ST. PAUL — The Minnesota History Center in St. Paul presents two special exhibits, “Prince: Before the Rain” and “First Avenue: Stories of Minnesota’s Mainroom” through May 3.
Minnesota photographer Allen Beaulieu helped shape the icon we know today as Prince. As Prince’s personal photographer and friend from the late 1970s into the early 1980s, he charted the musician's progression from rising star to superstar.
The exhibit features 50 digital prints of Prince, The Revolution, Morris Day and The Time, and other artists, as well as a handful of artifacts that speak to Prince’s image.
Designed to feel like an intimate nightclub with black walls, long purple drapes and a glittering chandelier, visitors can relax on a round purple velvet couch while taking in the surrounding images. At the exhibit entrance, fans can take a selfie in front of a wall reminiscent of the famed “graffiti bridge” in Eden Prairie where Beaulieu took promotional photos of Prince.
Visitors are encouraged to continue Prince’s story with his next big hit, “Purple Rain,” in the neighboring exhibit, “First Avenue: Stories of Minnesota’s Mainroom.” The exhibit features the suit he wore in the movie and other artifacts, as well as a section devoted to Prince’s April 2016 passing with memorial letters and items left at First Avenue.
Fans can hear Beaulieu during a panel discussion at the History Center's free program First Tuesdays/First Avenue: Prince Night, from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 1. Beaulieu will be joined by The Revolution band member Dez Dickerson and DJ Kevin Cole, with The Current’s Adrea Swensson moderating. Cole will also DJ in the gallery from 6:30-7 p.m.
The History Center is located at 345 Kellogg Blvd. W. in St. Paul. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission to “Prince: Before the Rain” is included with regular History Center admission of $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, veterans/active military and college students, $6 ages 5 to 17; free ages 4 and under, MNHS members and from 3 to 8 p.m on Tuesdays.
Auxiliary aids and services are available with advance notice. For more information, call 1-800-657-3773.