Does art have the power to instill change in our societies? It has a better shot than most. An exhibition on display at the Minneapolis Central Library addresses one of the most important issues of our time: the violence caused by guns in our society. That and other arts and events are listed below, including the Improv Black Dance Festival, a new adaptation of “An American Tail” and “The Wanderers” at Six Points Theatre. Also this week, artist Ross White shared his work at an event co-hosted with creative collective Joyce, and Skinny Puppy takes the stage at the Fillmore.
Art is my weapon: “I’m exhausting myself”
A powerful exhibit currently on display at the Minneapolis Central Library deals with gun violence in its many forms. It is the eleventh installation of “Art is My Weapon,” a nonprofit organization chaired by Nikki McComb, a documentary photographer and “professional artist” in the field of social justice. Works in the exhibition address school shootings, police violence against black communities, and the ways in which guns cause harm in communities. Kyle Fokin’s “Loco Motives” (2023) takes the shape of a school bus, made out of No. 2 pencils. Inside the bus is a casket. It’s a scary business. Guillermo Guardia’s “Cochito Warrior” (2022) appears in the form of a cartoon bomb-fitting toy. Christopher Harrison lays a hoodie, pants and sneakers on the ground representing a corpse. On the back of the jacket is a shooting range target, which shows the unacceptable number of young black men killed by police. Sean Garrison’s “City of Fruit” uses gun handles to represent a cityscape emerging from the water, an indictment of political leaders who continue to say they can do nothing to end gun violence. The exhibition is on display on the second floor of the library and runs until May 27 (free). More information here.
Black Dance Improv Festival
A prequel to the Leslie Parker Dance Project’s performance of “Divination Tools: Imagine home” premiering at the Walker Arts Center May 11-13, Parker presents a further iteration of her multi-year “Call to Remember” project with two evenings of improvisational dance performances. New works commissioned by Pillsbury House + Theater and Pangea World Theater feature artists invited by Parker to create short solo works, with Queen Drea joining as DJ and emcee. You’ll see dance solos by Ashy Jafaro, Ryan Olivia Lundy, Tumelo Khobi, Jazz Castinda, Arnecia Williams, and Imagine Joey. Friday, April 28th at 7:30pm at Pillsbury House + Theatre(0-30 USD) Saturday April 29th at 7pm at Pangea World Theatre ($0 to $35). More information here.
Ross White: Tougher, not smarter
Local artist Ross White is collaborating with design firm Joyce on a temporary art exhibition and 13th birthday party for the creative group. There will be free art buttons, eye-catching sliding mats by Visual Search Art Collective Projects, and Russ White’s colorful take on realism through painting, collage, and more. You’ll also enjoy food, music, drinks, creative activities, and raffles, as well as places to purchase great artwork. The inaugural reception takes place on Friday, April 28th from 7pm-11pm. You can also visit during business hours on Saturday April 29th from 12-5pm or by appointment through May 3rd (free of charge). More information here.
A couple, generation apart, grapple with social roles, yearnings, Jewish identity, and the institution of marriage in Anna Ziegler’s play. Told in alternating chapters, the stories of Orthodox couple Esther and Shmuli and secular Jewish couple Sophie and Abby present different perspectives on the messy business of love and relationships. Directed by Miriam Monash, the production of “The Wanderers” opens at Six Points Theater Saturday April 29th at 8pm with additional performances Sunday April 30th at 1pm, Wednesday May 3rd and Thursday May 4th at 7:30pm, Saturday May 6th at 8pm Sunday, May 7 at 1 p.m., through May 14 at Six Points Theater ($25 to $40). More information here.
The Children’s Theater Company is bringing the 1986 animated film “An American Tail” to life in the world premiere adaptation that begins this week. Tony Award-winning playwright Itamar Musa wrote the book and lyrics, while the music was created by Michael Mahler and Alan Schmackler, who previously collaborated on “Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Musical” and “The Secret of My Success.” The director of the adaptation, Tabby Magar, an Egyptian-American, is a big deal, with credits from Guthrie, ART, and New York’s Off-Broadway Signature Theater, where he directed Twilight: Los for Anna Deavere Smith. Angeles.” Previews Thursday, April 27 and Friday, April 28 at 7 p.m. ($15 to $25) Opens Saturday, April 29 at 7 p.m. with additional performances Sunday, April 30 at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. through June 18 (tickets $15 to $94). More information here.
It might be your last chance to see Canadian industrial dance group Skinny Puppy, in town on Monday as part of their “Definitive Tour” in conjunction with the group’s 40th anniversary. Explicitly due to their political beliefs and animal rights activism, Skinny Puppy once billed the US government for using their songs to torture prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Currently touring with three musicians – including founding members Seven Key and singer Nivek Ogre, the tour promises the group’s outrageous costumes and props, distorted installations, and a pulsating, dramatic, and layered sound. Get ready for a visually and aurally stimulating music feast of the extreme. 7 p.m. on Monday, May 1 ($39-55). More information here.