‘Stone cold art’ at the Soap Factory

“Untitled” by Shalette Cauley Wandrick

Largest group exhibition of Minnesota artists of color opens Saturday, Feb. 23

On Saturday, Feb. 23, in honor of Black History Month, the Soap Factory presents Soul on Ice, the largest group exhibition on black culture by Minnesota artists of color.

The month-long exhibit features 40 works by dozens of artists and a twist: only the opening-night reception (Feb. 23, 7–11 p.m.) will be heated.

For the month afterwards, “visitors and attendees will need to bundle up, wearing winter gear while viewing ‘Stone Cold Art,’” states a release from Soap Factory. The exhibit’s title was inspired by author and activist Eldridge Cleaver’s book of the same name, “reflecting on the turbulent times of the civil rights movement, from which he built a culture consciousness which is still active in our lives today,” states the release.

Curated by Pat Phillips and the artist group The Art Within Us (TAWU) and sponsored by Obsidian Arts, the exhibit will run through March 23.

Soap Factory has worked with Obsidian and TAWU in the past, said Soap Factory Director Ben Heywood, providing larger gallery space to the organization, based at Lake Street and Chicago Avenue. The winter exhibition is an exception for the unheated gallery, but Heywood said the curators embraced the cold that coincides with Black History Month. “They became very excited by the idea of asking artists to do work on a theme,” said Heywood. Some works follow the theme of cold, including two or three pieces made out of ice, he said, but the While the broader theme is artists of color. “It certainly has a soul element,” said Heywood.

Mediums include paintings, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, metal sculpture and video installation. Artists range from well-known locals Tacoumba Aiken and Seitu Jones to “peope who did this without ever showing their work,” said Heywood. “One of the interesting things for us is to actually put these things together.”

Two artists discussions will take place in march: “The ethical contract and grants and fellowships for artists” (March 8) and “Black culture talk” (March 22). Both discussions will take place at Obsidian Arts, 743 E. Lake St., #220, 2–4 p.m.

The Soap Factory is located at 518 SE Second St., (enter at the loading dock). Gallery hours are Thursday and Friday 2–8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 12–5 p.m. For more information, visit their website, call 612-623-9176 or email info@soapfactory.org

last revised: February 21, 2008