Saturday, February 14, 2009

Bike Art 2009

Bicycle Race- Andy Singer

Dear Altered Esthetics friends and cycling enthusiasts,

Are you ready for the best Bicycle Art show yet? Altered Esthetics' 2009 Bicycle Art Exhibit will feature a variety of awesome ways to get engaged with other artists and cyclists in communities from here to Patagonia. To read more about our plans for the upcoming exhibition and find out how you can get involved, check out the updates below.

Looking forward to another awesome year!


New Website

Last year Ae received an awesome new website! You should give it a whirl if you haven't done so already. The Bike Art shows are all online as well:
Bike Art I
Bike Art II
Bike Art III
Bike Art IV

Open Call for Artists

For this year's show, we'll be featuring Bicycle themed art, sculpture and video - but we'll also be featuring an interactive Spoke Card Art installation as part of the exhibit!

You can submit artwork or spoke card art one of three ways.

Submit online:
Not only does the website have all our exhibits up, it also has a fancypants online submission system. Artists who submit this way will be our BFFs because this process makes everything a LOT easier on Ae volunteers. You can submit online at: Bike Art IV/Open calls page.

Submit via email:
If you don't like the thought of submitting through the system, you can still submit electronically by emailing your name, contact information, an image of the artwork, title and media to

Submit via mail:
If your (or a friend you have) is anti e-anything, you (or they) can call us to request a submission form via the mail. We do not accept telegraphs or mail carrier pigeons, though we will accept ponies via the pony express.

Ae Bike Team - MS 150

Each June, Altered Esthetics hosts this Bicycle Art exhibit, bringing together the awesome arts and cycling communities of the Twin Cities and beyond. Last year, we invited our friends to join us as we supported another awesome cause also taking place every June - the MS 150.

The MS 150 is the biggest two-day ride in Minnesota, and is a fundraiser for National Multiple Sclerosis Society. JOIN US, and take on the 150 mile trek from Duluth to the Twin Cities, featuring the scenic William Munger Trail. Not only is the ride beautiful, but is a lot of fun while supporting a great cause.

Arts, advocates, and friends are all invited to join the Ae team as we support the MS 150 for a second year, and the event's 30th anniversary.

Friends riding as a part of the Altered Esthetics team will receive a free Bicycle Art/MS 150 team t-shirt, a free Altered Esthetics poster, and the intangible feeling of awesomeness that comes with joining the Ae team.

Join the Ae Team

Bike Art in the Northeast Parade

As part of the 2009 Bike Art festivities, Altered Esthetics will be participating in the 80th Annual Northeast Parade with a rolling Art Exhibit and Bicycle caravan.


Interested in sponsoring, supporting, or volunteering to help make this year's Bike Art exhibit a success? Contact us at: or 612.378.8888 for more information.



We'll admit it - we're internet dorks. But we can all be in this together - join the Bicycle Art group on Facebook!

Post features "Bicycle Race" by Andy Singer

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Calling all Comic Artists to Big Funny!

Altered Esthetics, in partnership with the Minneapolis Cell of the International Cartoonist Conspiracy and Big Time Attic, celebrate the 110th anniversary of the American Comic Strip with “Big Funny” - an all-comic newspaper full of artwork from local, national and international comic artists.

August 6-29, 2009

Opening Reception Friday August 7, 2009 – 7:00pm-10pm

Join Big Funny on any of the following online communities:




Attention Artists!

*This show has specific requirements for all artwork submitted and accepted. Read below for specific guidelines. *


The newspaper industry is coughing blood and gasping on its deathbed. Newspapers lost their relevance a long time ago, and with internet media blossoming they can no longer compete. Readers and advertisers have moved on.

Unfortunately, newspapers are taking their beautiful bastard child, the newspaper comic strip, with them.

Today's newspaper comics are much-maligned... and deservedly so. Today's small strips, with mostly predictable, safe themes and bland characters are a pale shadow of what newspaper comics were in their wild and colorful youth.

110-or-so years from their birth, it's been a good run. Let us not mourn the death of the newspaper comics... rather, let us have a wake to celebrate what they once were, and to build something new.

The International Cartoonist Conspiracy, Big Time Attic, and Altered Esthetics gallery are collaborating to produce an oversized newspaper comics section like they would do it today if they still did it like they did it in the old days.

It will be called BIG FUNNY, and it will be both.

The paper will premiere at a show at Altered Esthetics in August featuring some of the original art from the paper, along with historical comics pages from the dawn of the last century.

Submissions are open to all... no prior cartooning experience is necessary. While we expect to have a lot of cartoonists participate, we are hoping to also have poster artists, printmakers and artists from other disciplines represented.

We have a tight deadline... no entries will be accepted after May first. Keep in mind... newspaper cartoonists used to do this every week, plus six dailies! You have it easy!


All submissions must be funny. We are no prudes, but potty or shock-based humor is too easy... while this sort of thing won't exclude you from consideration, please do challenge yourselves.

You can make your entry in color or black and white. If providing a color version, you must also provide a version of it in black and white. It has not been determined at this point if the entire paper will be in color or not, so the final call on whether a particular strip will run in color or black and white will be determined by the editors.

Submitted artwork should be 15.5" (w) x 20" (h).

Color or greyscale pages should be 300dpi. Black and white images should be a minumum of 600 and maximum of 1200 dpi.

Submit images in BMP or PSD format. Also include a 72 dpi JPG of your files at full dimensions for reading purposes.

All submissions must be submitted digitally.

While you may submit more than one page, all pages should be self-contained. A single page is certainly welcome to have multiple strips on it... however, please keep the design of the page as a whole unit in mind if you go this route.


Submitting a strip does not guarantee it will be included. Space is limited... so the sooner you get your submission in the better.

If submitting a color comic, keep in mind that color on newsprint is considerably duller than on printer paper. Thus, you will want your colors to be exceedingly bright.

In addition to comic storytelling and humor, design of the page as a whole unit will be a strong factor in what will be chosen for inclusion. Ideally, every page should be something that someone might like having framed like a poster on their wall.

Participants are encouraged to find inspiration from old newspaper comics. The newspaper comics were the primordial soup that modern comics grew out of... many of them were thematically wild, crazily inventive and beautifully drawn. Do yourself a favor and read some.

Good resources for old newspaper comics, and many examples of them, can be found here:

Note that we are not recommending aping styles or themes from the old comics, necessarily... just breathing in some of the comics that modern comics grew from and reacting to them.

Here is a resource on scanning large images:

Note that it is easier to scan large pages that are broken into panels.


Register on the Altered Esthetics website: (at the Big Funny Page.)

Send your submissions via mail to:

1618 Central Ave. NE Suite 216
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Or, email kevin at (replace the word at with @) to arrange how you want to transfer files. Please write BIG FUNNY in the subject heading of all emails to Kevin.

Obviously, by submitting work, you are offering us the right to put it in BIG FUNNY on acceptance, and we make no claims on it otherwise. Artists retain all rights to their artwork.

If accepted for publication, you will be invited to send your artwork to Altered Esthetics to display at the August exhibit. Further details will be provided.

Note that it is not required that you sell your original art, although it is strongly encouraged. The gallery will get a 30% cut of any original artwork sold, so you will want to price it appropriately.

Altered Esthetics is a good cause... we are a non-profit, non-traditional, artist-run gallery. In the event there are any profits, they will go toward our continued service to the arts community.

There is no fee to submit artwork. Accepted artists will be asked to contribute a $30 exhibition fee to the project, plus an additional $10 if you are out-of-state to cover shipping costs of your comp copies. This exhibition fee goes towards the cost of printing the publication and promotional postcards for the event, as well as the gallery itself during the brick-and-mortar exhibition. No artist will be turned away due to lack of funds - a limited number of waivers are available to artists in extreme financial circumstance.

There is no additional fee in the event multiple pages are selected for publication.

We are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged artwork.

If you have further questions about any aspects of the BIG FUNNY project, contact (replace -at- with @)


-It is going to be a whole lot of fun.

-This is a very rare opportunity for artists to work in a large, color, poster-size format publication. As newspapers disappear, it is likely that the presses to print them will disappear or become prohibitively expensive... this could make this sort of project very hard to repeat.

-Accepted artists will receive multiple copies of BIG FUNNY. The number of copies received will be based on participants' submission fees divided by the cover price of copies, minus shipping, if shipping is required. There may be additional copies available for artists at the gallery for the show opening event and closing.

-You can sell your artwork in the gallery.

-Keep in mind your participation supports a great non-profit gallery, us! If this is your first time hearing about Ae, you can read more about who we are and what we do here:


BIG FUNNY (coming soon!)

The International Cartoonist Conspiracy (

Altered Esthetics (

Big Time Attic (


MN Arts Advocacy Day - February 24!!!

If you're going please rsvp at

Artists and Friends!

Please pay attention to what is going in YOUR arts community. For more info, please read the following.


Gov. Pawlenty Proposes Cutting Arts by Nearly 50%!

Gov. Pawlenty today announced a nearly 50 percent cut to the arts as part of a package of budget changes intended to balance the state's budget. A cut of this size would be devastating to an already reduced state arts budget. In 2003, the Governor proposed cutting 40% of arts funding, and we spent all that session fighting to reduce the cut to 32%. In subsequent sessions, we had managed to restore a small part of that funding. With this cut, the Governor is proposing to slash funding even lower than the arts had after losing a third of the funding in 2003.

The state currently appropriates $10.2 million to the State Arts Board and Regional Arts Councils, which go out in grants and services to all 87 Minnesota counties. The cuts would reduce that to $6.9M for 2010, and then only $3.4M for 2011. Another confusing angle in his budget recommendation is to turn the Minnesota State Arts Board, a state agency, into a "private non-profit," showing no state dollars going to the board after 2011. We can't tell what the point of that is, as it seems that the MSAB would still be largely spending public dollars. Such an action may conflict with the accountability and transparancy of the use of tax dollars.

In addition, while he shows revenue to the Amendment Arts and Culture Fund, he does not spend it. The Governor needs to explain how cutting this much funding from the Minnesota State Arts Board and Regional Arts Councils is NOT replacing one with the other. The Amendment says, "the dedicated money ... must supplement traditional sources of funding for these purposes and may not be used as a substitute." It may be that his intention is to replace current General Fund spending on the arts with Amendment dollars, but the budget does not seem to show that, except that the Arts Board is the only entity listed on the spending side of the Arts and Culture Fund budget, and there are zeroes in that column. It doesn't really make sense. We will continue to analyze the budget and get out more information as it becomes available.

The mood at the Capitol is dark. The deficit is huge, at $5B and rising, we don't know yet if and when federal stimulus dollars might arrive. The Governor is looking exclusively at cuts and shifts (pushing off paying bills by a year or two) to balance the budget. It is expected that eventually someone will propose tax increases of some kind to help balance the budget and reduce the size of cuts across the system, but that may be months away.

We thought last year was going to be the biggest year for arts advocacy in Minnesota history. Apparently, we were wrong! This year is even tougher. The Governor's budget proposal flies in the face of the clear message sent by voters in the passage of the Amendment: that we want MORE investment in the arts and culture, not less. To then additionally propose privatizing the State Arts Board is the opposite of the intent of voters. The state must spend the Amendment Arts and Culture fund on the arts and culture. The Minnesota State Arts Board and Regional Arts Councils, which make sure arts funding reaches all 87 counties through their grants and services, is a natural and accountable conduit for much of that funding.

It is expected that this will be a very tough fight, and we need everyone's help to make sure that arts funding for the next two years isn't slashed. That is why it's important for YOU to attend Arts Advocacy Day on Feb. 24. We've shown by passage of the Amendment that by working together we can do great things. See below for more details.

Sheila Smith
Executive Director
Minnesota Citizens for the Arts