Sunshine, green grass, lazy lawn games, and community togetherness might be just the balm we need after a particularly daunting Minnesota winter. Open Field is back! Returning from a year-long construction-filled hiatus, what happens on the Field this summer is up to you and me, and a big group of strangers that will bring new activities, projects, and ideas to life: Open Field is what we make together.
Since 2010 Open Field has hosted hundreds of public-created activities that exhibit a spirit of play, sharing, and social interaction. There have been bullwhipping demonstrations and financial education classes, baby picnics and conversational cafés, syncronized lawn mowings and art swaps. Beyond insisting on a few basic principles of Field etiquette, we ask just one question to prompt your activity brainstorming: what would you do with an Open Field?
2014 brings the return of many favorite aspects of Open Field, and the introduction of a few new elements. This summer’s 8-week festival kicks off with the all-night Northern Spark on June 14, and concludes August 14 with the ever-popular Internet Cat Video Festival. Thursday night collaborative Drawing Club returns weekly; Acoustic Campfire comes back as well from 8-10pm on select Thursay nights, with ten dynamic soloists and groups sharing sounds from hip-hop to Balkan party music (and a little of everything in-between); a variety of recreational equipment is available for on-the-Field enjoyment.
As in past Open Fields, the Walker is hosting two artists-in-residence that will present work on the Field for the public. Chris Kallmyer—who made his debut on Open Field as part of Machine Project’s Summer Jubilee in 2011—returns for two weeks with a project called if all action were music. Exploring actions and sound, Kallmyer will write, perform and collaborate with the public on a series of new works that position everyday activities as poetic experiences. In addition, Alison Knowles, a leading member of the Fluxus artist group, will be in residence with her collaborator, Joshua Selman, to re-stage her iconic event score Make a Salad on Open Field. While each performance is unique, the basic ingredients include Knowles preparing a massive salad by chopping the ingredients to live music, tossing it in the air, then serving the salad to the audience. Alison Knowles’ work is included in the Walker Art Center’s exhibition, Art Expanded: 1958-1978, which will be concurrently on view.
Open Field remains a playful mix of planned and unplanned events, and the best parts to come are the still-unknown surprises. The invitation is open: “In the spirit of inclusivity, Open Field invites everyone and anyone to bring their best creative self forward as producer or participant.” –Open Field co-founder Sarah Schultz
All forms of participation are welcome—whether it’s relaxing at the picnic tables, joining a round of Drawing Club , or contributing to our community-led programming. Consider this the official call to share your skills, imagining, and experiments with your fellow Field-inhabitants and community members. Learn more about how to bring your programming to the Field over here (and read through tips and FAQs related to creating activities here). Scheduled summer programming is added to the Open Field calendar, and will largely take place on Thursday nights and during Saturday daytime hours. The Open Field team is committed to assisting you with program scheduling and idea clarification. Wondering if it’s realistic to plan on bringing a herd of goats to the Walker this summer? We can help: email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open Field begins in 74 days! The outdoor greenspace is gradually making the transition from snow tundra to thriving lawn. While we wait for that to happen, you can check out more information on summer programming, dream up some ideas, and follow our twitter page for updates. See you in June!