Since 1995, the dexterous framers at Hang It Inc. have been embellishing artwork and other displayables with more than 1,000 first-rate frame varieties culled from around the world. Enclose a photograph or a napkin from a particularly delicious barbecue dinner with a 16”x20" black wood frame ($64), equipped with glass and a mount. Drab dorm rooms are illuminated with a poster encased in a 24”x36" black metal frame ($69), and gold, silver, and ornate borders enable customized constructions. Other combinations may be seen here. Hang It’s unique plasma-TV-framing service adorns wall-hung television sets with a quality picture frame and liner, transforming T.J. Hooker reruns into art. After shopping, customers can peruse the studio's art gallery, Gallery 122, which features a variety of mediums from local artists.
In 1879, a lumber baron named Thomas Barlow Walker built an extra room onto his house. He mounted his 20 favorite paintings on the room's walls and opened it to the public. This private collection transformed into a public gallery with the founding of Walker Art Center in 1927. Over the following decades, the center's staff amassed a collection focused on modern art, gathering works from Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, and Alberto Giacometti. Today, this permanent collection has expanded to encompass more than 11,000 modern and contemporary paintings, sculptures, and photographs, more than 800 film pieces, and more than 1,200 artists' books.
In the whimsical multistory geometric helix of the Barnes building, seven cube-shaped galleries radiate from a central core on terrazzo floors and under lofted ceilings. Docents lead group tours through the galleries to see rotating exhibitions or play hide-and-seek with Jackson Pollock. Current exhibits have explored the contemporary still photography of Cindy Sherman, American avant-garde film from 1960 to 1973, and prints, paintings, and sculptures produced after 1989. Inside the museum's social spaces, docents also host artist talks, film screenings, and open houses.
Designed as a contemporary twist on old European opera houses, the center's McGuire Theater draws visitors into its intimate space for live dance, theater, and music performances as well as performance art. Museum exhibits and events also spill outside to a central square and the four quadrants, bordered by granite and evergreen hedges, of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. As visitors walk across its lawns, they can glimpse iconic modern sculptures, cross a 375-foot steel-and-wood footbridge, or watch staff teach plants to paint in the Cowles Conservatory.
When the Minneapolis Institute of Arts first opened its doors in 1915, it was the product of several decades of arts advocacy. A group of 25 citizens formed the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts in 1883 with the goal of giving their community access to creative arts. More than a century later, this commitment to the community has taken the permanent collections from 800 works to close to 80,000 objects and has made the institute Minnesota's largest art educator.
The collections, divided into seven curatorial areas, encompass a period of 5,000 years and hail from every corner of the world. The Asian Art collection represents 17 different Asian cultures, and Arts of Africa and the Americas holds more than 3,000 pieces of sculpture, basketry, painting, and beadwork. Temporary exhibitions bring collections of artwork from other institutions and tattoos from vending machines. The institute's interactive learning stations supplement understanding of topics such as modernism or 17th-century European painting with animation, video, and audio recordings.
Out in a Limb Dance Company & School's professional instructors introduce kids and adults to styles as various as classical ballet, modern dance, acrobatics, and hip-hop. School performances let students show off what they've learned to family, friends, and Barbies whose legs refuse to plié, while summer intensives let young bundles of energy immerse themselves in the choreography of a full-scale musical production. Ballroom classes help casual students get comfortable for wedding-mandated whirls about the dance floor and nights out at salsa clubs. Teachers come from backgrounds including the sets of musical theater productions, the Moscow Ballet, and training with Paula Abdul, and all work to create a disciplined, distraction-free environment by asking that students adhere to a formal code of etiquette.
Como Park Zoo and Conservatory houses a plethora of attractions, including members of the animal kingdom from court jesters to monarchs, as well as flora-fostering gardens. General zoo admission is free, but today’s Groupon gets families an assemblage of perks, starting with free or reduced admission to more than 400 zoos and botanical gardens nationwide, and early notification of upcoming special events and animal arrivals. Families weary of their usual leisurely pursuits, such as lobbying local governments for crosswalks made of trampolines, can bask in the entertainment provided by 64 points to spend on gravity-defying rides at Como Town, a nearby amusement park. Members also receive invitations to exclusive events and exhibits, and membership fees flow toward new exhibits and zoo improvements, such as taking playing cards away from monkeys.
Twin Cities VIP helps to create memorable nights on the town by staging visits to some of the city's exclusive clubs. Groups may either walk to and from locations, or snag a ride and a drink in one of the fully stocked luxury limousines while a host or hostess tags along to keep spirits high. Not only do club-crawl fees include all applicable cover charges, but they also allow parties to officially jump over any lines without riding the coattails of pogo-sticking celebrities. From there, partygoers are free to lose themselves in the music and flowing cocktails until it's time to depart and head to the next club on the list.
When Layl McDill's daughters were little, she would carry small bricks of polymer clay in her purse for them to play with. Over the years, the pastime evolved into a serious profession for her. Forming ropes of the colorful, malleable material into millefiore canes, McDill honed her skills, creating patterns, pictures, and delicious pies from the carefully sliced clay logs. With the help and support of her husband and fellow artist, Josh Blanc, Layl founded Clay Squared to Infinity in 1996, where today she not only creates and displays her own artwork, but also leads classes for clay-curious artists of all ages.