Photographer Wing Young Huie’s gallery, The Third Place, holds a monthly salon you should check out. Thus far, the venue has hosted conversations with painters and performers, photographers, musicians and community activists. These aren’t just sit-listen-and-leave affairs either; participants make a night of it, chatting over food and drink after the discussion, joining in on karaoke or a couple of friendly games of ping pong.
The Third Place is, in many respects, a natural outgrowth of the relationships Huie cultivated during the development of his massive public art work, the University Avenue Project. In collaboration with Public Art St. Paul (a Knight Arts grantee), the photographer presented an installation of 450 large-scale portraits along a six-mile-stretch of University Avenue from May through September 2010 . The fruits of more than two years of conversations with area residents, Huie’s compelling photographs at once documented and engaged the Central Corridor community, putting front and center the voices of those diverse populations who call Twin Cities’ Midway neighborhood home.
In the wake of The University Avenue Project, Huie established The Third Place gallery as a place that might foster more such conversations. The idea is this: In community building argot, one’s “first place” is home; the second is one’s workplace; “third places” refer to sites of informal socializing, where people come together in their leisure hours — to commiserate and celebrate, to argue politics, to cook up big plans, to eat and drink together. The “third place” serves as a neighborhood locus, a crucible of old-fashioned fellowship and creative collaboration where a collectively shared sense of home and purpose is forged.
This weekend’s salon at The Third Place will center on work by video artist Peter Becker Nelson’s captivating shorts: cleverly produced, caricatured re-enactments of intimate audio interviews the artist has conducted with friends and family. His work delves into the nuances of human connection – love, friendship, intimacy, frustration and loss. It’s hard to describe adequately here; better to watch an excerpt from one of his featured pieces, “Mr. and Mrs. Nelson,” in the video embedded above.
Peter Becker Nelson’s video art will be featured Saturday, June 23 at 7 p.m. at The Third Place, 3730 Chicago Avenue S, Studio B, Minneapolis. His presentation will be followed by ping pong and karaoke until midnight. Suggested donation is $5-10; light refreshments will be available. For more about this and upcoming events, visit www.wingyounghuie.com/events.