Minnesota Mix


Minnesota Mix is a reporting project by MPR News that explores how youth and ethnic diversity are influencing Minnesota's arts and culture.

  • Kevin "Kaoz" MooreRapper Kaoz believes there's room in hip-hop for gays
    When Kevin Moore steps up to the microphone as the hip-hop artist Kaoz, he "aims to speak the truth" - addressing everything from poverty to racism.August 9, 2013
  • Learning dance movesAfrican exhibit finds home at American Swedish Institute
    The American Swedish Institute, a hub for Scandinavian culture, is temporarily broadening its scope to include clothes and artifacts of the Oromo, the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia.July 10, 2013
  • Mode-sty fashionsMpls. clothing retailer Mode-sty targets conservative fashionistas
    One Minneapolis company is making things easier for those who wish to show a little less skin.July 3, 2013
  • Kids and a camelPhotos: Somali Independence Day celebration in Twin Cities
    Somalis in Minnesota commemorated Somali Independence Day this weekend as the 52nd anniversary of their country's struggle for independence.July 1, 2013
  • Big HonzaMeet 'Big Honza,' Montgomery, Minnesota's 12-foot Czech folk hero
    A combination of the area's Czech heritage and a huge helping of imagination formed the character Big Honza. Locals hope this fictional folk hero will put their town on the map.May 20, 2013
  • Krav MagaExercise trends tap world cultures to get folks fit
    More health clubs are incorporating multiculturalism into their exercise offerings. And that leads to Lebanese belly dancing in American health clubs, Russian kettlebells in gyms and Zumba enthusiasts packing studios.June 11, 2013
  • Photos: Rain can't dampen Cinco de Mayo in St. Paul
    A dreary day didn't stop the annual Cinco de Mayo parade and festival in St. Paul on Saturday, with its traditional dancers, food and other attractions.May 5, 2013
  • Shoua Sue LeePreserving a tradition that prepares Hmong souls for eternity
    Funerals are considered the most elaborate -- and important -- of all Hmong ceremonies. Now, though, many Hmong-Americans are unfamiliar with the time-honored tradition.May 6, 2013
  • 'American Heart'Film illustrates health care through refugees' eyes
    For the past seven years, Twin Cities filmmaker Chris Newberry has been documenting the lives of refugees as they try to navigate the health care system in Minnesota.April 17, 2013
  • Ashwini RamaswamyIndia, Japan and the Midwest meet in new Ragamala Dance show
    This weekend, the acclaimed South Indian company Ragamala Dance premieres a performance at the Cowles Center in Minneapolis celebrating the cultural connections between India and Japan.March 22, 2013
  • Greg Martin, owner of Urban BeanFor some city dwellers, race shapes definition of 'urban'
    The word "urban" has come to mean different things to different people. In many cases, its connotation changes based on the racial makeup of the community in which it's being used.March 7, 2013
  • Lavvu Coffee HouseSami-themed coffee shop celebrates an arctic culture
    There's no shortage of coffee houses in the Twin Cities. But Chris Pesklo's new shop is the only one to highlight the Sami culture, sharing the coffee and customs of the indigenous people of far northern Scandinavia.February 19, 2013
  • Contempo Physical DancePhotos: 'Batuque' blends Afro-Brazilian dance and capoeira martial arts
    Contempo Physical Dance hits the Cowles Center stage in Minneapolis (Feb. 1-3) with the world premiere of "Batuque." The company blends contemporary movements with Afro-Brazilian dance and capoeira martial arts.February 1, 2013
  • Penumbra Theatre CompanyCulturally specific theaters face funding challenges
    Culturally specific theaters historically are at a disadvantage when it comes to maintaining fiscal stability.January 29, 2013
  • Pearl and SusannahPenumbra Theatre set to reopen after donors step up
    Last August, the St. Paul theater company, facing a financial crisis, cut staff and suspended all programming indefinitely. Today, Penumbra announced it will resume production in the spring.January 7, 2013
  • The struggling Scratchit family'Scrooge in tha Hood' reimagines Dickens for modern day
    Ever since its publication in 1843, "A Christmas Carol" has been a staple of the holiday season. The Charles Dickens novella has sparked countless adaptations, including a unique reimagining by a Minneapolis theater company.December 21, 2012
  • Ragamala danceVideo: Mpls. Indian dance studio externalizes joy
    The Ragamala Dance in Minneapolis has presented its take on traditional South Indian classical dance everywhere from community parks in the Twin Cities to the Kennedy Center.December 12, 2012
  • Robin Hickman's BarbiesBarbie dolls wield power for collector, acceptance for girls
    Robin Hickman has been called a St. Paul "treasure." She's a social activist, a TV and film producer, and a long-time leader in the African American community. But what makes Hickman most proud these days is her extensive multicultural doll collection.October 19, 2012
  • Robin HickmanPhotos: The power of Robin Hickman's Barbie collection
    Robin Hickman has been called a St. Paul "treasure." She's a social activist, a TV and film producer, and a long-time leader in the African American community. But what makes Hickman most proud these days is her extensive multicultural doll collection, and how she uses it enhance the lives of others.October 19, 2012
  • 'Rabbit Holding Doll'Artist photographs Hmong-American experience
    A new photo exhibit in St. Paul showcases the Hmong-American experience through the eyes of Pao Her, a pioneer in the world of contemporary photography who, as a child, often felt smothered by her Hmong culture.September 26, 2012
  • The ValdonsYears later, Twin Cities funk and soul bands get their due
    In conjunction with a release compiling old area funk and soul songs, many of the featured artists will participate in an R&B revue at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis on Saturday.September 20, 2012
  • Teaching songsMinnesota Mix: A cultural camp for young, adopted Latinos
    For these 500 adoptees, part of summer vacation is a culture camp that immerses them in the traditions of their birth countries. The La Semana camp reflects the personal experience of its chairman, Jim Stromberg, who along with his wife adopted two children from Latin America.September 7, 2012
  • Folk dancesPhotos: A cultural camp for young, adopted Latinos
    La Semana is a Minnesota-based summer camp created specifically for children adopted from Latin America. Campers, ranging from kindergartners to high schoolers, explore the cultures and traditions of their birth countries and bond with those whose backgrounds are similar to their own. While at La Semana, which is Spanish for "the week," attendees learn Latin American dances and, on the final night of camp, they put on a formal performance for friends and family.September 7, 2012
  • English practiceCultures, generations mix in this immersive English class
    As anyone who has tried to learn a foreign language knows, the key to fluency is speaking that new language as much as possible. A hundred students from around the world are participating in a intense, immersive-English program right here in Minneapolis.August 23, 2012
  • Laura Newby greets a fellow congregantMinnesota Mix: Church of All Nations a 'bunch of misfits'
    Studies show that Christian churches are among the most segregated gathering places in the United States. Church of All Nations in Columbia Heights sees itself as a national leader in challenging that spiritual status quo.June 6, 2012
  • Jens-Henrik SelinPhotos: Syttende Mai, Norway's Constitution Day
    The Norwegian culture was on display across the Twin Cities on May 20, as churches and communities celebrated Syttende Mai, Norway's Constitution Day. ("Syttende Mai" translated means May 17 in Norwegian.) In Minnesota, the holiday is often commemorated on the Sunday closest to that date. Each year, one of the biggest celebrations takes place at Mindekirken, the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church in Minneapolis.May 21, 2012
  • Somali basketball tournamentNew country, new sport for young Somalis in Minn.
    Soccer is the most popular sport among Somalis in their native country. Young Somali-Americans, on the other hand, are passionate about basketball. The Hoop for Hope Somali Basketball Tournament, held in Minneapolis recently, is proof of that. Last week, hundreds of young adults cheered on Somali athletes from across the U.S. and Canada as they competed in what has become an annual sporting event.July 5, 2012
  • 'One Ball Day'Variety in film festival marks a transition in Hmong filmmaking
    The third annual Hmong film festival this weekend features works by artists who tell a variety of stories, signaling a transition in Hmong filmmaking.May 18, 2012
  • 'Clandestino'The immigration raid that became a play
    Four years ago, immigration authorities raided a kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa. It was one of the largest single roundups in U.S. history, resulting in the arrest of nearly 400 undocumented workers. That event is the focus of a new play.June 20, 2012
  • Maya WashingtonWith deaf character, artist helps students find their voice
    A film about a deaf poet struggling to perform for a hearing audience has been challenging students at Sheridan Arts Magnet School in Minneapolis.May 14, 2012
  • Ebeneezer Oromo Evangelical ChurchMonocultural churches still the norm in diverse US society
    Ethnic diversity is shaping Minnesota's culture in many ways, and there's a small but growing movement in the United States to make Sunday morning church services more culturally diverse. However, the vast majority of the nation's religious services remain monocultural, with just one language, race or ethnic group represented.June 7, 2012
  • Sha CagePhotos: Twin Cities SAY WORD! Youth Poetry Festival
    Middle and high school students from across the Twin Cities area performed at the SAY WORD! Youth Poetry Festival in Minneapolis, Minn., on April 21, 2012.April 24, 2012
  • Brandon Bui, better known as PeoplezKulture Klub Collaborative helps struggling youth define their lives in art
    This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Kulture Klub Collaborative, a Minneapolis non-profit which helps bring art into the lives of struggling youth.April 20, 2012
  • Jorge CozatlBurnsville High School gets an infusion of Mexican culture
    It's said that music is the language of the soul. But for composer Jorge Cozatl, it is also the key to hearing and understanding another culture. The Mexico City native is an artist-in-residence at Burnsville High School where he teaches about the musical traditions of his homeland.April 9, 2012
  • Father and sonSomali-American photographer presents a new view of his community
    A photography exhibit at the Whittier Gallery in Minneapolis aims to showcase young Somali men who are improving the lives of others in the Twin Cities. After years of seeing images of Somali terrorists in the news, photographer Mohamud Mumin wanted to offer a different picture of his community. His first solo show will do just that.March 29, 2012
  • Preparing photosPhotos: Mohamud Mumin's Somali youth exhibit
    For years, photographer Mohamud Mumin watched as a tiny minority of Somali-Americans -- like those who left Minnesota to join the radical Islamic militia group al-Shabab -- made headlines. Mumin wanted to refocus attention on the more positive, and more representative, happenings in the Somali community. In 2010, he began capturing the images of young Somali men and documenting their efforts to improve the lives of those around them. On March 24, 2012, the Whittier Gallery in Minneapolis, Minn., launched an exhibition of his work.March 27, 2012
  • Mohamed Alsadig at the microphoneMankato DJ Mohamed Alsadig plays to prisoners' hearts
    Mohamed Alsadig, a 38-year-old Muslim man who hosts a popular soul radio show in Mankato, has an unusual following: inmates at the Federal Correctional Facility in Waseca, Minn.March 7, 2012
  • TalkingTough lessons in CTC's play about community destruction
    A century-old story of discrimination is the basis for a world premiere production opening Friday in Minneapolis.March 15, 2012
  • Serving at the FlamingoAt the Flamingo restaurant, African fare simmers with Minnesota culture
    Frey Haile is from Eritrea, Shege Kebede from Ethiopia. Both women are refugees from the brutal conflict between their homelands. Today they own and operate the Flamingo restaurant in St. Paul. Their goal is to share their East African culture with everyone they can.March 2, 2012
  • Anna CourchaineSoutheast Asian shops along University Ave. hope 'Little Mekong' will attract visitors
    Hoping to mimic the success of other destination neighborhoods, Southeast Asian businesses along the eastern end of University Avenue in St. Paul kicked off a re-branding campaign this weekend.February 27, 2012
  • NikeeJS raps in praise of small town Minn.
    Rapper NikeeJS began recording rhymes when he was 14. Back then, his lyrics relied mostly on rap staples like beamers and bling. Now, you might say the Jackson musician has flipped the script.
  • Video: Mu Daiko's drummers pound out tradition
    The rhythmic pounding of a 4,000-year-old Japanese drumming tradition will pulse through Minnesota in the coming weeks as the St. Paul-based Mu Daiko drumming ensemble embarks on its 15th anniversary tour.February 15, 2012
  • Ray EvangelistaMinnesota Mix: Ray Evangelista's 'enhanced karaoke' goes down easy
    St. Paul's Hunan Garden is home to one of the capital city's longest-running musical acts. One-man band Ray Evangelista has been belting out cover songs at the Chinese restaurant for more than two decades.January 30, 2012
  • Blue tarpsCameras in hand, N. Mpls. youth capture community after tornado
    A group of young photographers from the north side of Minneapolis hopes to raise awareness of homes still waiting for repair after a tornado ripped through the area last spring.January 13, 2012
  • Minneapolis muralPhotos: Twin Cities' diversity on display
    If you want to learn the make-up of a city, just check out its public murals. Communities' ethnic and cultural backgrounds are often reflected on the sides of their convenience stores and barbershops, restaurants and apartment buildings.January 9, 2012
  • Community outreachFor the modern Indian artist, traditions loom large
    The term American Indian art often evokes images of beads and buckskin -- and that can be a challenge for contemporary Native artists, whose work has nothing to do with quills or birch bark.December 12, 2011
  • Joseph LarsonNew book explores the lives of Ojibwe elders
    Duluth's Holy Cow! Press is celebrating its 35th anniversary with the release of its most monumental work to date. The new book, "Spirit of the Ojibwe," is a comprehensive look at the history of a Wisconsin band of Ojibwe Indians.August 3, 2012
  • Stacey JonesHip-hop helps young worshippers relate with urban church
    Many urban churches are finding it increasingly difficult to get young adults through their doors. But one Minneapolis minister is engaging religion-wary teens and twenty-somethings by mixing a little hip-hop in with the holiness.December 22, 2011
  • Slideshow: The multicultural nativity
    In Minnesota, it's common to see creches that portray Jesus with white skin and golden-brown hair. But that's just one version of the Christian Savior.December 20, 2011
  • How to Cheat'How to Cheat' challenges actor with role just for him
    It's uncommon for actors to have plays written specifically for them. But Randy Reyes has the role cut out for him in the edgy comedy, "How to Cheat."December 2, 2011
  • HOTTEAMeet Eric Rieger, aka HOTTEA the Mpls. yarnbomber
    Eric Rieger, or HOTTEA, has fessed up to splashing words and images with yarn on fences and light poles around Minneapolis for the last three years.November 18, 2011

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Minnesota Mix is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.