Friday, January 20, 2017

Inauguration Day 2017

Today, Inauguration Day 2017, I did my bit to support artistic expression and local beer.

Artistic expression is constitutionally protected speech. Art can express compassion, empathy, inclusiveness, but it can be annoying, uncomfortable, nihilistic. A crucifix immersed in the artist's urine is not my go-to artistic experience, but neither is mind-numbing kitsch.

Many of my fellow Minnesotans support the public financing of the arts, independent of party politics. In 2008 we voted to change Minnesota's constitution to increase sales tax for 25 years to support environmental and cultural causes. Over the 25 years, an estimated 1.2 billion sales tax dollars will be spent on arts and cultural heritage programs.

In 2011 The Soap Factory received a $46,800 grant from the fund.

The Soap Factory describes itself as "a laboratory for artistic experimentation and innovation, dedicated to supporting artists and engaging audiences through the production and presentation of contemporary art in a unique and historic environment."

Today I walked into the Soap Factory to experience twelve flags created by artists.

Before heading to the Soap Factory, I fortified myself with a Thanks Obama beer at Surly Brewing's $34 million destination brewery. The brewery had just released this IPA today.
Surly Brewing is a local success story. The founder, Omar Ansari, is the son of immigrants from Pakistan, a Muslim country.

As well as beer, "Thanks Obama" is a meme. When it started its journey in 2009 it was sarcastic, but it soon morphed into playful digs at the grown-up we had in the White House back then.

The large parking lot was full, cars were abandoned for blocks, the beer hall was standing room only. Twenty-six different Surly beers were on sale but I bellied up to the long bar to order the same beer everybody else was ordering.

While I enjoyed my Thanks Obama, nobody in earshot was talking about the inauguration or the new administration

At The Soap Factory I walked around BLEED&BURN, Catalytic Flag Making. The exhibition describes itself as "a response to the crass, misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and other base instincts that got expressed during the election."
I heard no conversations. I was alone.
The exhibition ends tomorrow. Each artist will then burn their flag at a time and place of their own choosing.

No comments:

Post a Comment