That’s a wrap: MN Original at Art Attack recap

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Getting self-reflective at the MN Original self portrait station at Art Attack 2014

Art Attack 2014 is a wrap! MN Original was excited to take part in this year’s event by showcasing our featured artists who were also participating in the weekend at the Northrup King Building.

On Saturday, our team took over studio 248 and created a gallery wall with over 20 pieces from different MN Original alums, set up a self portrait station, brought in live performances and more.

Thank you to the artists who displayed work in the space as well as Timotha Lanae, The Center for Irish Music, O’Shea Irish Dance and Revolver Magazine for putting on fantastic performances and activities throughout the day for attendees.

We were thrilled to be a part of Art Attack and connect with the 1,000 people who came through!

Take a look at some of our favorite posts on social media from the day:







Join MN Original at Art Attack on Nov. 8


The 17th annual Art Attack weekend is taking place November 7 – 9 at the Northrup King Building in Northeast which will bring together more than 250 artists featuring installations, musical performances, interactive pieces and more.

MN Original is excited to be a part of the event on Saturday, November 8 from 12-8 p.m as we take over studio 248. Guests will be able to browse a gallery wall featuring over 20 MN Original alumni artists, watch live performances by Timotha LanaeThe Center for Irish MusicO’Shea Irish Dance and take part in writing activities with Revolver Literary Magazine.

When you stop by, don’t forget to snap a photo on Twitter or Instagram and tag #MNOriginal for a chance to win a t-shirt.

See below for a full list of participating artists in the MN Original space at Art Attack.

Visual artists:

Kristen Arden

Brittany Foster

Sharra Frank

Karen Gustafson

Laura Hallen

Eddie Hamilton

Heidi Hoy

Betty Jager

Emily Johnson

Britta Kauppila

Josie Lewis

Dean Lucker and Ann Wood

Kelly Marshall

Eleanor McGough

Jack Pavlik

Andre Salvadore

Michael Schmidt

Thomas Schrunk

Mike Welton

Mike Wohnoutka


Performing artists:

Timotha Lanae

Revolver Literary Magazine

The Center for Irish Music & O’Shea Irish Dance








MN Original Artists at the Fall St. Paul Art Crawl

St. Paul Art Crawl 2

If you’re looking for a reason to get out this weekend, we couldn’t think of a
better opportunity to visit our neighborhood in Lowertown St. Paul than when the Fall
St. Paul Art Crawl takes place October 10, 11 and 12.

The biannual event, hosted by the St. Paul Art Collective, expects around 20,000
people to visit the Lowertown art district and throughout St. Paul to see the
work of more than 300 artists on display.

The three-day event will offer open galleries, studios, live performances,
pop-up shops and much more.

With so much to explore, make time to visit some of our MN Original featured artists
who will be participating in the art crawl:

Matthew Rucker

Original oil paintings

Building: Schmidt Artist Lofts Bottlehouse
Location: 135

Alex Kuno

Apocalyptic, satirical tales

Building: 262 Studios
Location: LL-3rd Floor Hallways

Josephine A. Geiger

Fine Art Stained Glass

Buidling: J.A. Geiger Studio
Location: Studio

Michael Schmidt

Acrylic & beeswax on canvas

Building: The Grand Hand Gallery
Location: 719 Goodrich Ave.

Chris Faust


Building: Studio 210

Fall St. Paul Art Crawl:
October 10, 6 – 10 p.m.
October 11, 12 – 8 p.m.
October 12, 12 – 5 p.m.

Free Metro Transit passes available on Saturday and Sunday

MN Original Takes Home 7 Regional Emmys®!

We’re excited to announce that we won 7 Upper Midwest Regional Emmy® nominations this year, including individual nominations for our director of photography, Brennan Vance, and one of our editors, Adam Geiger.



Category 26: Magazine Program
Minnesota Original: Episode #515 with Minnesota Dance Theatre, Drury Brennan, Robert Bly and Nicholas David


Category 11A: Arts/Entertainment: Single Story
Light Artist Brian Hart


22A: Historic/Cultural/Nostalgic – Single Story
Secret Stash Records


24: Informational/Instructional – Single Story
Photographer Andrew Moxom


25a: Interview/Discussion – Single Story
Installation Artist HOTTEA


Thank you to all of our MNO alums who so generously donate their time and work for our show. It’s a privilege to document your work, and an honor to get recognized for it!

Educator Evening with MNO Artist Xavier Tavera

Attention educators*! You’re invited:

An Evening with Xavier Tavera: Creativity Across Disciplines

Spend an evening inspiring creativity with photographer and MNO alum Xavier Tavera. Through a hands-on, easy-to-replicate photography workshop, Tavera will engage, encourage, and imbue confidence in participants. Tavera will also facilitate a discussion on the meaning of creativity and how creativity applies to life outside of Art. (Cameras and camera phones are not required to participate, though if you have one, please bring it to share!)

(*this event is open to the community, not just educators, though there will be a focus on classroom application.)

In case you need further convincing, revisit our profile on him:

Event Details
Date: Thursday, October 2, 2014
Time: 7 p.m. – 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

Click here to register.


Contact Kate Westlund with questions: [email protected]

Excerpts: Peter Brosius



Couldn’t get enough of o ur segment on the Resident Acting Company at Children’s Theatre Company? Read on for more insight from Artist Director Peter Brosius on what makes the Children’s Theatre Company so unique.


“There are many things that are extraordinary about this theater.

It’s the only theater to have won a Tony award for sustained excellence. It’s the only children’s theater to have taken a show to Broadway. And the Children’s Theater’s been here for almost 50 years which is such a great testament to this state.

The reason that “company” is in the title is that company is core to the entire idea of this theater. There are very few acting companies left in the United States. But if you look at the history of world theater—Shakespeare, Molière, Peter Brook, on and on—the history of great theater is the history of companies, and they’re there for a reason. You have a group of people who have earned a kind of trust with each other, who are willing to take risks, who are willing to collaborate and who share some profound common values and principles.

And so it has been a gift to have an acting company of people who invest so deeply in the work, who care so passionately about the audience, who are willing to work tirelessly to make a piece of work that transforms kids’ lives, that inspires them, that excites them. So part of my job is certainly the nurturing and supporting and listening to that wonderful group of actors.

Another incredible gift is that we’re also a school—I love that I came to a place where theater and education mattered so much. We have a theater arts training program where we work with a lot of young actors. And our resident acting company is committed to making sure that those young people are honored, respected, challenged, prodded, supported, nurtured and treated like professionals.

Additionally, each year, I travel around the country and audition actors—BA, BFA, MFA grads—for their first professional jobs, and this group becomes our performing apprentices. Sometimes they’ve worked a bit and sometimes they’re just getting out of school. We bring them here, we give them a real salary, we give them healthcare and we give them real roles in our shows. And the company is just so gorgeously welcoming; inviting them in, making them feel good, helping them understand every theater has its own unique culture.

We’re a place that celebrates young talent but also says ‘Rise up, meet the standard.’ Because we’re making theater for the most important audience in the world—for young people and families. And if we inspire that family, if we inspire those young people with the power of theater, its beauty, you’ve created a lifelong curiosity and hunger for the arts.”

MNO at the 2014 Emmys®! Part II


As promised, here are the remaining nominations for MN Original‘s 2014 Upper Midwest Regional Emmys®. (In case you missed yesterday’s post, click here.)

We’re clearly not ones to shy away from some friendly competition, as evidenced in the first and third categories.


Category 11A: Arts/Entertainment: Single Story
Hip Hop Group Atmosphere


Light Artist Brian Hart


Composer Chan Poling


20: Education/Schools
Community Artist Greta McLain


22A: Historic/Cultural/Nostalgic – Single Story
First Avenue Photographer Dan Corrigan


Secret Stash Records


24: Informational/Instructional – Single Story
Photographer Andrew Moxom


25a: Interview/Discussion – Single Story
Installation Artist HOTTEA


As far as individual craft nominations, hat tips to our Director of Photography, Brennan Vance (Emmy® Winner!), and our editors, Adam Geiger (Emmy® Winner!), Ryan Klabunde and Skip Davis!

(In case you missed yesterday’s post, click here.)


Thank you to all of our MNO alums who so generously donate their time and work for our show. It’s a privilege to document your work, and an honor to get recognized for it!

MNO at the 2014 Emmys®! Part I

EmmyWe’re excited to announce that we were nominated for 14 Upper Midwest Regional Emmy® nominations this year, including individual nominations for craft (think videographers and editors) and for The Lowertown Line.

So if you want to watch the best of the best of MN Original, look no further than right here on the MNO On The Go blog! We’ll be aggregating all videos here.

First up on the list are our full-length programs:

Category 26: Magazine Program
Minnesota Original: Episode #515 with Minnesota Dance Theatre, Drury Brennan, Robert Bly and Nicholas David


Category 11B: Arts/Entertainment: Program
The Lowertown Line: Chastity Brown


To see the 8 individual segments that are up for nomination (many of them in the same category!) click here.

Excerpts: Sun Mee Chomet

Chomet Screenshot 1Interested in learning more about actress and playwright Sun Mee Chomet after watching her recent segment? Read on for her perspective on diversity in the arts, the Twin Cities theater community, adoption and more!

(And click here for more information on her one-night-only August 17 performance of How to Be a Korean Woman.)

 I originally wanted to be either a gymnast or a pianist, but I realized acting was a lot more fun, and now as I get older I think I’m an actor just because there are so many stories that need to be told, and that’s kinda why I’ve ventured into playwriting as well.  As an Asian American actor, you tend towards writing in order to create parts that are not written yet. And I feel passionate about that—about telling stories from the diversity of what it means to be “American.”

What’s special about the Twin Cities is not only the diversity of wonderful, incredible theater makers and artistic directors, but that these are people who become your friends. I felt like in New York, if I disappeared, no one would notice. In the Twin Cities, your fellow artists and colleagues not only want to see you, want to work with you; they want to see you thrive.

I would walk around the streets of Manhattan and dream about coming back to the Twin Cities. I knew I wanted to create my own work. And I knew I wanted to have the time and support and energy to be able to write, and especially create work for Asian American women. In NY, it’s just pounding the pavement, auditioning for Rape Victim Number 3 on Law and Order. It was not very satisfying. The Twin Cities was always a place that I felt supported artists, so I wanted to come back.

The most recent play I’ve written is How to Be A Korean Woman. I felt a need to write this play to process my search and reunion with my birth family in 2010. So often in plays about adoption, it’s this happy coming home story; how life in the States is great. I really wanted to give life to my birth family and the emotional turmoil on that end. As an adoptee, you end up kind of internalizing all of that emotional turmoil. And as much as I am grateful, I’m also really confused and upset. It really challenges every idea I have about what family means, even as an adult!

I do draw comparisons between my search for my birth family and my search for my identity as an artist. It’s about finding your authentic voice and figuring out who you are. The more you know your own biography, the better you’re going to be as an artist.

I feel like I am constantly aware of how little time there is. There’s so much I want to do, and there’s so much I want to say, and there’s so much I want to create with other artists. I don’t want to waste any time. Not because I want to get to a certain place, but because there are so many stories I want to tell.

Excerpts: Greta McLain

McClain Screenshot 1

Muralist Greta McLain has a love of life that is infectious. We couldn’t fit all of her positivity into her 9-minute segment, so we’ve pulled these excerpts from her interview.

I’m a south Minneapolis girl, born and raised. I came up in an amazing kind of a golden era in the public school system. I went to Ramsey International Fine Arts School, where we were speaking Spanish in the classroom and taking violin lessons and painting on the walls and doing all these paper mache projects-my education always had a component of art. And from the time I was really young, I saw art as something that offered a career for adults.

I went to school at UC Davis in California and right away I knew I wanted to do murals.  Working with people in the Chicano studies department, I was able to tap into that community practice of how do you use art as a vehicle for creating social justice and social change around an issue?

When I was about to graduate, people asked me if I was going to stay in California. They said, “You should stay in California. It’s warm here, it’s nice here.” And I was like, “Yeah, people are doing murals. This is a place I could live.” But then I had some people who were really close and important to me say, “Aren’t you interested in doing community art? Well this isn’t actually yo  ur community. You’re not from here. You should go back to Minnesota.”

I didn’t really know about a community mural practice and movement happening in Minnesota, but there’s so much new art activity in Minneapolis and this is totally a community that supports this work happening. 

Most of my projects start with 3 main questions; a question that is a definition, a question that is pointing at a problem and a question that is leading to a solution. For example, with a mural that’s about bringing together a community, you might ask “What IS community?” “Where do you find community?” “What is it that makes you part of something together?” “What is it that makes this neighborhood this neighborhood?”

These all start with conversations with the participating groups of people, and you’re going to see that even within such a simple question, everybody gets to voice their perspective and within that conversation, people are hearing the differences. The mural is making the connections and the relationships and standing as a suggestion of where this neighborhood or where this community is going. It starts from a conversation. That dialogue then moves into images.

I was excited about public art and murals rather than doing smaller kind of works because I’m not a detail person; I’m a big picture person. I’m really excited about bringing people to the wall that don’t traditionally get to have their work out in the world and celebrated. And then not only putting them up in a little way, but putting them up really big.

All I want to say is just how honored I am to be a part of the Minneapolis mural scene and part of the work that’s going on here in the public art and community art world. I can’t wait to collaborate with all of the different and innovative kind of art making that is happening here in Minnesota.

Six Impossible Things’ “Leav” Launches at Northern Spark


There are numerous exciting events and ventures to be unveiled this weekend at the all night arts festival Northern Spark. One of those new ventures is a digital platform called Leav created by Six Impossible Things. Joey Kantor and Bobby Maher of Six Impossible Things, along with collaborating artist and MNO Alum Kate Casanova, tell us more about the app, their collaboration and how we can experience Leav at Northern Spark and beyond.

What is Leav and what sparked its inception?
Leav: At its simplest, Leav is a mobile platform intended to reconnect what you experience with your surroundings. For centuries, the experience of art — and content in general — has been highly influenced by where you are, what your surroundings are, etc. With the mobile experience, we’ve all but lost it. We can listen to music anywhere, we can read a poem anywhere, but what Leav does is brings back the idea that there is something beautiful about being exactly where the artist, sender, or creator intended you to be when you experience that piece. When you open the app, you’ll see a map indicating pieces available. You won’t be able to access these pieces unless you are within the bounds of where the artist would like you to be. So you’ll need to navigate yourself to where these pieces are ‘installed.’ Some pieces also take advantage of other factors like time, temperature, direction and/or speed of travel, so that the piece interacts dynamically with your surroundings.

Which artists will be featured at Leav’s launch at Northern Spark on June 14th?
Leav: Chris Koza, Kate Casanova, Stuart Pimsler, and Holly Hansen

How was the app catered to collaborate with Kate Casanova’s “A Natural History of Chimneys?”
Leav: I spent time over the past year talking with all our artists about how the technology can be used, not for technology’s sake, but to create a unique experience that couldn’t exist otherwise. With Kate, that meant identifying how she wanted people to physically experience her work – should they be encouraged to move around the chimneys to get all of the visual and audio pieces, or is it important that someone can just be still in the space and not miss anything? By making the piece only available around sunset we also try to establish an environment in which the chimney swifts flying in and out of the chimneys should accompany Kate’s wonderful visual collages and audio. With all our artists, however, I really stress starting with the experience you want to create for your audience and then working backward to use the technology to achieve that goal instead of saying “Let’s play with this cool feature.”

Kate, what interested you about collaborating with Leav?
Casanova: I was drawn to the idea that through the locational and time based technology of the app, I could make an artwork that would allow participants to experience an overlooked natural phenomenon in our city. By working with Leav, I was able to create a piece I would not otherwise be able to make.

How does your collaboration with Leav embody “place”?
Casanova: “A Natural History of Chimneys” highlights the interconnected lives of humans and a small bird that roosts exclusively in chimneys called the Chimney Swift. Each location on the map is a chimney that is an active roost. By going to the site a half hour before and after sunset, viewers can witness the ritual of the birds descending into their chimney for the night. Viewers will be also able to access a video and audio collage.

What were the opportunities of working with the app-based program that allowed your artistic process to be pushed or challenged?
Casanova: In this piece, viewers will be engaged both with the video and audio collage on their phone as well as watching the birds descend into the chimney, which is a lot to pay attention to. Creating a work that engages one’s attention while not distracting from the birds was a challenge.

Leav, has working with different artists and their individual visions or processes challenged the programming end or capabilities of the app?
Leav: When we first developed the idea of Leav as a mobile platform for placing, viewing and sharing digital art and using that power of place to connect people to their community and the world around them, we partnered with artists who we thought might all approach this challenge in different ways, and push us to create a tool that could handle the unique requirements of the work.

Like any good tool, we are trying to be responsive to how artists and organizations choose to create with us, and also to how community members experience that work through the app.

Are you planning to collaborate with more artists in the year to come?
Leav: Yes — Thanks to our successful Kickstarter campaign, we’ll be commissioning several other artists including Grant Cutler, HOTTEA, Emily Johnson/Catalyst Dance, Andy Sturdevant and The Roe Family Singers.

Where and when can we find all the Leav launches at Northern Spark?
Leav: It’s simple: All you’ll need to do is download the Leav app in the iPhone App Store, and open the map to see where the different pieces are. Then, just navigate your way to the pieces, and once you’re in the designated location indicated in the app, you can click to enter the piece and listen/watch/read the piece of art.

To learn more about Leav and keep up with their latest collaborations, find them on Facebook and Twitter.

MNO Celebrates Hip Hop Appreciation Week 2014

In five seasons of MNO, we’ve been fortunate to work with some of the Twin Cities’ most talented hip-hop musicians, dancers, and activists. While hardly a day goes by without the music of at least one of these artists being blasted in the MNO offices, we’re celebrating Hip Hop Appreciation Week with a playlist of all the hip-hop-related videos that have aired on MN Original. Watch the playlist below, and be sure to check out the Minnesota Hip Hop Coalition’s website for a full list of events in celebration of Hip Hop Appreciation Week!

Included in the playlist:

Heiruspecs: The Pushback
Greg Grease: I Still Love H.E.R.
B-Boy J-Sun
Kill The Vultures
Amy Sackett
Spencer Wirth-Davis / Big Cats
Maria Isa
No Bird Sing
Guante: Cartpushers
Doomtree: Slow Burn at Rock The Garden 2012
Mankwe Ndosi
Brother Ali: The Travelers
Rebecca McDonald
Chaka Mkali