2015 in review: 5 times artists created work outside the gallery, part 2

Osama Esid

Osama Esid

There was so much great art happening outside of galleries and museums this year, we decided to write two whole posts about it. Yesterday, we listed five awesome public art type things that happened in 2015. Here are five more ways that Twin Cities art lovers experienced art in unconventional spaces.

Curious City TC

When you think about it, riding the bus can be more stimulating than seeing a movie or a play. After all, you’ve got ever-changing scenery and people-watching opportunities galore. So if you tend to find yourself buried in your book, surfing the web on your phone, or drowning the world out with your headphones, you are missing out. With the Curious City TC project, activist and artist Ricardo Levins Morales' wanted to encourage people to look up and look around at the strangers that surround them everyday. Creating a series of posters meant to spark curiosity, the artworks challenged fear of people who are different. Combining his art with probing questions, he encouraged folks to interact with the people that surround them. The result was a cool project that offered art, diversion, and, hopefully, fostered some empathy for fellow bus riders.

Northern Spark


Once again, Northern Spark was fabulous in 2015 (with the added benefit of the weather cooperating). While plenty of museums and galleries participate every year, what’s great about the event, which takes place between the hours of dusk and dawn in the middle of summer, is all the cool stuff that happens outside. It’s a great excuse to get out and enjoy the Twin Cities during the most outdoor-friendly time of year. There was much to explore and discover at this iteration, such Osama Esid’s gorgeous portraits of Syrian refugees exhibited at the Mill City Ruins, BodyCartography Project’s individualized dance performances, and a crop of projections that lit up buildings (most notably Luke Savisky’s E/x MN, an interactive installation that projected in real-time participants’ video portraits onto the Gold Medal silos). It was a satisfying night of art everywhere you looked.

Protest Art

Last week, we wrote about artists who have been contributing to the Black Lives Matter movement. It's worth mentioning again here. This year, protest art has supported, deepened, and enriched the BLM movement in a way that only art can. Artists from the Million Artists Movement and others made beautiful signs, danced, sang, and helped spread the message of Black Lives Matter in other artistic ways on the streets, in social spaces, and on the internet. It turns out social justice is fodder for great art — who knew?

FLOW North Side Arts Crawl

FLOW Northside Arts Crawl, the annual, multi-destination event in north Minneapolis, showcases artists beautifying spaces inside and outside of area venues. The festival celebrated its 10th anniversary this year with over 200 visual and performing artists in 33 different studios, galleries, theaters, businesses, and vacant spaces. There were some fab murals created, plus dance and music performances, visual-arts exhibitions, special activities, and a new retrospective highlighting images from professional and amateur photographers who have captured FLOW’s evolution over the years.

Art at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

Since most Twin Citians don’t generally have a layover in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, they may not have had the luxury of really appreciating all the art it has to offer. But if you find an opportunity, you might enjoy “Buoyancy,” an exhibition currently on view in concourses E and F. It features works by Cuban artists Omar Valenti, Adrian Rubaut, and Camilo Villavilla, as well as a visual and sound installation celebrating Cuba. Also, if you’re lucky, you might happen upon a musician or dance troupe, such as when Lula Washington Dance Theatre gave impromptu performance before heading back to California after their show at the Ordway.