Who: Young professionals, artists, art lovers, and Friends of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts
What: Art Perchance 2011
Where: Target Park at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA)
When: August 18, 2011
Why: To raise funds for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in support of free lectures, MIA education programs, student transportation to MIA, and the conservation of the museum's permanent collection.
I walked along the beautiful birch-lined pathway of Target Park and was delighted to be a part of the crowd at Minneapolis Institute of the Arts’ 2011 Art Perchance. Sponsored by Friends of the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, the 8th annual Art Perchance seamlessly combined fun entertainment and inspiring art. It also helped support future MIA projects and programs, some of which included the sponsorship of transportation for student field trips to MIA, the bolstering of MIA's education budget, and the conservation of museum artwork.
"Carnival barker"Jeremiah Lewis-Walker was the first to approach me after I registered at the Art Perchance volunteer tent Thursday evening. Impeccably dressed in a red and white vest, and sporting a stylish mustache, Lewis-Walker encouraged me and at least dozen other art lovers to participate in a variety of midway-style games such as the Wheel of Dada, Bowling for Brancusi, and the Scholar’s Rock Bean Bag toss. Guests even had the opportunity to match several artworks with corresponding artists at a booth entitled, "Set Your Brain on Fire."
Once inside the museum’s first floor atrium, I stopped briefly to talk with event chair Kathy Murphy and Friends' president Carolyn Dahl who were mingling among bidders at the impressive silent auction and token drop display. Featuring more than 80 works of donated works art, the silent auction highlighted acrylic paint pieces, jewelry, and abstract sculpture. By purchasing Art Perchance tokens (and/or winning them at the outdoor games), individuals increased their chances of taking home their very own piece of donated art. I placed one of my tokens in the decorated paint bucket under a work entitled, Blue No. 3, acrylic on canvas.
Artist of Blue No. 3, Drew Beson, soon joined me with fellow artists Genie Castro and Maren Kloppmann. Beson told me he was working on a multitude of large-scale acrylics, while Castro indicated her focus remained on portraying vibrancy. Castro beamed in a vintage magenta dress and horn-rimmed glasses. “In this piece,” Castro said pointing to her work Laughingly, “I tried to capture the joy and splendor of summer. Lots and lots of color!”
In addition to appreciating the bold strokes of Castro's piece, I also found myself drawn to a graph-like schematic of an anti-pollution wet suit. The work’s corresponding artist Billy X. Curmano enthusiastically explained his vision.
“My X3C Polluted Water Wear began as an idea I had during my 2,367-mile Mississippi River swim,” Curmano said. “It was sort of an environmental experiment.” Known for his passion for extended performance art, Curmano has many projects like the "millenial suit" and is not afraid to push the envelope.
Returning to the outdoor plaza, my next stop was the gourmet food table where I enjoyed half a dozen gourmet grilled sandwiches. I also had the chance to sit with designer Hajira Nazar for a henna tattoo. Nazar used a special paste made from leaves of the “lawsonia inermis” plant.
While my tattoo dried, I listened to the bluesy guitar rhythms of Trailer Trash alongside Betsey Whitbeck (co-chair of Art-in-Bloom 2012). Couples continued to converge on the makeshift dance floor, and it was nearly 8:30pm when MIA adult programs associate Alex Bortolot took the stage. Bortolot announced the names of over 60 lucky individuals. Although I was not one of them, I was happy for those who got to bring home original artworks.