If you want anything cultural promoted in the Twin Cities, Scott Mayer is the go-to guy to get it done, even on Labor Day weekend when any resident who has not left town is either sleeping-in or preparing for a day at the Minnesota State Fair.
Mayer's latest project, spark24, showcased the Minneapolis-St. Paul arts scene to a global audience in a 24-hour marathon, running from 5pm, Aug. 30, to 5pm, Aug. 31.
Activities centered on Orchestra Hall and the adjacent Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis. The Minnesota Orchestra kicked things off, followed by 27 half-hour blocks filled by the likes of VocalEssence, the Minnesota Opera, Zenon Dance Company, Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus, Mu Daiko, Arena Dances, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, and many more.
More than 60 public and private venues around downtown got into the act with some form of live entertainment between 10pm and 2am. At 4am, 800 people were attending activities inside Orchestra Hall.
When performances moved back outside to Peavey Plaza at 6am, five hardy souls had been present since 5pm. By 9am, one stalwart remained and vowed to stay the full 24 hours! A complimentary breakfast was served from 6am to 9am to anyone on the scene.
The excuse for this activity was the presence in the Twin Cities of 50,000+ visitors, including global media, for the Republican National Convention, which opens tomorrow. A press center for spark24 was set up in the IDS Center, three blocks from Peavey Plaza.
Mayer's prolific promotional activities have been chronicled for more than 20 years. I interviewed him on my radio program in the 1980s when he inaugurated the annual Hollywood Academy Awards events in Minneapolis. When the mayor needed help organizing and funding MOSAIC, an annual summer arts festival, he turned to Mayer six years ago. More recently, Mayer founded the annual Ivey Awards to celebrate and honor professional theater in the Twin Cities.
Peavey Plaza has become the outdoor venue of choice for summer performances in downtown Minneapolis. Located on the Nicollet Mall and adjacent to Orchestra Hall, its bubbling fountains and the historic spires of Westminster Presbyterian Church across the street provide an open air, jewel-box setting.