You may have read my arts sector wrap up in Monday’s Forum, but I want to take some time to wrap up our fabulous 2019 from The Arts Partnership’s standpoint, too. First of all, thank you to everyone who supported TAP in so many ways throughout this past year. We can’t do what we do without your financial, moral, physical and emotional support, so thank you for all of that.
Here are only a very few of our highlights:
What #holidaytravel stress? Dr. Earnest Lamb, Dean of the College of Arts, Media and Communication at @MSUMoorhead, played in this morning's #FlyFargo @Arts_TAP musical performances. See who may be playing when you're traveling: https://t.co/Soj597R62R #ArtWORKS #airportart pic.twitter.com/mBVudLaSG6
— Fargo Airport (@fargoairport) December 23, 2019
This week we had the opportunity to vinyl wrap city benches with designs from local artists to be displayed in the downtown community! 🤩
— Office Sign Company (@OfficeSigns) November 20, 2019
Yesterday evening we got to see the fabulously creative staff at @OfficeSigns draw imaginative creatures with artist @markericelton through our ArtWORKS program. #SupportLocalArt pic.twitter.com/alIhJjOVa7
— The Arts Partnership (@Arts_TAP) August 16, 2019
We hosted a series of successful Holiday Art Markets leading up to Christmas. We learned so much about who this largely new-to-us audience of mall shoppers is, and we were delighted with the positive response we received from so many people who were thrilled with the prospect of meeting and purchasing from actual artists.
One aspect of Aptitude that has excited us from the initial conversations with West Acres was the idea that this space, inside this dynamic community gem, would be a gateway to the rest of the arts sector. We know that people from hundreds of miles away routinely travel to the Metro to enjoy all that West Acres has to offer. How might we use this new location to introduce all the arts in the community to guests of the mall?
Well, we couldn’t love this any more! Thanks to @designknight and @firelineneon for taking Henri Matisse’s words and bringing them to light in this most glorious way at #Aptitude to #support local art https://t.co/5kMlhNXBTv
— Dayna Del Val (@DaynaTAP) November 20, 2019
Aptitude has the intriguing mystery of the wardrobe in C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Our long entryway could dissuade the casual shopper from making the trek down, but the inviting “Creativity Takes Courage” sign from Fireline Neon Company and Cereal, by way of Henri Matisse, draws people in despite their initial hesitation. Once they walk down the hallway, however, a whole new world of nearly two dozen charming artist studios opens up to them, and you almost always hear an, “Oh wow!” or an audible intake of breath at their surprise. We want that surprise to be experienced in both the actual space and for Aptitude to be the place that opens up to the rest of the arts in the community, too.
Going forward this year, we’re envisioning Aptitude as an interpretive center for the arts, similar to any state or national park interpretive center. Aptitude will be an all-inclusive, immersive arts experience where people learn about how to even more deeply explore all of these artistic opportunities within and beyond our doors and out into the rest of the Metro. Already, Aptitude has art for sale made by local artists, many of whom are renting space and whom you can meet in person. We’re working with West Acres to develop a First Fridays free concert series with local performers outside Aptitude’s main entrance. We expect to start offering artist talks and art making opportunities for the public very soon in this new year as well.
Aptitude will be most successful and serve its greatest purpose if it is a springboard to promote the entire arts sector. We have installed a massive 4k monitor to introduce and promote the more than 120 Partner organizations, artists and arts-related businesses in the community through calendar events, advertising, videos and more. We want to ensure that those who come to Aptitude have a better sense of all that this arts community has to offer them.
They say success begets success, so the ultimate barometer of absolute success for us will be if you, the public, move from wondering about what’s going on in that corner space of the mall to walking in to Aptitude to experience the various opportunities that will be available. And then, will you take it even one step further and head East towards downtown and in to Moorhead to take advantage of the artistic opportunities we promote and the avenues to deepening your artistic engagement that are scattered all around this artistically-rich community?
This is an exciting time for the arts and The Arts Partnership, but more crucially, it’s an exciting time for the community to participate more fully in the arts. That’s why, in 2019, the Board of Directors of The Arts Partnership voted to change our mission statement from “cultivating the arts in the community” to “cultivating the community through the arts.” We invite you to step inside the wardrobe and see what a glorious world exists down the hall and out into the Metro. Believe me, you will love what you discover.
*Special thank you to The Fargo Moorhead Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Office Sign Company, and private donors for additional funding to assist in our completion of Aptitude.