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Arts and Culture : Innovation + Job News

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Puny Entertainment finds its fun style works for kids, adults, and social media

"We usually just say we're an interactive entertainment company," says Shad Petosky.

He and his team of creative minds at Puny Entertainment in Northeast Minneapolis have had their heads down of late, cranking out everything from cartoon and Flash game animations to restaurant and TV-show concepts.

The company's official capabilities list reads like this: Interactive Programming, Design, Animation, Illustration, Concept/Scripting. And Petosky says Puny is expanding those capabilities, too, branching out into social media work and digital media purchasing.

Petosky co-founded the company in 2007. It's biggest success has been winning animation and web design work for the Nick Jr. show Yo Gabba Gabba! Other clients include the Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, General Mills, and The New Yorker.

The Yo Gabba Gabba! work typifies Puny's aesthetic. The show is aimed at preschool kids, but it appeals to hip adults, too, with cameos by indie musicians and actors. "We like to do stuff that works on two levels, where it works for kids and adults," says Petosky, citing The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show as inspiration.

Another common thread that ties the company's varied, multi-media work together: Petosky says "clients tend to want something that's more playful, fun, humorous. I guess it's mostly light-hearted, but with a classic, strong design sense."

That fun, playful vibe often translates well into social media, he says, which is why Puny is preparing to add new services related to social media.

After a quick growth spurt out of the gate in 2007, Petosky says the company is being more deliberate these days. With 20 employees, they're being more selective about clients and jobs and looking to avoid growing faster than they can integrate new employees.

And a new development: One of Puny's partners has acquired a 25 percent stake in the company. Petosky wasn't yet ready to announce details, but said the investment and the expertise it comes with should help Puny Entertainment manage growth.

Source: Shad Petosky, Puny Entertainment
Writer: Dan Haugen

Civic group announces plans for annual "world-class innovation" event

A group of civic and business leaders announced an initiative Tuesday to try put Minneapolis-St. Paul on the map in the areas of creativity and innovation.

The nonprofit 4FRONT is made up of local business, education, arts, and government leaders who want the region to take its "rightful place on the world stage."

Executive director John Foley points to a recent ranking of innovative cities worldwide in which Minneapolis slipped to 45th overall from 33rd the previous year.

"Cities all over the world get it. They're working really hard at innovation and trying to figure out how to attract talent, and we're acting like we're not even in the race," says Foley. "We continue to compare ourselves to the likes of Sioux Falls and Mississippi, literally. It's like we don't get it. We're not there yet. We just don't understand the dimensions of this race, and we're missing the big picture that we're competing with Amsterdam and Paris and San Francisco" and other major cities around the globe.

The plan is for 4FRONT to attract, retain, and nurture talent in the areas of food, health, design, and the arts. The centerpiece will be an international symposium and awards event that they hope will annually attract more than 40,000 people.

The Twin Cities are in a global competition for talent, says Foley, and the hope is that the awards will be a way to identify talent and give them a connection to the region. The goal is for Minneapolis-St. Paul to be recognized as the world's premier center of innovation and creativity by 2015 in health, food, design and the arts.

The group is working toward holding its first major event in the summer of 2012, with an abridged event and awards ceremony to introduce the concept in 2011.

Source: John Foley, 4FRONT
Writer: Dan Haugen

Minnesota Cup names division winners; Grand prize announced Sept. 13

Six division winners are in the running for the Minnesota Cup grand prize. The winners of the sixth annual entrepreneur competition were announced last week. Each will receive $20,000, except for the student division winner, which gets $5,000.

"This year's Minnesota Cup winners are behind some of our state's most innovative new business ideas," Minnesota Cup co-founder Scott Litman said in a statement.

The winners are:

     GeaCom, a Duluth company developing a device to help doctors and patients communicate across language barriers

    BioMatRx, a Twin Cities company that provides tissue engineering products, equipment and information to the dental industry
    EarthClean, a Minneapolis startup that is commercializing a non-toxic, biodegradable firefighting gel (See our previous coverage)

    Go Home Gorgeous, a Twin Cities company that provides postpartum recovery treatments to reduce the stress associated with childbirth
    Springboard for the Arts, a Twin Cities organization that connects artists with skills, contacts, information, and services

    Blue Water Ponds, a Twin Cities company that provides pond restoration services using barley straw and pond weed harvesting

A grand prize winner, to be named on Sept. 13, will win another $20,000. An awards ceremony is scheduled for 5 pm, Sept. 13 at the U of M's McNamara Alumni Center.

Source: Minnesota Cup
Writer: Dan Haugen
78 Arts and Culture Articles | Page: | Show All
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