Alumni collab promotes art post-graduation

Err, an artist collective started by University alumni, provides new artists with a chance to share their work.

by Olivia Johnson

A warm weather weekend put the brakes on an icehouse art project but not the group behind the installation.
Err,  an artist collective founded by a group of University of Minnesota alumni who graduated more than two years ago, holds monthly events for local artists, poets and musicians to perform and display their work.
For their most recent project, Err artists built an exhibit for White Bear Lake’s Art Shanty Projects. The monthlong festival features themed icehouses and public walk-throughs each weekend.
Rachel Mogck, who helped start Err, took on the job of directing the art shanty construction this year.
The new shanty, called the AstroLounge, is space-themed and hosted small events, like arts and crafts and reading to children.
“We all love astrology and space, so we all started brainstorming,” Mogck said. “We kind of decided that we wanted to do a dome top for the look of the sky.”
Err members and extra volunteers spent all of January building the shanty from PVC pipe, plastic, black spray paint and glitter.
Mogck said the 10 original members of Err met two years ago when they built a wind-themed shanty.
“We just kind of realized that we all liked working together and … got this idea for starting an artists’ collective,” Mogck said.
Hanna Kjeldbjerg, a 2013 English graduate, is one of the founders. Some of the founders met each other through the school’s Ivory Tower art and literary magazine.
While Err was originally based on writing, Kjeldbjerg said she wanted to open it up to other media.
“I’ve always loved salons. You invite usually about two or three writers into your home and then you open it up to the public,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to do that, but I’ve never wanted to have it in my house.”
Honey, a restaurant and bar near St. Anthony Main in Minneapolis, hosts the majority of Err’s art and music showings, Kjeldbjerg said.
She said Err’s earliest members started the collective to keep fueling their artistic passion and drive post-graduation.
“We created Err with the intention of being kind of that channel and giving people the confidence in their art to continue moving onward,” she said.
Terry Scott Niebeling graduated from the University in December but submitted his poetry to Err a year ago.
“They help you and promote your work, and they put on really good shows,” he said. “It’s incredible to be involved with.”
Niebeling said his poetry made it to Err’s fifth event at Moto-i restaurant in Uptown last year. About 150 people came and heard his reading, along with musicians and other artists. 
“In my experience, I really enjoy how they’re … one of the only progressive groups — collectives — on campus that is actually open to a variety of new artists, unheard-of artists,” Niebeling said. “They have a comfortable feel.”
He said the shows usually include new artists, many of whom showcased their art at events before. Err also releases a magazine at the show of all the work featured there.
“They’re forward-thinking. They try to incorporate people that wouldn’t normally be incorporated,” Niebeling said. “They try to get away from mainstream and just promote the art.”