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The First Flames of the Phoenix

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Burned brightly at MGM as literary creativity was unveiled

BY PATRICK CABELLO HANSEL

Thursday, January 29, 2015, at the Midtown Global Market saw the first literary magazine launch of the year in Minneapolis—The Phoenix of Phillips. What makes it most noteworthy was that it featured the writing of youth and adults from our neighborhood. Children as young as eight, seniors who’ve lived a long time, amateurs and professional writers shared their vision and their talent.

The debut of The Phoenix was also the opening of the annual youth photography show of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. “We Are Midtown Phillips” is the work of talented youth ages seven to eighteen, who photographed their neighborhood during the summer and fall of 2014. At festivals, at block parties and on the street, in school and the market, and in a dark room lit by a candle, the young people saw the beauty of the community, and captured its diversity.

Live music included a sing-a-long of American and Mexican folk songs, led by the Dunagan Sisters.

Many of the photos were generated as a part of the community outreach collaboration of St. Paul’s and In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater. Working in partnership with Midtown Phillips Neighborhood Association, staff, volunteers and community artists engaged neighborhood people in creating art on their own turf, as a way to build community cohesion and strength.

The Phoenix of Phillips and “We Are Midtown Phillips” are projects of the Semilla Arts Program of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. In the past nine years, Semilla has taught over 1900 people mosaics, murals, photography, writing, drama and many other art forms.

Special thanks to Sunny Sevigny for her wonderful work on the layout of the magazine! And many thanks to The Alley Newspaper for their collaboration! We hope that this is the first of many issues—look in The Alley Newspaper for info on submitting to future issues.

Quote from one of the authors or youth photographers:

This activity was made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

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