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Saint Paul artist Chris Larson selected for 2013 Whitney Biennial

Until now, Saint Paul artist Chris Larson was best known nationally for his entry in Northern Spark last summer: a full-scale model of a Saint Paul house designed by architect Marcel Breuer, which he burned down outside the Union Depot.

Of the spectacle, the New York Times wrote: "Mr. Larson was planning something more than an ordinary house fire. He aspired to an inferno. To this end, he had hired a company called Hollywood Pyrotechnics Inc. to string up baggies full of denatured alcohol as an accelerant. And a custom print shop had donated a few tons of scrap paper (obsolete business cards, defective wedding invitations) to stuff the shell with kindling. 'I want to burn it so fast there’s no time to mourn it,' Mr. Larson said."

Based on that work, plus Larson's other large-scale forays into construction, art, and ritual, the 2014 Whitney Biennial recently announced that Larson will be one its artists. On the Whitney website, Donna De Salvo, chief curator and deputy director for programs at the Whitney, noted that, "Together, the 103 participants offer one of the broadest and most diverse takes on art in the United States that the Whitney has offered in many years."

Larson teaches in the art department at the University of Minnesota. His specialities are scultpure, film/video, and performance installations. More of his work can be viewed on the Magnus Muller website.

Source: Whitney Biennial website

HuffPost's "Living Well, On Location" series lauds Twin Cities

The Huffington Post's "Live Well, On Location" series, which explores how people pursue health and happiness in cities and countries around the world, recently lauded the Twin Cities for a number of reasons.

In the article "What the Twin Cities Can Teach Us About Healthy Living," one of the reasons is that we're "the most active metropolitan area in the country," because "nearly 83 percent of residents were active every single day" in Minneapolis. Second, we have the "best parks in the country." The article goes on to say, "In June 2013, the Trust for Public Land ranked Minneapolis' parks as the very best in the country, beating out New York, Chicago, and San Francisco for acreage, access and, let's face it, sheer beauty."

The state's 10,000 lakes get a shout out. "'Technically the slogan is 'land of 10,000 lakes,' but everyone from Minnesota knows it's closer to 12,000,' says HuffPost editor and native Minnesotan, Jordan Turgeon. We're not just taking her word for it -- an official government survey put the number of lakes at 11,842 statewide." The Twin Cities area specifically, the article clarifies, "boasts 22 distinct lakes and the Chain of Lakes park that covers 13.3 miles of water."

And how do all those lakes make us healthier? The article states that, "While the health benefits of green space get more attention, there's evidence that blue space -- lakes, rivers, streams, and oceans -- can also have a positive influence over health and wellbeing, reported The Guardian."

Our "high wages, low rent" and leading the way in smoke-free environments are among the additional kudos. Low unemployment and being bookworms counts for a lot, as well, the article states.

Source: The Huffington Post

National "Beer Geeks" TV show spotlights Minneapolis craft breweries

“Beer Geeks,” a locally produced and nationally broadcast TV show about craft beer, recently featured two local breweries: Indeed Brewing Company in Northeast Minneapolis and Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub in the city’s southern quadrant, according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. 

Both breweries are relatively new to the city. “The Minneapolis brewery episode is the 10th of the first national season,” the story states.  

The episode showcases the breweries’ specialty beers, including one made with jalapeno and Fresno peppers, and an imperial smoked porter, the story adds.

Source: Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal 

Local bookstore gets a shout-out on Flavorwire

Recently, Flavorwire published a list of "45 Great American Indie Bookstores to Support This Holiday Season."  

“No matter how bleak the news about publishing gets, independently owned bookstores are surviving, and in some cases thriving,” the story reads. 

Flavorwire looked at bookstores all over the country, including Magers and Quinn, an independent bookstore in Minneapolis’ Uptown area. 

“You can pretty much get whatever you want at the Twin Cities’ biggest indie, including new, used, rare, and just about any other kind of book you’d need to get through the city’s cold winter,” the piece states. 

Source: Flavorwire

Slingshot Guide names Sabes Jewish Community Center top innovator

The Slingshot Guide named Sabes Jewish Community Center in Minneapolis one of 18 “leading Jewish organizations committed to fostering inclusion of people with disabilities,” a prepared statement reads. 

Slingshot sifted through hundreds of finalists, evaluating organizations based on innovation, impact, leadership, and efficacy. 

The Slingshot Guide is a resource to “volunteers, activists and donors looking for new opportunities and projects that, through their innovative nature, will ensure the Jewish community remains relevant and thriving,” a prepared statement reads. 

The community center’s inclusion department rose to the top for its “comprehensive range of programming options that meet the needs of persons with disabilities at all stages of their lives, as well as the way that Sabes JCC embraces the inclusive model as a central component of its organizational mission,” the statement adds. 

Source: SlingshotFund.org 


Franke+Fiorella awarded at international design competition

Franke+Fiorella, a brand identity design firm in Minneapolis, has received three awards from the international Creativity 43 Print & Packaging Awards, according to a prepared statement from the company.    

The firm, which focuses on Fortune 1000 companies, stood out for its work for clients such as Edmentum and The Mosaic Company.

Franke+Fiorella was awarded for design excellence in the Edmentum Corporate Identity Brandmark and Edmentum Brand Guidelines Brochure, and Mosaic GROW magazine from March 2013, according to company materials.  

Source: Franke+Forella 

Minneapolis dancer featured in the New York Times

A recent New York Times story gives a shout-out to Minneapolis dancer, Aparna Ramaswamy, who recently performed to critical acclaim in New York City, saying she "lit up Pace University's Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts.

The dance review titled, “Pleasing Deities, and the Eyes, With Storytelling Steps From India,” examines performances by  four classical Indian dancers.   

Ramaswamy, who is the co-artistic director, choreographer, and principal dancer of Ragamala Dance company in Minneapolis, “exuded a brisk, eager energy in her hourlong program, 'Sannidhi (Sacred Space),'" reviewer Siobhan Burke wrote. "Joined by four superb musicians, she gorgeously embodied the swooping violin; the plunking mridangam; the wailing, warbling vocals."  

Source: New York Times 

Investors.com reports on local tech startup boom

Investors.com recently reported on what some people describe as a “tech startup boom” in Minneapolis. 

In three years, Coco Coworking, which now has three Twin Cities coworking spaces where entrepreneurs can share resources and ideas, has grown to include 700 members, most of which are tech startups, the story states.  

CoCo has hosted over 4,000 people through its regular meet-ups just this year, according to the story. 

The nonprofit Minnestar, which is also dedicated to cultivating the local tech scene, has seen an increase of over 40 percent in attendance at its MinneDemo events since 2010. 

The story goes on to cite other examples of tech activity in the state. Jeff Pesek, co-founder of the Minneapolis-based website, tech.mn, which tracks the local tech scene, is quoted, saying, “There is a lot of activity here, a lot of signs that the market is evolving and blossoming.” 

Source: Investors.com 

Trendy local apartment projects get highlighted in New York Times story

A recent New York Times story highlights the state of the national real estate market by looking to Minneapolis. 

The city’s trendy North Loop neighborhood has seen plenty of development in the last year, with new apartments filling up fast. But in other parts of the city, like the Lyn-Lake area, some people worry that “apartment construction may outpace demand,” it states. 

The Twin Cities isn’t the only place where that concern is growing as more and more rental projects get underway across the country.  

At the same time, demand is coming from a new group: Kelly Doran, founder of the Doran Companies in Bloomington, saw plenty of interest from Baby Boomers in a recent apartment project, early on. “Empty nesters don’t want to own anymore, don’t want to deal with repairs and don’t want to deal with financing or condo boards; they just want to pay the rent,” he’s quoted as saying, adding, “So it’s not about price, it’s about a lifestyle decision.”

Source: New York Times 

Minneapolis a top choice for twentysomethings

The Greatist list of the country’s top 20 cities for people in their twenties includes Minneapolis.  

Although it can be tough to gauge what specific traits make a city attractive to young people, “There are common factors such as cleanliness, park space, and efficient transit systems,” the website reads.  

This time around, when the website was putting its list together, it delved even deeper, looking at other qualities, such as the ethnic and cultural diversity of a place and whether it’s pedestrian-friendly. The list draws from research from the American College of Sports Medicine and Apartment Guide

Minneapolis is “pretty much perfect for anyone who likes to stay active,” the post states. 

It’s the nation’s fittest city and it ranks highly for its park system, urban forest, bike trails and more.  

Source: Greatist 

Target lands on survey of "most inspiring" in the country

Minneapolis-based Target Corporation ranked fifth on a list of the 25 "most inspiring" companies in the United States, according to a list compiled by management consulting firm Performance and reported in Forbes.
The company polled just under 5,000 consumers, asking them which five companies they found most inspirational, and why they chose those businesses.
Target ranked high on the list for using its profits and brand influence toward philanthropic efforts. Another top reason for Target's ranking was that the company's employees appear passionate about their work. The retailer made last year's list as well, coming in at the number three spot.
Rounding out the top five in this year's list were Microsoft, The Walt Disney Company, Walmart, and Chick-Fil-A.

Minneapolis on top 10 list for urban forests

Minneapolis is one of the best cities in the country for urban forests, according to nonprofit organization American Forests.
Others named in the top 10 list were Austin, Charlotte, Denver, Milwaukee, New York, Portland, Sacramento, Seattle, and Washington D.C.
These cities stood out based on a combination of six main criteria, the group noted, including accessibility of green spaces to the public, urban forest management plans, and civic engagement.
Minneapolis has nearly a million trees, and an urban tree canopy of 31 percent, American Forests reported.
The cities that were chosen are "examples of the type of dedication and leadership needed to improve the health and vitality of urban forests," said Scott Steen, American Forests CEO, in statement about the list.
"As communities across the country manage more and more for the impact of climate change and other critical environmental and social challenges, their urban forests become even more important to the health of their city," he said.
Steen added that each city on the list can serve as a role model for others in the country.

Local artist Michael Gaughan featured in 'Beautiful Decay' magazine

“Michael Gaughan’s Visual Punchlines Bring Comedy To Art,” is the headline of a recent piece from the national art magazine, Beautiful Decay. 

Gaughan, a local artist, “represents a new breed of hyper-creative talents whose work spans an absurd amount of media,” the story states. 

His work is characterized by intense detail, which is tough to come execute, especially in watercolor, his medium of choice. His paintings are “painstakingly rendered for the sake of humor," the story reads. 

Whatever his subject matter, “Gaughan creates with an almost child-like glee. Despite the playfulness in the work, however, there is a sophistication and consistency that separates it from most. This is particularly evident in his highly-technical watercolor paintings,” the story adds.  

Poster series pays tribute to inventions from Minnesotans

A poster series from local creative agency Replace highlights the ingenuity of Minnesota scientists and inventors through history, City Pages reports

Many people probably don’t realize that local creative types developed the first pop-up toaster, the first retractable seat belt, and the first commercial computer to use RAM, the story reads. 

That was the inspiration behind “MN Invents,” the brightly colored, informative poster series that can be viewed online here

Among the other inventions that originated with Minnesota thinkers, according to the story: handles on paper bags, a deep-sea submarine, and a remote-controlled helicopter. 

Report notes that state has recovered all jobs lost from recession

Minnesota employers added 12,200 jobs in August, pushing total jobs in the state over the pre-recessionary total recorded in February 2008, according to a recent report from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).
The agency noted that Minnesota eclipsed that February 2008 total by 5,100 jobs, and that its current growth rate of 2.3 percent exceeds the national rate of 1.7 percent.
"August's employment numbers mark a major milestone in the recovery of Minnesota's economy," said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben in a statement. "We've now recovered all of the jobs lost during the recession, which is one of the many positive indicators pointed to continued economic growth."
The report noted that the only sector to lose jobs over the past year was manufacturing. 
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