Visual artist Alison Price says she is regularly struck by the power of A. Drew Hammond. Some of Hammond’s works are fun and playful — she particularly loves her anthropomorphic frogs — while others tackle black history and current affairs in a way that stops her in her tracks.
A good example, she says, is her work “Melon Colony,” in which watermelon seeds are packed into the formation of people on a slave ship. Her carefully layered collages always encourage a closer look, says Price.
A. Drew Hammond shares a studio with his wife, artist and dancer Beverly Hammond, in the Northrup King Building in northeast Minneapolis. His work is also on display at the Ramsey County Courthouse, the Grandview Square Financial Building in Edina, Minnesota, and the Community Commons at the Mall of America.
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Guitarist and vocalist Julian Manzara was a Cedar Commissions performer in 2017-18, and he recommends checking out this year’s contingent when they perform this weekend.
This year’s six Cedars Commission artists will each perform 30 minutes of original work, drawing on Welsh bardic tradition, African string instruments, Hmong folksong and more.
“It’s kind of like a musical buffet of stuff you’ve never tried before,” Manzara says. “I would say just go for it, don’t worry about focusing on what you’re going to see. You can trust Cedar to curate, and it will be a great experience to immerse yourself in, regardless of your knowledge of these up-and-coming artists.
After last year’s virtual event, the artists will be back on stage at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis this year.
Friday’s show stars Carlisle Evans Peck, Nyttu Chongo and Maddie Thies. Saturday’s lineup is made up of Vie Boheme, Alicia Thao and Kat Parent. Concerts start at 7:30 p.m.
Gospel singer Robert Robinson has previously performed at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Community in Minneapolis, and he knows the strong roster of artists who will take the stage Sunday night for a concert celebrating Black History Month. .
The event is called “Oh Let us Build This Place,” and it’s an evening of music and historical vignettes that examines 75 years on the South Side of Minneapolis. T. Mychael Rambo, Thomasina Petrus, Carmen Michelle and Gwen Matthews will perform with Dan Chouinard as host and conductor.
Robinson says the evening will be “education and entertainment rolled into one,” as artists and others reflect on the experience of African Americans in the area where the church is located. Included in this story is the construction of Interstate 35W, which moved thousands of African American homes and businesses from south Minneapolis beginning in the late 1950s.
The event takes place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Masks are mandatory, as is proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test result within 72 hours.
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