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Northern Spark expands, Public Functionary returns, and other art happenings this week

Northern Spark

Northern Spark Bethany Birnie

Here’s this week’s top art happenings.

'It's the People'

'It's the People'

Opening Celebration for 'It's the People' Public Art Project

Where it's at: Hennepin Theatre Trust, 900 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis

What it's about: Hennepin Theatre Trust commissioned nine large-scale portraits by local artists that feature people that live, work, and play in downtown Minneapolis. Portraits include a bus driver, a staff member at the Saloon, a Hennepin Theatre Trust board member, and a student at FAIR School. Capturing the folks that make up downtown life are artists Jake Armour, Xavier Tavera, Nancy Musinguzi, Maya Washington, and Wing Young Huie.

Why you should go: Since Hennepin Theatre Trust ended its Made Here program, which featured artist-created storefront displays, the organization is venturing into new ways to add art to downtown. The event includes a party with music, theater performances, and appetizers.

When: 5-8 p.m. Thursday

Studio 400

Studio 400

Collective Space // Studio 400 Open House

Where it's at: Northrop King Building, 1500 Jackson St. NE, Minneapolis

What it's about: Public Functionary closed the doors of its gallery this spring, but the organization is still very much alive. This week, PF hosts an open house for visitors to take a look at Studio 400, a new supportive community for artists. Come meet Program Director Leslie Barlow and the artists involved with this incubator project.

Why you should go: This is a chance to support Public Functionary, which plans to open a new gallery space soon. In the meantime, come for a visit and make a donation to help them on the next leg of their journey.

When: 5:30-9:30 p.m. Thursday

"Minnesota's Secret Language School"

"Minnesota's Secret Language School"

Minnesota's Secret Language School Exhibition

Where it's at: Historic Fort Snelling at Bdote, 200 Tower Ave., St. Paul

What it's about: Developed by the Twin Cities Japanese American Citizens League, “Minnesota's Secret Language School” is an exhibit that explores the Military Intelligence Service Language School (MISLS), which operated during World War II in Scott County, Minnesota, and later at Fort Snelling. The school was made up of thousands of Japanese Americans, many of whom would have otherwise been forced into American concentration camps for Japanese Americans. As part of the U.S. military, they were trained to communicate with Japanese soldiers, gather documents, engage in combat, and act as translators for U.S. generals.

Why you should go: What happened at the MSLS was a secret until the 1970s, and it’s still a little known piece of Minnesota history. Get to know about the school and take a virtual reality walkthrough of a former MISLS classroom.

When: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Saturday. Lecture at 1 p.m.

Northern Spark

Northern Spark Dan Norman

Northern Spark

Where it's at: The Commons, the American Indian Cultural Corridor, Rondo neighborhood

What it's about: The best arts event in the Twin Cities is here! See performance, projections, music, sculpture, installations, and so much more at three different locations: the Commons in downtown Minneapolis, the American Indian Cultural Corridor on East Franklin in Minneapolis, and the Rondo neighborhood in St. Paul.

Why you should go: This is not one you will want to skip. With collaborative explorations, interactive interventions, and a focus this year on a sense of place (and an emphasis on how Native and black communities have roots in Minneapolis and St. Paul neighborhoods), it's well worth venturing out after dark.

When: 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday