Hazel & Wren and Ad Hoc Art Minneapolis came together Sunday night, August 26, 2012, to present Literarty Party: An Open Mic, held in a former condo staging office turned gallery space in downtown Minneapolis. The walls were covered with paintings, drawings,
photographs, and installments by local artists. The gallery was divided into multiple spaces given its former use, but this worked to its advantage. Everything looked and felt creative, communal, and interactive. “Liter-arty Walls” where attendees could share their art-inspired thoughts were spread throughout the gallery rooms, and people could be entered to win a prize if they snapped a pic of a Hazel & Wren logo hidden among the art and then posted it on Twitter.
Art-goers had an hour to interact with the works and each other, eat some cold treats, and grab a lemonade or coffee before the hosts opened the mic. Six Twin Cities writers read or shared original poetry, stories, and even some nonfiction to an audience of about fifty. Each person was wonderfully dissimilar from the writer before and after him/her, giving us all a brief glimpse into the craft and style of a variety of writing. As one grateful participant commented, events such as this one gave creative shut-ins a reason to get out and share their work. Featured readers Rob Callahan and Courtney Algeo closed the open mic portion of the event. Again, the difference in works between writers was not lost on the audience. I especially liked Algeo’s decision to share some poetry, a short essay, and a nonfiction piece. Both Callahan and Algeo included a bit of humor in their work and reading, always a delightful way to end an evening.
Ultimately, the night was a successful mash-up of the arts and allowed visual and literary artists to share their efforts in a public space for free. What better way to support the growth of a vibrant art community in the Twin Cities? What better way to connect this local community of artists with its audience and its members than through conversation over ice cream and popsicles, amidst the sounds of a jazz ensemble and surrounded by super cool art? I also snatched up two more letterpress bookmarks to add to my collection, making it a grand total of three (all freshly pressed by Hazel & Wren, of course)! I’m sure there will be more where those came from at the next Hazel & Wren Open Mic night. The affair returns to its birthplace at the Weisman Art Museum on the University of Minnesota campus in February. Be on the lookout for more details as the date approaches!
Were you There? Have something to add, or a different take on this event? Chime in on the comments below, or send us an email at LitSeen.Mpls@gmail.com! Be sure to check the schedule to the right and the Twin Cities Literary Calendar and be at the next LitSeen attended event. See you around!