Tracker Pixel for Entry

How FAR You Can GO

by HPR Contributor | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Last Word | September 25th, 2019

Andrew Maus

By Andy Maus
amaus@plainsart.org

When I started working at Plains Art Museum in 2000, I worked at the Museum’s visitor services desk – greeting visitors, answering phones, and selling items in the store. I was just getting started, so I didn’t have a lot of perspective, but one thing was certain – this museum did not fit my narrow understanding of what an art museum is. Isn’t an art museum just a place where old things go to die? I had never seen an art museum that did so much – classes, programs, performances, public art projects, and exhibitions with actual living artists.

Now that I have been the Director & CEO of the Plains for over 3 years – and have a few more years of wisdom behind me – it is striking just how different Fargo is from so many other places. When I tell local people that I lead the Plains, a frequent response is, “Oh, you must be an artist, then.” To this day, this response is still shocking to me. It is indeed true – I am an artist, but that is not what is shocking about it. Amongst my national museum colleagues, there are only a small handful of us who are artists. Most of the rest are academics or historians. To us in Fargo, an art museum is an artist-place where you not only do the normal museum things, but you can also throw a pot or visit with a working artist – in other cities…. well, that’s not so commonplace.

When I tell people from other places that I am from Fargo, they look at me like I am an anthropological subject. What is it like there? Sounds frigid and desolate… I heard it’s a pretty hip place, but I can’t stop thinking about wood-chippers for some reason. It doesn’t help things that Fargo is actually a pretty weird place, and we’re better for it. At a recent conference, I recall telling a group of fellow museum directors from around the country that our museum hosts potlucks. I explained how we work with community organizers to host International Potluck events. The looks on their faces were priceless. “You do… potlucks?!” Yes, potlucks. The kind where you bring food to share – you know, like in Midwest church basements but in an art museum instead. Why not?

About a year ago, Plains Art Museum exhibited a large painting by Minnesota-based Native American artist Jim Denomie. It was a large painting depicting a cast of characters in a composition based on Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” The central figure was a priest with his pants at his ankles – visible from underneath the table. It was apparent to me that this figure was a response to the Catholic Church’s ongoing rape and abuse scandals – something that is difficult for people to see and talk about. In the surrounding scene, there were depictions of abuse of Native American peoples, symbols of racism, and other provocative content. Stylistically, it was somewhat like a cartoon, yet very confidently and effectively painted. I thought to myself, “This is it… I had a nice run, but there’s going to be a coup when people see this.”

After I caught myself in self-doubt, I recalled my experience as a TEDxFargo speaker. TEDxFargo is one of the best TEDx events in the country – the kind of high quality and ideas-driven event that other cities are inspired by. The year I spoke, there were several speakers whose content was sociopolitical and, by today’s often misguided standards, downright Partisan. I remembered Greg Tehven, the lead organizer of TEDxFargo, saying to me that he was nervous of a backlash that year. In the end, there was no coup, no nasty letters-to-the-editor, no threatening messages – just openness to learning. He said to me, “I need to start trusting Fargo.” He was right, and this resonated with me. The growth from Fargo being a sort-of-arty-big-town, to one realizing its future as a quirky, open and diverse arts and cultural center is within sight. 

Recently in:

COVID-19, or Coronavirus, has started to make its rounds in the United States. As of Tuesday, Mar. 17, three residents in North Dakota, 11 in South Dakota, and over 60 in Minnesota have been confirmed to have the disease. The…

by Sonja ThompsonDebra Ruh is the CEO and Founder of Ruh Global IMPACT, a consulting firm that strives to help clients amplify their impact and become disability inclusion leaders. She also serves as the Chair of the United…

Best Bets

Ladies Ag Night

by HPR Staff

Thursday, March 19, 4:30- 8 pm1609 19th Ave N, FargoCass County Soil Conservation District is hosting their annual Ladies’ Ag Night supper event. This event has a goal of bringing together multiple generations of women involved…

Not long ago, we did not have Coronavirus or Covid-19 in our vocabulary. Now our worlds have been changed. And that change is not stopping anytime soon, it would appear.Most of us are in the same boat. Our businesses are in…

The 14th Century Black Plague Started Something Beyond Thoughts And PrayersI see Donald the Lyin’ King has decided that Easter will not be a good time to fill churches--but maybe April 30 will be. King Donald had talked so much…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

It goes without saying that Valentine’s Day is the most profitable of all the holidays and the one with the most tortured history, literally. It is confusing how an ancient Roman festival that involved sacrificing animals and…

Fargo obviously loves their classical music. Audiences have still turned out during the 2019-2020 season of the Sanford Masterworks Series performed by the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra despite an unrelenting winter. That…

Eliza Hittman’s Sundance favorite “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” which played in theaters for just three days before Focus Features pulled the film amidst the widespread and unprecedented coronavirus-related closures, will…

This weekend, the 10th Annual Unglued Craft Fest will be held at the Plains Art Museum, featuring over 70 local and regional artists selling handmade items. Though most are Fargo-Moorhead residents, artists from Minneapolis, Sioux…

Theatre

Fargo Film Festival 2020

by HPR Contributor

by Dominic EricksonThis March, the Fargo Film Festival will celebrate its 20th year of entertaining die-hard cinephiles and casual moviegoers alike. The festival begins on March 17 and concludes March 21. The event is once again…

by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…

by Jill Finkelsonjsfinkelson99@gmail.comFar North Spirits, located up in Hallock, MN, is the northernmost distillery in the lower 48. They may be young in the distillery world but the farm and the spirit reach far into the past.…

Wellness

Discover Yoga Differently

by HPR Contributor

by Laurie J Bakeremsdatter@gmail.com Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

#12 of On Tyranny: Make eye contact and small talk- “This is not just polite. It is part of being a citizen and a responsible member of society. It is also a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down social…