ST. PAUL (June 9, 2014) — From There to Here Exhibition from Aug. 21 through Oct. 19, 2014 in the MMAA Project Space of the Pioneer Endicott Building, 141 E. 4th Street, St. Paul, MN 55101. The entrance is located on the corner of 4th and Robert Streets. For information call 651-797-2571 or visit www.mmaa.org.
From There to Here explores the ways that public transportation intersects with community and connects people to places and the opportunities they offer. Featuring the commissioned work of local artists Xavier Tavera, Wing Young Huie with Ashley Hanson, and Katherine Turczan, the projects consider the neighborhoods that light rail users move through but never visit, the temporary community formed by people waiting at the same stop and riding the same train, and the glimpses of them seen through the window of a passing train.
All three projects of From There to Here celebrate local diversity, evoke a unique sense of place, reflect local history and culture, and involve all levels of constituents. It is a truly exciting and multivalent project born of the energy and diversity of the Central Corridor itself.
Photographer Xavier Tavera will create a new body of work that brings into focus the fact that trains carry us through vibrant, diverse neighborhoods that we never visit. Tavera focuses on the small businesses and gathering spaces along the Green Line that have been vital resources to their communities and represent a way of life that is quickly fading in the face of rapid economic and technological development. He hopes to bring visibility to these neighborhood gems and inspire Twin Cities residents to become a tourist in their own city. The portraits invite viewers to engage with not only the photographs but with their subjects.
Community-engaged theater artist Ashley Hanson and photographer Wing Young Huie propose to turn the Green Line into a mobile stage to showcase the rich history, stories, and collective memories of Central Corridor neighborhoods. The artist team will work with local playwright Jessica Huang to create a performance script that engages personally and meaningfully with people’s experiences and perceptions of the Central Corridor, the performances will be presented to the public on the exhibition’s closing weekend, October 18 and 19.
The project will use different ways to collect information for script development. Three “story swap” workshops will be held on the Central Corridor in partnership with Center for Hmong Arts and Talent, Springboard for the Arts, and African Development Center. At these workshops Hanson will lead participants through storytelling, writing, movement, and drama activities that explore place; and Huie will utilize his “chalk talk” engagement strategy to pose questions that prompt ordinary citizens to voice their needs and wants for the city’s infrastructure.
The script will also be informed by one-on-one conversations Hanson and Huang will have with current and former residents of surrounding neighborhoods, historians, artists, and others. Hanson and Huie’s interactive gallery installation will offer visitors to the MMAA Project Space the opportunity to be a part of the Green Line Theater project by sharing their own stories, as well as display photographic documentation of the project as it evolves.
The Green Line Theater project is a reprise of Hanson and Huie’s Bus Stop Theater, which was included in the recent Creative CityMaking exhibition at Intermedia Arts in Minnesota.
Photographer Katherine Turczan explores the physical experience and sensation of being on a train through a suite of approximately 300+ black and white photographs taken along the entire 11-mile route of the Green Line. Turczan uses oblique views and mobile perspectives to capture the immediacy of the experience of riding a light rail train.
The resulting images will be printed on 8” x 10” sheets and displayed horizontally in two rows, mimicking tracks and the schematic topography of the transit route to connote travel, length, and movement.
The Public Opening will be held Thursday, August 21, 2014 from 7 to 8:30 p.m., with an MMAA Members’ Only Reception prior from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
MMAA Members enjoy a hosted reception and introductory remarks on the show. Live music performed by electronic composer Ryan Horton, McNally Smith College of Music alum. Refreshments provided in part by Big Top Liquor.
Ashley Hanson holds an MA degree in Applied Theater from the University of Manchester, with emphasis on the role of theater in community development. She calls herself a Freelance Arts Enabler, working with artists, city departments, organizations, and communities on the “unsexy” part of the arts — administration and project management — to bring abstract visions into concrete productions. She is the co-founder of PlaceBase Productions, whose site-specific work is focused on strengthening community through story and enhancing sense of place.
Wing Young Huie photographs the dizzying socioeconomic and cultural realities of American society, much of it centered on the urban cores of his home state of Minnesota. Although his work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, his most well-known projects are largescale public installations, including Frogtown (1995), Lake Street USA (2000), and The University Avenue Project (2010), which transformed major Twin Cities’ thoroughfares into epic photo galleries, (reflecting the everyday lives of thousands of its citizens in the midst of some of the most diverse concentrations of international immigrants in the country.) The Third Place, a gallery that Huie opened in 2012 on the corner of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in South Minneapolis, furthers his concepts of using art as a community-building catalyst.
Katherine Turczan lives in Minneapolis where she is currently a Professor at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She received her B.F.A. at Cooper Union School of Art & Sciences, NY and an M.F.A. from Yale University, CT. Turczan’s work in photography has been featured in exhibitions at the Ludwig Museum (Budapest), International Center for Photography (New York), the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (Israel), and the De Cordova Museum (Massachusetts), among other venues. She is a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2011, a Fulbright Fellowship in 2010, and Bush Foundation in 1995, which have allowed her to travel extensively with her 8 x 10 camera in Eastern Europe.
Xavier Tavera, after moving from Mexico City to the United States, learned what it felt like to be part of a subculture– the immigrant community. Subjected to alienation, he uses his photos to share the lives of those who are marginalized, and his images have offered insight into the diversity of numerous communities giving a voice to those who are often invisible. Tavera has shown his work extensively in the Twin Cities, nationally and internationally, including Chile and China. He is a recipient of the McKnight fellowship, Jerome Travel award, Minnesota State Arts Board artist initiative grant, and Bronica scholarship, and makes time to give back to the art community and to young people. He co-founded the local arts group Grupo Soap del Corazon which has held more than 11 exhibitions in the past seven years. In addition, he has served on the board of InProgress, a nonprofit that exposes underrepresented children across Minnesota to art, taught for Kulture Klub, an organization providing art to homeless teens, and presented workshops to the Walker Art Center’s WACTAC connecting teenagers to contemporary art.