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Thursday September 29th 2022

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Two Rivers Gallery Prepares For Remodel

by BEN HEATH

As the Minneapolis American Indian Center on Franklin Avenue gears up for its expansion over the next few years, Two Rivers Gallery is taking care of the art. Arts consultant Lydia Four Horns has the task of locating, identifying, documenting and safely storing all the works of art that Two Rivers Gallery has collected since its first art show in 1975, held at what was then the Minnesota Regional Native American Center.

Since that first show, the gallery has built an extensive collection of works by Native artists from across the country. Some of the many artists represented include JoAnne Bird, Darren Vigil Gray, and Fritz Scholder. The estimated number of artworks held by the gallery is around 1,000, including the newly acquired American Indian Movement archives. Additionally, the immense George Morrison wood piece spanning approximately 700 square feet on the building exterior will be uninstalled and receive extensive restoration before being stored until construction is complete.

Currently, Four Horns is working on an inventory of items. She says the process includes “photographic documentation and object condition reporting, with museum standards of proper storage and handling methods.” There are also plans to develop a long range preservation and conservation strategy. “A part of these goals will be to improve storage conditions and make the collection accessible to our community and for scholarly research, onsite and virtually.”

After reopening in the summer of 2025, the expanded building will have more than 20,000 additional square feet, and the Two Rivers Gallery will relocate to the center of the Franklin Ave side, alongside the Gatherings Cafe. “This will allow the general public more accessible accommodations to move throughout the front areas, with local community gatherings, health and wellness activities located further into the center of the new building.” Also on site will be a Best Buy Teen Center with tech access and mentoring for youth.

When the work of cataloging and packing the collections is complete, the gallery will continue its work with a series of pop-up exhibitions around the Metro. Currently, a collaboration with the Minnesota Historical Society on Mazinaakizige: Teen Photographs is on view at the Eden Prairie Art Center.

In addition to preparing the artworks for the transition, Lydia is looking towards that first show after reopening. She says it will be “based on our work here in the community and the history of the MAIC, in collaboration with utilizing the archives from the American Indian Movement.”

The larger community is invited to “help us build this future and create a safe, empowering community. Donations can be accepted at http://www.maicnet.org/donate/ as we continue this path in supporting Native arts, life, and culture.”

The writer will update our readers on building construction and the restoration of the George Morrison mural as the project progresses.

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