Thursday, July 26, 2018

Next Generation: Hold the Rope

Lock #5 on the Mississippi River, Minnesota

Our summer began with a 100 mile journey up the Mississippi River with my 13 year old son and some of his young friends, bringing a houseboat to Peacebunny Island.

 The lessons along the way could only be learned in person:
* Respect for the River
* Navigating
* Weather watching
* Trust in your team
* Need for Preparing, Planning and Prayer

After trekking through several locks along the way and coming to moor at the island, our family went to visit Minneapolis #1 lock.

 (My last time there was 2011, when it the lock still open and the photos I have were from the water photos to share with him). We stood up top on the catwalk, like the worker did in this old photo before the lock closed for boat traffic. As we toured the site, now a National Park visitors center, I was struck by the change in perspective from water level where things feel pretty precarious as you hold onto the rope to keep your boat from bouncing all around while the "water elevator" goes up or down.

Today's reminder is that God has the perspective from up above.  He can see everything and is in charge.  So hold onto the rope -- do your part -- then trust the maker of the water, the sky and everything and ENJOY the ride.

2011 Lock #1 Minneapolis
2011 "Hold the Rope" in a canoe

Monday, December 11, 2017

12.11.17 Nobel Peace Prize Forum, Oslo

This is the link to the first discussion during the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, Oslo Norway
December 11, 2017

VIDEO of livestream

Grand Chief Edward John, Hereditary Cheif of Tl'azt'en Nation.  Expert member of UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Rights

HolyElk Lafferty, 4th Generation Lakota activist. 

Stephanie Hope Smith, sacred site conciliator/mediator

Aili Keskitalo, President of the Sami Parliament

Oyvind Ravna, Professor of Law, University of Tromso

Elisabeth Gammelsaeter, Secretary General of Norwegian Mineral Industry

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

11.14.17 "Scaffold" Statement

Due to the number of phone calls asking for a comment regarding the resignation of Olga Viso from the Walker Art Center, I will simply post the press announcement and this simple response:  I am not in a position to comment on confidential issues as the parties proceed through the mediation process.

Ronald P. Leith, the designated spokesperson for elders group that has been actively engaged in the mediation process has received a copy of the announcement below and is sharing this with Elders group.  I can also confirm that the next meeting between the elders and the Walker Art Center is currently scheduled for the end of November.  If given permission from both parties, I will post further updates here.

-- Stephanie Hope Smith, Mediator

11.14.17 Scaffold Update


Press Contact: Rachel Joyce   612.375.7635
Online Press Room: Twitter: WalkerArtMedia

Minneapolis, MN, November 14, 2017—

Today, the Walker Art Center Board of Trustees and Olga Viso announced that she will step down as Executive Director at the end of the year. Following the successful completion of the Walker’s $75-million capital campaign and an eight-year effort to transform the Walker’s entrance and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden into a unified art destination, the Board and Viso agreed that now is an ideal time for a transition. 

The Board will form a search committee to hire a new Executive Director. During the interim period, the Board has established an Office of the Executive Director – which includes Christopher Stevens, Chief Advancement Officer; Mary Polta, Chief Financial Officer; Siri Engberg, Senior Curator and Director of Exhibitions Management; and Rishi Donat, Director of Human Resources. “We are grateful for Olga’s leadership and celebrate her significant contributions to the Walker Art Center during the past 10 years,” said Monica Nassif, Board President.  “She led the organization through a major capital campaign to fund the vision and re-design of our entire campus, including the new Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.  In addition, she championed experimental and underrepresented artists throughout her tenure, while bringing many noteworthy exhibitions to the Walker, such as Merce Cunningham: Common Time, International Pop, and groundbreaking exhibitions like Adios Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950, one of the most comprehensive exhibitions of Cuban art to be organized in the US in decades and currently on view.  We wish her well for her next career opportunity.  As we look beyond this transition, the Walker Board is focused on fully activating the new campus, proceeding as a global artistic leader, continuing our commitments to be a more inclusive organization, and being responsive to community perspectives and political realities of this time.” 

Viso’s ambitious vision for an integrated master plan was realized in June 2017 and supported by a successful $75-million fundraising effort. Under her leadership, the Walker grew its operating endowment, built a new gardenfacing entrance and restaurant, improved circulation and way-finding, renovated the façade of the Walker’s 1971 building, and added gardens surrounding the art center along with 20 new art works. Among the new artworks are the first US and global commissions with artists Nairy Baghramian, Theaster Gates, Mark Manders, and Aaron Spangler, and the iconic blue rooster Hahn/Cock by Katharina Fritsch that immediately became a city icon.

Nearly 600,000 people have visited the new gardens since they reopened in June 2017. “It has been a privilege to lead this venerable contemporary arts institution the last 10 years and to support the work of some of the most compelling and adventurous international artists working today across disciplinary boundaries. Completing the vision for the campus that began in 2005 with the Walker’s Herzog and DeMeuron addition has been an absolute highlight. I am immensely proud of what we---the Walker’s talented and ambitious staff and the generous community of donors who stepped up boldly---have accomplished together,” Viso said.

Throughout her tenure, Viso has championed the support of emerging artists as well as cross-disciplinary programming, research and collecting. In 2011, she raised funds to secure a defining collection of objects from the Merce Cunningham Dance Archive that added nearly 4000 props, sets, drops, and costumes by the revolutionary choreographer to the museum’s permanent collection. This collection, which positions the Walker as a research center for Cunningham’s work, was the subject of this year’s institutional celebration Merce Cunningham: Common Time that focused on Cunningham’s interdisciplinary collaborations. In 2016, a $1-million grant from the Mellon Foundation further positioned the Walker as a global leader in scholarship around the intersection of performance and visual arts. This initiative will support nine new commissions for artists through 2019 working across cinema, stage, garden and galleries. 

An expert in Latin American art, Viso oversaw curatorial projects at the Walker that included surveys of the Argentine painter Guillermo Kuitca and American sculptor Jim Hodges, special projects with the Guerrilla Girls, and initiatives around the Walker’s 75th anniversary in 2015, which brought nearly 250 new art works donated by more than 120 donors to the Walker’s collections. Viso has supported the development of groundbreaking Walker-curated exhibitions and publications organized by a talented curatorial team. These projects, including Yves Klein, Merce Cunningham: Common Time, International Pop, Hippie Modernism, have been critically recognized and also garnered wide public appeal.  Over the last decade, some 5000 objects have entered the Walker’s collection.

Viso’s collecting priorities have increased the representation of local artists, women and people of color, as well as brought greater global diversity and addressed gaps in the Walker’s historical holdings. Highlights include Siah Armajani, Luis Camnitzer, Marlene Dumas, Jimmie Durham, Jack Goldstein, Jim Hodges, Carmen Herrera, Alfredo Jaar, Hassan Khan, Lee Kit, Guillermo Kuitca, Joseph Kosuth, Ana Mendieta, Zilia Sanchez, Luc Tuymans, Lee Ufan, and Jack Whitten. Viso has been a cultural leader nationally and locally, serving on the boards of the Association of Art Museum Directors and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. A keen collaborator, she has been active in city of Minneapolis downtown planning efforts and the West Downtown Cultural District.

She was appointed by former President Barack Obama to serve on the National Council on the Arts that advises the National Endowment for the Arts and was a founding director of the Twin Cities Large Cultural Organizations Forum, a consortium of the 10 directors of the area’s largest cultural organizations focused on building institutional capacities around diversity and inclusion.  During her tenure, the diversity of the Walker’s Board increased from 5% to 20%. 

The Walker Art Center is located at 725 Vineland Place-where Hennepin meets Lyndale—one block off Highways I-94 and I-394, in Minneapolis.  For public information, call 612.375.7600 or visit Stay connected via your mobile device and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Nobel Peace Prize Forum, Oslo Norway 2017

Quotes from the official Nobel Peace Prize Forum website are in italics:

The Nobel Peace Prize Forum is held every year on 11 December as part of the annual Nobel Peace Prize celebrations in Oslo. The 2017 theme, “Across Dividing Lines,” will address indigenous rights within the context of social justice and environmental protection. 

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as well as the 25th anniversary of Dr. Rigoberta Menchú Tum receiving the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with indigenous peoples’ rights.

"What better opportunity, then, for the Nobel Peace Prize Forum Oslo to invite Dr. Rigoberta Menchú Tum to talk about the state of affairs concerning indigenous peoples in the world?  
This year’s Forum headline, “Across Dividing Lines,”speaks to the ambitious goal of providing a dialogue and mediation platform for representatives regarding the Nussir copper mine conflict in the municipality of Kvalsund in Norway."

The event will also shine a lens on other ongoing indigenous issues like the Standing Rock conflict in the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota, US and the Forum will provide opportunities for sharing lessons learned and strategies for the future through a high level dialogue after the main public plenary presentations.

"The Forum brings together a unique constellation of Nobel Peace Prize laureates and other international thought-leaders; leading representatives of governments and international organizations; scholars; civil society leaders and activists, business and private sector actors; journalists; and youth across the globe, including students. Serving as an arena for interdisciplinary discussion and reflection on pivotal and timely issues of importance to international peace and security, the Forum assembles 500 participants at the Oslo University Aula - an historic and iconic hall in central Oslo adorned with original paintings by expressionist painter Edvard Munch.
"The Nobel Peace Forum Oslo is broadcast to a global audience and streamed live online. The Forum welcomes viewers’ comments and questions via social media before and during the Forum. Some of the questions from our global audience will be brought into the live discussion.
The Nobel Peace Prize Forum Oslo is organized by the Norwegian Nobel Institute and Nobel Peace Prize – Research and Information AS in partnership with the University of Oslo. The inaugural Forum was made possible by generous financial support from InCircl and GoodXChange."

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Nobel Peace Prize Forum, Minneapolis 2017

This is the closing celebration or "Call to Action" at the 29th annual Nobel Peace Prize Forum earlier this month.Thank you to Chief Arvol Looking Horse, Paula Horne Mullen, Dorothy Firecloud, and Faith Spotted Eagle for participating in this special day with the Nobel Laureates, the Tunisian Quartet.

Source NPPF: "Each year the Nobel Peace Prize Forum (NPPF) brings together Nobel laureates, world leaders, and accomplished peacemakers with students and community members to work on building a world in which people can live full, rich, meaningful lives.  Originally formed as a consortium of the five Norwegian Lutheran colleges in the upper midwest (Augsburg, Augustana, Concordia, Luther, and St. Olaf), the Forum operates under the auspices of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, and is the only such program or academic affiliation outside of Norway.