Constellation: A Backyard Art Expedition showcases DIY art and community

<i>Expansive Field #10</i> by Nick Howard (on the porch of 2920 13th Ave. S.)

Expansive Field #10 by Nick Howard (on the porch of 2920 13th Ave. S.)

This weekend, artists in south Minneapolis will be opening up their garages, backyards, porches, and balconies to visitors for a community-based DIY creative tour that includes visual art, beer-brewing demos, aerialists in trees, food, movies, music, a zine library and mobile, stuff for sale, gardening, a puppet show, and the karaoke Art Shanty. Titled Constellation: A Backyard Art Expedition, the event celebrates the way art is an integral part of our daily lives, neighborhoods, and self-made communities.   [jump]

This will be Constellation's first year. The idea came from organizers Lacey Prpić Hedtke and Kevin Loecke, who live five blocks away from each other in Phillips/Powderhorn. "We really love our neighborhoods and the density of 'makers and doers' in south Minneapolis," Hedtke says over email, "and we wanted to build more networks and community among neighbors while inviting people from other parts of the city."
Hedtke and Loecke hope the event will help build relationships between the artistic/homesteading/do-ing communities. "We hope people will feel like they don't have to wait for a gallery to accept their work for them to show their pieces," Hedtke says. "We hope to build on the do-it-yourself culture that is already so strong in south Minneapolis, and to have some fun on a sunny (we hope) Memorial Day weekend."

Hedtke, who makes tintypes (a 19th-century photo process on metal), will be showing some of her work, along with opening the Zine Apothecary (a circulating zine library) in her garage at 3310 15th Avenue South.  

During festivities there will be a ton of stuff to do and see. Be sure to check out Non Solo, a newly formed collective of artists including Margaret Coleman, Anne Marie Shogren, Stephen Eakin, Heather Elizabeth Garland, Yasamin Keshtkar, and Bonnie Kaye Whitfield, who have been touring their DIY show across America. They'll be in the backyard of 3310 15th Avenue South on Friday evening and Saturday during the day. 
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Jim's Roofing (3218 Bloomington Ave.) is offering a "free wall" for graffiti writing. Be sure to bring your own supplies. There will also be a chalkboard-painted wall and free sidewalk chalk for kids. At 1 p.m. Saturday artist Richard Barlow is scheduled to give a talk about his new, city-funded graffiti abatement mural at the Acme Awning building (306 Bloomington Ave.).

Original movies will be shown on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings at 8 p.m. in the backyard of 2219 Nicollet Avenue, and Trevor Adams will show his films on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. in the Garage Cinema at 2920 13th Avenue South.  

A number of the locations will be turned into installations. For example, John Marks, co-director of Art of This, will be hosting a multi-channel sound installation called Deep Phillips l -Ambient Tarp in the backyard of 2731 14th Avenue South on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. The installation will commence with a musical performance at 4 p.m. 

Another installation is being created by Miranda Trimmier, founder of the West Bank Social Center. On Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to dusk, a piece titled some repeated substance will be set up in her bedroom at 2106 27th Avenue South. You'll have to enter through the first floor window on the northwest side of the house.  
Kevin Loecke's installation, called I'll Be With You When the Deal Goes Down, consists of a circle of benches and a handmade book. On Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. you can come to his backyard at 2920 13th Avenue South, sit on the benches, and read the book while soaking in the surrounding Phillips neighborhood.

If you were sad that the Art Shanties didn't happen this past winter, you'll be happy to know that a number of shanties will be open to the public during Constellation. Peter Haakon Thompson's Art Shanty will be set up in the front of his yard at 2518 Portland Avenue South, where he'll provide materials so that you can make signs to be installed around the neighborhood. Mike Hoyt will have the Norae Shanty karaoke shack, based on Korean karaoke rooms called "Norae bangs" (song rooms) on Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. and Sunday (time TBA) at 3301 Oakland Avenue South.  (You should enter through the backyard on 33rd Street). 

There's also quite a few ways for visitors to participate in art-making processes. The Fly Away Zine Mobile will have stations in the front yard and in the street in front of 3310 15th Avenue South, where they'll have typewriters for affirmations, paper tweets, and zines, and a refrigerator box for a "forgiveness booth." Pearl Madryga and Joe Knaeble are facilitating a project where trash and used building materials will be employed to create art on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. in the parking lot of Better Homes and Garbage (2829 Emerson Ave. S.). You can also collaborate with artist Sean Connaughty to arrange and compose music in the Pool House (2219 26th Ave. S.) that will be broadcast by Radio K-Ice.  

If you plan to make a day of it, you can bring a picnic lunch, or stop by some of the nearby establishments such as May Day Cafe, Seward Café, Modern Times Café, or Matt's Bar. There'll also be some snacks at the kickoff opening party on Friday night, and other opportunities for food such as a pancake breakfast, a barbecue, and a cake contest. See here for a complete list of activities, artists, and events.