This just in from our friends at Twin Cities Daily Planet and partner, Metropolitan State University:
Did you know that the director of “Shaft” got his start in St. Paul? Gordon Parks (1912-2006) was more than a one-trick pony, though: he was one of the great photographers of the 20th century. [We would add that he was also a great novelist, poet, journalist, musician, composer, choreographer and activist.] Metro State is reopening its art gallery—newly named for Parks—with a retrospective of his photography, being celebrated at a reception Friday evening, May 21.
This piqued our interest because first of all, the Dayton’s Bluff Branch Library is located adjacent to the Gordon Parks Gallery (the Library is on the first floor, the Gallery is on the third floor of the Library and Learning Center of the Saint Paul Campus of frequent program partner, Metropolitan State University). Second, I feel (and the opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of my employer, its Board or yo mama) that Parks is a shoe-in for induction into the Minnesota Writers Hall of Fame – maybe not this year, but if not, then soon. The man was BRILLIANT and impressively prolific in so many art forms. Parks himself said that freedom was the theme of all of his work, “Not allowing anyone to set boundaries, cutting loose the imagination and then making the new horizons.”
The Minnesota Writers Hall of Fame is a project of the Minnesota Book Awards and The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, launched in 2009 with support from the Minnesota Historical Society’s Sesquicentennial Commission. It was established to recognize Minnesota writers, both past and present, whose work distills the essence of our state — the people, the land, and the spirit of Minnesota. Frequently considered one of the most literate states in the country, our heritage of writers is vast and strongly influences the great work being created today. The Minnesota Writer’s Hall of Fame serves as a place to pay homage to those who have shaped our past and laid the groundwork for our literary future. If you agree that Parks should be inducted into the Hall of Fame, log in here and help make the case. Or make the case for another writer…! There really is no limit – either in number of nominations one can make, or in the great pool of worthy writers with a Minnesota connection.
Meanwhile, head on over to the Gordon Parks Gallery on the Saint Paul Campus May 22 through July 29 and see Parks’ fine work.
Opening Reception Friday, May 21, 2010. 4:00 – 8:00 p.m.
The Gordon Parks Gallery is proud to present Gordon Parks: Crossroads, the inaugural photographic retrospective celebrating the life work of one of America’s most accomplished 20th century artists. Photographer, poet, novelist, composer, musician and filmmaker, Gordon Parks (1912-2006) spent a lifetime shattering barriers in his pursuit of truth, beauty, social justice and artistic expression.
The Gordon Parks Gallery is located in the new Library and Learning Center on the St. Paul Campus of Metropolitan State University at 645 East Seventh Street.
Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
To request accommodations for a disability, call Disability Services at
651-793-1540 or 651-772-7687 (TTY)