The Project Space, which celebrated its one-year anniversary in December 2013, is MMAA’s only gallery for exhibitions and events while the museum builds a permanent facility in the Pioneer Endicott building, slated to open mid-2016. This gallery has been the museum’s “foot in the door” at this location, allowing us to present programming until design and construction of the permanent facility is complete. The museum will eventually occupy about 31,000 sq. ft. of the first floor with new galleries, classrooms, offices, retail, and a variety of gathering spaces. The Project Space will remain as the MMAA’s front door gallery to the community.
The Project Space is also a laboratory for investigating how the museum can serve the local community. Curator of Engagement Christina Chang has been hard at work building sustainable and mutually beneficial partnerships with different collaborators to bring new, diverse audiences into the museum’s artistic and educational activities. In the past year, MMAA has partnered with organizations such as the McNally Smith College of Music, the Saint Paul Public Library, Saint Paul Public Schools, Twin Cities Public Television, Opportunity Partners (serving people with disabilities), and Rainbow Rumpus, which publishes literature for children and youth with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) parents.
MMAA remains committed to hiring from the pool of talented artists and independent scholars in the area to lead teaching initiatives, art-making projects, and discussions. The large artist community in nearby Lowertown is a natural partner for MMAA, and the Project Space now hosts the official launch party of the Saint Paul Art Crawl. The Project Space additionally serves local artists by functioning as a community gallery that occasionally hosts shorter-term experimental projects.
MMAA will keep the momentum going in 2014 with an exciting line-up of exhibitions and programs. OBJECTS: MMAA (February 6 – April 13, 2014) is the first collection-based show that will be at the museum’s own venue, and will feature 50 pieces by 50 artists from the stellar permanent collection, as well as the work of five contemporary artists. Another cornerstone of MMAA’s history has been its support of local artists—stated clearly and with conviction in a 1959 exhibition catalog: “the museum has an inherent responsibility to encourage [local artists’] efforts by providing place and recognition for their work.” To that end, MMAA will revive its Minnesota Biennial series for summer 2014. Past biennials alternately showcased specific media, such as drawing, studio craft, and sculpture. For the 2014 Minnesota Biennial, we’re opening up the competition to all Minnesota artists to offer the public a snapshot of, quite simply, the best art and craft being made throughout the state today, celebrating the many different and unique forms that artistic ingenuity takes in Minnesota.
Stop in, and if you see Christina, don’t be a stranger and say hello!