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Yes!Lets Collective presents sensory isolating show at Third Place Gallery

<i>The Malibu</i> by Colin Kopp

The Malibu by Colin Kopp

Art is for everybody. That's the basic premise of the Yes!Lets Collective, a new group of artists, musicians, storytellers, and other creative types who are all about supporting each other while generating an atmosphere where audiences are invited to participate in the art-making process. Some of the collective members strive to be professional artists, while others have "regular" jobs and simply want art to be a part of their lives. "We wanted to get together and make big things happen," says group member Tim Harlan-Marks.

Yes!Lets also has a multimedia focus with an interactive component. "Sometimes I get tired of standing and being a passive observer," he says.

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For their upcoming show, "Light/Dark Show: Isolating the Senses" at Wing Young Huie's Third Place Gallery, artists have created an interactive experience where audience members view the art without hearing, and listen to music without seeing, hopefully deepening their intimacy with each work. 
Four emerging artists will be featured in the show: Alfonso Fernandez, who creates large-scale paintings, and will also be presenting a silent film; Bridget Blatzheim, who works with mixed media such as wax and textiles; and photographers Colin Kop and Ali Rogers.

The first half of the event will be experienced in complete silence. Guests will observe the art with only their eyes. Next, they'll go into the basement with optional blindfolds. There, six musicians from the collective will play curated music for about 20 minutes. This will give the audience a chance to experience "what it means to totally lose yourself and just listen to the sound," says member Ashley Hanson.

'Arcade' by Colin Kopp

'Arcade' by Colin Kopp

The Yes!Lets Collective formed when a group of friends began supporting each other in everything they did. Some of the friends were interested in working as professional artists, while others just wanted more art in their lives. Others were interested in wellness, and looking at how art and wellness and community were all connected. "The support was already there," says Hanson. "We needed to be more intentional about it."

Their first event was an "art luck," a hodgepodge event where everybody contributed something. Some people brought stories, others puppets, and others brought music. It took place in the courtyard of an apartment building. They decided to keep it going, and have been having monthly events since. A number of the group members are in bands that play mostly lyrical, folk, or folk-rock music. Through the project, they hope to make something imbued with an inclusiveness that has a grassroots feel, and where there is always an interactive element to the event.

Part of the desire to include more interactivity in their happenings stemmed from what members felt was a lack of participation at many art and music events. There was a "lack of a feeling, like you can't be part of this community too," Hanson says. So the group has been trying out ways to get folks involved, like playing music with fill-in-the-blank lyrics that makes the audience listen to a song differently. "A lot of our front men and women are phenomenal lyricists," Hanson says.

There are currently 12 people in the Yes! Let's Collective, and they meet once or twice a month, depending on the event they are planning. They have also launched a website and a newsletter. 
In some ways, the collective is in contrast to what Hanson calls an "age of individualism." In the arts, "it takes a village to make things work," she says. "It's a lonely field. It's nice to know you have at least 11 other people in the audience smiling." 

IF YOU GO:

Yes!Lets Collective's "Light / Dark Show: Isolating the Senses"

Saturday, March 17

The Third Place Gallery

3730 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis

The event runs from 7 to 9 p.m.; and is followed by ping-pong and karaoke until midnight $5-$10 suggested donation