R.I.P. Minnesota Center for Photography

The Minnesota Center for Photography, a space that proudly displayed both the work of world-renowned photographers and local amateurs since 1990, is closing. The board of directors blamed tough financial times, especially over the past six month, as the reason. On a sad/ironic note, in this week's paper I interviewed photographer Jaimi Novak who was set to have her first solo show open at MCP on Saturday. Check out a slideshow of Novak's work here.

R.I.P. Minnesota Center for Photography

Novak's show was titled

The Signs of Time

, and featured striking color images of old signs. She made the pictures by pointing a digital camera through a Pringles tube taped to an old Argus 75 camera which makes the photos dirty, scratchy and instantly nostalgic. Her exhibit was another example of MCP willingness to display slightly quirky photos as well as promote local non-professional artist who might not have found exhibit spaces otherwise.

When I was preparing for my interview with Novak, I noticed that there was no information about her show on MCP Web site. After the interview, I told her this, and she got in touch with them. Perhaps the handwriting was on the wall.

"I did e-mail them about it and they apologized and said some changes were coming up but wouldn't allude to it any more than that," Novak said this morning. Novak, of course, said she was disappointed when the Center sent her an e-mail telling of the show's cancellation and MCP closing. "I can't believe it. I was like, 'What?!'" she said. But she ultimately recognizes that it's not just photographers that will feel the loss; any member of the community hoping to learn about photography will too. "I'm just really sad that I closed," she said. "It was such a great place, and they had such great talent and wonderful photography. I'm just really sad for the community because it was a great place for resources."

Here is the official closing notice from the MCP board:

It is with regret that we must inform you that the Minnesota Center for Photography is discontinuing business operations at the close of business on July 31st. Over the past six months we have unsuccessfully attempted to adjust our budget and, with your help, raise additional funds to pay down debt and fund continuing operations. The Board made this decision with reluctance and after attempting whatever we could do to permit the survival of MCP. On behalf of the many stakeholders in Minnesota Center For Photography, we thank you for your continuing interest and support of MCP's mission over the years. We are currently attempting to contact those who are directly affected by this closing, and to tie up many loose ends. We will make every attempt to answer questions regarding MCP, but please keep in mind that we may not have as much time as we would like to discuss the current situation. Please have patience, as we move through this difficult time.

Very truly yours, MCP Staff and Board

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