The next issue of MnArtsWeekly (1.34) will be the last one edited by Ann Klefstad. Come November, Susannah Schouweiler will take over the editorship of MnArtsWeekly as well as access & Engage, our email newsletter. Read on for a goodbye note.
As of November 1, I am leaving mnartists.org, where I have been the content editor since the inception of articles publication in 2002.
The first article published on mnartists.org was a piece I wrote about Duluth; I still live there, and am taking a staff job as the arts and entertainment writer on the Duluth News-Tribune. If you like what you’ve read by me over the years, you can find more of it on the Duluth News-Tribune website. Tune in there to find out what’s happening in the otherworldly environs of the North Shore.
Mnartists.org was founded in 2001 by Neal Cuthbert at McKnight Foundation (still our wonderful funder), Steve Dietz, then curator of Gallery 9, the Walker Art Center new media gallery; and Robin Dowden, now head of New Media at the Walker and the one whose team created the actual structure of mnartists,org, which has grown far larger and more complex than we ever imagined. The needs that Neal and Robin and Steve saw, and designed the site to meet, are still there; but this site goes a long way to meeting them, and to creating other solutions, other entities, other collaborations that were not even a gleam in anyone’s eye at the beginning.
When I took the job as editor at mnartists.org we all met regularly to decide where this new invention was going to go, what it was going to do. Eventually, after the site became a part of the Walker Art Center’s Education Department, it became evident that a more full-time, hands-on project director was needed. We hired Kathleen Kvern to fill that role, and since then the partnerships and collaborations that she has created with publishers, bookstores, and arts agencies have increased our ability to serve artists many-fold.
Susannah Schouweiler joined the team when Kathleen heard that the fine magazine Ruminator would be no more; she called her immediately and we gained an incredible editor and writer with years of experience and many contacts. She created our email newsletter, access & Engage, which continues to spice up your inbox. She will take over my job of producing MnArtsWeekly, the webmagazine that provides critical coverage across the arts in Minnesota.
I wanted the mnartists.org editor job in part because it would enable me to find out, in previously impossible ways, about what people need from the arts, why they make art, and what it’s all good for. I have discovered much about these things, and it’s made me believe more than ever in the need for people to set aside self-interested strategies, get interested in the art made by other people, and dig into thinking about art on a larger human plane. Mnartists.org has helped art find its own voice in Minnesota.
I hope to keep doing that in Duluth, and I hope to send news of it out, now and then, as an occasional contributor to mnartists.org.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to help create this site. It’s been transforming– and fun in a thousand ways.
I’m particularly grateful for the words and thoughts of all the writers who have lent their style to these pages; do check the archives of the site for the thousands of articles from all over Minnesota that have filled the front page week after week. Your words matter; thanks to you we can now stand back and look at this thing called Minnesota art and get some idea what it might be.
Thank you all for your interest, support, ideas, contributions, and passion.