Constellation highlights the integral role that art and cultural production play in our daily lives, neighborhoods and communities by opening up domestic spaces in the South Minneapolis neighborhoods of Powderhorn, Phillips, Corcoran, Longfellow and Seward for public cultural events.
Projects take place in backyards, garages, porches, apartments, or other private spaces. Events include mobile karaoke, backyard films, live theater, a cake walk, quilt-making, fermentation skill-shares, participatory projects, music, art shows, and more!
Artist-run–expenses are out of pocket or services are donated. Kevin [Loecke] and I [Lacey Prpic Hedtke] do all the organizing and corralling of the artists, and the artists run their own events. I’ll call the participants artists/doers because some participants don’t consider themselves artists (i.e. the beer brewers). The event is open to anyone who wants to lead a tour, facilitate a skillshare, cook and serve some food, host a cake walk, etc.
Two years–the first Constellation was in May of 2011 and the second was in September of 2012.
What was your motivation?
Constellation came about because our friends were on tour and were stopping by to have an art show in our garage, then we thought we’ have a band play and open the zine library in the garage. Then we thought–we should invite some local friends of ours to have shows/events in their own spaces so we can show off how amazing South Minneapolis is. We had great feedback and now it’s an annual event.
Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project.
Constellation is organized by Lacey Prpic Hedtke and Kevin Loecke.
How are programs funded?
Constellation doesn’t really take much money to run–all of the events are free and project expenses are paid for by the artists. We had our brochure printing donated by a neighborhood association and our graphic design donated by our designer friend. We want to keep it functioning with as little money as possible.
Who is responsible for the programming?
The participating artists/makers/doers/etc. propose a public art project to the organizers. So the artists dictate what their event will be and the organizers tie all the projects together and work out the logistics.
Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
In 2011 there were 24 projects at 15 locations.
In 2012 there were 12 projects at 10 locations.
Some projects ran/we open all weekend, and some were at set times throughout the weekend (i.e. the aerialists performed twice).
What kind of events are usually organized?
There have been cake walks, karaoke in a shanty and on a mobile bike component, fermented food skillshares and dinner, art in a garage gallery, art in backyards, backyard acupuncture, free graffiti walls and a chalkboard wall for kids, aerialists in trees, films projected in garages, bands, breakfast on the grill, an underground radio station, beer brewing demos and tastings…the list goes on. We’re interested in projects that encourage neighbors to interact, new people to meet, learn something new for free!
How is your programming determined?
So far everyone who has sent a proposal has been accepted, with the exception of people who propose projects outside of our selected neighborhoods.
Do you accept proposals/submissions?
Yes, we put out a call for submissions about two months before the event. We also ask artists to do projects.
What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
Pretty much the more the merrier. There have been a few people that proposed a project that was too far from the rest of the projects. We really want people who have never done a public art project or placemaking project to feel like it’s doable during Constellation. We want the event to be for everyone–not just arty people.
What’s working? What’s not working?
What’s working: The self-governed approach to projects. The artists/makers have free reign over their projects. We’re loving our new design and how much positive feedback we’ve gotten from people in the neighborhood.
What’s not working: It’s really hard to corral artists. It’s even harder when it’s artists corralling artists. We need to have a form or something to keep all our artist information.
What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community?
We hope to create space for experimentation. We hope that people have fun, meet each other, and that some creative collaboration or exchange comes out of it. It’s really important to us that all the events are free and participatory. We hope that people have a weekend of fun free events and that it reminds and reinforces that we don’t need sanctioned spaces to show art or hold educational events (skillshares and such)–we just need a space like a backyard or living room.
We hope to create space to talk about swapping or trading skills or materials, and create an atmosphere where artists can create work or events that are strange, quirky, and might not be a money-maker in a more traditional venue.
What idea are you most excited about for the future?
The idea that we can live outside the system of capitalism by supporting each other’s projects, swapping and trading instead of buying, and make work that isn’t commercially successful but really fun and meaningful.