Kulture Klub Art Shanties
During Sept. 1 and 2 at the Unconvention (Peavey Plaza), Art Shanty Projects and Kulture Klub Collaborative will install a shanty base-camp for various public arts activities. These activities will respond to the unconvention themes of non-partisan intersection of participatory media and participatory democracy by inviting artists and youth experiencing homelessness to engage the public in workshops and presentations including; free workshops where the public creates personalized stenciled lawn signs and flags, as well as letter pressed playbills, guerrilla cinema projections of videos created by homeless teens, Auto ethnographic guided tours led by artist and youth.
In the Twin Cities metro area between 500 and 1500 young people ages 15-21 are homeless or precariously housed each night. For many of these youth, the understanding of, and connection to, their personal creativity is often missing or abstracted through a childhood impeded. The many challenges and circumstances of homelessness often prevent youth from having healthy childhood experiences and detour essential personal development. For many of these young people it has been far too long since they have experienced healthy, safe, and creative interactions.
Kulture Klub Collaborative (KKC) is an 15 year old independent arts organization that brings together artists and youth experiencing homelessness at YouthLink a crisis drop-in center located in downtown Minneapolis. Through KKC, homeless teens develop their creative expression, receive exposure to artistic excellence, and enter into a group of peers, supportive adults, and diverse social communities. KKC is a bridge for at-risk youth and artists to move from isolation to expression, towards finding a voice of participation in their communities.
KKC is excited to have the opportunity to engage in projects of this scale in downtown Minneapolis, which is a central hangout for many of the homeless youth we serve. They mingle and loiter in “public” space because they often have nowhere to go during the day. The sight of groups of teens hanging out in high traffic commercial districts often creates a tension between businesses, transit police, and the general public. The opportunity to engage the youth and public in the activities of a positive artistic exchange is at the heart of our organization’s mission; it also provides us access to an incredibly broad audience, provides increased visibility for the work of our organization, and allows the youth an opportunity to shine in an environment where they are disenfranchised, have very little social or civic currency, and so are often invisible.
Art Shanty Projects
The Art Shanty Projects initially grew out of a fascination and interest in the traditional uses of the temporary landscape of frozen lakes in Minnesota, namely ice fishing and the use of ice fishing shanties that are prevalent on the waters of Minnesota and the upper Midwest. In the fall of 2003, photographer Peter Haakon Thompson was intrigued by the possibilities of building a structure on a frozen lake to serve as studio and retreat. Artist David Pitman caught wind of the idea and envisioned the potential of regarding any frozen lake and environs as an exhibition, performance or studio opportunity for a variety of creative people. ASP continually attempts to answer the question, how do artists (in the broadest sense of the word) re-imagine the frozen lake as a place for interactions, art making, and creating a community of Art Shanties? The result is part artist residency, part art gallery and part social experiment for five weeks on the frozen surface of Medicine Lake in the northwestern suburb of Plymouth. The project’s basic structure is 20-25 Art Shanties (art gallery/studio + ice fishing shanty), built by individuals or teams. The Shanties offer integrated programming that involves the audience directly, resulting in artist/audience interactions that are integral to the Art Shanty experience and key to expanding the idea of who is and can be an artist.
The Unconvention offers a somewhat parallel environment to the frozen lake; on the ice, the Shanties form a temporary community, claiming space to create a rough semblance of a democratic community. In Peavey Plaza we will be forming another temporary community, claiming space is always a political act and we are anxious to see the impact of carving out our own space in the midst of a city. The hope is that through our Midnight Ride print shop and Auto Ethnographic activities we can inspire others to find their own ways of claiming and defining place.