Arts Alert: Checking In With Sheila Smith

Checking in with Sheila Smith

Sheila Smith
Photo by Adam KissickSheila Smith

On Monday morning, we spoke with Sheila Smith, MCA’s executive director, about the week’s events and MCA’s mission.

“The damage is a spectrum,” Smith said. “The worst one was Migizi. It’s just really terrible. The damage at Springboard sounds pretty bad – the sprinkler system was on – but they are saying they’re resilient and justice is a more important issue right now than what’s happening with buildings. You hear that as a pretty common refrain.

“We don’t know everything that has happened, and we don’t know everything that will happen. What we have now is a snapshot in time. I think it’s important to ask, ‘How can the arts bring people together to express their feelings and to heal?’ One of the first things that happened was the mural of George Floyd near the spot where he died. And now that has become a sacred site in the city …

“Our mission is to ensure access to the arts for all Minnesotans. We will still be working on our mission, no matter what’s happening in the world. We’re going to need to protect arts funding when the legislature reconvenes. We have so many arts organizations that were vulnerable because of COVID closings, and now we have some of them suffering physical damage. It’s just injury on injury to our vibrant arts community. Like every other part of the economy, they’re hurting, but this feels like they’re hurting way more.

“The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits report says the nonprofit arts organizations have been the most deeply affected by COVID. This all happening on top of that is hard to bear. We’re all going to have to work together to rebuild those communities and the arts organizations that serve them.”

Interview by Pamela Espeland of Minnpost. Full Article can be found here: