An Evening with Sun Mee Chomet: Creating From Your Own Truth

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we will be canceling the event Creating from Your Own Truth: An Evening with Sun Mee Chomet. The Humanities Center will be issuing full refunds to all registrants and will be looking for opportunities to reschedule for a future date. Apologies for the inconvenience. Any questions can be directed to Kate Westlund.


Spend the evening of May 20th with award-winning actor, playwright and MN Original alum Sun Mee Chomet as she shares excerpts from her work and engages participants with theater games, writing activities and storytelling. The event will be geared towards educators but is open to all.

This event is the sixth in a series presented in partnership with the Minnesota Humanities Center.

Limited seats available.

Register Now

Date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Location: Minnesota Humanities Center, 987 Ivy Ave. E, St. Paul, MN 55106
Cost: $10 per person, includes light snacks and materials
CEUs: 2 clock hours available upon request

For more details and to register, click here.

Celebrating 5 Years of MN Original

Sure, most recognize April 22 as Earth Day. But did you know it’s also MN Original‘s birthday?

Today marks 5 years since MN Original‘s first broadcast on tpt. Since then, the Legacy-funded program has featured over 600 profiles, 150 episodes and thousands of artists and organizations who make up the vibrant Twin Cities arts community.

Thank you to all the artists, partners, viewers and the state of Minnesota for the support over the years!

Check out the video above for a special tribute to all 600 profiles featured on MN Original.

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Excerpts: Sally Wingert

Wingert_screenshot02Actor Sally Wingert shares her thoughts on family and support as it relates to her career.


There’s just no way you can pursue an artistic life without support.

I have walked through most of my life with this man, Tim Dans. And there is nobody that supports me better, nobody. I went off to do a performance last night, and he said something that was just like the most perfect thing to say to me.

And I have sons, and they have put up with so much, so many times where I’m not around or my attention is split between them and something that I’m working on. But they’ve turned out all right, and they are my biggest fans.

So it’s just really important for me to say that nothing about what I do is solo ever. It’s always completely attached to other people.

Watch Sally Wingert’s segment on MN Original here.

Excerpts: Jeffrey Hatcher

Hatcher_screenshot01Did you enjoy our segment on Jeffrey Hatcher? Read on to learn more about how he adapted A Slight Trick of the Mind into the major motion picture Mr. Holmes, directed by Bill Condon, starring Ian McKellen and Laura Linney (View the trailer here).


Well, rules of an adaptation, it’s still a pretty loose set of rules.

I mean one rule is you’ve gotta break the back of it and betray something. I mean, most of the times people when they get to see an adaptation, and they know the book well they’re disappointed if the book isn’t somehow represented on film.

But it’s most obvious in things like, you know, The Hobbit, Harry Potter, James Bond, when Daniel Craig showed up on that boat on the Thames all these people said ‘James Bond’s not blonde!” When readers and audiences have a huge investment in a book emotionally, psychologically, these things can be difficult

Slight Trick of the Mind is, of course, not as well-known as things like that, so you can change tons of things. You won’t anger an audience in quite the same way, but even so you have to betray something.

A book is a ruminative fiction. You can pick it up. Put it down. You can read passages over and over again. You can read a book like Slight Trick of the Mind, about 200 some pages; you can read this probably in a day, tops, if you want to go straight through it. You could also take 10 months to read it if you’d like to, or you could never finish it.

But a film can’t be appreciated that way. It goes past you. It keeps revolving, and so things that could be suppler in a book, and could be done with a little bit more of a gossamer touch because you get to absorb and reabsorb, you have to hit it in a film hard.

You almost always end up throwing out a lot. I mean a simple rule might be see how long it takes good actors to read a book out loud. Even what I would consider a short book, like 250 pages, hours will go by but on film will probably be 100-105 minutes. Everything is about compression, what’s necessary, what isn’t.

And then later, even if you compress everything to what’s necessary just to tell the story, you know, not the thematics, not the character stuff, and then you have to decide well alright, where can I loosen it up? What can I allow myself? Because sometimes you make it too hermetically sealed, and all you’ve done is really compress a narrative.

But of course books, films, plays are not simply about the narrative. I mean the narrative is vitally important, but it’s about what the narrative makes you think. It’s how it delights you, the perceptions, the understanding, and the revelations.

Watch Jeffrey Hatcher’s segment on MN Original here.

MN Original + Rock the Ordway

Our production crew was busy last month capturing Rock the Ordway‘s “22 days of opening nights” to celebrate the opening of The Ordway‘s new Concert Hall. MN Original will air a special episode featuring The Ordway later this year.

Scroll down for some behind the scenes shots of Rock the Ordway as taken by our staff.

Congratulations to The Ordway on their beautiful new space and a successful opening celebration!



The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra performing on opening night


Pre-show interviews with members of Cantus before their show in the Concert Hall


Backstage at the The Ordway with opera singer Adriana Zabala before the Minnesota Opera‘s production of Manchurian Candidate.


The Minnesota Opera‘s music director Michael Christie and concert master Allison Ostrander prior to the production of Manchurian Candidate at The Ordway.


Haley Bonar performs in the Concert Hall


Actual Wolf during soundcheck ahead of his opening performance for Haley Bonar


Sounds of Blackness rehearsing ahead of their performance in The Ordway’s Concert Hall

Celebrate Poetry Month this April with MN Original!

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Here are twenty two
Poetry videos for you!


From Robert Bly to Tish Jones, Minnesota has a rich poetic history. Here’s a handful of artists we’ve had the pleasure of working with:

(Click “PLAYLIST” to navigate between videos)


Looking for more poetry-themed inspiration? You can find it on our Poetry Month Pinterest board and through a keyword search on our educators page!

Submit Your Arty Pet Pics

IMG_2250 On Sunday, March 29, MN Original will feature Minneapolis pet photographer Sarah Beth Ernhart whose modern and unique portraits capture the personalities of her clients’ four-legged friends.

Send in your arty pet pics! Are you an artist who has a bird that joins you in studio? Have you snapped a photo or drawn a picture of your cat that you’re especially proud of? Perhaps you have a dog who loves to enjoy art like Pickle the French Bulldog.

We’d love to see your arty pet pics for an upcoming web feature! Please send a photo and short description to for consideration.

Artist Day Jobs: Call for Submissions



**UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who has submitted an artist! We have received TONS of e-mails with fantastic suggestions for this series. At this point, we have contacted and slated enough artists for our next “season” but still welcome additional submissions for future consideration.

In the meantime, we want to know: Why does this series speak to you? What message or angle would you want this series to share? Let us know in the comments!


MN Original is reviving our monthly video web series, Artist Day Jobs, and we need your help!

Are you an artist (or do you know of one) who works an interesting day job to support your artistic endeavors? Are you a painter who is also a prize-winning dog show handler? Or maybe you’re a choreographer who also farms corn? Or perhaps you’re a photographer who works as a train conductor?

Give us a shout.

Our team is interested in capturing video and photos of artists at work which will be a part of our monthly video series on

If you’re an artist who would like to be featured, or you’d like to nominate someone, send an e-mail to with “Artist Day Jobs” in the subject line for consideration.

Stay tuned for the first webisode featuring Get Cryphy DJ Last Word who also works as a commercial pilot.


Adam Turman x MN Original Commemorative Print

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To celebrate our sixth season, MN Original has enlisted the talents of local artist Adam Turman to design and create a limited edition commemorative print. The 18×24″ print features the Twin Cities skylines behind a roving Minnesota landscape. Only 150 prints of this design have been made and each is signed and numbered.

Prints are $25 (+$5 shipping, domestic only) : 

(For questions on placed orders, please e-mail


“We love Adam Turman’s work for its instantly recognizable iconic perspective, composition and use of color.  This exuberant screen print Adam designed especially for MN Original shines and reflects the energy of our creative community. It’s perfect for celebrating the sixth season of our weekly arts and cultural series.” – Ashleigh V. Rowe, Senior Series Producer, MN Original

Legacy-funded MN Original has featured thousands of artists and arts organizations contributing to our vibrant Twin Cities arts scene since the series premiered in 2010.

Watch the print come to life in this video filmed at Adam’s studio.

Excerpts: Shelli Ainsworth – Scriptwriting Process

Ainsworth_screenshot05Learn more about filmmaker Shelli Ainsworth’s scriptwriting process for “Stay Then Go” and how she came upon a breakthrough in the story.

Stay Then Go was just a very, very challenging script to write because I had my own kind of emotional reaction and feelings about it. And I also never, as an artist, had an experience where I had an agenda that I wanted to put forth. On one side of the coin it, I did not want to be a parent in the writing or in it at all. It was really hard, like there was a code that was very difficult to crack. I felt like a lot of the writing had integrity, and it was very believable and had a very interesting truth to it. But I still felt like it just wasn’t structurally coming together.

The breakthrough for me with Stay Then Go was this idea that Marion creating these how-to videos for Eddie. They were like “How to go on a date: and “How to go to the grocery store,” “How to use an ATM machine.” They were all about helping him be out in the community and having a life of quality and dignity and more self-sufficiency. So I started to kind of create these how-to videos, and that was it.

That was like my rail to write on. They became not just something that she made for him, but they were also so much for herself as well. “How to say goodbye,” you know? And then I wrote some of those, and it was like, “Oh my God! I know how to end this!” It really helped me figure out a way to structure it. That piece of her—that she was a character that made “how to” videos was the thing that allowed me to structure Stay Then Go and gave it some very unique nuance.

The how-to videos, I think, are a bit of a fantasy that I have. I wish that I had a whole bunch of them for Dietrich. I wish somebody would make a whole bunch of those for Dietrich, and that they would be of a quality and a style and an atmosphere that he could understand and latch on to and would help him. And I have many, many times, kinda separate from Stay Then Go, thought should I make a video about this? And certainly with Dietrich, many, many, many times in his life, did sort of like storyboards about certain kinds of things, riding the school bus and making dinner and going places that are stressful to him. It’s so funny that I did all of that, but I never thought about putting it in Stay Then Go or that being a thing. So that discovery and laying that on the structure of the script kinda broke everything—it just kinda worked.

Watch: Shelli Ainsworth on MN Original

Celebrate Valentine’s Day With MN Original

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Here at MN Original, nothing warms our heart quite like local art. And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we want to help spread the love.

On Wednesday, February 11 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., stop by the IDS Crystal Court in downtown Minneapolis where the MN Original team will be giving away local art inspired valentines, hosting a live performance by Jayanthi Kyle and unveiling a special edition Adam Turman print.

You’re My MN Original

We’ll make it easy to share your heart with that special someone on Valentine’s Day with these local art inspired valentines. Grab one or collect all five editions featuring works from MN Original alums Matthew Rucker, Amy Rice, Colin Johnson, Shawn McNulty and Greg Gossel.


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MNO V-Day Cards

Jayanthi Kyle

Minneapolis vocalist Jayanthi Kyle can be found performing with multiple local groups such as Black Audience, Romantica, Gospel Machine and more. Jayanthi will have a special performance in the IDS Crystal Court at 12 p.m. as well as appear in an upcoming episode of MN Original.

Watch her performance during tpt Rewire‘s TV Takeover below.


Adam Turman Special Edition MN Original Print

We are thrilled to announce local artist Adam Turman has created a special edition print for MN Original to commemorate the sixth season of our arts programming. The 18×24″ print will be unveiled at the event and will be available for purchase on site for $25. Each print will be signed and numbered. Here’s a sneak peek at the design (stay tuned for more details!)

UPDATE: Click here to view and purchase a print.



Event Details:

MN Original Valentine’s Day Celebration
Wednesday, February 11, 2015 – 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
IDS Crystal Court 
80 South Eighth Street
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Excerpts: Shelli Ainsworth – Casting ‘Stay Then Go’

Ainsworth_screenshot01Want to learn more about filmmaker Shelli Ainsworth? Read on to hear about how she cast the main character, Eddie Baird, of her feature length film, “Stay Then Go.”

I have a son, Dietrich, who has autism, and you know, I’ve been an artist almost my entire adult life, and there was, a time when I just thought, how can I not have this experience and not try to report back in some kind of way creatively? Casting the 18-year-old Eddie Baird was such an interesting and kind of scary process because we had a casting agent in New York, and we had one in LA. And I was getting just tons and tons of tapes and finally narrowed it down to 60. And then just went really hardcore and narrowed it down again to 40. And then I went to LA and had to see 40 people (laughs). And the thing that was really intense and difficult about it at first was that all those young men, they all wanted to show me autism. And it was just excruciating. And certainly I understand, but I just felt like I just had to sort of stop that.

And so on the second day of auditions, I talked with the casting director, and I asked her to call all the people that we were seeing that day and ask them to drop any kind of performance mask. It would be an audition, certainly, but I was gonna kind of structure it like a mini workshop. They certainly needed to be prepared as far as the text and the scenes, but what I did was I asked them to read, to work on a certain part of a scene and in a kind of random way, every third word or something, stop and make sort of a picture for themselves about that word. If it was “other,” you know, they had to come up with an image for “other” before they could move on.

And so it started to do this thing where all of them just became so much more interesting, and you could kinda see this life of their mind. And I feel that the character has a lot of challenges language-wise, but this very rich life of his mind going on. I felt like we got to this place where there were like two or three or four, maybe, that were just like, you know what? I could really work with them. They’re good, it’s really interesting what they’re doing, but then there was Matt Zane. You want somebody to certainly meet you half way, but there are those people who will meet you 99.9 percent of the way. He just really brought it. It was just– there was no doubt that he was the right person. I felt really lucky that we got to work with him. He was amazing, amazing, amazing young actor.

I just felt like the character, the 18-year-old Eddie Baird, was really going to be the soul of Stay Then Go. And I certainly felt it had to be a really wonderful actor who would have a kind of truth, simplicity. We wouldn’t have something poke out was actorly, and that’s a very hard thing, I think, for young actors. But Matt was really able to bring that. I knew that was going to be the hardest role to cast. And it was. But lucky us, you know?

Watch: Shelli Ainsworth on MN Original