The civic group that has anointed itself with the task of developing an area-wide cultural arts plan has selected May 5 for its coming-out party.
The Crossing Arts Alliance, funded by a $75,000 Blandin Foundation "community investment" grant, sent out a call last week to the area's artistic and business communities for participation in a daylong "celebration of the arts, cultural diversity, the environment and lifelong learning."
Billed as "Crossing Paths: A Celebration of Art and Community," the event will feature dozens of performance and visual arts events in Brainerd, Baxter, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes and Pine River, an alliance spokeswoman said.
"The basic premise of the event is an 'art crawl' throughout the lakes area. Gallery owners, studios, arts organizations, stores and restaurants will open up their businesses to celebrate art, culture and the environment. ... A map will direct crawlers to all the participating businesses and describe what is happening at various locations." -- Shelli Urness Event coordinator
The event is patterned after Twin Cities "arts crawls" in which the public moves from place to place for a wide variety of pre-selected cultural activities.
The hub of the lakes area's "crawl" will be Central Lakes College, where several activities have already been planned for the daylong celebration, including a performance by the Geritol Frolics, a poster contest, poetry readings and a film festival.
The civic group, formed about a year ago to foster cultural arts opportunities in the lakes area, will also use the day to "launch the Crossing Arts Alliance and celebrate the Blandin Community Investment Partnership with the Brainerd lakes area," said Shelli Urness, the Blandin employee coordinating the event, as well as the alliance's planning process.
Many individuals and organizations have already signed up to participate in the May 5 event, she said, but the alliance will continue to solicit artists, businesses, schools and other organizations for participation until March 15.
After the deadline, a map of participating venues will be developed for the event, she said.
"The basic premise of the event is an 'art crawl' throughout the lakes area," Urness said. "Gallery owners, studios, arts organizations, stores and restaurants will open up their businesses to celebrate art, culture and the environment.
"Headquarters for the event will be Central Lakes College, with special entertainment, children's arts activities, gallery exhibitions and much more on the agenda," she added. "A map will direct crawlers to all the participating businesses and describe what is happening at various locations."
To be included on the map, participants should call Urness at 855-8135 or co-coordinator Michelle Pfeiffer at 829-2456 before March 15.
The list of participants already includes Rhythm of the Rails, the Nay Ah Shing School from the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, the Brainerd Public Library, the YMCA, the Brainerd Historical Society and several area art galleries.
"It promises to be an energizing whirlwind of experiences for all," Urness said. "The point is to get people out there moving around."
The alliance expects to make the "Crossing Paths" event an annual celebration, she said.
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