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June in MSP: Outdoor Arts Festivals that Give Back

In this month’s feature highlighting arts, entertainment and culture not to be missed in MSP, the focus is on community events that inspire, entertain, invite participation —and give back.

Saturday, June 6, 4 – 10 p.m.
Fulton Brewery, Minneapolis
Show Continues: Friday, June 12 – Saturday, June 27
Hamilton Ink Spot, St. Paul
Minneapolis takes bicycling seriously. The city has been consistently ranked as one of the best places for cycling in the nation and the annual pop-up show ArtCrank celebrates this love of biking with limited-edition, bike-inspired posters.
Founded in 2007, ArtCrank’s mission is to change the way people think about biking while enriching communities in which cycling is celebrated. ArtCrank started with a small show at a Minneapolis bike shop, and has expanded to more than 15 major cities worldwide, partnered with international charities, and welcomed more than 30,000 Artcrank attendees throughout the globe in 2014.
This year’s MSP event kicks off with an opening night party at Fulton Brewery in Northeast Minneapolis and features posters by more than 50 designers, illustrators, and visual. Each limited edition print is autographed and sells for $40. A portion of all beer sales will be donated to the Minnesota Cycling Center and The Musella Foundation for Brain Tumor Research & Information in honor of ArtCrank artist Aaron Purmont. If biking, art collecting and philanthropy are in your wheelhouse, there’s not better event.
Northern Spark
Saturday, June 13, 9 p.m.- 5 a.m.
Throughout Minneapolis
Summertime in MSP is art festival season and Northern Spark offers a unique spin on the age-old art crawl.  Hosted on the second Saturday of June by northern.lights.mn, the all-night festival transforms the art-going experience by pushing the boundaries of what can be presented in public spaces. Festivities begin at 9 p.m. and for eight hours the streets are illuminated with temporary installations and experimental performances. 
Northern Spark 2015 features more than 70 projects ranging from live theater to avant-garde visual art sprinkled throughout six popular Minneapolis neighborhoods. Need help planning your night? Check out the My Night feature on the festival’s website to conveniently customize a list of project times and locations.
Be sure to take in Local Time at the Weisman Art Museum on the University of Minnesota campus. This show, which runs until mid-September, includes work by five local artists investigating the constructs and manipulation of time. Choreographer Morgan Thorson’s “Still Life” will test the endurance of both audience and performer with three-hour long dance performances set to an original score by New York composer Dana Wachs. 
Rock the Garden
Saturday, June 20 and Sunday, June 21, 2 – 10 p.m.
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Single Day: General Admission: $64; VIP Green Room: $100; VIP Skybox: $200. Two-Day Pass: General Admission: $112; VIP Green Room: $160; VIP Skybox: $350
My, how time flies. Rock the Garden, co-produced by the Walker Art Center and 89.3 The Current, turns 17 this year and is celebrating with acts from afro beat to indie rock. MSP punk icons Babes in Toyland are back—after a hiatus of 14 years—with a lot of buzz, and join headlining act Modest Mouse on night two of the scenic summer concert. Also on the playlist are local hip-hop artist Alan Kingdom’s group thestand4rd, which generated major hype after a recent collaboration with Kanye West. Seun Kuti (son of afro beat legend Fela) is also a part this year’s roster, and will add a refreshing dose of polyrhythm and politically driven sounds with his band Egypt 80.
Solstice River XIX & Global Water Dances
Saturday, June 20, 5 p.m.
Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis
Minneapolis’ Stone Arch Bridge offers no better view of the Mississippi River. For 18 years, choreographer Marylee Hardenbergh has used the bridge, river and surrounding environs as the setting for a community movement performance, Solstice River. This year will the last.
Combining environment activism with the arts, Solstice River brings thousands of people to the river to revel in its beauty, and to witness performers on rooftops, the lock and dam, in kayaks on the river and on the Guthrie Theater’s endless bridge —while paying reverence to a vital water source.
Solstice River is part of a larger collective of performances called Global Water Dances (also curated by Hardenbergh), which occurs in more than 60 cities worldwide to bring awareness and action to the global water crisis. Each year since 2011, local choreographers (Hardenbergh’s Solstice River is Minneapolis’ contribution) are invited to create and perform dances near a domestic body of water to highlight water problems specific to that area. With Global Water Dances, Hardenbergh uses dance to connect the local to the global by highlighting the importance of access to and the conservation and preservation of our water sources. 
Greenway Glow
Saturday, June 20, 6 p.m. - midnight
Midtown Greenway, Minneapolis
Arts festival, free
Nighttime bike ride, $65-$70
Two top MSP pastimes, bicycling and the arts, come together during the Greenway Glow Arts Festival and Bike Ride, hosted by the Midtown Greenway Coalition. Part of the event is a free nighttime arts festival along the Midtown Greenway trail, with more than 20 installations to view — including bicycle-driven light shows and DIY stop-motion projection — along with glow-in-the-dark yoga, and hands on activities for families and children.
Part two of annual event, now in its fourth year, is a nighttime bike ride that includes access to the Pre-Glow reception and Post-Glow after party, where Agra Culture, Prairie Dogs Hot Dogs & Sausages, Ghandi Mahalat and New Belgium Brewing provide free food and drinks. It’s a fundraiser, too: the Midtown Greenway Coalition hopes to raise $30,000 this year, and has already made close to half of this ambitious goal. 
 Northeast Food & Brew Jam
Sunday, June 21, noon – 5 p.m.
The Broadway, at 945 Broadway St. NE, Minneapolis
June in MSP is best enjoyed outside and this year’s Northeast Food & Brew Jam is back to celebrate summer. The fundraiser for youth organizations in Northeast is a great way to celebrate Father’s Day with local food items, craft beer and music. The event features micro-brews from every Northeast brewery (from Sociable Cider Werks to 612Brew), four local bands, and food trucks like Taco Riendo and Green+Grain. Kid friendly activities include balloon art and face painting to ensure every family member is entertained.
David Rue is a dance artist and writer infatuated with the companionship of arts and academia.
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