Intermedia Arts will give $1 million to Public Functionary; Children’s Theatre offers help to families and teachers
By: Pamela Espeland
Intermedia Arts may have written its final chapter, with a graceful flourish.
In 2017, the 44-year-old nonprofit arts organization experienced a financial crisis it couldn’t survive. It suspended operations, laid off its staff, issued final paychecks to salaried and hourly workers, and announced that its building at 2822 Lyndale Ave. S., its home since 1994, would be sold to meet “significant outstanding obligations.”
Covered with art and graffiti, the Intermedia Arts Building was a Minneapolis landmark.
The building was sold for about $3.5 million in November 2018 to RightSource Compliance, a Minneapolis company that works in affordable housing. (RightSource was acquired by Santa Barbara-based Yardi in January 2020.) After paying its debts, Intermedia Arts had money left over.
In September 2019, Intermedia Arts gave Minneapolis-based Artspace Properties Inc. a $1 million grant to help it buy the Northrup King Building in northeast Minneapolis and preserve it for artists. Developers were circling Minnesota’s largest arts complex, and the hundreds of artists who have their studios there worried that it would be converted to condos. Greg Handberg, Artspace’s senior VP of properties, has said, “We are committed to keeping Northrup King Building a place for artists for decades to come.”
One of the building’s tenants is Public Functionary (PF). PF was founded in 2012 by Tricia Heuring and Mike Bishop. Its first home was a 2,500-square-foot “responsive art space” at 1400 12th Ave. NE. (That place was jumping, and we saw several exciting shows there.) Its current spaces at the Northrup King are Studio 400, an incubator program for early-career artists run by artist Leslie Barlow, and Studio 285, independent spaces for artists within a collaborative supported environment. PF Studios prioritizes BIPOC and underrepresented artists.
On Monday, Intermedia Arts announced that the approximately $1 million remaining from the sale of its building would go to PF. A significant portion will support the development of a multidisciplinary arts space to serve the Twin Cities arts community, particularly artists who have historically been supported by Intermedia Arts.
PF was among 28 organizations that submitted proposals in response to an open call from Intermedia Arts. “We saw an overlap in our missions and found inspiration in Public Functionary’s collaborative and responsive vision for the future of the Twin Cities arts community,” Omar Akbar, co-president of Intermedia Arts, said in a statement.
“We believe that these funds will help Public Functionary build upon the legacy of Intermedia Arts and strengthen the arts ecosystem in the Twin Cities.”
V is for virtual, L is for live and in person.
V Available now on demand: Children’s Theatre Company: “Something Happened in Our Town” video presentation. Ansa Akyea reads “Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice.” Written by a biracial team of child psychologists, published by the American Psychological Association’s Magination Press, the book follows two families – one white, one Black – as they discuss a police shooting of a Black man in their community. CTC originally created the video to help parents answer questions from their children about the death of George Floyd and the trial of Derek Chauvin. Tragically, the killing of Daunte Wright on Sunday is another reason to visit or revisit it. CTC has also provided resources for parents and teachers. For everyone 4 and up. Free.
V Available now on demand: Minnesota Opera: “Apart Together: A MN Opera Artist Showcase.” If it weren’t for the pandemic, we’d be looking forward right now to the revival of MN Opera’s “The Shining” at the Ordway. But while the opera hasn’t staged a production since “Flight” in early 2020, it hasn’t been idle. Along with streaming recordings of previous productions (“Das Rheingold” in 3D, for example), it has also commissioned new work including “MNiatures” (short operas by Minnesota artists) and “Art Is a Verb,” with a libretto by playwright Harrison David Rivers. And now: “Apart Together,” with performances by resident artists and members of the Minnesota Opera’s orchestra. All are free, original and personal. The Resident Artist Showcase is available through April 17, the Orchestra Showcase through April 24. Find all 21 performances here.
V Friday, April 16, 7 p.m.: Quatrefoil Library: John Medeiros book launch for “Self, Divided.” An editor of “Queer Voices: Poetry, Prose, and Pride” and a former co-host for the Queer Voices reading series at Intermedia Arts, award-winning poet and creative nonfiction writer Medeiros will read from his memoir, “Self, Divided,” the story of identical twins, one of whom is gay and HIV-positive. Free with registration.
V Friday, April 16, 8 p.m.: Minnesota Orchestra: Outliers and Intrigue. Livestreaming from Orchestra Hall’s stage, German conductor Marc Albrecht will make his Minnesota Orchestra debut, and Jon Kimura Parker, the orchestra’s partner for summer programming, will perform Shostakovich’s First Piano Concerto. Macedonian pianist Simon Trpčeski was originally scheduled to play the Shostakovich, but “due to the travel restrictions between EU and USA, unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the performance in Minneapolis,” he wrote on his website. The concert will also include Miguel del Aguila’s “Herbsttag (Autumn Day) for Flute, Bassoon and Harp” and Schumann’s Symphony No. 4. Watch on the orchestra’s website or TPT-MN; listen live on Classical MPR.
V Opens Friday, April 16: MSP Film’s Virtual Cinema: “Hope.” Norway’s Oscar submission stars Andrea Braein Hovig and Stellan Skarsgård in what one reviewer called “a wildly impressive and devastating relationship drama with unforgettable performances.” When she gets a terminal cancer diagnosis, their modern life together breaks down. We love Skarsgård in almost any role (coming up, he’ll be the villainous Baron Harkonnen in Dune, and we can’t wait), and while this doesn’t look to be a lot of laughs, it’s probably just the ticket if you want something that will move you. FMI and tickets ($12/9).
V Saturday, April 17, 2 p.m., then on demand: VocalEssence Singers of This Age: “Create.” G. Phillip Shoultz leads VESOTA in an inspiring, uplifting, family-friendly – and, in this moment, potentially healing – concert by its diverse and engaging choir of Twin Cities high school students. With vocal activist Jayanthi Kyle, composer-in-residence Kyle Pederson, and the trio of Erik Yates on guitar, Brian Kendrick on drums and Sam Reeves on keyboards. FMI and tickets ($15 for a single stream, $49 for this concert and everything else in VocalEssence’s On Demand 2020-21 season, past and future, including the 2021 “Witness” concert).
V Monday, April 19, 7 p.m.: Club Book, hosted by Dakota County Library: Lawrence Wright. Journalist, screenwriter, and novelist Wright’s accomplishments include “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11,” winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, and “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief,” the film adaptation of which won three Emmys and a Peabody. His latest, “The End of October,” a medical thriller about a virus, is now in paperback.