Minneapolis (Nov. 9, 2021) – The holiday spirit is on full display at the Meet Minneapolis Visitor Center on Nicollet and 5th Street. Now through Jan. 2, 2022, one-of-a-kind mannequin trees, created by local artist Alicia Smiley, are on exhibit. In conjunction with the holiday trees, free events are scheduled in November and December including opportunities to meet the artist, holiday story and art projects for kids, and musical performances. The hand-crafted holiday tree exhibit is in partnership with the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery (MAAHMG).
The exhibition of exquisite trees, created by Smiley, reinvents the traditional tree. This holiday display comes to life with her unique mannequin designs reflecting sophistication and grace. The exhibit was installed at the Meet Minneapolis Visitor Center last week; here’s a time-lapse video of the installation. Black history, art and culture are reflected in the six designs:
- Emerald City - The Wiz: The inspiration was the 1978 film that reimagined a classic movie.
- Harlem Renaissance: This tree captures the spirit of Black sophistication from the early 20th century.
- Jumping the Broom: A Black wedding tradition believed to have originated in West Africa and continued during slavery in the United States was the vision for this tree.
- MAAHMG: This tree proudly wears the MAAHMG t-shirt with the West African Adinkra symbol that represents humility and strength.
- Power to the People: This tree represents the fight for economic, social and political power for the Black community in the 1960s and 1970s and today's continued fight for justice.
- Royalty: Evoking pride in the regal roots of African Americans in Africa and the resilience of Blacks in America encapsulates the creative of this display.
In addition to the holiday trees, the MAAHMG, which is a locally owned and operated community-based museum focused on both past and contemporary African American history, has several scheduled events taking place at the Meet Minneapolis Visitor Center:
- Artist Talk, Saturday, Nov. 13, noon - 1 p.m.: Meet and greet Alicia Smiley
- Get to Know MAAHMG, Saturday, Nov. 20, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.: Meet and greet MAAHMG staff and learn about the museum.
- MAAHMG Children’s Reading Circle and Art, Saturday, Dec. 4, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-2 p.m.: Reading of a holiday story and art project with kids.
- Artist Talk, Saturday, Dec. 11, noon - 1 p.m.: Meet and greet Alicia Smiley.
- Live musical performances are also in the works for Saturday, Dec. 18. Details will be posted on MAAHMG’s website and Facebook page.
“We are excited to partner with Meet Minneapolis to feature this amazing exhibit at its Visitor Center in downtown Minneapolis,” said Tina Burnside, MAAHMG co-founder and curator. “The themed trees, featuring stories of Black history and culture, highlight the resilience in our communities and we hope our exhibit dazzles and adds some sparkle and shine to the 2021 holiday season.”
For more information about the Meet Minneapolis Visitor Center, including daily hours, visit www.minneapolis.org/visitor-information.
ABOUT MEET MINNEAPOLIS VISITOR CENTER
As part of Meet Minneapolis, Convention and Visitor Association, the Meet Minneapolis Visitor Center is the official visitor center for Minneapolis, located in the CenterPoint Energy building on Nicollet and 5th Street. Staff is available to answer questions, share visitor maps and resources about things to do in Minneapolis and the surrounding area. Meet Minneapolis is a private, not-for-profit, member-based association. It actively promotes and sells the Minneapolis area as a destination for conventions and meetings, works to maximize the visitor experience and markets the city as a desirable tourist destination to maximize the economic benefit to the greater Minneapolis area. Meet Minneapolis is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International.
ABOUT MINNESOTA AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE MUSEUM AND GALLERY
Founded in 2018, the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery is a community-based museum focused on preserving, documenting, and celebrating the history, art, and culture of Blacks in Minnesota through exhibitions, programs and events. The museum strives to make history and art accessible to the community. MAAHMG is open Tuesdays – Fridays from 1-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. and is located at 1256 Penn Avenue North, Fourth Floor, Minneapolis, MN, 55411. Admission is free and there is free parking in the ramp attached to the building. Group tours are available by filling out our group tour form: Book A Tour at MAAHMG Today. Group tours cost $10 per person and are limited to 25 individuals. Tours for elementary, middle, and high schools are free, but must still be scheduled. For more information, please visit www.maahmg.org.
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Kathy McCarthy, PR and Communications Director, 612-767-8048, KathyM@minneapolis.org
Kristen Montag, Senior PR and Communications Manager, 612-767-8038, KristenM@minneapolis.org
Kevin Kurtt, PR and Communications Manager, 612-767-8118, KevinK@minneapolis.org