DreamsLand (2015 to present)

DreamsLand (2015 to present)

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

 


This film was made by Jared Wiedmeyer, Viola Liu, Kelsie Olson, Phuong Xuan Nguyen, students in the HECUA program Making Media, Making Change in partnership with Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN). The course immerses college students from campuses across the Twin Cities in the local media justice landscape and allows them to develop their skills as media activists and filmmakers.

 

May 13, 2016

The 2016 season of Dreamsland activities is beginning to ramp up.  There are several events posted on the calendar (link above) and more will be scheduled as we move into the summer.

I had the honor to serve as one of three mentors (along with Eric F. Avery and Wing Young Huie) for students from the HECUA Art for Social Change class this semester.  Over the course of three weeks the students worked collaboratively to design, produce, and host a community meal and celebration at Dreamsland on May 10th.  They developed ways to integrate their art practice into community engagement activities for residents of Central neighborhood.  I am so proud of how hard they worked and how they found ways to collaborate and support each other.  I really loved seeing their individual talents shine bright throughout the space, and I felt they did such a good job of finding a balance between making art that served the vision of Dreamsland, while not sacrificing their own artistic interests and integrity.

Sept. 19, 2015

There have been several small scale and large scale events in the past month.  Esther Ouray, whom lives on the block, has been doing a series of small scale activities that invited people living on the block to take part in.  A few involved story sharing, food deliveries to peoples doorsteps, and a series of hand painted signs with neighbors quotes.

A final event involved a screening of a 20 year old documentary movie produced by local filmmaker Daniel Bergen about the development of the Columbus Community Garden (next to Dreamsland).  Several of the neighbors whom attended were in the original film and spoke about the community wide effort to establish the garden and the challenges the people on the block faced during the 90’s.

That same day the Central Area neighborhood Development Organization (CANDO) hosted their annual Central Fair at Dreamsland.  CANDO staff, board members, and volunteers engaged Central residents in a community resource fair, shared food cooked on the community smoker, and had several community groups table the event.  It was also a celebration of the culmination of artist activist Fernanda Sequeiros Hart’s Plant Grow Share/Little Free Farmers Market project.

August 17, 2015

A lot of different activities have happened in the month of August including a event for Powderhorn Kitchen, more weekend visits from CANDO’s Little Free Farmers Market, and another Art Block event by Artist Esther Ouray.  A exciting arrival is the new DreamsLand smoker built by Andrew MacGuffie.  This monster wood fired smoker will be able to handle some serious neighborhood cookouts.  I’m looking forward to getting a test burn going this week, and some briskets on for a weekend fundraiser for Barton Open School.

Here are some images of the super smoker sent by artist and fabricator extraordinaire Andrew MacGuffie.  The process photos are from his studio workshop in Lindstrom, MN.  The smoker is based on Aaron Franklin’s design (of the legendary Franklin Barbecue, Austin TX) from his incredible book “Franklin Barbecue – a meat smoking manifesto.”  I’m exciting to explore all of the possibilities of cooking, recipe sharing, and connecting with neighbors over long 10-hour cooking and fire tending sessions.

July 18, 2015

The CANDO mobile Little Free Farmers Market returned to DreamsLand and the corner of 33rd and Columbus Avenue.  There was a steady stream of people picking up free produce from 10:00 am till noon.

July 11, 2015

The first meeting of the CANDO mobile Little Free Farmers Market kicked off this weekend.  There was a steady stream of neighbors coming to pick up free produce all morning.  The project will be visiting DreamsLand every Sat. from 10-noon through the end of September.

June 29, 2015

Here are a few updates from the month of June.  I’m still working up some official signage and a public schedule for the space.  My goal is to have them completed and installed in mid July.

Keven Loecke is creating the Dreamsland Common Garden.  He has started construction of a few raised beds along the North edge of the lot.  About his project.

I am interested in this project as an experiment in decentralized community building, furthering the sense of community connectedness by the knowledge that when you use the garden you are using a space that is shared by neighbors and strangers alike. I also see the Common Garden as a living sculpture that foregrounds in the public realm the holistic interconnectedness of individuals and urban ecosystems. Throughout the season I may experiment with minimal sculptural elements of natural materials added to the gardens to emphasize this facet.  

Raul has proposed to lead a mask making class for youth sometime in July (dates tba).  Here is a beautiful mock-up of a mask painted and modeled by his daughter Maya.

The circular platform is nearing completion and had it’s inaugural use for the annual Open Eye Figure Theatre puppet show hosted by the organizers of the Columbus Community Gardens.  Huge thank’s to Christine for organizing the event and to Dennis for mowing the lot prior to show time.  All in all it was a great turn out and people managed to stay for the entire show before a thunderstorm moved through, soaking everyone thoroughly.

June 7, 2015

We had our first community meeting in the lot to dream up ideas for DreamsLand.  We also started building a circular deck/seating area that will serve as a multipurpose space for various activities.

I was really amazed at peoples varied connection to the neighborhoods history.  It was fascinating to learn about the challenged history of the address, the different ways people from the surrounding blocks had volunteered and organized to improve the community over the past several decades (and continue to do so to this day), and what things rose to the top of peoples wishlists for the space.  All in all this was a great launch to what will hopefully be a fairly busy and creative summer.  Photos courtesy of Bruce Silcox.

Henry Jimenez from CANDO came out to connect with neighbors and talk about all of the great programs happening at their space.

Soozin Hirschmugl brought over her SParkit mobile art park and entertained people while supporting and encouraging conversations.

Peter Haakon Thompson dropped off his TTTT/PPPP and some teens faced off for a few intense games.

We started construction on a simple 16′ circular deck/platform.  The space can serve multiple uses as a stage, meeting space, or whatever people dream up.  It will have two tables that pop up when needed, or hide away when folded flush with the surface.  The remaining back half of the lot will remain open and void of any structures for the time being.

HERE ARE IDEAS GENERATED FROM NEIGHBORS OF WHAT TO DO WITH (OR ON) THE LOT:

Install the “Lost Skyway Adventure Playground A Stage(x4) Open Community Garden Fruit trees community orchard(x2) Temporary sculpture park (x2)
Land trust Anti-gentrification event/organizing Free produce day Tool library(x2) (Very) local artists(x2) Anti-columbus street renaming day(+1)
Climbable structures(x3) Tree house Playscape(x2) Community potucks and conversations(x2)  Oral history project(+1) Bread oven(+1)
Meat smoker(+1) Bee hives Seating area(x2) Shaded area Harvest dinner(+1) Cooking classes
 Language classes  Open, kid play space(x5)  Make sure there is a sign/schedule Skill shares Sign-invitation to neighbors Game evenings
 Community benefits agreement meeting Contemplative meditative space Tie dye party  Forageable herb/veg/flower garden for all Shakespeare festival every year involving all Movies
 Carnivalpeace sculpturesmeandering paths Yogaconcertschoir Badminton tournament  Flower beds with perennials

June 3, 2015

Please join in a community art project to collectively dream and design a shared space at 3306 Columbus Ave. S.

What & Why: In 2014 the empty lot at 3306 Columbus was purchased with the intention of making a free public park where all neighbors are welcome to engage in creative exchange in order to cultivate and deepen neighbor to neighbor connections.  Please help brainstorm ideas for what could or should happen in this space, and what fun creative activities you would be willing to share with neighbors if given the opportunity and a little money.

When: Sat. June 6th from 1pm to 3pm

Where: the empty lot at 3306 Columbus Ave. S.

Por favor, únase al proyecto comunitario de arte colectivo, soñar y diseñar un espacio compartido en el 3306 Columbus Ave. S.

¿Qué y por qué?: En 2014 el lote vacío en la 3306 Columbus fue comprado con la intención de hacer un parque público y gratuito en el que todos los vecinos están invitados a participar en el intercambio creativo con el fin de cultivar y profundizar las conexiones entre vecinos. Por favor ayude con las ideas que podría o debería ocurrir en este espacio, y actividades divertidas creativas usted estaría dispuesto a compartir con los vecinos si se les da la oportunidad y un poco de dinero.

Cuando: Sábado 6 de Junio 1pm-3pm

Dónde: El lote vacío en 3306 Columbus Ave. S.

May 2015

I have officially changed the project title to Dreamsland, per conversations with residents and local historians rooted in Central Neighborhood.  This is a nod to the Dreamland Cafe which was owned and operated in Central Neighborhood by Civil Rights Hero A. B. Cassius, who labored for sixty years to build interracial community and improve the lives of African Americans.  

“…But the Dreamland was more than just a place to eat dinner. “The Dreamland,” neighborhood activist Nelson Peery remembered, “was our only social center.” A rare public space that welcomed people of all races at a time when the city was rigidly segregated, it laid the foundation for social change. Cassius “always conducted himself as if he were responsible to and for the people in our neighborhood,” Peery recalled in his autobiography. “Concerned about the Negro people, always contributing to some cause, Mr. Cassius was the first ‘race man’ I met.” Cassius’ establishment welcomed young talkers and dreamers like Peery, who would spend his life working for social justice and civil rights.”

– Remembering a civil rights hero, BY: KIRSTEN DELEGARD. SouthWest Journal February 9, 2015

What I find compelling about this history is the universal need, then and today, for inclusive (and safe) social spaces that can serve as platforms for social justice movements.  I hope that Dreamsland can be a space in which people can convene and organize on their behalf.

April, 2015

I’m ecstatic to be a recipient of the Artist and Neighborhood Partnership Initiative grant through the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs.  I have initiated a initial process of hosting community listening sessions with immediate neighbors and am partnering with Henry Jimenez at CANDO to host several bilingual meetings at their offices.  So far the ideas and interest generated by people in the neighborhood has been positive.

Summary:

The CURA ANPI Grant will support my efforts to organize neighbors and key community partners in collectively visioning, designing, and creating the Trust for Public Practice, (TPP) a new platform for sustained neighborhood based engagement in the arts.

I will facilitate process that involves a cohort of cross-sector community stakeholders to test and disseminate learnings and knowledge about how artists and communities of color can engage in the processes of: acquiring property, engage in visioning and design processes, equitable physical development, the neighborhood determination of a creative community benefit, and the shared stewardship of the ongoing management and artistic programming at the site.

My hope is that people will start by helping determine a better name for this space than the TPP.  More updates to follow.

Dec, 2014

On Dec. 5th 2014 I purchased a 33 x 118 lot in the Central neighborhood of South Minneapolis for the purposes of exploring land as an artistic medium and a platform for an ongoing practice.  This vacant structure-less lot is situated roughly 1/2 a city block from our family residence, and is adjacent to a well organized cooperative community garden.

3306 has held my longing gaze for many years for it’s untapped potential.  I have no immediate plan (or capital) to build anything permanent on this site.  Therefore it will be re-purposed and shared with the surrounding neighbors as a space for ______________________.