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Quarterly Newsletter - Spring 2014

Arts Midwest Recognized as a Best Nonprofit Employer

Arts Midwest has been featured as one of the “Best Nonprofits to Work For” by the Nonprofit Times. We are honored to receive this national distinction once again.
The “Best Nonprofits to Work For” program is dedicated to finding and recognizing the best employers in the nonprofit industry, and awards are granted based on employee feedback about factors such as company culture, benefits, professional development opportunities, and much more. This is the fourth time that Arts Midwest has been recognized as a “best nonprofit to work for” from this national publication. We are humbled by this recognition and thrilled to work every day in such a wonderful environment.

Illinois High School Students Join Renowned Québec Ensemble On Stage

Arts Midwest World Fest ensemble Le Vent du Nord (Québec) delighted audiences across the Midwest during their winter 2014 tour.

A driving force in progressive folk music, Le Vent du Nord’s music captures the energy and mirth of a Saturday night kitchen party, infusing old Québec with a breath of fresh, cosmopolitan air.

While the ensemble makes strong connections everywhere they travel, Le Vent du Nord invoked a true cultural exchange with string band students at DeKalb High School in Illinois. During a workshop, the incredibly talented students impressed Le Vent du Nord so much that the ensemble invited the students to perform with them at the final public concert. After a few rehearsals during the week, the two groups performed for the whole community—it was an Arts Midwest World Fest first, and a very special moment for the participants.

Le Vent du Nord in DeKalb

The ensemble’s January tour included stops in DeKalb, Illinois and Hanover, Indiana. They will return in April to finish out their Arts Midwest World Fest tour in Medina, Ohio and Midland, Michigan. Learn more about these and other Arts Midwest World Fest tours on our Road Stories Blog.

Baladino Charms the Midwest

A legacy of partnering with 3M - In 10 years, we've visited sixteen 3M communities and conducted 320 week-long residencies featuring musicians from across the globe.

In February, as part of a special Arts Midwest World Fest arrangement, we welcomed Baladino to the Twin Cities for a four-day residency.

During their visit, Baladino gave a lunchtime concert at 3M corporate headquarters in St. Paul. 3M is a generous supporter of Arts Midwest World Fest, so we were thrilled to treat the company to an exclusive performance.

Baladino also shared their jazz and folk sounds with audiences at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis. This incredible concert combined traditional Ladino music with contemporary Mediterranean sounds, and audiences were enchanted by the ensemble’s talent.

After leaving the Twin Cities, Baladino traveled on to Barron County, Wisconsin; Sisseton, South Dakota; Grand Forks, North Dakota; Bemidji, Minnesota; and Orange City, Iowa.

Baladino at the Dakota Jazz Club

National Exhibition Honors an Under-Recognized Native Artist

Modern Spirit tour locations: Fargo, ND; New York, NY; Indianapolis, IN; Phoenix, AZ; St. Paul, MN

Rich textures, deep jewel tones, and abstract landscapes are only part of what makes George Morrison’s artwork a sight to behold. The other part is his story—one that navigates and challenges the boundaries of Native American and Modernist art, one that celebrates urban and rural homelands, and one that captures a serene but profound spirituality.

This story is elegantly told in Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison, a national touring exhibition and catalog that features 82 drawings, paintings, prints, and sculptures, and includes works from across Morrison’s oeuvre, from 1940s up to his death in 2000.

Curated by a highly qualified art historian and friend to George Morrison, Dr. W. Jackson Rushing III, the exhibition is collaboratively organized and overseen by the Minnesota Museum of American Art, Arts Midwest, and the Plains Art Museum. Each institution is leveraging their unique capacities to present this exhibition, with Arts Midwest drawing on more than 25 years’ experience managing large-scale touring shows to honor this distinctive and well-loved artist, and offer audiences new opportunities to explore the impact of Native artists on American art history.

George Morrison wood collage work
Left: George Morrison working on wood collage, 1979. Photo by Dick Bancroft. Right: George Morrison, Cumulated Landscape, 1976, wood, 48 × 120 × 3 in. Collection Minnesota Museum of American Art. Gift of Honeywell, Inc.

We were thrilled to welcome Ameriprise Financial as the corporate supporter and Henry Luce Foundation as the foundation sponsor of Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison. Additional support comes from the National Endowment for the Arts and the generous contributions of individuals across the Midwest.

New Exchange Program Brings Midwestern Artists to China

One Incredible Cultural Exchange: 13 days with 25 performances and workshops;15,900 miles traveled by 3 Midwestern artists; 6,000 Chinese audiences served

This spring, Arts Midwest launched a new program that brought distinguished Native American artists to China for workshops and performances. The program sought to spark curiosity, dialogue, and understanding across cultures through an exchange of traditional arts.

From March 2 to March 15, Arts Midwest produced residency activities in Kunming and Beijing, China, with a trio led by Kevin Locke, an acclaimed flute player, dancer, and storyteller whose work reflects his roots in South Dakota and the Lakota and Anishinaabe native tribes. Kevin was joined by two renowned performing and visual artists: Monica Raphael from Michigan and Edmond Nevaquaya from Oklahoma.

Native American artists in China

The trio’s programs featured song, dance, storytelling, demonstrations of traditional crafts, audience participation, and question & answer sessions. Many of the workshops included ethnic minority artists and students, which encouraged interactive performances and a true exchange of traditional culture. During the two-week residency, the program reached audiences in a variety of settings, from rural village schools to centers for migrant workers to universities and major cultural institutions.

Kevin Locke with students in Da Mai Di village near Kunming, China

The program was funded by the United States Embassy-Beijing and the South Dakota Arts Council.

Featured Resource

National Arts Advocacy Day was officially on March 24, 2014, though many states are celebrating the arts throughout the first few weeks of April. An opportunity for arts supporters from around the nation to make their voices heard about the importance of funding the arts, these events invite constituents to contact their federal and state officials and contribute to the conversation. Learn more about advocacy activities in your state on the Americans for the Arts website and find your representatives through the Action Center.