MNOs: Every One Unique

For every episode of MN Original we create a a title treatment that incorporates our branding with the work of one of that episode’s featured artists.

We keep an eye out for unique or interesting “Os” when we’re producing in the field and it’s always fun to see what makes the final cut.

Now that MNO is into its 5th season, we have quite the catalog of images. Flip through this Flickr gallery and see if you can identify the artist responsible!

The Okee Dokee Brothers on Friendly Competition

The latest episode of MNO included a profile of GRAMMY® Award-winning children’s band The Okee Dokee Brothers. During their interview, the duo reflected on the friendly competition that has helped propel their careers:


Joe: So our friendship is, musically, based on somewhat of a friendly competition. Wouldn’t you say?

Justin: Sure.

Joe: Where we try – in high school, for instance, I would learn an F chord. And I’d say: “Hey, you know how to play F?”

Justin: And I’d say, “No.”

Joe: “Well, I know how to play F.” So then Justin would learn F. And then he would learn B Minor. I’d have to learn B Minor too. And the same goes with songwriting. We’ve always written songs together and if I write a song I bring it to Justin and he makes it better. And then he writes a song and brings it to me. And I make it better. By our additions. Right? That’s the way it’s always gone, we’ve always been raising the bar for each other and luckily it’s been in a somewhat friendly way. And so we’re still making music together. We haven’t quit.

New Work: Liz Miller

Installation artist Liz Miller’s new work, Egregious Feng Shui, has just gone up at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan and we’re excited to share this photo, hot off the artist’s Facebook page.

Liz Miller Installation

Egregious Feng Shui challenges ideas related to order and balance with elements that are both visually pleasing and visually aggressive,” Miller explained. “Disparate materials, forms, and patterns come together to form an environment that references ornament, weaponry, and home decor, among other things. Buoyant, light-weight interludes are contrasted with denser, heavier passages. The viewer’s movement through the work is paramount to the experience. My aim was to create both harmony and discord.”

With Miller’s trademark use of color and pattern solidly on display, it’s interesting to note that this latest installation does not use any felt, a mainstay of her previous pieces. Of this shift, she shared, “I used white and green tarps like you find at Menards, bubble wrap, chevron fabric, spray painted paper, and translucent black vinyl. Aside from the paper, which has a built in rigidity, many of the materials are less inherently structural than what I normally work with.

“I had to work harder to find the structure…but it also presented an amazing opportunity for me to let the movement of some passages be a little more organic. The inclusion of more varied textures and colors is also an important part of this work. The felt works had become sort of repetitive in color pattern and weight. I could be more selective about the palette I was using here, and also consider density that appears light and airy vs. density that appears visually heavy.”

The exhibition is on view at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan through mid-March.

You can revisit the MN Original segment on Liz Miller here:

Excerpts: Andrew Moxom

Are you curious to learn more about photographer Andrew Moxom or wet plate photography now that you’ve seen his segment on MNO? Read on for excerpts from his interview.

Andrew Moxom Detail

I’m a photographer that specializes primarily in film but in the last four years I’ve actually been doing wet plate collodion, which is my main interest lately.

I first came across people practicing wet plate collodion photography at a gathering, or an event, that’s hosted in northern MI every year now. A very good photographer friend of mine started this event called Photostock, I was instantly hooked on the tactile nature of the process and the almost instant result you get. It’s not digital instant, but I look at it as a 19th-century Polaroid photograph.

It’s called wet plate collodion because you have to have a darkroom with you, or a dark space to be able to process the plate. It all that has to happen within around a 10-minute timeframe and while the plate is still wet. So from the minute you pour that plate it’s starting to evaporate and dry out. // And that changes based on heat and humidity. So in the hotter places that you’re taking photos, that time is very critical and you have to adjust the process.

The standard fixer of the day was potassium cyanide. And there was a reason it was used // it clears the image – when I say “clears it,” it washes, it fixes the image onto the plate so that it’s archival. But it’s quick and you don’t need much water to rinse the plate off afterwards and make it archival. If you were to use your standard photographic fixer that’s available now, you have to wash the plates for 40 to 50 minutes afterwards. So, if you can imagine, you were an itinerant photographer traveling around many years ago, you would not have that much water available to you. You had to have the bare minimum. So cyanide was used.

If you think about film speed, the equivalent for a collodion would be probably about ISO 1, which is pretty slow. So that means you have to shoot with a fast lens, wide open, but it’s going to be a longer exposure typically.

Back in the day, head braces were used quite a bit. And that was just because, especially in portrait studios, // an exposure could be 5 or 6 seconds and having a head brace just gives you a little bit of a reference point. Just to stop people from swaying. But people move. Even with a head brace will move or their eyes will twitch from one way to the other. // And it could even be camera. The camera could move. Or, with the studio that we’re in right now, the floors will shake sometimes. So you just have to kind of wing it and go with it. // It’s just one of those things – it’s imperfect.

I primarily use two types of cameras for my collodion photography. When I’m on the road, I use a lighter, more easily portable 8-by-10 folding camera. It’s a modern-day camera that’s still made, actually. And then for the studio sittings, I use a very old centennial stand, which is a mahogany stand, and a cast iron base, and I have a big Deardorff commercial view camera on that.

In the future I plan to take the collodion process out on the road more with the mobile dark trailer that I put together. And I’m hoping to capture a bit more of the state // whether it’s portrait or landscape, which are modern, but with a 19th century view point using an old lens. I just like having that modern equivalent of something that may have been done a hundred old years ago.

I grew up in in England, and I’ve been over here approximately 20 years now. // I was used to the rolling landscapes of England, and was shocked by the sheer vastness of the Midwest: the massive open prairie, the massive sky that you have. And then seeing the Great Lakes for the first time, those were moments that kind of burned in my memory. I just never imagined it could be this way over here.

February Educator Workshop with Ka Vang

Join us the evening of February 6 for an interactive presentation by Hmong American writer, educator and artist/activist Ka Vang.

Date: Thursday, February 6, 2014
Time: 7:00PM-9:00PM
Location: Minnesota Humanities Center
Cost: $10 (includes hors d’oeuvres and materials)
Intended Audience: K-12 Educators (though all are welcome)
Clock Hours: 2 clock hours available upon request

During the course of the evening, Vang will read selections from her work, guide the audience in creating a community poem and discuss how one can use writing as a tool for social justice. Participants will leave with  a copy of Vang’s children’s book, Shoua and the Northern Lights Dragon, a DVD of the MN Original episode in which Vang appears, a set of corresponding activity guides and a fresh way to approach folktales, storytelling and poetry in the classroom.

Space is limited, so register today!

(In case you missed it, here’s Vang’s segment:)

MNO Social

Join us on Thursday, December 5 for MNO Social!

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Here’s your chance to mingle with MN Original producers, meet some of the featured artists, and find out what’s ahead in Season 5— all while noshing on treats from Icehouse Restaurant. Dan Corrigan and Gabriel Douglas from 4onthefloor will talk about their experiences on the show. It’s free! Doors at 5pm. Programming starts at 6pm. RSVP on our Eventbrite page.

November Educator Event: Somali Storytelling with Said Salah Ahmed

Limited seats remain for our event with acclaimed educator, poet, storyteller, playwright and filmmaker Said Salah Ahmed!

Spend the evening of Thursday, November 14 with Ahmed as he illustrates the role of storytelling in non-formal and formal classroom settings, and demonstrates how to teach through the art of oral literature and performance. The evening will be geared toward K-12 educators, but is open to all!

Participants will leave with a DVD copy of MN Original episode 307 featuring Ahmed, the corresponding set of activity guides, a bilingual copy of Ahmed’s children’s book The Lion’s Share/Qayb Libaax, ideas to enliven their classrooms and smiles on their faces!

For more information and to register for this event, which past attendees have called “a joyful evening” with “new ideas for quality time with family and students,” click here.

Arts Around the Nation

AANsquareWe are constantly amazed by the talented artists we meet and feature on MN Original. Now those talents are being shared with art consumers outside of Minnesota.

TPT and MN Original are proud to partner with The Public Television Major Market Group (MMG), representing 28 of the largest public television stations in the country, on the PBS National Arts and Cultural Content Management and Sharing System. This innovative system allows stations to share arts content with other stations in the group, resulting in a rich cultural exchange.

Each of the 28 participating stations contributes stories to the national feed and selects other stations’ stories for use in their own broadcast and web-based arts programming.

Through the content sharing system, a number of MN Original segments have been broadcast to viewers all over the United States. To date, the segments shared include:

Michael Birawer
Kate Casanova
Allen Christian
Gregory Euclide
Karen Gustafson
Terry Gydesen
Luke Hillestad
Charlie Hoffman
Emily Gray Koehler
Ed Bok Lee
Rhea Pappas
Chris Poor / Arms + Armour
Amy Sackett
Tom Schroeder
The Schubert Club Letters
Oleg Vassiliev
Bobby Vee
Joann Verburg
Kao Kalia Yang
Petronella Ytsma

Curious about the latest happenings in New York or San Diego? To browse the content that has been shared with tpt, visit the “Arts Around the Nation” link in our menu bar above and peruse a library of videos created by PBS arts series like ours. Isn’t sharing fun?

Arts Around Nation Arrows

MNO Receives 5 Upper Midwest Regional Emmys®

When MN Original first started in 2009, our producers made a decision to not cast a host for the show. The thought behind this decision was that a host would only serve to distract focus from the art & artists in the Twin Cities’ creative community. As MN Original has grown, we’ve continued to keep the show 100% “locally-sourced” with a focus on local arts; all the music used to soundtrack our profiles is from Minnesota-based musicians, for example. We live in a truly unique community in the Twin Cities specifically, and the State of Minnesota, more broadly. The existence of the Legacy Amendment is proof of that, and the local artists we collaborate with underscore that originality and uniqueness every week on MN Original. We couldn’t help but reflect on this when MN Original received 5 awards at the Upper Midwest Regional Emmys®. Thank you to the Citizens of Minnesota, and to all the artists, organizations, and individuals who have helped make MN Original possible. Your creativity and spirit will always be the focus of what we do.

Below is a round-up of our Emmy® winning videos:

Category 22A: Historic/Cultural/Nostalgic – Single Story
Capturing a Community: Xavier Tavera


Category 24: Informational/Instructional – Single Story
The Nomadic Press – Kent Aldrich


Category 26: Magazine Program
Minnesota Original: Episode #423
JoAnn Verburg, Marion McClinton + Cloud Cult


Category 28: Special Event Coverage
Rock The Garden 2012

MN Original‘s Ryan Klabunde was also awarded an Emmy® in the category of Editor – Program (Non-News).

Stationwide, tpt was recognized with 11 Upper Midwest Regional Emmys®.

MNO Receives 12 Upper Midwest Regional Emmy® Nominations

2013 NATAS Emmy ImageThe 2013 Upper Midwest Regional Emmy® Nominations were announced this morning and MN Original’s work with the Twin Cities artistic community has received 12 nominations.

The Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is a membership organization dedicated to excellence in television by honoring exceptional work. As such, these nominations are a mark of validation from our peers for work that we’re extremely proud of; work that we couldn’t have accomplished without our amazing collaborators, both artistic and technical.

Thank you to the artists represented in these nominated pieces and programs and thank you to all of our MNO alums who have so generously shared their talents and time with us. It is a privilege to share their work and we are honored to be recognized for it.

MN Original‘s 2013 Upper Midwest Regional Emmy® Nominations include:

Category 11B: Arts/Entertainment: Program
The Lowertown Line: Trampled By Turtles


Category 22A: Historic/Cultural/Nostalgic – Single Story
Capturing a Community: Xavier Tavera


Category 24: Informational/Instructional – Single Story
The Nomadic Press – Kent Aldrich


Category 26: Magazine Program
Minnesota Original: Episode #423
JoAnn Verburg, Marion McClinton + Cloud Cult


Category 28: Special Event Coverage
Rock The Garden 2012

Members of MN Original‘s production staff were also recognized with 7 additional nominations in the craft categories of Audio, Editor – Program (Non-News) and Photographer – Program (Non-News).

Stationwide, tpt was recognized with 27 nominations.

MNO Alumni at the Fair

The gates for the Great Minnesota Get Together don’t open for another couple days, but Minnesota arts fans already have plenty to get excited about: 2013 Fine Arts Competition winners were announced at last night’s Fine Arts Preview Night. With all of the winners’ art collected under one roof at the Fine Arts Center, the State Fair actually serves as Minnesota’s largest juried art exhibit. This year, part of the Fine Arts Center will also be turned from gallery into a studio space as part of Studio: HERE, which will provide a rare glimpse into how art is created. MNO alumni are well-represented between Studio: HERE participants and Fine Arts Competition winners. We’ve got a video round-up of MNO alumni and 2013 Fine Arts Competition winners at the bottom of this page. To get more perspective on the State Fair’s Fine Arts exhibition, we spoke with Kyle Fokken, who was featured on MN Original #317, and also received a 3rd Place Award in Sculpture this year.

MNO: What have your experiences participating in the Fine Arts exhibition at the Minnesota State Fair been like?

Kyle Fokken: I love the Minnesota State Fair Art Show! I think there is so much wonderful variety that it hits so many tastes and styles. You never know who the juror is and what he or she will think of your work and whether it will make it in the exhibition. The visual arts community (at least in the metro) is a small community and everyone knows most everyone else and/or their work, making it a politically challenging exercise. I think this is my third “Third Place” award which makes me pleased, but I’d still like something higher.

As an artist, you always feel that your work is the best until you see work that blows yours out of the water and demands your respect. I always learn something new whenever I go and I appreciate the opportunity to show with so many great artists of all disciplines.

MNO: What does this award mean to you?

KF: Gas in the car and money to pay the photographer. If you are lucky or want to splurge, you can pay it forward and use it as an opportunity to buy someone else’s artwork. Being a working artist means that you celebrate the victory of winning an award but at the end of the day you need those funds to help you to keep on doing what you’re doing. With my piece “Song of the Flying Dutchman,” I would love it to be the centerpiece of someone’s lovely home or as part of a public art collection in an art or musical institution. It is one of my favorite pieces and I just love the romance that comes with the merger of classical music, sailing ships and the open sea. I have a ‘violin’ version in bronze in case anyone is interested. Please see my website for details – (Shameless plug, of course.)

MNO: How is showing at the Minnesota State Fair different than any other ‘arts only’ shows?

KF: I think it is very egalitarian from both the artists and the viewer’s perspective. In most art shows you have to have a body of work to submit whereas the Fair only allows for one piece. This allows beginners and professionals to compete side by side and mixes things up a bit which keeps the event fresh. I also like the idea that there is truly something for everyone.  This exhibit allows me to show my work to a larger audience who may never have been to an art show or would never venture into a gallery. It also allows viewers to visually ‘taste’ a variety of different artistic ‘flavors’ and develop a richer ‘pallet’ and better artist ‘taste’.

It’s always hard to know if this sampling will lead to sales, but I look at it as part of my overall marketing strategy since so many people see the show and it is highly regarded in the artistic community. Best of all, it’s free!


MNO Alumni &  2013 Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Award Recipients

Maren Kloppmann (from MN Original #109): 1st Place, Ceramics/Glass; 1st place from Northern Clay Center; 1st Place from Tweed Museum of Art

Kyle Fokken (from MN Original #317): 3rd Place, Sculpture

John Largaespada (from MN Original #207): 3rd Place, Photography

Scott Lloyd Anderson (from MN Original #204): Honorable Mention, Oil/Acrylic/Mixed Media

Faye Passow (will be featured on a new episode of MN Original in the Fall): Honorable Mention, Prints

Faye Passow on MN Original

Kurt Seaberg (will be featured on a new episode of MN Original in the Fall): Honorable Mention, Prints

Kurt Seaberg on MN Original

2013 Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Results (click on photo below for full pdf):


Practice Spaces: Rogue Valley

Luke Anderson’s basement is Rogue Valley‘s favorite rehearsal space so far. Located in an unassuming single-family home in residential South Minneapolis, Anderson’s house, which he shares with vocalist and keyboard player Linnea Mohn, has an ample basement with walls that showcase the band’s many concert posters quite nicely– as well as the occasional “dystopian” art piece, and a few relics from the road. The band, consisting of Chris Koza (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Peter Sieve (electric guitar, vocals), Paul Engels (bass), as well as Anderson and Mohn,  has been practicing in this space since January. Click around to get a taste.