Public Functionary — A Window Into New Art Space In Minneapolis

January 14, 2013

Public FunctionaryRecently, I made my first contribution to a KickStarter campaign. I am one of 230 founding funders of Public Functionary, a new non-profit art space opening early 2013 in Northeast Minneapolis. Public Functionary’s KickStarter campaign raised over $30,000 to be used towards the build-out of the exhibit space (now in full-swing) and initial programming initiatives.

This weekend, I caught up with the organization’s director and curator, Tricia Khutoretsky, to find out more about Public Functionary and what we can look forward to this year. Tricia was formerly the in-house curator for Permanent ADG (an arts-focused creative agency) and directed both of their commercial galleries — XYandZ and CO Exhibitions. She also developed and curated the Iraqi American Reconciliation Project, which connected cultures in a positive way through art.

I can’t wait for Public Functionary to open its doors. I’m thrilled by their focus on making art more accessible, cultivating young collectors and using content to expand the experience beyond the walls of a gallery.

PF raw space pre-build out

Public Functionary is finishing space in Northeast Minneapolis.

Who is the team behind Public Functionary?
I have partnered on Public Functionary with Permanent ADG. They are on board to assist with our design, marketing, events, web, and general production. Permanent’s partners Kate Iverson, Mike Bishop, and Joseph Belk and designer Kyle Helle have helped me develop the concept of Public Functionary over the past year. The building we are in houses Permanent, Public Functionary, and The Lab Digital, a fine art printer. It’s a creative and resourceful trifecta.

What inspired the name Public Functionary?
Well, the gallery entrance is on Buchanan Street in Northeast Minneapolis so we did a little research on President Buchanan, for whom the street is named and learned that one of his (nicer) nicknames was “The Old Public Functionary”. We dropped “The Old” and the name stuck. Though the definition has a dull bureaucratic connotation behind it, we thought spinning it into something positive — and quite literal — was the way to go. We are here to function for the public and to break down the barriers that often stop people from truly appreciating and interacting with art.

What makes Public Functionary unique?
One of the most distinctive things that makes us different is that each year we will follow a loose thematic thread that ties all the exhibitions together — a direct response to current culture and what is happening in the world today and how artists are relating to it.

Public Functionary is built on four pillars: Exhibition, Collection, Community, and Documentation. We will focus on developing and educating young collectors as well as cultivating an established collector base. Community programming will be a cornerstone of what we do; making art fun and giving it understandable context is extremely important to us. We also plan to use technology to document what we do in innovative ways, creating space online where our exhibits can truly live and be accessed in a bigger, more informative way. Physically, the space will be a welcoming environment where people can see art, interact with it and with each other, create conversations and alter perceptions.

Kid's Event during KickStarter campaign: Scribble Saturday

Public Functionary hosted a kids’ event called Scribble Saturday during it KickStarter campaign.

What can we look forward to in the coming months?
We are in the midst of build out right now. We are refinishing the concrete floors, building a mobile wall system, putting in new doors, etc. Our grand opening date is TBD due to all of this, but you can expect something very unique, interactive, and beautiful to happen as we kick things off — our lips are sealed for now! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with news. We are posting pictures as things progress with the build out and will announce details on forthcoming events soon!