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 [email protected] 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 MNOriginal.org.

If you’re an artist who would like to be featured, or you’d like to nominate someone, send an e-mail to [email protected] 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 [email protected])


“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 Cards4


MNO V-Day Cards3


MNO V-Day Cards2


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

HOTTEA and Sesame Street Make Yarn Art

If you are a follower of MN Original and the artists we profile, you’re likely familiar with Minneapolis yarn artist HOTTEA. Either you’ve seen our feature on him or have seen his installations in unexpected spots throughout the Twin Cities.

Now you might notice him pop up somewhere else close to tpt‘s heart – Sesame Street.

Eric Rieger, aka HOTTEA, recently teamed up with the show to help promote the new Sesame Street website. The result is an incredibly adorable video of Rieger and Grover working together to create a yarn installation.

Want to learn more about HOTTEA and the collaboration? Head over to tpt‘s Rewire to read a Q&A with Rieger about the experience conducted by MN Original Senior Associate Producer, Kate McDonald.

MN Original Recognized for Outstanding Use of Legacy Funds


Twin Cities Public Television (tpt) and MN Original are honored to be recognized by Conservation Minnesota and Minnesota Citizens for the Arts for the impact our programming is having statewide by utilizing funds provided by a grant from the Arts and Culture Fund of the Legacy Amendment.

“TPT’s MN Original goes well beyond simply providing quality educational programming.  MN Original creates a high quality and permanent historical record of our astounding artists and arts community,” Sheila Smith, Executive Director of the Minnesota Citizens for the Arts stated. “They are providing a very important and long lasting contribution in preserving a look at Minnesota’s artistic culture as it is today that will be a resource for years to come.”

Our entire team is honored by this recognition and would like to thank the thousands of Minnesota artists and organizations who have worked with us to help further the reach and impact of our artistic community.

Click here to read a full statement from Conservation Minnesota.

Pictured left to right:

Robert P. Rinek, Chair, Board of Trustees, tpt
Jim Pagliarini, President and CEO, tpt
Ashleigh Rowe, Senior Series Producer, MN Original
Shelia Smith, Executive Director, Minnesota Citizens for the Arts
Bill Strusinski, Legislative Consultant
Terry O’Reilly, Senior Vice President and Chief Content Officer, tpt


Excerpts: Tish Jones

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Loved our segment on spoken word artist Tish Jones? Read on for more details not featured in the episode about how she became interested in poetry and building the community!

“I went to Maxfield Elementary School, and there was an afterschool theater project that was led by our science teacher, actually. She presented us with this play, and, you know, all of my family listens to hip-hop. My friends listen to hip-hop. I listen to hip-hop. So the play options: one was Rap Punzel— Rapunzel’s story written as this epic rap, and I was like, “I wanna get down with Rap-Punzel. This is amazing—I’ve never even seen anything like this.”

“The honest truth is that my relationship with school-it wasn’t always the best.  I think it was because it wasn’t always fun and challenging to me, so I got bored easy. I think that’s the importance of the Rap-Punzel thing, right? It really drew me in to be able to read that classic story in this contemporary art form that was really relevant to me and my lived experience, but I didn’t have that often. And you know, not a lot of young people have that often. It’s not often that we’re taught in that language that we really speak.

“So what ended up happening for me is some of my teachers—I’m really thankful for this—some of my teachers kinda picked up on that. People gave me space to really explore my creative side, and I think a trusting relationship happens. If someone extends a gesture or a kindness to you, you want to give it back. So I showed up for those teachers because they showed up for me.

“In 2005—that was my graduating year of high school, and that’s when I linked up with Intermedia Arts for the first installment of B-Girl Be. B-Girl Be was an international celebration of women in hip-hop. That year was a life-changing year for me. That’s the year that I moved out of this solo kind of performance or writing space into: here’s what performance is like on a local level.

“Every year after that I still did some poetry and hip-hop sets, but also it became about helping organize it. It then shifted from being onstage to really thinkin’ about how you create platforms for other people. I think that’s what so good about this community, the Twin Cities arts community, to me. It’s not a selfish community. People here give back, and they teach.

“I feel like my involvement with B-Girl Be really felt like a mentorship. These are powerful, dynamic, intelligent women who I get to learn from, and recognize that’s it’s not just about creating art but it’s also about creating the spaces so that other people can create art. Like, you know, showing up for folks in the same way that my teachers showed up for me when I was a kid.”

WATCH: Tish Jones featured in the full episode here

MN Original Holiday Gift Guide

MNO Gift Guide Collage

‘Tis the season for gift giving and here at MN Original we’ve gathered some great items from our artist alums that would make fantastic holiday gifts. From prints to jewelry to music, there are plenty of ways to give the gift of art and support local makers.

Have you purchased or received a gift made by a MN Original artist? We want to see! Share a photo of your item on Instagram, Twitter or by posting on our Facebook page and using the hashtag #ShopMNOriginal. You’ll also be entered to win a MN Original t-shirt.

Of course, there are so many talented artisans in Minnesota offering holiday items and specials — more than we could include in this post. So if you’ve got the scoop on another artist offering noteworthy holiday goods, please share in the comments!

MNO Gift Guide Prints

Prints are an easy gift to give to anyone looking to spice up their walls. From classic Minnesota imagery to inspirational quotes, check out these prints from four talented printmakers.

1. Adam Turman: Paul and Babe print $11.99

2. Liza Sylvestre: Coil watercolor print $20

3. Amy Rice: We All Shine On print $30

4. Gregory Euclide: Singles print set $130

MNO Gift Guide Tickets

Give the gift of theater this holiday season! From children’s classics to dance to opera — there’s something for everyone.

1. Minnesota Dance Theatre presents Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy – Various pricing

2. Children’s Theatre Company presents How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Various pricing

3. Minnesota Opera offering “Opera for Two” which includes two tickets to an opera + drink or dessert vouchers for $99

MNO Gift Guide Music

The Minnesota music scene is diverse, vibrant and full of new 2014 releases (and even a Grammy nomination – hey, Okee Dokee Brothers!) Consider these albums for stocking stuffers for your favorite music lover.

1. Okee Dokee Brothers – “Through the Woods” CD/DVD combo – $20

2. Cantus“A Harvest Home” CD – $20

3. Atmosphere“Southsiders” CD + MP3 – $12.99, vinyl + MP3 – $26.99

4. Barbara Jean“Darker Than Blue” CD – $15

MNO Gift Guide Jewelry

One can never really go wrong with giving a little sparkle. Minnesota happens to be stacked with talented jewelry makers who offer beautiful items to gift to someone special or even yourself (you deserve it!)

1. Danny SaathoffOrbit earrings, $145

2. Stephanie LakeStudded lady bug cuff, $635

3. Brittany FosterOctupous discovers an emerald ring, $140

MNO Gift Guide Books

The New York Times recently published their 100 Most Notable Books of 2014 which included four titles from local publisher, Graywolf Press. Shop the titles below for a great gift for the bookworm in your life.

1. Song of the Shank by Jeffery Renard Allen, $18

2. Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty by Vikram Chandra, $16

3. On Immunity by Eula Biss, $24

4. The Empathy of Exams by Leslie Jamison, $15


Introducing MN Original: Season 6!

The time has come to share the first look at the upcoming season of MN Original which premieres Sunday, January 4 at 6 and 10 p.m. on tpt!

Our weekly series will continue to highlight the diverse arts and cultural communities throughout Minnesota. From mixed media artist Greg Gossel, to singer/songwriter Adam Levy to Springboard for the Arts Director, Laura Zabel — each week will showcase a different corner of the arts and aim to promote the creative process for generations to come.

To celebrate the launch of the sixth season, MN Original alumni Adam Turman will create a limited-edition print poster design which will be released early 2015. Stay tuned to learn how you can own one of these very special prints.

Season 6 will feature artists including Kurt Melancon, Chris Mars, Phil Daniel, Katherine Turczan, Tish Jones, Tucker Hollingsworth, Futurekave, Revolver Magazine and many more.

Since 2010, MN Original has featured more than 2,500 artists, nearly 300 organizations, over 150 experts and more than 1,000 partners/collaborators. The program was the recipient of seven regional Emmy® Awards in 2014 including best Magazine Program and best Arts & Entertainment – Single Story.


Pictured (clockwise): Futurekave, Revolver Magazine, Greg Gossel, Adam Levy

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