All Together Now

Days before this issue went to press, I e-mailed our creative director, Rob Johnson, with some bad news. Magazine experts like to claim that numbers on the cover sell magazines (“Six-pack Abs in 6 Days!” or “1,001 Shops We Love”), and Rob had drafted a cover with the headline “52 Weekend Escapes” for this month’s feature on regional travel. But in fact, our list was a little more selective: there were just 30 options. The ornate “52” that Rob had woven into his cover design would have to be altered. I braced myself for Rob’s response. “Oh no!” he e-mailed back within seconds. “How will I spend the other half of the year?!”

One of the great pleasures of magazine work is the collaboration it engenders. Each month I get to work with writers, editors, art directors, illustrators, and photographers to produce a publication that, if done right, is more than the sum of its individual parts. Rob, an Inver Grove Heights native with a great sense of humor, a giant’s height, a fringe beard, and an unflagging affection for the Green Bay Packers, is among my chief co-conspirators in this monthly juggernaut. And, I’m happy to say, he shares my view that the best creative work is born out of collaboration.

For proof of this, check out our feature on 12 Minnesota innovators who are shaping tomorrow’s world. The idea was hatched by writer Erin Peterson, a regular contributor, but when Rob got wind of the concept, he saw an opportunity. He contacted nine portrait photographers whose work he admired and gave them carte blanche to shoot their subjects in any way they saw fit. “I think what you do is also innovative work,” he told them. “Go do what you do.”

The result is a piece that is not only inspiring, it’s also visually interesting and energized. From David J. Turner’s clever portrait of social-media entrepreneur Lee Aase to Sara Rubenstein’s colorful shot of teachers Matt Hardy and Dan Flies, the photographs spotlight and embody the kind of creativity and innovation that we, as Minnesotans, often take for granted. Want a better product or a brighter 2012? The answer, I’m increasingly convinced, lies in working together.

Joel Hoekstra, Editor


Jason Derusha What’s a TV reporter and anchor doing reviewing restaurants? Good Question! Since 2009, WCCO-TV’s Jason Derusha has taken readers from Waconia to Willernie in his column “Suburban Sampler.” DeRusha writes about dining, often with his wife and two boys, from the perspective of a city-lover living in Maple Grove. How he’s always eating and still camera-ready? That’s the real Good Question.
Bonnie Fournier Bonnie Fournier is the photographer for The Smooch! Project, a large-scale effort to collect 10,000 photographs of people from around the world demonstrating their affection to someone they love . A native Minnesotan, she is looking forward to smooch-collecting in South Africa this spring as well as Asia and possibly Australia in the late fall, in conjunction with a documentary film being made about her project.
Violet Lemay Violet Lemay has been illustrating for books, magazines, and newspapers for more than a decade. Over the years, her work has been featured in such publications as Readers Digest, the New York Times, and Elle. Lemay says she gets inspiration for her pieces, such as this month’s Last Word, through prayer and her surroundings. She is currently working on two new children’s books from her home in Savannah, Georgia.


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