Thursday, May 21, 2009


images from Oaxaca by Eric Gustafson

MEETING Wed 5/27 6:00 p.m.

Corcoran Neighborhood has received seed money and is seeking artists and other creatives to help brainstorm and develop a startlingly new ( to Minneapolis) graffiti prevention program that uses public artforms.

(Please note that around here we use the term 'graffiti' to refer to gang tags, which are a serious problem in our neighborhood and are starkly different than public art, including aerosol art, including the great work that goes on at Intermedia Arts etc.)

CNO organizer Eric Gustafson traveled to Oaxaca city, Mexico in April 2008. Oaxaca has problems with graffiti and tagging that are similar, or arguably worse, than Minneapolis'. Oaxaca also has a thriving creative class and “Do-It-Yourself” ethic that recalls the Corcoran/Powderhorn area of Minneapolis. Widely evident in Oaxaca City is a simple but compelling form of public art that any audience will recognize as serving multiple purposes: to beautify, to celebrate local culture and heroes, to provoke thought about ideas and issues, and to prevent future tagging. Most of these images are simple graphic art that utilize minimal lines and shading to express an idea. Most are either pre-printed or painted on durable paper and then applied to a wall surface with decoupage/adhesive (the same technique used widely to apply outdoor posters and advertising in Mexico), or applied directly to the wall with a paint brush.At the meeting, Eric will share examples of public art in Oaxaca city, Mexico.

Please mark your calendar for Wednesday, May 27, 6pm. Susan Hensel has generously offered use of her gallery space (3441 Cedar) for the meeting. Please invite others, especially the creatively inclined.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The end of the Story?

In these changing times it is the simple things, the intimate things, the things that bring the community together that satisfy. It is the old things that sustain: home cooked meals; Sunday suppers; family albums. Not a facile nostalgia for a mythic time, but actions the embrace and nourish.

These are ideas that Jon Coffelt knows intimately. Raised close to the farm and the church in the rural south, he drank from the deep well of southern storytelling: the stories of his Amish grandparents, the secret meetings among the sacred trees, the overbearing relative whose stories were so ubiquitous that community slang used her name to describe anyone overbearing...

His show COMMUNION is full of these stories made manifest in cloth. Come see them, hear them, read them before the show comes to an end on May 10.

Each little piece, lovingly stitched by hand, has its own story to tell. Somehow by miniaturizing the clothing, the stories are able to escape and become real for the rest of us. Even if we never knew the people who wore these shirts, pants, pajamas, uniforms, sweaters, flak jackets, we now share their stories as though they are our own.

It is a simple thing, story. It can never be taken away from us and it is something we can always afford to freely share. And then, the story never ends.