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.

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.