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Meet Tastemaker Tricia Khutoretsky of Public Functionary

Tricia Public Functionary
Tricia Khutoretsky is the Co-Director and Curator of Public Functionary, a non-profit arts center in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. A blend of contemporary art exhibition and social space, Public Funtionary creates new experiences in collaboration with local and national artists that are redefining the role of the modern gallery.

What inspires you?
I’m constantly on the search for inspiration, and I’m a visual thinker so anything aesthetically pleasing gets ideas churning in my head, from seeing the way a painting is installed in a museum to an interesting interior in a retail space or restaurant. But, I grew up overseas and thrive on seeing the world, so I would say that travel experiences are what truly gets my creativity flowing, because it takes me out of the everyday grind for a change of perspective.

How do you decide what makes the cut be in Public Functionary?
Curating for Public Functionary is an interesting challenge because I focus on showcasing artists on what I call an “eclectic continuum,” meaning that we show a deliberate but varied range of art. I believe that in order break down elitist attitudes around art and galleries, and to create a gallery experience that is relevant to modern audiences, there should be diversity in the art that a gallery shows. And when referring to “diversity” I am not using the cliche definition of the word. The world today is diverse in so many multifaceted ways. People are more complex, have unique tastes and less definable by stereotypes. So in terms of what makes the cut, it’s generally a requirement that the work be in an obvious way, different from the last show, and much different from the next. The overarching criteria though is well crafted, thoughtful art by complex artists. I’m hoping to cultivate an audience for art that enjoys diversity, unexpected experiences, and the opportunity to see and understand something new.

How would you describe your style?
Comfort is always my number one priority as I am super active. But I gravitate towards a bohemian style in the summer, lots of color, pattern and flowy lines. Winter is more minimal and monochromatic for me, gray, black and white in a tighter fit for layers and warmth. Fall and Spring style exist somewhere in between the two, of course.

Tell us about the creative community in the Twin Cities and how you work inside of it.
One of the things I most love about the creative community here is the cross-over energy between music, art, fashion, design, restaurants etc. While we don’t have the major city benefits like New York or Los Angeles, we do have attainable resources, affordable space and collaborative energy. I work within this community by making ideas happen, taking risks, supporting innovation and encouraging multidisciplinary collaboration. I’d like to hope I can somehow represent what it is that makes the Twin Cities an exceptional place to be a creative.

What are your favorite J.W. Hulme products?
I’m absolutely obsessed with the new cobalt blue line… it’s totally Yves Klein blue! It’s absolutely gorgeous and J.W. Hulme executes the iconic color in leather goods flawlessly.

Tell us about Public Functionary’s beginnings.
Public Functionary was initiated in 2012 by myself and a group of collaborators from a boutique creative agency, Permanent Art and Design. The then partners of the agency were focusing on design projects, but all had roots in the art community. Working on the marketing and curation of two galleries: CO Exhibitions and XYandZ Gallery, the group of us spent a lot of time examining the landscape of Twin Cities art spaces… and what we felt was both possible and lacking. A year later, with a 30K Kickstarter campaign, a lot of crazy ideas and resources pulled from reputations built on creative hustle, we founded Public Functionary. The goal was to be a “modern gallery” that could re-imagine art patronage as fun, playful and energetic. The organization has since organically grown to be a platform for experimentation and collaboration, and new partners and leaders have since added to the vision for the space. We’re in the first two years, so as with building any new business it’s not without challenges and compromises. But community support is strong and consistent, I’m excited to continue building.

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