Becketwood Cooperative
An Active, Independent 55+ Community of Owners in Minneapolis

Celebration 100 – A History of Becketwood’s Art

By Jerry Nordstrom, Becketwood Member

From the very beginning, it became important to have pictures hanging in Becketwood’s public spaces. When the “pioneers” began moving into a still-unfinished building thirty years ago, they hung their excess pictures in the halls wherever they wished. And there they remained… until 2007. That’s when everything had to be taken down so the halls could be re-carpeted and painted.

By then hundreds of pictures were scattered throughout the building. To deal with them, the Interior Design Committee established a subcommittee—an Art Committee with three members: Betty Maetzold, Phyllis Kramer and Jerry Nordstrom.

Accepting the job assigned to them, this threesome began by going through the halls to decide which pictures might be reused and which might not… always a sensitive matter. Dorothy Johnson volunteered to take on the task of taking pictures of every one thought to be reusable. Having prints of these pictures made it possible to study and assign them to various floors. Efforts were made to locate the larger stand-alone pictures in elevator lobbies and at ends and bends of hallways; smaller pictures having some commonality were put into groups.

Once the redecorating was completed, pictures were distributed and leaned against the walls in their proposed locations. The Art Committee then stepped back for a few days, awaiting reactions. Requests for changes were accommodated whenever appropriate. Finally, with added help from Ann Haushild and many hours spent hanging picture after picture, the Becketwood halls were once again adorned with art loaned or donated by Members. This collection, one occasionally highlighted by additions and surprises, remains utterly unique.

During its work in the halls, the Art Committee became aware of two watercolorists who had recently moved in and were living next door to one another. Acting on an impulse, the Committee asked these two—Dorothy Swanson and Dot Palmquist—if they might like to display their work in a joint art show. They graciously agreed, thereby becoming the first of the 100 monthly art shows that we now celebrate. That show—in November of 2008—was followed in December with photographs by Bob Ochtrup, and then with paintings by Paul Kramer in January. Originally, there had been no thought of creating an ongoing tradition, but as other names came up, there were more shows: Jeanette Milgrom, Betty Maetzold, Vanjie Bratt, Dorothy Zehm. Soon names of the art-producing children of Members were introduced… then friends of Members. Eventually, artists having no prior connection with Becketwood at all were asking to have their work shown here.

Ultimately, it became clear that if on the first Friday of every month there would be another new art show, Becketwood would need to get serious about providing more suitable lighting. The then-manager, Michael Sedwick, saw to it that this could happen. To make the gallery complete, a museum-quality display case was made possible by way of a gift given in memory of Dorothy Hopeman.

Now, in recognition of Becketwood’s 100th art show, we are celebrating the success of Becketwood’s ventures into artistic expression by doubling our gallery space—this time with lighting made possible through a generous contribution from the Becketwood Craft Committee. With the room’s improved lighting, this new gallery (to be called Gallery East, counterbalancing Gallery West) will provide a better atmosphere, not only for displaying art, but also for groups wishing to reserve this room for special occasions.

Becketwood would not be celebrating its 100th art show were it not for the many Members (and numerous others) who have shared the art that had brought enjoyment to them. We deeply appreciate the willingness of all who, during these eight years, have denuded their walls a month at a time so that these exhibitions of art might be possible. Our life as a community is enriched by their generosity.

Art Gallery

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