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Kingman Studios breaking down: End of an art-party era

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It's a sad day for anyone who's ever attended a Kingman Studios after-party art showcase in the unique northeast Minneapolis space. The garage-like structure at 19th and Grand hosted some of the city's most memorable parties, and today its owner, Brant Kingman, announced they will be no more.

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A sculptor and art lover by trade, Kingman's studio was one of the city's most interesting avant-garde spaces. He opened it up to nightlife revelers on occasion by word-of-mouth invite since the late '90s. After-parties there were a rare and welcome treat after bar-close, when some of the city's best house and techno DJs came to play after their club gigs.

Dancers showed off their moves on the scaffolding, artists twirled fire outside, and an always-diverse crowd mingled among Kingman's works. It was all very Club-MTV-meets-Cirque-du-Soleil-meets-secret-art-party and was special to Minneapolis. Several out-of-town headlining musicians over the years found themselves winding down the night at this space, and one of them remarked a few years back that it was the "coolest after-party" she'd ever attended.

But the Kingman Studios were constantly battled by local authorities, especially after the R.A.V.E. act in 2002 that banned dance parties in unconventional spaces, and Brant Kingman as host had to ward off angry police on many occasions.

  

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"Evening entertainment is being completely shut down," Kingman explained, adding that the future of the space otherwise is unknown thanks to some issues with the property. You can almost hear the sigh of relief from city officials -- and a wistful sigh of contemplation as art and music fans recall great times there.

To celebrate this end of an era, Kingman offers up some of his artwork (and work by his friends) and readies for a new chapter in his life as an artist.

"I'll be selling off a big chunk of my entertainment-related infrastructure, downsizing my tool inventory, and offering incredible deals on some of my art," he wrote on his Facebook page. "Plus, I've invited some good friends over to sell their creations." 

Milan Tolins will sell her imported accessories, Megan Mitsch will sell her own jewelery designs, and Helen Hoffman will sell her glass creations at the goodbye event this Saturday, May 21. 

Thanks for the memories, Brant! 

Slideshow from thevault: Kingman Studios afterparty