In the air, lately, is drifting a great deal of thinking about place. Globalism makes us think of it, as does environmentalism; immigration and assimilation make us think about it as do the increasingly intractable differences between some places and others. The fragmentation of the artworld (an artworld that used to be a succession of single places, like Paris, New York, London, and isn't any more) makes us think about it as well. Place is political, aesthetic, natural; it's home, and it's all the other places.
Of course here at mnartists we think about what kind of place Minnesota is, and what kind of places harbor Minnesota artists. As a subset of the larger question, we've been thinking about existing artists' communities as we try to build an on-line community of all Minnesota artists. Articles in the archives have discussed such artist enclaves as the Soap Factory, Franconia Sculpture Park, puppet collectives, Forecast Public Artworks, and other artist-driven entities. We're looking forward to interviews with musicians and promoters and features on cabarets, the State Fair art show, and critics. This October, a new incarnation of mnartists will appear. You'll be able to post sound and video files as work samples; there will be a forum in which you can discuss questions of interest to Minnesota artists; we will publish reviews of performances and exhibitions; an expanded events calendar and listings of opportunities will appear. In general, it will be a step toward a fuller picture of the art world here. We hope it will help to create a greater sense of community among Minnesota artists.
Parallel to this movement toward unity, however, we wish to foster knowledge of and appreciation for difference, distinction, oddity, range, diversity: the Minnesota art world is made up of distinct individuals, some of whom practice in communities, some of whom practice alone. These individuals all work, however, in some relation to place.
"Place" can be thought of in a thousand ways: as the studio and its broken wallboards or peeling paint or beautiful view, the landscape, the block, the apartment house, the artists' group, the city, the trees a person passes on the way to work, the office or factory or store in which he passes the time waiting to get to the studio, the bar she plays music in, the house an artist grew up in and left or the house he never left, the group of friends she works with, the fellow band members and the places where they all hang out, the scrubby brush along a creek that served as a refuge.
I'm asking you, reader, to please send to this site your thoughts on place and its relationship to your particular making. There's no such thing as too short--a sentence is fine. Try to keep it under 250 words (about a page). You can send an image or two--attach the files to your email. Send it off to [email protected]. Then look for it to appear in the "Readers' Contributions" spot. I'll change them as often as they arrive.
Thank you for your interest and involvement with this site. We can make something truly extraordinary here, but only if we all engage with this site as someplace we both give to and receive from: a place of making.