Through the activities and exhibitions of the Target Studio for Creative Collaboration, the Weisman facilitates and supports artist-led, collaborative initiatives that foster social change and address systemic challenges, such as mass criminalization, access to healthcare, and the climate crisis. Acknowledging the fundamentally cultural roots of societal challenges, we believe in the power of artists as culture bearers and drivers of change. We also believe that change-making action is more effective when artists and non-artists combine creative powers. Therefore, our goal is to facilitate sustained cross-culture collaborative practices that bring about systemic change.
Fueled though it is by the scholarly and artistic abundance of its academic and urban communities, the Target Studio operates outside the rigid academic structures that govern university departments. WAM holds a unique, middle ground between the arts and research that allows its artists, scholars, and community members the freedom to embrace unorthodox approaches to knowledge and culture, and to support ambitious artistic initiatives that cross disciplines, sectors, institutions, cultures, and geographies. We embrace the full potential of this freedom and establish a platform of support for systemic creative initiatives that are not traditionally effectively supported by museums.
Lake Street Truth Collective
The summer artists-in-residence in the Weisman’s Target Studio for Creative Collaboration, the Lake Street Truth Collective, comprise a newly-formed group of artists and cultural organizers who love Lake Street and the people who call that neighborhood home. After a year of injustice, burning and protests, economic instability and pandemic, the Lake Street Truth Collective is coming together with community members in the neighborhood to foster opportunities to feel seen and heard after this traumatic year, to engage in difficult conversations about the truth of our circumstances, and to rebuild a sense of belonging and connectedness to this land and one other. Throughout July on the Roberts Shoe Store Lot at Chicago and Lake Street, the Collective is organizing eight community dinners as part of a grassroots “Truth and Repair” process. Facilitated dinners create structure for participants of different backgrounds to discuss themes such as homelessness, immigration, community violence, and environmental threats. Free food, child care, and interpretation into Spanish, Somali and ASL, allow people from different backgrounds to participate and communicate more freely. Multi-lingual flyers spread the word in the surrounding neighborhoods, and passers-by who walk through the Lot on their daily path are actively welcomed to join in.
This residency is made possible with the generous support of the Graves Foundation. The Graves Foundation works to realize a future in which all youth in Minneapolis can achieve thriving adult lives.
We Are All Criminals: SEEN Project
In spring 2021, We Are All Criminals will be the organization-in-residence at the Target Studio for Creative Collaboration, working with the Weisman to further develop a unique museum residency program for incarcerated artists. Our collaboration builds on the SEEN: a poetry and portrait project that challenges and disrupts mass incarceration by clearing the pathways for people behind bars to have their voices heard, faces seen, and humanity recognized. We are partnering with seven artists at the Stillwater and Moose Lake Correctional Facilities, who are themselves collaborating with artists in the wider community, to develop personal, new works that include multiple disciplines, from poetry to podcast.
Candice Davis: Where’s Mammy?
What are effective ways to have meaningful conversations with children about race? How do we acknowledge the positives in difference so that marginality is not “othered”? Artist Candice Davis is in residence in WAM’s Target Studio to work on her children’s book-in-progress, Where’s Mammy?, addressing just these questions.
Launched in Fall 2020 – Habitability.art
For many of us, this time of “social isolation” is challenging. Habitability.art is a collectively created social network for the pandemic. We hope that by sharing pictures and poetic reflections, what we see and how we feel, we will all learn about things we care about in places we live: things to be gained in this new world and things we stand to lose.
On Oct. 25, 2020, 36,000 Twin Cities subscribers of the Star Tribune newspaper received the “Legends and Myths of Ancient Minnesota” an exhibition-in-print by Brooks Turner. The 32-page publication combines reproductions of original artworks with archival materials related to the Nazi following in Minnesota in the 1930s.
An ongoing curatorial project into media technologies used to manipulate publics, presented at WAM by the curators collective TOK (St Petersburg, Russia).
It is one thing to know about a river, and yet another altogether to consider the river itself as a way of knowing. By linking communities at the headwaters and delta of the Mississippi River, the Big River Continuum cultivates dynamic exchanges and connections for artists from both regions to create and define in collaborative residency programs that ignite inquiry into the interconnectedness of cultures, research and river/land environments. This project is a creative exchange with University of Minnesota’s Itasca Biological Station at the Mississippi headwaters, the Weisman Art Museum and the Curator for Creative Collaboration and Tulane University’s A Studio in the Woods in the Mississippi Delta.
More Artist Initiatives at the Target Studio:
Artists in the Collaboration Incubator program commit to short-term projects intended to lay the foundation for a longer term relationship of the artist with academic collaborators. Artists are given a stipend and a project budget to spend time in the University, establish networks, use the Target Studio to advance the project, and prepare project proposals to seek future funding. The ultimate goal of the program is to establish a collaboration that will evolve into a long-term relationship.