its lack of representation for other communities of color.

Senate mural: "The Discoverers and Civilizers Led to the Source of the Mississippi," one of the more disturbing paintings for its image of forced conversion.
Senate mural: “The Discoverers and Civilizers Led to the Source of the Mississippi”. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Healing Minnesota Stories is very grateful to the exhibit organizers for including us in this project. For several years, we have been working to raise public awareness of the racist art in the Minnesota State Capitol, such as “The Discoverers and Civilizers Led to the Source of the Mississippi” in the Senate Chambers (shown at right). We have been making presentations to religious and civic groups and school classrooms.

Rachel Latuff, one of our volunteers, is an art teacher. In 2014, she developed a lesson plan to teach students at North View Junior High in Brooklyn Park about the art in the Minnesota State Capitol. She challenged them to create their own alternative Capitol art. Several students donated their work to Healing Minnesota Stories, and that launched our traveling art exhibit.

The project has been replicated in several schools. Rachel moved to teach at  North Woods School in Cook, MN and has done the project there for the past two years. Art teacher Belle Janicek did the project for the past two years with her students in Oshki Ogimaag Charter School in Grand Portage. Students from the American Indian Magnet School in St. Paul and the Anishinabe Academy in Minneapolis also have contributed art that will be part of the upcoming exhibit.

Reframe Minnesota will be on view at the two galleries from June 24-Sept. 16. In addition to the opening, there will be an Artist Talk: Thursday, July 21, 6-8 p.m. at All My Relations Gallery.

Capitol Art Update

The state created an Art Subcommittee to review the existing art in the Capitol and to make recommendations about adding new art. Its last meeting is tentatively set for Friday, June 17, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at the Minnesota Judicial Center, just east of the Capitol, in Room G-6. The Subcommittee expects to review and approve its final report. Here is a link to the preliminary report, issued Feb. 23.

Once approved, the report goes to the Minnesota State Capitol Preservation Commission, chaired by Gov. Mark Dayton. The Commission is overseeing the Capitol Restoration Project.

Washington Cathedral to Remove Confederate Battle Flags from Stained Glass Windows

The issue of racism in art and public symbols is not unique to Minnesota. The state of South Carolina took down the Confederate Battle Flag from its State Capitol. Now comes news that the Washington Cathedral has decided to remove Confederate Battle Flags from its stained glass windows.

The New York Times explained the battle flags are part of windows depicting Confederate heroes General Robert E. Lee and General Stonewall Jackson. (These windows were added nearly 100 years after the end of the Civil War, funded in part by the Daughters of the Confederacy.) The Times continues:

The cathedral said in a statement that, while the flags will be removed shortly, the windows would remain to “serve as a catalyst for the difficult and uncomfortable conversations about race that we need to have on the road to racial justice.”

Here are other art controversies we have blogged about in the past:

We regret that, at this point, Minnesota’s state leaders have not chosen to remove the racist art from our Capitol.


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