Tuesday, April 30, 2013

May 7 Will Be a Good Day to Visit the Tweed

This past December the Tweed Museum conducted a strategic planning session in order to help define its vision for the future. The Tweed is a home for this region's history, and a home within the UMD home. The word home means a place that hold things that are dear. Because of its location in the heart of the university, many people believe the Tweed is part of the school when in reality it is intended to be part of the community.

In his introductory remarks Bill Payne, Dean of Fine arts at UMD, noted how times have changed and because universities themselves serve many constituencies, there are many conversations that must take place when planning a new direction. The most important function of any university is to prepare its students for a future society requiring new kinds of tools.

“We want to confront the media that says degrees in the arts are a waste of time,” Payne said. His message is that “what we learn is transferable skills.” Even though only 40% of students with fine arts degrees make a living in art, most go on to utilize the skills they developed to enhance their value in companies they work for.

Something I learned that day is that UMD is a “land grant institution.” Payne explained, “What we create and learn should play a role in the enrichment of the state (of Minnesota) and the community.” As the Tweed Museum looks at its future, an integral feature of its mission is to ask itself what it’s value is to both the school and the community.

This is intriguing to me because we often envision academic institutions as ivory towers isolated from the community, devoted to a student experience but not integrally connected to the world at its borders.

It’s against this backdrop that I encourage you to visit the Tweed Museum sometime and explore its treasures. The museum, like museums everywhere, is a great repository of stories.

I already mentioned the Student Art & Design Show as being very much worth seeing and you can still catch it May 7 during our North X North Visual Arts Week. The agenda that day begins at 4:00 p.m. with music and vocals by soprano Lauren Severson and pianist Tyler Pimm. Beginning at 4:30 there will be an hour devoted to pottery wheel throwing demonstrations with Samantha Anderson. This will be followed by more music, a duet from The World of the Moon by Franz Joseph Haydn with Mathew Verbout (tenor) and Sarah Mehle (soprano), and Jacqueline Holstrom at the piano. Brian Barber will give an animation talk with visuals from 5:30 to 6:30 to be followed by more music and vocals featuring baritone Alex Federer and mezzo soprano Lisa Holman. This is all against a backdrop of fabulous art.

As if this were not enough, throughout the event there will be an art market with Ashley Leek (ceramics) and Jes Durfy (glass artist), plus some absolutely dreamy chocolate tasting with Heidi Ash from 185Chocolat, LLC.

I think you need to just let yourself go.

For what it's worth, the museum is located in Ordean Court on the campus of the University of Minnesota Duluth. Admission is free year-round. Museum Hours: Tues 9 am - 8pm, Wed - Fri 9 am -4:30 pm, Sat & Sun 1-5 p.m.

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