A case against Minneapolis.

I've been really disturbed lately over the gradual and escalating decline of the arts in the Twin Cities.  Having grown up there, I always made a case for the place, citing it's amazing theater and music scene, not to mention some really great museums, plus a bounty of organizations that bring arts to youth.  There really was so much culture and support for the arts in a population just over a half million.  And that, for me anyway, was what made the Twin Cities so great.

As a musician living in the evermore expensive NYC, Minneapolis has always beckoned to me as a place where quality of living and opportunities were high, and cost of living was relatively low.  A place where a musician could afford a house and groceries, maybe have a family, and not be doomed to eternal debt or a studio apartment.  A place where a person who has spent their entire life studying, refining, teaching, practicing, rehearsing, struggling, emailing, brooding, sweating, suffering, creatively accounting, working, sometimes sleeping, and definitely drinking, might even earn a little if not a lot of respect.  Having two top notch orchestras, a fairly strong jazz scene, and lots of hometown talent also made Minneapolis an easy sell to myself and others with a similar lifestyle.  But what's happened in the last couple of weeks (as a culmination of the last year) has been abominable.

So to put you up to date if you aren't already, the MN Orchestra has been on a lockout for over a year, as of October 1.  Because of this, the beloved conductor, Osmo Vanska, has resigned, as well as the Director of the Composers Institute, Aaron Jay Kernis.  The musicians have been treated as disposable, though they are at the highest caliber in their increasingly competitive field.  Days later, I read that St. Paul's greatest and most loved jazz venue, The Artists' Quarter, is closing at the end of the year.  The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra was nearly doomed itself, after a 191-day lockout of its own.  And these are just the high profile losses.  I can't imagine what's happening to the smaller organizations. 

I hate to say it, but it looks like Minneapolis is slipping.  Culturally, it's becoming a glorified suburb.  I don't think it's too late, but the way things are going makes my death grip on NYC even stronger.  And after reading this article (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/07/new-york-1percent-stifles-creative-talent) and experiencing the truth of what the writer writes about, I'm not even sure I should be sticking around here anymore.

It all makes me very anxious, I tell you.

I hate to return to the blog with this little rant, but blogs, by definition, are for venting.  Look it up.