My MN Original: Camille LeFevre

As an interdisciplinary arts journalist and dance critic, Camille LeFevre is well versed in all that the Twin Cities art scene has to offer. From architecture to modern dance, painting to cinema, there is little that she hasn’t contemplated. Her expansive insight was a valuable asset to MNO’s Advisory Board for the past two years, and we commissioned LeFevre to to create her own fantasy line-up of segments. She surprised even herself by not picking any dance.

Kate Casanova from MN Original #401 (premiered November 4, 2012)

I’m fascinated with Kate’s work, which is often a fascinating, surrealistic blend of visual and performance art. This segment helped me think about her art and articulate my interest in it as I was writing about her as my City Pages Artist of the Year.

Harriet Bart from MN Original #308 (premiered February 19, 2012)

Harriet Bart epitomizes, to me, the purpose and need for artists to exist in the 21st century. She’s a deep thinker and deft practitioner, whose work transforms the everyday into resonant works of profound meaning. Her studio is a wonderland of sculptural invention, of textures, words, materials and objects that invite and reward contemplation.

Kyle Fokken from MN Original #317 (premiered May 13, 2012)

What a lovely man and intriguing artist. So unassuming. And yet, like Dr. Frankenstein, his work blends the mechanical and representations of the organic (human, animal) in ways that create new and amazing creatures. He also makes church steeples take flight and houses that skitter across the floor. It’s “junk sculpture” with joie de vivre.

Brass Messengers from MN Original #302 (premiered May 30, 2012)

Because hearing them always makes me happy!

My MN Original: Hafed Bouassida

This week’s guest curator, Chair of the Cinema Department at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Hafed Bouassida, has extensive experience in the arts from all around the world. Bouassida was born in Iran, earned his Ph.D. in Prague, and has more than forty productions under his belt as a producer, writer, or director. So it of course makes sense to see gold spray-painted toy synthesizers, wooden figurines, and collaged recreations of classic architecture among the selections for his virtual episode of MNO. Enjoy this latest stroll through the MNO archives on behalf of this week’s guest curator, Hafed Bouassida!

Dean Lucker and Ann Wood from MN Original #103 (original air date: May 06, 2010)

What a magical world Dean and Ann are able to create right in front of our eyes! What a great combination of several arts in one amazing result that mixes painting, sculptures and drawing. The collaboration between both artists has the eerie quality of a seamless work created by two parts of the same brain. I am not sure they see themselves as complementary, more so as feeding from each other’s moves in order to bring out unknown and unexpected art works that fascinate us.

Mary Griep from MN Original #102 (original air date: April 29, 2010)

Kudos to MNO for introducing us to another fascinating and very little known aspect of the visual arts in the Twin Cities! Despite the complexity of Mary Griep‘s process and the lack of display opportunities for her monumental art pieces, the result when exhibited is truly stunning. Cinematically, the combination of liturgical music with a remarkable montage of the different art pieces is definitely appealing. I have seen in real life all the structures presented in this episode (cathedrals, mosques, etc.,) but seeing Mary’s drawings made me discover aspects I have never appreciated in the real buildings.

Beatrix Jar (Bianca Pettis and Jacob Aaron Roske) from MN Original #207 (original air date: September 23, 2010)

What an original and inventive way to make art! I was excited by Bianca and Aaron, unique innovators fighting their way through the maze of established artists; I was overwhelmed by their fascinating trajectory, their original art and the unexpected sounds and music they were able to produce through the most surprising uses of traditional items around us. The child-like quality, the instantaneous live music they deliver and the dream-like feeling one gets when witnessing them perform, instantaneously transport us to our own childhood when we believed anything was possible because we dreamed it. If that’s not art, I don’t know what art is?

My MN Original: Aditi Kapil

As Twin Cities Public Television enters its Summer Pledge period, pre-empting your regularly-scheduled Sunday evening broadcasts of MN Original, we asked Aditi Kapil – writer, actor, director, and MNO alum – to curate a virtual episode. We’re always delighted to see the selections of our guest curators, because while Kapil, as a local theater veteran, highlights some of the theater luminaries in our archives, she also emphasizes hip-hop, spoken word, and photography. As a woman of diverse backgrounds and interests, we expect nothing less from Kapil. Be sure to watch , and read (and watch!) on for her virtual episode of MN Original.

Maria Isa from MN Original #105 (original air date: May 20, 2010)

Aditi Kapil: Love Maria‘s work, and I love how she talks about her work. There’s a density to her artistic vision, a sense of place- past, present, future- she makes the collision of cultures and ideas work in her music, without diluting any part of herself. Love that.

Bao Phi from MN Original #216 (original air date: December 09, 2010)

Aditi Kapil: I love listening to Bao Phi‘s work, it always stretches my mind in some unexpected way. Taking a ride in his head, catching a glimpse of the world through his lens, always feels like an excellent use of my time, so here you go. You’re welcome.

Sandy Spieler from MN Original #226 (original air date: February 17, 2011)

Aditi Kapil: If there’s anyone in Minnesota who doesn’t already know about Sandy Spieler and In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, we should remedy that right now. And even if you know their work, this tour of Sandy’s world is pretty magical. Get hooked.

Mohamud Mumin from MN Original #413 (original air date: February 24, 2013)

Aditi Kapil: One of my favorite things about MN Original is when I encounter artists I didn’t previously know, and this photographer is one of my favorite discoveries. Mohamud‘s work is stunning. I spend a fair amount of time on the U of M West Bank, but his work has shifted my lens on what I thought was familiar in that way that really beautiful photography can do.

Marion McClinton from MN Original #410 (original air date: January 27, 2013)

Aditi Kapil: I love this piece, for its insight into this amazing theater artist’s rehearsal room, for its insight into a turning point in American Theatre. It’s thrilling and inspiring, hearing from these artists who nudged the world a bit off its axis, and haven’t stopped moving and creating since.


MNO and Northern Spark: An Insomniac Art-Lover’s Dream

Like what you see on MN Original every Sunday? Need more local art in your life? Want to experience the Minnesota arts scene first-hand? Do you suffer from insomnia? If any of the above resonates with you, you’re in for a treat.

Ghosts of the Twin Cities.

MN Original and tpt are proud to sponsor Northern Spark 2013 in Lowertown, St. Paul. Not only will MN Original / tpt be the only media partner for the all-night arts festival, but we’ll also be presenting a live concert by Mayda during the opening ceremony to kick the festival off right. After that, tpt will open its doors to host an arts installation, Ghosts of the Twin Cities, right here at our Lowertown studios. TPT‘s Studio A, the largest TV studio in the state, will transform into a virtual time-traveling device through this interactive audio and video installation, which projects vintage TV footage from tpt‘s archives onto large-scale translucent panels. Meanwhile, motion-sensitive cameras create a ghostly live feed of onlookers, superimposed on footage from the past.

Festival attendees can also relax in the skyway outside our studios to view back-to-back segments of MN Original throughout the night. After all, it just wouldn’t be a great local arts festival without MNO championing the cause!

Jim Campbell, Scattered Light, Upper Landing, Northern Spark, 2011. Photo: Dusty Hoskovec.

Northern Spark, now in its third year, is a free, all-night arts and music festival. Each year, the festival collaborates with organizations and artists to sponsor and facilitate arts projects around the city.

In years past, the festival has featured over 200 artists, 52 cultural organizations and 40,000 attendees in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. Not too shabby.

This year’s festival will begin at sunset (8:58 p.m.) on June 8 and go until sunrise on June 9. Visit the Northern Spark website for more information.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more updates and exciting announcements regarding this partnership and the highly anticipated tpt / MN Original installation and concert.

You can also re-live the magic of Northern Spark 2012 by reading MN Original’s blog post from last year and checking out photos in our flickr gallery.

Join us on June 8! And (pardon our French) viva la Minnesota arts and music!



Art Spaces: Northern Warehouse

For many, the iconic warehouses in Lowertown, Saint Paul are little more than beautiful historic structures, but they are actually an important cultural resource for the arts community as well. In the late 1980s, the warehouses of Lowertown were revitalized with the purpose of building a space in which artists could both live and work affordably.

In particular, in 1989, the City of Saint Paul invited Artspace to redevelop the six-story warehouse built in 1908 by the Northern Pacific Railway. The result was the Northern Warehouse Artists’ Cooperative (NWAC), a self-governing, democratically run artists’ cooperative, one of the first such live-work spaces in the country to be developed. Sine 1990, the NWAC has served as a catalyst for the economic and cultural growth of the then-struggling Lowertown neighborhood.

As the home of the Black Dog Café (filming site for the upcoming The Lowertown Line interview with Dessa and Brother Ali) and the AZ Gallery, the Northern Warehouse is a well-known structure in the Lowertown landscape. The first two floors of the warehouse are utilized for commercial space, studios and galleries and the top four floors house the NWAC and serve as 52 live/work units.

NWAC members are writers, art teachers, dancers, designers, filmmakers, musicians, painters, potters, poets, photographers and more. New members are admitted through a selections process, which consists of an artist interview and portfolio review. Members elect their own Board of Directors and Chairs of the various committees, which help run the cooperative.

The artists seem to take full advantage of their space and its intended function. Apartments are partitioned off with clear delineations between “work” and “live,” and there are very deliberate galleries in nearly all units to fully display the work to its best advantage. This multi-purpose arrangement fosters a unique culture of creativity and collaboration among residents.

The warehouse uses every opportunity to invite the public inside including the Spring and Fall Saint Paul Art Crawls as well as Lowertown First Fridays from 6 – 9 p.m. each month. The upper-level private spaces open up during these events and offer a fascinating glimpse into the life and work of Minnesota artists. Wandering around the building on a beautiful Sunday afternoon presents a strange and exhilarating combination of history, modern day Saint Paul, art and community.

This unique culture, however, is at a crossroads with the current development and re-envisioning of the Lowertown neighborhood. In the next few years, Lowertown will become significantly more high profile with the construction of the new light rail and Saint’s stadium, as well as the rehabilitation of the iconic Union Depot. While some residents of the building relish the change in their quiet neighborhood, others express concerns over being priced out of the rapidly developing area and think the community runs the risk of losing a big part of what contributes to its unique charm.

No matter its future, there is no doubt that as it stands, Lowertown and Northern Warehouse provide a true Twin Cities art experience and are a must-see space for any art lover.

Special thanks to Kara Hendershot and Cynthia Uhrich for their hospitality and invaluable information regarding the building and their experiences with NWAC.

More information about Northern Warehouse and when/how to visit is here:

Lunchtime Escape to Rock the Garden 2012

Want to liven up your Friday lunch break and be reminded just how glorious summer in the Twin Cities can be?

Join us tomorrow, March 29, at noon over at OVEE, PBS’s new social screening platform to screen our new half-hour MNO Rock The Garden 2012 Music Special.

Watch and chat with Mike Mictlan from Doomtree, Ryan Young from Trampled by Turtles, and Jill Riley, Andrea Swensson and Brett Baldwin from MPR/The Current. And of course, we’ll be there too!

Haven’t used OVEE before? That’s okay! And completely normal—it’s brand new! We tested it out for the first time ourselves the other day. Just follow this link, create an account OR enter anonymously, wait for the moderator to begin the video, and enjoy the show! Don’t forget to chime in and ask our fabulous panel of guests some questions.


My MN Original: John Munson

For the latest installment of artist-curated virtual episodes of MN Original, we enlisted the help of one of the busiest, most connected, and most stylish musicians in the Twin Cities. We’re of course talking about none other than John Munson, bass player for local iconic bands Trip Shakespeare and Semisonic, and a MN Original alumni from our profiles of The Twilight Hours and The New Standards. With such a thoroughly established musical background, Mr. Munson’s picks for his virtual episode of MNO — which highlight the visual arts, sculpture, and theater, but not a single musician — are delightfully unexpected. Then again, this diversity of interests further underscores Mr. Munson’s multifaceted role as a creative force, artist and arts supporter, a fact which should come as no surprise to those who also know Mr. Munson from his work with the radio variety show Wits. Read on for John Munson’s virtual episode of MN Original!

Keri Pickett from MN Original #110 (original air date: June 24, 2010)

John Munson: Keri Pickett is a pal of mine. She shot my wedding. But I chose her because I really relate to her mission of representing family and community — different communities and families — but those differences illustrate commonalities. I love how clearly she thinks about her work. Plus her pictures are lovely!

Michael Sommers from MN Original #211 (original air date: October 21, 2010)
John Munson: I saw Michael Sommers do a a performance in a friend’s yard a few summers back. Once again, I have an appreciation for not only his artistry, but also the way that he presents his work in the community, seeking to build new communities and to find new audiences. But Kevin Kling’s comment in the piece really says it all: “He’s a genius, just look at his work!”

Michael Kareken from MN Original #221 (original air date: January 13, 2011)

John Munson: Michael Kareken is an instructor at MCAD in the painting department. We met at Children’s Home Society when we were both getting ready to adopt. At that time Michael was doing very emotional figures and nudes. It’s exciting to see how his work has changed. His current subject matter of detritus is so intensely complex! His craft and curiosity inspire me.

Lisa Elias from MN Original #231 (original air date: April 07, 2011)

John Munson: I love love love Lisa Elias‘s work. I will never forget seeing her gates at Crema the first time, back when I lived in South Minneapolis. And then seeing her work along the entrance to Highway 94 thrilled me — the idea of the river grasses flowing was so harmonious with the flow of traffic. So beautiful. She is such an unassuming person and so creative. How does someone make metal feel so soft?

The Light in the Piazza Ticket Sweepstakes

Theater Latté Da is days away from opening their newest production, The Light in the Piazza, at the Ordway McKnight Theatre. We had the privilege of peaking in on an early rehearsal and if they sounded that good on only their second night together, we can’t wait to see the final product!

We’re excited to announce that MNO has 2 pairs of tickets to giveaway to 2 lucky winners! Click here to enter!

My MN Original: Kate Casanova & Chris Koza

For Week Two of tpt‘s Spring Pledge Drive, we handed the MNO On The Go Blog over to two of our favorite alumnus: visual artist Kate Casanova and musician Chris Koza. Why the two’fer? Because these two accomplished artists also happen to be married, forming one of the more formidable artistic combos in the Twin Cities. Check out Ms. Casanova’s profile from Season Four, and Mr. Koza’s performance in tpt’s Studio A with his band, Rogue Valley, from Season Two. And be sure to enjoy an extra virtual episode of MN Original, courtesy of this talented duo.

All Eyes from MN Original #405 (original air date: December 16, 2012)

Kate & Chris: All Eyes are a group of highly skilled musicians that are all about creating an atmosphere. Their sound is moody, dark and sexy.

Andy Ducett from MN Original #114 (original air date: July 22, 2010)

Kate & Chris: Anything and everything becomes art in the world of Andy Ducett. His installations and drawings transform the mundane into the extraordinary.

Dan Huiting from MN Original #246 (original air date:  November 13, 2011)

Kate & Chris: Dan Huiting is the behind-the-scenes magician whose fresh camera work brings out the best in the artists he shoots.

Scott Nedrelow from MN Original #233 (original air date:  April 21, 2011)

Kate & Chris: An artist who exemplifies how sometimes the most beautiful artworks are born out of poetic simplicity.

Open Call: TPT Seeking Artist for Northern Spark Installation

Have you ever fantasized about spending a entire night in a museum? Well, what if you had an entire night to play–or make art–in a fully equipped broadcast television studio?

As part of tpt‘s new initiative Open Air, focused on making public media even more public in the Twin Cities, we’re opening up Studio A, the station’s largest television studio space, for a local artist to create an installation as part of the Northern Spark Festival on June 8-9. The studio is a 4,000 square foot black-box broadcast studio, with a light grid overhead.

Preference will be given to projects that highlight the changing nature of media–and that build on the unique qualities of a television studio. In particular, we’d like an installation that is highly interactive and will draw a crowd.

We’re offering a stipend of $1500, plus a multimedia blog post on MN Original‘s MNO on the Go blog and promotion on tpt‘s and MN Original‘s social media platforms.

Application deadline is midnight, CST, Monday, March 11, 2013.

For more information, or to apply, go to

Questions? Email Andi McDaniel at

My MN Original: Gregory Euclide

For the next three Sundays, MN Original will be taking a break while our Twin Cities Public Television cohorts take to the airwaves for the Spring Pledge Drive. So for a fresh perspective on some segments from the MNO collection, we let Gregory Euclide get behind the looking glass of the MNO On The Go Blog. Mr. Euclide was profiled in the third season of MN Original, and we asked him to curate a virtual episode of MNO. In four-plus seasons of MN Original, we’ve exposed Twin Cities arts fans to over fifteen-hundred local artists, all of whom inspire us through their art and creativity. We always love knowing what art and art-makers also inspire the artists we’ve featured. So without further ado, Gregory Euclide presents his MN Original.

Zak Sally from MN Original #219 (original air date: December 30, 2010)

Gregory Euclide: When I was in college I was in a band called Sheepometer (music to make sheep to). We opened at The Unicorn in Milwaukee for Low. Zak was in Low at that point. It was a pivotal moment for me in my life. I have always had an unhealthy obsession with music and this was a big moment for me. Years later, I faked being a journalist to get back stage to take photos of Sonic Boom and Low at the 7th Street Entry. I still have those photos of Zak, Alan and Mimi leaning against the walls of the entry.

When Zak left Low, he focused more on his visual art. I stopped playing music to pursue visual art as well. I see Zak at MCAD off and on. He has no idea who I am. I just remember being in awe of him and the music that they brought into the world. This MNO segment helped me catch up with a figure that I have long respected.

Low performs “When I Go Deaf” from The Bad Plus + Low Music Special (original air date: December 17, 2011)

Gregory Euclide: Although Pitchfork reviewer David Raposa gave this album a 5.5 because it rocked too much, it is one of my favorite albums. Yes, they played faster and harsher on this album and they were a slow band to start with, but that is what made it so timely for me. It felt as if it was the right time in history for this to happen and the way they did it seemed logical to me. There is a lot of tension in this album. Listening to this segment from 2011 just reminds me what effect this album had on me when it came out. “When I Go Deaf” is the Low jackpot. You get the best of both worlds; the beautiful entry and the crush that follows. As a kid, hell, even now… I want to be playing that guitar – with that feedback coming out from behind me. It must feel so exhilarating to be able to perform and make something with such honesty , such emotion… such force.

Kate Casanova from MN Original #401 (original air date: November 04, 2012)

Gregory Euclide: Kate is another artist who works across platforms. The work is a force that finds an outlet in whatever best fits the idea. It’s not, “How can I make a painting about this?” Or, “How can I make a sculpture about that?” It’s more like, “What is the best way to express this idea?”

Asia Ward from MN Original #316 (original air date: May 06, 2012)

Gregory Euclide: If you haven’t noticed, I tend to be excited by natural forms and people who are exploring materials. I really enjoy the topographic, linear quality of Asia’s work.

The Pines from MN Original #209 (original air date: October 07, 2010)

Gregory Euclide: David and Ben do what they do really, really well. In the segment they talk about wanting their music to be a resting place from the modern world. I feel like I know what it is like to have the rural in your subconscious. When I listen to this music, it just feels like home to me. It feels like fireflies, cornfields and the quiet of rural summer nights.

MN Original: Suggestion for who you’d like to see profiled on MN Original?

Gregory Euclide: Sure… I’ve got one for you. A student of mine from way back: a musician, artist, teacher, David Andree.

World’s Largest Lite-Briter to Present at Public Event February 28

Move over World’s Largest Cheeseburger, World’s Largest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Gathering and World’s Largest Ball of Twine! Saturday, February 16, Minnesota added to its Guinness World record tally with the World’s Largest Lite-Brite.

Forever Saint Paul, Ta-coumba Aiken.


Lite-Brite volunteers help build the installation.

The artist behind this audacious feat is none other than MNO alum Ta-coumba Aiken! Over the course of three weeks, Ta-coumba led a small army of more than 600 volunteers—everyone from federal court judges to homeless people—in the completion of the 12-by-24 foot installation, an original work entitled Forever Saint Paul.

With Ta-coumba’s shining reputation and never-ending charisma, it’s no wonder we snatched him up as the speaker for our upcoming event, An Evening with Ta-coumba Aiken: Celebrating Our Similarities and Differences, co-presented by the Minnesota Humanities Center.

Next Thursday, February 28 from 7-9 p.m., join us at the Minnesota Humanities Center for a lively discussion and interactive art project which will explore our similarities and exalt our differences!

Ta-coumba T. Aiken

The event is open to the public but particularly interesting to educators who can earn 2 CEUs. The cost is $10 and includes light snacks and materials. Participants will also leave with a DVD copy of MN Original Episode #220 and a set of corresponding activity guides to use in the classroom.

If you’re impressed by Ta-coumba’s Lite-Brite finesse, you won’t want to miss him speak in person! Hope to see you there!