Crafternoon & Crafterdark Pottery Workshops

Bring your creative friends and make a few new ones as you learn the secrets of throwing pottery on the wheel. This three-hour workshop is a fun and messy introduction to clay. The $40 fee includes instruction and materials for one adult. Students can expect to make 3 – 5 pots and decorate them using colorful slips or textures. Your pots will be ready to pick up after approximately two weeks.

Clay for Couples

Looking for a unique date night activity that is sure to impress your mate? Look no further than NCC’s original Clay for Couples. Sign up with your special friend and learn the secrets of throwing pottery on the wheel in a fun and relaxed environment. Already attended a session? Sign up again and take your skills to the next level. Pots will be ready to pick up about two weeks later.

*The $80 fee includes instruction and materials for two adults.

Crafternoon & Crafterdark Pottery Workshops

Bring your creative friends and make a few new ones as you learn the secrets of throwing pottery on the wheel. This three-hour workshop is a fun and messy introduction to clay. The $40 fee includes instruction and materials for one adult. Students can expect to make 3 – 5 pots and decorate them using colorful slips or textures. Your pots will be ready to pick up after approximately two weeks.

Clay for Couples

Looking for a unique date night activity that is sure to impress your mate? Look no further than NCC’s original Clay for Couples. Sign up with your special friend and learn the secrets of throwing pottery on the wheel in a fun and relaxed environment. Already attended a session? Sign up again and take your skills to the next level. Pots will be ready to pick up about two weeks later.

*The $80 fee includes instruction and materials for two adults.

Where to get your flower fix this weekend

como flower show

The Como Zoo Marjorie McNeely Conservatory’s summer flower show opens April 30. This year’s theme is the color purple. // Photo of past summer show via Como Zoo Conservatory

Spring is taking its sweet time to fully arrive in Minnesota. Instead of gazing out your window at the dreary gray skies, wrapped in a blanket, wishing for warm sunshine and abundant gardens, get a jump-start on the season by heading to Art in Bloom at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Summer Flower Show at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory.

art in bloom

Floral arrangements for Art In Bloom are designed to complement pieces in the Mia’s collection // Photo via Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Art in Bloom opens today, Thursday, April 28, and goes until Sunday, May 1. This is the 33rd year of the four-day festival of fresh floral arrangements and fine art. There are more than 150 floral displays, each designed to interpret objects from Mia’s collection. The event is free and open during regular museum hours. For tour schedules, hours, and other information, head to the Art in Bloom website.


The Oriental Trumpet hybrid Lily named “Purple Prince” is the star of this year’s Summer Flower Show at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at the Como Zoo // Photo via Como Zoo Conservatory

The Summer Flower Show opens on Saturday, April 30. In what the conservatory is calling “a beautiful coincidence only befitting Prince’s world-wide prominence, life, and the significance of his artistic work,” this year’s show features a purple and lavender color scheme. The star of the show is the new Oriental Trumpet hybrid Lily named “Purple Prince.”

Some other prominent purples include Purpletop Vervain, Russian Sage, Beebalm, Butterfly Bush, and Heliotrope. Purple white and lavender roses, Caladiums, and Petunias will continue the color theme.

The show goes through October 2, 2016. Learn more here.

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Famed Swedish chef brings photo exhibit to the American Swedish Institute


Fjord, Faroe Islands // Magnus Nilsson, April 2013

Magnus Nilsson, the acclaimed chef of Faviken Magasinet restaurant in Sweden who is also an accomplished photographer and cookbook author, is headed to Minneapolis.

The American Swedish Institute announced today via press release that Nilsson will be displaying his traveling exhibit, “Nordic: A Photographic Essay of Landscapes, Food and People,” at the ASI June 2 to August 14, and in town himself June 1 to June 4 to introduce the work.

The exhibition highlights original, place-based photographs that Nilsson captured of the people he met and the restaurants, private kitchens, and remote landscapes he explored during three years researching his 2015 cookbook “The Nordic Cookbook.”

While seeking an expanded definition of today’s Nordic cuisine, Nilsson gathered more than 700 indigenous recipes from home cooks throughout Sweden, Denmark, The Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, and Norway, and shot some 8,000 photographs.

The exhibition and an accompanying catalog showcase selected images and invite viewers to discover food as a universal touchpoint sharing heritage across boundaries and time.

A parallel display at ASI will show photographs by Minnesota-based photographer Cameron Wittig, taken of Nilsson’s Fäviken restaurant, kitchen, and the workings of a chef, annotated in essays by Swedish journalist Po Tidholm.

Nilsson will launch the “Nordic” exhibition with a full schedule at ASI, including the Craft-Sprit Tasting Party and Exhibition Preview, a Nordic Heirloom Recipe Exchange, a Night at the Chef’s Table courtyard feast, and a Nilsson book signing.

Tickets go on sale to the public Friday, April 8. Visit for more information.

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2016 MSP International Film Fest bigger, better than ever


Photo via

The Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival (MSPIFF) turns 35 this spring, and its impressive plans for celebrating show that some things do get better with age.

MSPIFF is the largest premier film event in the region and one of the longest-running film festivals in the nation. It has traditionally been held at the St. Anthony Main Theatre, but this year’s fest, which takes place April 7-23, will expand beyond its home base to new venues, most notably taking over the Uptown Theater the week of April 8-14.

In addition to a robust line-up of more than 250 feature-length international films, chosen by the Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul from fests from Sundance and Toronto to Berlin, Palm Springs, Busan, Guadalajara, and San Sebastian, this year’s MSPIFF will also include a series of experimental shorts, an extended youth cinema program, and short narrative and documentary films from over 60 countries.

The complete line-up of films and events, including the opening and closing parties, DJ nights, and visiting filmmaker mixers, will be announced in early March. Festival Passes and 6-packs are on sale now through; individual ticket sales open on March 17 to members and to the public on March 24.


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January 2016 Arts and Culture Events

Winter Carnival PAGE

The St. Paul Winter Carnival runs January 28 through February 7 at various locations // Photo courtesy Visit Saint Paul

January brings a new year and a fresh crop of arts & culture events across the Twin Cities and the state—check them out before you decide to go into hibernation for the rest of the winter.

Visit Saint Paul Featured Event: Saint Paul Winter Carnival | January 28–February 7, times vary | Various locations in St. Paul | Low/no cost

Winter Carnival

Ice skating in Rice Park // Photo via

Saint Paul Winter Carnival celebrates 130 years in 2016 with a collection of fun and exciting events for the whole family. Join in the medallion hunt, tackle the Securian Winter Run, or take part in the various parades and view the spectacular ice and snow carvings. The Winter Carnival runs January 28–February 7 and includes the Beer Dabbler Winter Carnival and the Saintly City Cat Show.  Check out Rice Park as it will be an epicenter of events. Learn more.

Ice Fest | January 8–9 (all day on the 9th) | Breezy Point Resort, 9252 Breezy Point Dr, Breezy Point | $5

The motto of the Etta Steffen Memorial Ice Fest is “Debunking MInnesota winter’s bad rap one chilly nose at a time.” Even if this winter’s warm weather persists and fest-goers’ cheeks aren’t quite as rosy as in years past, this two-day event of wintertime fun will still be worth the trip up North. The events kick off with a bonfire and live music Friday night, then segue into a full day of outdoor activities, including sled dog races, hot air balloon rides, pond hockey, snow golf, snowmobile radar runs, candlelight cross-country skiing, and fireworks. It’s all-things winter all at once. Learn more.

24:00:00 Xtreme Theatre Smackdown 2016 | January 9, 8pm | Anne Simley Theatre, Hamline University, 1536 Hewitt Ave, St. Paul | $20

What do you get when you give some of the most influential, talented female theater artists in the Twin Cities 24 hours to create a play? Well, you’ll have to come to find out. This one-of-a-kind process invites the general public (that’s you!) to vote among such ingredients as lines of dialogue, emotions, props, and stage direction. Then, on Friday at 9pm, the winning ingredients are given to six teams of two playwrights, who must include all the ingredients in their scripts. At 6am Saturday morning, the new plays are assigned directors, a cast, and rehearsal time. Then, at 8pm, they’re performed. Don’t miss this chance to see theater in action. Learn more.

Urban Expedition: Sweden and Haiti | January 10 and 24, 1–3pm | Landmark Center, 75 W Fifth St, St. Paul | Free

Landmark Center’s popular Urban Expedition program returns for its 12th year this month. The free Sunday afternoon events at one of the most beautiful buildings in Minnesota provide kids and adults alike with an opportunity to learn about the world and its diverse cultures without leaving St. Paul. Each program provides an authentic cultural experience that includes music, dance, crafts, live animals, language lessons, and traditions from different destination countries. This month’s featured countries are Sweden on January 10 and Haiti on January 24, each a world away culturally and geographically, and yet perhaps not so different from Minnesota after all. Learn more.

Lullaby | January 13–February 7, times vary | The Ritz Theater, 345 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis | $21–$35


Annie Enneking as Thea, David Darrow as Craig and Adelin Phelps as Cassie // Photo by Joe Dickie via

Theater Latte Da presents the world premiere of “Lullaby,” a Michael Elynow production about a widowed young mother who starts taking guitar lessons from a one-time almost-famous rocker to learn lullabies to play for her infant son. The two very different women begin to bond over the music as well as their troubled pasts, giving way to a powerful story of friendship, forgiveness, and insight. The production is also the first world premiere in Theater Latté Da’s major new work initiative, NEXT 20/20, a five-year endeavor aimed at developing 20 new musicals or plays-with-music and shepherding many of them to full production. Learn more.

Dear World | January 15–February 7, times vary | Open Book, 1011 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis; Bedlam Lowertown, 213 E Fourth St, St. Paul | Prices vary

“Dear World” is based on the French play “The Madwoman of Chaillot.” It follows a group of eccentrics and outcasts around Paris as they band together to thwart the plans of evil businessmen plotting to extract oil from under the city’s streets and cafes. It’s an exceptionally timely production given the current state of events in the world, and, given the outstanding cast of local theater superstars, is sure to be an exceptional experience, too. Learn more about the pay-what-you-can ticket model and various, unique locations (ever seen a show at a YMCA? How about a library? No? Check it out: they’re free and awesome).

Pericles | January 16–February 21, times vary | Guthrie Theater, 818 S Second St, Minneapolis | $15–$74

The Guthrie is partnering with Oregon Shakespeare Festival and The Folger Theatre to present “Pericles,” an adventure-filled romance stacked full of pirates, princesses, storms, heartbreak, and adventure. It’s one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known works, but also one of his most beautiful. The tale of one man’s sweeping voyage from a headstrong youth to a sage, world-weary man also features live music composed by Tony Award-winner Jack Herrick and marks the highly anticipated Guthrie directorial debut of the theater’s new artistic director, Joseph Haj. Learn more.

89.3 The Current’s 11th Birthday Party | January 22-23, 7pm both nights | First Avenue Mainroom, 701 N First Avenue, Minneapolis | $20 per night (if available)

Current BDay

89.3 The Current , Minnesota Public Radio’s commercial-free member-supported radio station, turns 11-years-old in 2016. For over a decade, The Current has been playing the best new music alongside the music that inspired it. To celebrate the occasion, The Current is turning it up to 11 and hosting a two-night concert at First Avenue featuring all-local lineups including Low, John Mark Nelson, Gospel Machine, Bad Bad Hats, and many more. Learn more.

Bloomington Winter Fete | January 23–25, 30–31, times vary | Bloomington, locations vary | Free unless noted

Spend the last two weekends in January with city-wide winter activities in and around Bloomington. The festivities kick off with a fat bike race and demonstration Saturday, January 23, and continue with a ski jumping exhibition, snowshoe hikes, scavenger hunts, a film festival, ice skating, ice harvest demonstrations, broomball, the Warming-House-A-Palooza, and historical recreations of what life was like back when Minnesota was a frozen frontier. Learn more.

Winter Carnival Orchid Show | January 30–31, 10am–4pm | Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, 1225 Estabrook Dr, St. Paul | $5 ($1 off with Carnival button)

One of the best ways to overcome the winter blues is to step inside the steamy, fragrant, and oh-so-green greenhouse that is the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. Even more satisfying is to visit when there are dozens of delicate, colorful orchids to ooh and ahh over. Swing by before, between, or after Winter Carnival festivities to get your warm-weather fix in January. Learn more.

John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon | January 31–February 3 | Multiple locations

Photo via

Photo via

The longest sled dog race in the lower 48 states, John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is a qualifier for the Iditarod and draws elite mushers to Duluth, Minnesota, for a 300-plus mile race to Gunflint Lake and back. Watch from public checkpoints and road crossings along the trail as teams of dogs pull their sleds through some of Minnesota’s most challenging terrains. Check the event website frequently for updates on weather conditions and race status. Learn more.

June 2015 Arts and Culture Events

Jazz Fest Featured

The Twin Cities Jazz Fest returns to Lowertown St. Paul June –25-27 // Photo by Chris McDuffie

A look at our favorite arts and culture events happening in Minnesota during June 2015.

Featured Event

Twin Cities Jazz Festival
June 25–27 • Lowertown St. Paul • Free
The Twin Cities Jazz Festival will hold its 17th annual event in and around Mears Park in downtown St. Paul’s historic Lowertown neighborhood. Recognized as one of the largest jazz festivals in the Midwest, the three-day festival features a multi-club “Jazz Night Out” on Thursday, six hours of jazz Friday, and a full day of nonstop music on four outdoor stages Saturday. Click here for more information.

June 5–7

Edina Art Fair
West 50th St and France Ave, Edina • Free
The Edina Art Fair celebrates its 49th year this summer. For three days, North America’s top 300 artists will display their wares in the heart of 50th and France, drawing up to 165,000 browsers and buyers to what is nationally considered the top art fair in Minnesota. In addition to the art, there will be food, beer, kids events, and more. Avoid the traffic by biking or catching a free shuttle from Southdale Shopping Center. Click here for more information.

June 7

Grand Old Day
Grand Avenue, St. Paul • 8am–6pm • Free
For one whole day, Grand Avenue in St. Paul will be closed to cars from Dale Street to Fairview Avenue and open to pedestrians, musicians, food trucks, and fun. Starting at 9:30am with a parade, Grand Old Day is St. Paul’s first rite of summer and the largest one-day festival in the Midwest, attracting over 275,000 people every year. Be sure to stop in to the new Grand Old Beer Bash and Bazaar presented by The Growler & 89.3 The Current to get a great selection of craft beer and entertainment throughout day (wristband required). Click here for more information.

June 7–August 23

Movies in the Parks
Minneapolis Parks • Dusk • Free
There’s nothing quite like summertime in Minnesota, thanks in part to events like Minneapolis’s annual Movies in the Parks series. From early June to late August, multiple parks around the city will show more than 60 movies. This summer’s themes include action hero, family fun, Minnesota connection, movies with meaning, new releases, and the faves. And, as always, there’s no charge to attend. Simply show up, toss down a blanket, and enjoy. Click here for a full schedule.

June 12–14

Boundary Waters Expo
Seagull Lake Boat Landing, 12208 Gunflint Trail, Grand Marais • Free
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness will be getting a little extra love this summer with the first-ever Boundary Waters Expo. The Expo is a family-friendly, hands-on way for outdoor enthusiasts to learn more about the BWCA. Speakers, activities, demonstrations, a raffle, storytelling, a shrimp boil and bake sale, and more than 18 outdoor-adventure outfitters are just a few reasons to head north for this exciting new summer event. Click here for more information.

June 13–14

5th Annual Northern Spark Festival
Minneapolis • 9pm–5:26am • Free
Northern Spark turns five this year, and festival organizers are celebrating by pushing the limits of art, space, and experiences. For eight hours and 26 minutes, Minneapolis will transform into a living art installation—an art smorgasbord hosted by hundreds of artists and enjoyed by thousands of spectators. Click here for more information.

June 20–August 23

Music Man
Guthrie Theater, 818 S Second St, Minneapolis • $15–$86
Every year, the Guthrie celebrates the arrival of summer by filling its main stage with singing, dancing, and musical theaters’ favorite characters. This year, it’s Harold Hill and Marian Paroo, Broadway’s ultimate opposites-attract couple. Come watch the scheming businessman and uptight librarian fall in love to a backdrop of “Gary, Indiana,” “Till There Was You,” and “Goodnight, My Someone.” Just be prepared to be whistling “76 Trombones” the rest of summer. Click here for tickets and more information.

June 20–21

Rock the Garden
Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis • $64–$112
The Twin Cities’ beloved outdoor music festival is back for another two-day gathering of musicheads in the Walker Art Center’s backyard. Saturday features music by thestand4rd, Lucius, Courtney Barnett, Conor Oberst, and Belle & Sebastian. The tunes continue Sunday with The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (with Sean Lennon), JD McPherson, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Babes in Toyland, and Modest Mouse. One or two-day passes are available. Click here for more information.

June 21–28

Twin Cities Pride
Multiple Locations
The 2015 Twin Cities Pride events kick off on Sunday, June 21, with a Pride family picnic at Como Park Pavilion (11am–2pm). The excitement keeps building June 25 with a special presentation of Lily Tomlin at Orchestra Hall (8pm) until finally exploding into the main events taking place in and around Loring Park June 26–28. Music (Deborah Cox, Peaches, Hunter Valentine, MAYDA), a 5K Rainbow Run, the Pride Parade, the Beer Dabbler’s craft beer and food truck festival, and the opportunity to get married at Pride are all just a few things that make this weekend great. Click here for more details.

June 22–27

Plein Air Art and Music Festival
Red Wing and Surrounding Area • Free
Red Wing, Minnesota, is best known for its boots and pottery. But the riverside city is also a hotbed for artists and musicians, and both groups will be on display during the 2015 Plein Air Art and Music Festival. Throughout the week, dozens of painters will set up their easels outside and create pictures while onlookers watch. On Saturday, June 27, musicians will join in the fun for the Rolling River Music Festival. Click here for more information.   

May Arts and Culture Events

American Public Media's Dinner Party Download is coming to the Fitzgerald Theater

American Public Media’s Dinner Party Download is coming to the Fitzgerald Theater May 9 // Photo via

A look at our favorite arts and culture events in Minnesota during May 2015, presented by 89.3 The Current.

Featured Event

The Dinner Party Download
May 9
Fitzgerald Theater, 10 E Exchange St, St. Paul 8pm •  $25–$35
Ever wonder what to say at a dinner party? What jokes to tell? Cocktails to make? Head to the Fitz where Brendan Francis Newnam and Rico Gagliano—hosts of this hit public-radio show—comedian Michael Ian Black, musicians Angel Olsen and Lizzo, and author Marlon James will fill you in on everything you need to host the ultimate get-together. Tickets and more information.

May 2–17

Farmers’ Market Season Openers
Various locations
Ah, farmers’ market season—that magical time of the year when local growers and makers replace SUVs and sedans in parking lots all over the state. There are dozens of markets to attend, many of which open in May, but here are the opening dates for six of our favorites, just to get you started:

May 2–31

River Road Boogie: The Augie Garcia Story
History Theater, 30 10th St E, St. Paul • 2pm and 8pm • $15–$40
In 1956, the Augie Garcia Quintet opened for Elvis Presley at the St. Paul Auditorium—and got kicked off stage for upstaging The King. This new musical tells the story of Augie Garcia, the Mexican-American from St. Paul’s west side who today is known as the Godfather of Minnesota rock ‘n’ roll. Tickets and more information.

May 3

41st Annual MayDay Parade and Festival
Powderhorn Park, 3400 15th Ave S, Minneapolis • Free
Once a year, an explosion of color, music, and artistry fills the Powderhorn neighborhood, courtesy of the Heart of the Beast MayDay Parade and festivities. The parade features giant hand-made puppets and it, along with the festival, draws some 50,000 revelers to celebrate the Earth and all it has to offer. More information.

May 3–October 25

Franconia Sculpture Park Sunday Tours
29836 St. Croix Trl, Shafer • FREE
There aren’t many places like Franconia Sculpture Park: 43-acres of art, nature, and awe in the St. Croix River Valley. Starting Sunday, May 3, park artists and staff will offer free walking tours and lead conversations with the artists-in-residence. More information.

May 15–17

20th Annual Art-A-Whirl
Multiple locations, Northeast Minneapolis • FREE
Join over 750 artists in Nordeast for the largest open-studio tour in the country. Tour private artist studios and galleries, chat with artists, buy original artwork, rock out to local music, and enjoy beer brewed exclusively for the event all weekend long—and all for free (okay, everything but the beer). More information.

May 21

St. Paul Saints Home Opener
CHS Field, 360 N Broadway St, St Paul • 7:05pm
Come cheer on the St. Paul Saints as they take on the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks at their brand-new ballpark. Come early for tailgating as well as to take in the gem of Lowertown: made from blackened steel, timber, and load-bearing masonry, CHS Field is to downtown St. Paul what Target Field is to Minneapolis. Tickets and more information.

May 21–September 7

Walker on the Green: Artist-Designed Mini Golf
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, 725 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis
Mini golf in the garden is back, with two courses joining the Sculpture Garden’s 40-plus artworks in a collaboration of innovation and fun. This year, the features include a retro truck, hungry snake, giant gumball machine, chickens, stars, and everything else quirky—exactly what you’d expect from the Walker. Pricing and more information.

May 22–24

Art Along the Lake
Multiple Locations • Free
For many people, the North Shore is all about nature. But there’s more to it than woods and water-—namely, the area’s many art galleries, studios, and shops. Head north over Memorial Day weekend for three days of classes, shopping, food, craft beverages, and other cultural events in Schroeder, Tofte, Lutsen, Grand Marais, and Grand Portage. More information.

May 24

Soundset Festival 2015
Canterbury Park, 1100 Canterbury RD, Shakopee • 11am •  $58–$136

Over 40 hip-hop artists are on the lineup for this year’s Soundset Festival, including local favorites Atmosphere, Brother Ali, and Dessa, plus national heavyweights like Ice Cube, Ludacris, J. Cole, and Big Sean. Other festival features include a graffiti showcase, skateboard showdown, and custom car show. Tickets, showtimes and more information.

May 25–September 7

Music & Movies in the Parks
Lake Harriet Bandshell, 4135 W Lake Harriet Pkwy, Minneapolis • 5:30pm • Free
The end of May marks the start of one of summer’s best treats: Music & Movies in the Parks. This season’s kick-off event takes place at Lake Harriet Bandshell with reggae-band Socaholix and rock/Americana group Kevin Bowe & the Okemah Prophets. Multiple food trucks will also be on site slinging tasty bites. The first movie of the series will be “42” on Saturday, June 6, at Northeast Park (14th Ave and Filmore St, Minneapolis). Full listing and more information.