Saturday, June 7, 2008

Feeding Soul and Body

I am a committed advocate for the arts in the Twin Cities.


Our household supports the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and Minnesota Public Radio. We have season tickets to the Guthrie Theater. Much of my early non-profit experience was in the arts, doing projects for organizations like the Playwrights’ Center, Film in the Cities, and Theater Three. I served on the board of directors for Julia Carey’s The Theatre Exchange and Casey Stangl’s Eye of the Storm Theater, as well at Patrick Scully’s Patrick’s Cabaret. I reviewed funding proposals for both the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council. Nearly 20 years ago, I wrote an op-ed piece for the Minneapolis Star Tribune urging the Twin Cities to mobilize for the arts. In that editorial I quoted Katherine Anne Porter who said, “Art, fleeting and fragile, is the most enduring thing of all. The arts outlive governments and even societies that create them. They are we find again when the ruins are cleared away.”


I am thrilled that the Twin Cities arts scene is far from in ruins. The vibrant art scene here improves the quality of life for all of us. I am proud to live in a community that has invested nearly a half a billion dollars in capital campaigns for arts organizations. It is added value that some of these structures – like the Walker and the Guthrie – are iconic architectural destinations.

I applaud the overwhelming support that all of these capital campaigns for the arts have received in recent years in Minnesota.


These campaigns help to feed the soul. Now it’s time to use some of this community’s resources to feed the body.


A little over one year ago, Open Arms announced an $8 million capital campaign to construct a new building and to expand our programming to ensure that no one who is dealing with a chronic and progressive disease should also go hungry. Our campaign would allow us to build a new home with a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen from which we could annually cook over 500,000 nutritious meals for people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis, ALS, Parkinson’s, and many other diseases.


An added value of our campaign is a commitment to remain in the Phillips Neighborhood of Minneapolis. Open Arms’ new home will be at the intersection of 25th Street and Bloomington Avenue and, while being fiscally responsible, we intend to construct a building that will, in its own way, be an architectural destination in Phillips.


Today, we have secured $5 million to support our capital campaign – approximately 1% of the investment that the Twin Cities has recently made in capital campaign for arts organizations. We intend to break ground in the fall of this year and be operating out of our new building by the end of 2009.


Vibrant communities need a healthy arts scene. They also need healthy citizens. We have the resources to provide both. We have fed the soul. Now let’s feed the body by supporting Open Arms’ capital campaign.



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