A pop-up gallery inspired by 'Peter and the Starcatcher'

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March 1, 2014 // UPDATED 7:37 pm - March 19, 2014
By: Martha Lueders // Murphy News Service
Tim Carroll and Joan Vonderbruggen outside the 'Peter and the Starcatcher' pop-up gallery.
Photo by Martha Lueders
Martha Lueders // Murphy News Service

Two large banks of windows look onto Hennepin Avenue. Three windows side-by-side create the first bank. A large moon, 10 feet in diameter and covered in scraps of neutral wallpaper, hangs behind the silhouettes of a boy and girl. Their silhouettes are clothed with strips of cloth. Their skin made of corn husks, and their faces assembled out of beads and seashells. To the left of them is a treasure chest wrapped in chains.

The second bank holds various petite figures made from an ensemble of broken toys and knick-knacks. One has a head made from an old record. Another has eyes made from empty spools of thread. They all are mismatched together. “Made Here” is written on the bottom of both banks of windows.

These windows, inspired by the five-time Tony Award winning play “Peter and the Starcatcher,” are part of the Made Here pop-up galleries — a project transforming vacant storefronts on Hennepin into temporary art installations. 

“Peter and the Starcatcher” is a prequel to Peter Pan. Based on the novel written by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, the play explores how Peter Pan came to be. The musical runs March 11–16 at the Orpheum Theatre. 

 “It’s one of the more imaginative plays on Broadway,” said Karen Nelson, communications director at Hennepin Theatre Trust.

The cast is comprised of a number of actors playing more than one part, using unusual props, such as a rope, to illustrate the story of Peter Pan. And it all takes place on a set made of recycled materials.

“We crave and nudge [the audience] to believe what they are seeing,” said Broadway set designer Donyale Werle. 

The reuse aspect works for this play because it forces you to use a child’s imagination, Werle said. 

“It’s not to put trash on stage,” Werle said. “But to use in a way that is surprising.”

The “Peter and the Starcatcher” window display also reflects the whimsical use of recycled products. 

“Using ordinary objects is of interest to me,” said Tim Carroll, who worked on the “Peter and the Starcatcher” window display. “And we’re upcycling the space.”

The store where the “Peter and the Starcatcher” window is used to be an old grocery store with a deli.

Carroll created the display with co-workers Daisy Lysne, Ursula Simmer and Calvin Hafermann, a student at FAIR Downtown School. Combined all the artists worked a total of 160 to 200 hours on the project over a duration of six days, Carroll said.

When Carroll was a kid he used to go downtown with his family and look at the magical storefront displays. “They were up all year round,” he said. “Not just at Christmas.”

“We’re exceedingly excited that this initiative is a nod to that experience,” said Joan Vonderbruggen, the cultural arts district coordinator for the Hennepin Theatre Trust. 

Smudges from handprints and imprints of faces pressed up against the glass lets her know that people are noticing.

Eventually the Hennepin Theatre Trust aspires to see the Made Here project throughout downtown, said the trust’s CEO Tom Hoch. 

“It’s celebrating artists,” he said, “It connects our increasingly diverse community.”

Martha Lueders is studying journalism at the University of Minnesota.