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Raymond E. Johnson, Founder of the Museum of Russian Art


Photo Courtesy of Tmora

Where were you born and raised? Mason City, Iowa

Where do you currently reside? Wayzata, Minn.

Age: 70

Three things you love about the Twin Cities:
1. The cultural ambience, with its museums, theaters, music and literary community
2. The diversity
3. The openness of its people to new ideas

Favorite local hidden treasure:
My daughter, Stephanie Fellner, is a principal dancer in the Ballet of the Dolls. This modern dance group recently obtained its own performance space at the Ritz Theater in Minneapolis, which is an exciting step forward in the development of the organization.

Why Russian art?
My passion for Russian art really started in the late 1980s. At that time, very little was known about paintings from the 1930s through the 1980s, and since we knew the greatness of Russian ballet, music, literature, poetry, drama and the other arts, I was curious about the art painted during that period.

What makes our local art scene stand out?
I am most impressed by the diversity of the cultural organizations that have been established and flourished in the Twin Cities. Specialty museums like The Museum of Russian Art and the Bakken complement the MIA and the Walker. The Guthrie Theater represents one theatrical option; the Mixed Blood Theatre serves a different audience. And the diversity is supported by the consistently high quality of presentations that all these organizations present to our citizens.

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