The NEMAA blog is a platform for us to share our members work and their stories, and a hub for information about the NEMAA community.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Public Art at the Northeast Library

Installing the frieze
Hennepin County Library recently commissioned a frieze to be installed at the Northeast library branch, 2200 Central Ave NE. On the library’s large south wall, the 40 x 4 foot horizontal frieze features the talents of artists who live and/or work in Northeast Minneapolis. To facilitate the development of this public art project, Hennepin County contracted Jack Becker of Forecast Public Art. A committee involving Hennepin County Library, the Friends of the Northeast library, and others, discussed numerous public art options. Rather than showcase the work of only a single artist, Jack Becker proposed a frieze that could approximate the breadth of work done in NE Minneapolis. This theme to highlight the art produced by multiple NE artists seemed to resonate most strongly, with panel members recognizing the impact of the arts in helping to shape the NE community's history.

An open call for artist submissions was necessary, and the call used NEMAA guidelines for determining what defines a “Northeast Minneapolis artist;” the artist must live or make art in NE Minneapolis. Instead of a call for new art, artists were able to submit images of what they deemed to be their best work. Over 189 pieces were submitted, of various media. Each artist was able to select 3 pieces for their portfolio submission, and of these submissions a single work was chosen from 40 different artists. A juried panel selected the work, seeking to include a variety of media, and each artist received $300. 70% of the frieze artists selected are NEMAA artists.

The frieze will serve as a “catalogue” of some of the best work being done by artists in NE Minneapolis, as well as a portal into the work of these artists. Artist statements for each artist are on permanent display at the library, with information linking to the websites and/or gallery information for each artist.

For the installation, the images were prepared for printing and installed by a professional local vendor. The final composition and design of the frieze was prepared by Minneapolis-based curator George Slade. The frieze was printed as a single mural and mounted to the library wall. It is the first 40 foot digital print and first work to feature 40 artists in Hennepin county.

A Public Reception celebrating the unveiling of the frieze will be held at the Northeast Library on Saturday, May 10, from 1-3 pm. This reception will celebrate the work of each artist included. Join us as we celebrate the work of these artists, one week before we kick off Art-A-Whirl!

Partial view of the frieze

All photos courtesy Ryc Casati.

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