Letter from Sandy Spieler

January 9, 2019

Dear Beloved Community—

Many of you know that I am one of the founders of Mayday from 1975, and have midwifed the artistic part of Mayday since this beginning. Now, four decades later, I have been wondering how I can serve the evolution of Mayday into the future. About a year ago, I recognized that perhaps the best way I can support this evolution is for me to step back, thus opening up my spot so that other grounded and passionate artists will step forward.  And so with a totally open heart, I am announcing that this year, 2019, will be my last year as Artistic Director of Mayday.  

This will be my 45th Mayday. I have had the incredible opportunity to bless these streets with so many participants from near and far, to collaborate with teams of soulful, creative, and feisty artists, organizers and volunteers, and to celebrate children growing into adolescence, then adulthood, and now bringing their children as participants. If you are reading this note from me, you are no doubt one of these people—yes, YOU, Beloved Community--- and I extend my most enormous THANK YOU to YOU! --Each of you! Thank you for weaving yourself with all of us into the tapestry that is Mayday, for bringing your mind and heart into the vulnerable and exhilarating space of wrestling together with issues that plague us individually and collectively. I thank you for all I have learned from you, how you have helped me grow through all my blind spots.  As I immerse myself in preparations for this year’s Mayday, I am surrounded by layers of stories –--of the majesty of YOU—welling up in my heart. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! I look forward to the many ways our paths will continue to cross.

This is a critical time in the culture building of our theatre, our community, and our nation. I join with the many who believe that a path toward health and equity can only flourish by reckoning with the wounds from colonial/ settler/white supremacy privileged systems that continue to grip us with debilitating threads. I continually wish to evaluate and ‘de-colonize’ my own heart, my life practices, and relationships. What are authentic ways to come together as neighbors and as kin? As our beautiful community here in South Minneapolis grows on this sacred Dakota ground with increasing and vital diversity, it is my deepest desire to support the evolution of artistic and administrative leadership of Mayday to grow from the rich soil of our diversity.

You will be seeing this note from me amidst other information from In the Heart of the Beast Theatre about sobering financial predictions that necessitate revised scenarios of the Theatre’s programming and operations.  Because In the Heart of the Beast Theatre is the core of producing Mayday, this financial news affects Mayday directly. However, I want you to know that this financial situation is not prompting my decision to step back from Mayday directorship, nor is my decision to step back prompting this financial situation. I had made my personal decision a year ago. The financial situation is unexpected, yet unfortunately not new in the struggle of Art organizations in this market economy.  How will this affect Mayday’s evolution into the future??? In some ways this situation opens the possibilities even wider than my decision to step back. You are invited to be part of unfolding this vision, and there will be public meetings set for later. Please stay tuned.

In the meantime, we have THIS year to tend to!

A central ritual of the Mayday Ceremony in Powderhorn Park is the raising of the Tree of Life puppet as a yearly commitment: of  human communities to be in right reciprocal relationship with each other and the whole of creation. Remembering insight from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., my prayer is that MayDay  be a promise to uphold and nourish the whole ecosystem, our Beloved Community,  with Power that is wedded to Love.*

Thank You for all that has been, and Thank You for all that will be!


With immense love and gratitude,

Sandy Spieler


* “… power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love." *

Martin Luther King, Jr. 1967