Heidi Arneson on HeidiHouse Opening, Closing of People's Theater


Performance artist, storyteller, and visual artist Heidi Arneson has spent the past five years fixing up the 900-square-foot attic in her 100-year-old house. Now she's ready to open it up as a kind of personal exhibition and performance space. She's calling it HeidiHouse, and she's having an open house this weekend to raise funds for the space's 2015-16 season. 

For the last seven years, Arneson has managed the People's Theater, a performance space in the Cedar Riverside People's Center. While the space had originally been more of a community center, in recent years it has shifted to have a focus on healthcare. As a result the University of Minnesota, which operates the Center, decided to discontinue the People's Theater, though the space will remain a theater. 

"It's serendipitous," Arneson says of the timing, though she doesn't foresee renting HeidiHouse out to local theaters as she did the People's Theater. "It's not a space that would be suitable to rent out to other theaters unless it was a very intimate event." 

Instead, she sees HeidiHouse as a space to bring in storytellers to perform or to conduct workshops. 

After years of working as an arts administrator, it's also a time for her to focus solely on being an artist. "I'm excited," she says. Now she'll have time to work on personal artistic projects, including visual-arts and writing, as well as teaching, which she plans to do in the space. She's also currently finishing up a manuscript she's been working on for 15 years. "It's a fiction mystery with a young heroine who discovers a dark secret in her family that no one will talk about. So she goes on an adventure," Arneson says.

It's been a while since Arneson has produced her own shows. She once reigned as queen of the Fringe Festival, but as of late she's been doing more storytelling slams and things of that nature. "I'm going to see how it goes," she says of producing her own work again. 

On Saturday, Arneson will be holding an open house. Titled the Big Boom Boom!, the event will include her scary stories that draw on childhood. In between, the musical duo Beloved will play sets. The open house will include a silent art auction of Arneson's work to raise funds for HeidiHouse's upcoming season. 


The Big Boom Boom!

7-10 p.m. Saturday

1916 S. Eighth St., Minneapolis