Talent Shows

A few years ago, I enrolled in a class at the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis. I’d grown up admiring the work of Minnesota artists like potter Charles Halling, who worked out of a studio near my hometown, Northfield, and the prospect of trying my hand at this ancient art—not to mention rolling up my sleeves and making a big mess—was enticing.

My output, however, was unremarkable. The vases I produced sagged. My mugs weighed several pounds. I lacked the skills to produce something delicate. “Have you thought about making tiles?” a classmate suggested.

You won’t see my work in galleries. But the class was educational: I now can tell the difference between something made by an amateur and a piece wrought by someone with skill and vision. I developed an appreciation for the standards and skills that fine ceramicists aspire to—even though I will never be among their ranks.

A few weeks ago, the Minnesota Monthly staff launched TC Culture, an online blog on MNMO.com, spotlighting theater, dance, music, visual arts, and other events in Minneapolis–St. Paul. Each weekday, our editors post a review or recommendation, highlighting something you should see, hear, or do in the local arts-and-entertainment scene.    

TC Culture’s primary contributors bring a wealth of arts experience to the table. Writer Ellen Burkhardt, who covers theater and music, made her stage debut at age 11 in South Pacific, and she still plays the tenor saxophone. Senior editor Tim Gihring, an accomplished photographer, has spent nearly a decade focusing on the arts in the Twin Cities. And staff writer Gregory Scott, who was once the sole English major in a dorm full of actors and musicians, has written about visual arts for several local and national publications, even though, as he says, he “can’t paint a thing.”

Just as I did with ceramics, the contributors to TC Culture have immersed themselves in the local arts scene not because they want to change it, but because they appreciate it, want to understand it, and long to celebrate it. The Twin Cities has long had a colorful and interesting arts scene. Now, there’s a vibrant smart blog to go with it.

Joel Hoekstra, Editor
Facebook: jhoek70
Twitter: @mnmoeditor



Jeff Johnson Jeff Johnson is a Minnesota native who has been shooting pictures since he was a kid. He has traveled around the globe for work, but has since returned to Minnesota. His work has been seen in such publications as Newsweek and Better Homes and Gardens, as well as this month’s issue, both on the cover and in the spring fashion feature. He considers his photography “art that doesn’t forget to do the business.”
Andrea Holton With more than 15 years of experience, make-up artist Andrea Holton’s portfolio includes cutting-edge fashion editorials, ad campaigns, and celebrity clients. An Aveda Institute alumnus, Andrea is known for her ability to translate the latest trends into refined, chic looks, which can be seen in this month’s profile. She’s also a regular contributor to the Style section’s monthly makeover page.
Larry Pfarr Gardening expert Larry Pfarr , who produced our piece on container gardening, is an independent gardening consultant who previously worked for Bachman’s for nearly 20 years. He says he plants about 35 containers outside his home each season, placing them on decks and retaining walls, and freshening them up each season with different varieties, from pansies in spring to arborvitae in winter.