30 episodes

Each week three people from the Minnesota arts community talk about a performance, opening, or event they're excited to see or want others to check out.

Art Hounds MPR

    • Arts
    • 4.3 • 24 Ratings

Each week three people from the Minnesota arts community talk about a performance, opening, or event they're excited to see or want others to check out.

    Art Hounds: New work that highlights Yiddish poetry and Asian American voices

    Art Hounds: New work that highlights Yiddish poetry and Asian American voices

    St. Paul composer Adam Wernick looks forward to the Rimon Artists Salon series — and in particular, the world premiere of a new work by composer and vocalist Anat Spiegel.




    Submitted photo | YourClassical

    Anat Spiegel





    Spiegel is a Dutch-Israeli composer who now makes her home in the Twin Cities. Rimon executive producer David Harris saw her work as a Cedar Commissions fellow and commissioned Thursday’s performance. 

    “I would describe her music and her performances as bold, theatrical, hugely imaginative — and always surprising,” Wernick said.

    The Zoom event is entitled “I Once Was a Boy: on the Edge with poet Anna Margolin.” Spiegel’s song series puts music to poems written in Yiddish by Anna Margolin. The evening includes a conversation between Spiegel and vocalist Sarah Larsson about the Yiddish language, poetry, and music. The event Thursday at 7 p.m. is free, but registration is required.


    Landscape painter Joshua Cunningham recently made a trip to Duluth, Minn., to get a sneak peak at the Great Lakes Academy of Fine Arts’ first student show. The school is a four-year program that teaches a classical style of art. The first graduating class was in 2020, but the pandemic prevented the academy from putting on a year-end showcase. This year’s show includes work by the first two graduating classes as well as current students. 




    Austin Jasurda | Courtesy of Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art

    ‘St. Jerome Cast Drawing’ by Great Lakes Academy of Fine Art student Austin Jasurda who used charcoal on paper to create this work of art.





    Cunningham was intrigued by both the showcase and its location; the school is housed in a decommissioned Catholic church, with pews turned into easels surrounded by original stonework and wooden scaffolding.

    “It's really neat because beauty endures beyond its original purpose. And so for the students to be practicing and learning in a space about beauty for a bigger thing,” Cunningham said.

    As for the artwork, Cunningham said “some of those drawings and paintings will be the fruit of weeks of observation. Just think about the last time you spent weeks looking at and studying something.”  The student showcase runs Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.


    Looking ahead to next weekend, visual artist Heather Lou in St. Paul is planning to attend the New Eyes Festival 2021: (Un)Scene. The annual festival of short plays from Theater Mu and the Playwrights’ Center will feature a series of 10-minute plays, presented virtually. This year’s playwrights are Carla Ching, Aditi Brennan Kapil, Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay, Isabella Dawis, and Lisa Marie Rollins.

    This year, the five playwrights respond in some way to growing anti-Asian violence in the country. Lou also appreciates that the plays explore “the ways our community can be celebrated and put in the limelight.”

    Friday, May 21 at 7 p.m., you can hear from the playwrights and producer Katie Hae Leo during a ‘Mu-tini Hour’ on Facebook live. The plays air live on May 22 at 7 p.m. and will be available on demand May 23 through May 29.






    All the home’s a stage Far-flung actors, crew unite for Theater Mu’s new show

    • 4 min
    Art Hounds: Math rock, looping flute and a Duluth music festival

    Art Hounds: Math rock, looping flute and a Duluth music festival

    Rich Mattson, of the band Rich Mattson and Northstars, was glad to see that northeastern Minnesota’s Duluth Homegrown Music Festival is running this week. Last year, a very small, virtual version of the festival took place. The in-person events were officially called off the day before the festival’s “Field Guide” went into print. This year, the weeklong event features livestreamed and previously recorded performances, poetry, homemade music videos, a photography exhibit and more.

    Music streams live from Studio A on KUMD radio and from Richard Narum’s 2104 studio — aka the living room of his Duluth home. Current and archived performances are available on the Duluth Homegrown YouTube channel. The festival runs through Sunday.

    While Mattson loves the energy in downtown Duluth during an in-person festival and looks forward to its return, festival director Melissa La Tour says she anticipates that future events will continue to have some livestreaming elements, so that those who have moved away from the area or cannot otherwise access the festival may still enjoy the event.


    Jacob Bases of Triple Falls Productions is a big fan of Onion Bun, a math rock band based in Mankato. Math rock plays with time signatures, counterpoint and rhythmic structures. It’s a music theory-driven style, but Bases says you can enjoy listening without knowing any of that. “It’s music that you can bob along to,” Bases says, but the more closely you listen, the more interesting it gets. Each member of this drum/guitar/bass band has a chance to shine in their arrangements.

    Onion Bun released their debut EP, “Giraffodil” in April, which you can find on Bandcamp.


    Rolf Erdahl of the duo OboeBass is familiar with the challenges that musicians have faced during the pandemic, and that’s part of the reason why he’s so impressed with the series flutist/composer Julie Johnson has been releasing, called “Looping in my Living Room.”

    Looping is an electronic process that allows a musician to record, play back and play over their own audio — essentially to accompany themselves. Each video shows Johnson meticulously building layer upon layer of music as she plays both amplified flute and bass flute and adds distortion and special effects to create one finished piece.

    Erdahl says one of his favorite moments comes at the end of her piece “Arkan,” which is based on a Ukrainian folk tune. “And at the very end, Julie has such joy and satisfaction in her face at the completion of a live piece of music, performed without a net in her living room. The joy is utterly contagious.”

    Johnson’s fifth video was released this week, with a final due out later this month.

    • 5 min
    Art Hounds: 'The Art of Possibilities'

    Art Hounds: 'The Art of Possibilities'

    A fine arts exhibition from Courage Kenny, a one-man comedy show in Lanesboro about chef James Beard, and a pandemic YouTube special from Minneapolis stand-up comic Ali Sultan. 

    • 3 min
    Art Hounds: Landscapes and memory-scapes

    Art Hounds: Landscapes and memory-scapes

    Martin DeWitt of Duluth, Minn., wrote to Art Hounds about a “milestone” currently showing at Tweed Museum Art at the University of Minnesota Duluth, where he is a former director and curator. The retrospective exhibit, "A Life Well-Painted: The Art of Carl Gawboy,” and the collection span nearly six decades of the Duluth resident’s art. The renowned Bois Forte Anishinaabe artist, storyteller and scholar taught watercolor and American Indian Studies at UMD and at the College of Saint Scholastica for 18 years.









    Courtesy of Carl Gawboy | University of Minnesota Duluth Tweed Museum of Art

    "Campground at Ball Club" by Carl Gawboy, 1975, watercolor, collection of Dewey and Bambi Goodwin.









    Courtesy of Carl Gawboy | University of Minnesota Duluth Tweed Museum of Art

    "The River of Souls," by Carl Gawboy, ca. 2000s, acrylic on canvas, collection of the artist.









    Courtesy of Carl Gawboy | University of Minnesota Duluth Tweed Museum of Art

    "Moccasin Maker," by Carl Gawboy, ca. 1980s, watercolor, collection of Min No Aya Win Human Services Center, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.









    “Gawboy’s watercolors, his favorite medium, are transparent by nature, layered spontaneous color and gestural, like a dance, and reveal precious recollections of time and place,” said DeWitt. “Thirty-eight of Gawboy’s watercolors, acrylic paintings and relief sculptures serve as visualizations of stories that depict his Ojibwe and Finnish heritage, cultural and family memories so critical to the Minnesota historic record and collective memory of us all.”

    Tweed is closed to the general public due to the pandemic, open only to UMD students, faculty and staff. The rest of us may see a selection of Gawboy’s works in the exhibit on the Tweed’s YouTube channel, along with Gawboy’s personal recollections and stories of growing up in northeastern Minnesota.


    Writer Katie Hae Leo and an actor friend recently talked about how typecasting limits careers. She was particularly interested in the showcase “Re-Cast” from Theater Latté Da, which invited a handful of local theater actors to perform a song they love that they were not likely ever to be cast to perform for reasons of age, gender, race or other. In this show, an adult sings a favorite song written for a child, a woman performs a role written for a man, among the acts.

    The performances are interspersed with personal storytelling, as the actors discuss why their chosen songs are important to them. “It’s about actors being given a chance to show everything that they are able to do,” Leo said.

    “Re-Cast” is part of Theater Latté Da’s Ghostlight series, virtual shows that stream through Aug. 31 and showcase more than 40 Minnesota artists.


    Courtney Selstad of Minneapolis loves to discover new artists. One of the artists who popped up on her Instagram feed was painter, Katherine Story-Sutter, an acquaintance from 15 years ago. “Oh my gosh, I know her, and look at this beautiful stuff that she’s making,” said Selstad.




    Courtesy of Buckner Story-Sutter

    "Coltrane," done in india ink, by Katherine Story-Sutter.





    Based in St. Louis Park, Minn., Story-Sutter creates portraits, landscapes and dreamscapes in paint and ink. Her portraits are “raw, almost aggressive,” says Selstad, and her landscapes “are like little memory flashbacks,” whose colors and movement create the sense of a precious moment, captured.

    Story-Sutter is donating most of her proceeds to the George Floyd Memorial Foundation. “It’s a great example of someone u

    • 5 min
    Art Hounds: Artists explore self-care during hard times

    Art Hounds: Artists explore self-care during hard times

    Singer Marie Woodward lives in upstate New York, but she was able to watch Minnesota Opera mezzo soprano Mia Athey’s new vocal showcase “Self-Love: My Remedy in the Pandemic.” The two met while performing together at the Glimmerglass Opera Festival two years ago.

    Woodward admires how Athey created, directed, filmed and edited — not to mention sang —her one-woman showcase. As the title suggests, the songs follow a restorative journey for those stuck home during the pandemic.

    Athey is in her second season of the resident artist program at the Minnesota Opera. The 42-minute showcase is part of the opera’s “Apart Together” series, and it is available for free on YouTube through Saturday.


    Katherine Kelly of Minneapolis follows the work of a number of artists who inspire her to be bold and creative. One of those artists is Minneapolis-based illustrator Tori Hong, whose work ranges from whimsical “bunny affirmations” to recent artwork expressing solidarity with the people of Myanmar following the February coup. One project that Kelly was particularly excited to share is the “Growbook,” co-created by Hong and Cori Nakamura Lin. It’s an activity packet designed to spark conversation, healing and discovery.




    Courtesy of Tori Hong

    A sample page from “Growbook,” co-created by Tori Hong and Cori Nakamura Lin, an activity packet designed to spark conversation, healing, and discovery.





    The “Growbook” functions as an artist-created journal, complete with two coloring pages. Eleven pages of prompts invite the user to map their strengths, skills, views on conflict, and even recipes that have gotten them through the pandemic. The book is free to download and is designed to be shared in conversation with others. You can find the Growbook here.


    In this self-care-themed Art Hounds episode, we can’t leave out laughter. Trish Foster of St. Louis Park was one of several Art Hounds who wrote in about The Danger Committee, a comedy performance trio whose unique set of skills includes knife-throwing as well as juggling. Foster says both the adults and children in her family have enjoyed past performances by the troupe.

    “The fun thing about a Danger Committee show is that they love to do improv, and they are so skilled at it. You never see the same show twice. And the jokes are just flying at such a rapid pace. It’s so much fun.”

    The Danger Committee’s “Back to the Lab” performances at the Lab Theater in Minneapolis run Thursday through April 25. In compliance with health guidelines, the theater will operate at 25 percent capacity. 

    • 5 min
    Art Hounds celebrate Black storytelling

    Art Hounds celebrate Black storytelling

    Updated: 3:50 p.m.
    Verlena Flournoy Matey-Keke has long enjoyed the work of the Black Storytellers Alliance in Minneapolis. This year marks the 30th Black Master Storytelling Festival, which will livestream on April 10, 17 and 25.

    The free series of events will include music and storytelling by artists from Minnesota and around the country. Danielle Daniel emcees. Nearly half of the 14 storytellers are from Minnesota.

    Matey-Keke loves history, and she appreciates the role that storytelling has long held in passing down Black history and lessons. Having once taken a class with the Black Storytellers, she says she has learned best storytelling brings characters to life.





    Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society Press

    Melvin Carter Jr. joined the St. Paul Police Department in 1974 and served nearly 40 years on the force, initially one of only a handful of Black officers among the ranks.





    Actor T. Mychael Rambo calls our attention to a virtual play from the History Theatre that celebrates the Rondo neighborhood in St. Paul. “Diesel Heart — Part 2” follows the life of Melvin Carter Jr., who grew up in Rondo, joined the Navy, and returned home to serve as a police officer for over 25 years. His son, Melvin Carter III, is the mayor of St Paul. The play was written by Brian Grandison in collaboration with the elder Carter. It’s directed by H. Adam Harris.

    The first act of “Diesel Heart” originally premiered as a virtual show, and “Diesel Heart — Part 2”  includes several new scenes in Act 2 on Carter’s law enforcement experience. Tickets are available here. The reading of the show is available for streaming Monday through April 18.


    This week marks one full year that the Twin Cities Jazz Festival has been livestreaming concerts. Jazz singer Connie Evingson has performed at one such streamed event in the past, and recommends upcoming shows. This Thursday at 7 p.m. the Mac Santiago Quartet performs, with Santiago on drums, Dale Alexander on piano, Aaron Hedenstrom on sax and Billy Peterson on bass. Their performance will stream live from the Dakota stage.

    Up next Thursday: the Twin Cities group Ticket to Brasil plays “bossa nova, samba, and all that wonderful stuff that makes you want to move,” Evingson said. Performances are free, with donations appreciated.

    • 5 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
24 Ratings

24 Ratings

Lnvk ,

Good Overview, ANNOYING Intro

I love getting these tips for cool art stuff to do each weekend but I absolutely cannot stand the intros. I listen to this as a podcast and every week I try to gauge how far to fast forward so I don't have to listen to the "cheeky," "creative" introduction to the show. Please stop trying so hard, it shows, and it would be stronger if you dropped the attempt to be cool and just added another review.

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