Bike Jamboree Recap

January 1, 1970 - to
Bike Jamboree Recap

On the 18th, we hosted our third Plains InsideOUT event, the Bike Jamboree. The event, which was put on in partnership with Great Northern Bicycle Co. and the FM Community Bike Workshop, wasn’t just a bunch of fun activities with bikes. It also demonstrated that art and transportation are vehicles (pun intended) for stitching a city together into a healthier, more vibrant place to live.

The festivities kicked off with a few art-making activities themed around bikes. We made spoke cards, decorated bikes, and worked together in creating a big, bike-able canvas:

We also had some tasty treats, thanks to The Baking Cup:

Later in the evening, about two dozen of us hopped on our bikes to take a public art tour through downtown. Public art is becoming a part of the fabric of downtown Fargo thanks especially to folks like Paul Ide, whose murals were a backbone of the tour. Ide, who we’ve also been working with through the Hip Hop Don’t Stop events, was gracious enough to join us and provide background on his work. We had a lively discussion about commercial art at the Sunny Brook whiskey mural and also debated the placement of the Ten Commandments near the Civic Center and Fargo Public Library. Megan Johnston, our new curator, bravely rode along to lead discussion despite being new to Fargo streets and not having ridden a bike in a while. We ended the ride at the Red Raven Espresso Parlor, where we were treated to lemonade and music by We. The bike tour was a hit. We’ll try doing it again before the end of the summer and we’re also working on a Foursquare list of public art and street art in downtown for those who’d like to check them out themselves.

PAM curator (center) discusses the Sunny Brook Whiskey mural at 320 5th St N.

The mural by Paul Ide and JAWSH at Roberts Street Studio.

As dark settled in, Tom from Great Northern fired up the Mighty Quinn, a five-person bicycle, for a showing of Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure in the Museum parking lot. About 40 people biked in to watch. And, while it’s a silly movie, showing Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure in this way makes a few serious points. First, it’s possible for entertainment like movies to be enjoyed off the grid. And second, bikes can do more than get us from one place to another. They can literally be an engine for a more sustainable way of life.

It was a wonderful event. Thanks to all who came, and thanks to our hard-working partners at the Bike Workshop and Great Northern. Big, big thanks to our sponsors at Gate City Bank, Milestones Photography, and Spicy Pie for helping to make this a free event. Special thanks to Denise Knudson at DK Custom Framing for leading the bike tour, to Shane Reetz from Fitz and Flick for the photos of the bike tour and the movie (view more at Shane’s Facebook page here), and Britta Trygstad (view more photos on her blog here) from Milestones for photos at the art-making activities.

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John Volk and the Mark Palmer Prize

January 1, 1970 - to
John Volk and the Mark Palmer Prize

Volk at work creating the Palmer Prize lithograph.

Volk printing the Palmer Prize lithographs.

A few weeks ago, several diplomats were given the Mark Palmer Prize  by the Council for a Community of Democracies. The awards, named for a former U.S. ambassador to Hungary, recognized their efforts in advancing democracy. Artist Ard Berge was commissioned to draw the awards, while MSUM printmaking professor John Volk was asked to create the physical lithographs.

Volk, also the master printer in our Hannaher’s, Inc., Print Studio, jumped at the chance to work with Berge and create this award. The two are friends who attended the New York Academy of Art (NYAA)together.

Ard Berge creating the drawing for the Palmer Prize.

“This was a very exciting and somewhat humbling project to work on because I was just having fun with my friend,” Volk said. ” I had no idea that this was to become such a prestigious award.”

The finished Palmer Prize.

“I was always pestering him to collaborate with me on a print because I knew that his work would translate into lithography so well. When he received this commission, it just seemed like the perfect opportunity to have a little fun in the studio together,” Volk said.

Volk flew to New York to collaborate with Berge on the lithographic plate, then returned with the plates to create the prints. He pulled a few in the printmaking studio at MSUM and a few in the Hannaher’s Print Studio. The completed prints were then given by the Council for a Community of Democracies to the winners of the Mark Palmer Prize. They were awarded to diplomats from Peru, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Canada, the Netherlands, and the United States.

“It is thrilling to see work that was printed at MSUM and the Plains Art Museum being displayed on the international diplomatic stage,” Volk said. “It is also deeply rewarding to see such influential dignitaries and champions of democracy receiving something that you helped to make.”

(You can learn more about award recipients here. This item also appeared on the NYAA blog.)

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Ramp Jam at the Plains Recap

January 1, 1970 - to
Ramp Jam at the Plains Recap

On July 16, Plains Art Museum held it’s first ever Ramp Jam at the Plains. Even though the temperature reached 100 degrees, it didn’t detour over 300 people to check it out. Guests enjoyed the talent of  some of the best skaters and bikers in the area, a free product toss, and emcees Kipp G and Tony the Butcher. Some of the skateboarders are featured in Thomas Rex Kemmer: Local Spots photography exhibit going on through August 28.

Thank you to Scott Alher who made this video. Click here to view.

Ramp Jam at the Plains was supported in part by: THIS Skate and Snow, Turman & Lang, Ltd., Bumbershut, Fargo Billiards, 12th Avenue Garage, Empire Tavern, Red Raven, Revolver, Ink by Noodle, Discontent, The High 5, Bertrosa’s Cafe, John E. Haggart, Laser Systems, MOM.

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Bike Jamboree Today!

January 1, 1970 - to
Bike Jamboree Today!

We like bikes!

This evening the Museum along with Great Northern Bicycle Co. and the FM Community Bike Workshop will present the Bike Jamboree, a heavy dose of bike and art love. Here’s a rundown of what’s going on:

5:30 p.m.
The Jamboree will kick off with a variety of activities taking place in our atrium and parking lot. In the atrium, we’ll have an activity session for creating your own spoke cards. We’ll also have cupcakes courtesy of The Baking Cup (whose fine desserts are featured in GNBC’s Clock Tower Cafe) and other refreshments. Outside, we’ll be making a BIG collaborative work of art using bikes, plus we’ll have a spot where you can decorate your bike and have it checked for safety. For the competitive, a gold sprint station will be set up to allow you to try for your best bike time. We’ll have tunes outside, too, so maybe there’s a bike dance party?

7:30 p.m.
After it cools down, we’ll gather a group together, get on our bikes, and go for a cruise through downtown for a tour of public and street art. Joining us will be artist Paul Ide, whose aerosol murals are a fixture in downtown, and new Museum curator Megan Johnston, who will provide us with interpretation and get some dialogue going. After the ride (it should take around an hour), we’ll stop at Red Raven Espresso Parlor for some refreshing lemonade. (You must sign a waiver to take the ride.)

10 p.m.
Later on, we’ll all meet back at the Museum parking lot for an off-the-grid screening of a gripping tale of bike larceny and the ensuing adventure of a modern-day hero: “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure,” powered entirely by a five-person bicycle, The Mighty Quinn. Free popcorn! Please bring a lawn chair or blanket, if possible. And, although the movie is free for all ages, we ask that those 16 and younger be accompanied by an adult.

Whew! It’s going to be fun – and we’ll all get a little workout, too. Hope to see you there!

(UPDATE) Also, a big thanks to our sponsors for this event: Gate City Bank, Milestones Photography, and Spicy Pie!

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Horizon Navy Band and Fargo Navy Week

January 1, 1970 - to
Horizon Navy Band and Fargo Navy Week

We had an electrifying visit today from the Horizon Navy Band, a popular music combo that travels the Midwest entertaining crowds on behalf of the Navy. They were our guests as part of Fargo Navy Week, an event that culminates in the Fargo AirSho this weekend.

Horizon filled the Museum with an outstanding collection of standards and rock tunes arranged for jazz combo. And, they looked really sharp in their service dress whites.

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“You Like This” Community Curators Hold Final Meeting

January 1, 1970 - to
“You Like This” Community Curators Hold Final Meeting

The final vote for You Like This, a crowdsourcing exhibition of the Museum’s permanent collection, came to a close last Tuesday, and our community curators met on Wednesday, August 3, and had the opportunity to discuss how that art should be hung in the gallery. The session began with presentations from Museum Director and CEO Colleen Sheehy and Director of Curatorial Affairs and Interpretation Megan Johnston. The two spoke on different creative exhibitions they had worked on and gave examples of how an art gallery doesn’t always need to be a traditional, static environment. They encouraged the community curators to think about intentionality, rhythm, juxtaposition, narratives, and even the use of colored walls to aid in delivering their message.

Megan Johnston describes her curating experiences with the group.

The next thing to decide was, “what exactly is our message?” We had originally planned to have three community curating sessions with the last one designated to the curatorial elements of the exhibition, but we had so many ideas it was difficult to focus them into a theme. Some curators wanted to take a step further and be more hands-on with the details of the installation, a request that Museum staff was happy to oblige. After that was settled, the curators had more time to brainstorm broad ideas.

Community Curators and Museum staff brainstorm ideas for displaying the exhibition.

One of our curators thought it would be best to go around the table so everyone could voice one idea they thought should be involved in the display. Here are a few examples the group generated:

o       Highlight the crowdsourcing element and clue people into the process

o       Have some walls white, and others a solid color

o       Delineation; something unexpected like displaying works at different angles and on different surfaces

o       Incorporate the community’s comments from the online survey into the exhibition

o       Allow visitors to continue to vote (interactive)

o       QR codes – sent to a discussion board and forum

o       Different groupings of art using room dividers – “traditional” and moving to a funkier, more experimental area

o       Using vinyl, stats and percentages in the display

Museum staff and some of the community curators will now use this information to organize and install the exhibition. Be sure to check out the exhibition October 6, 2011 – January 15, 2012 in Jane L. Stern Gallery and see what the Fargo-Moorhead community has generated through this crowdsourcing process.

Have you been following the You Like This process? Please leave your reactions and comments below.

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