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Twin Cities artists and arts leaders were on hand Monday at the White House to cheer on Bill T. Jones, who was presented with the National Medal for the Arts by President Obama.
A multiple Tony-winning choreographer, dancer, director and company founder, Jones has a decades-long association with artists and arts institutions in the Twin Cities, especially Walker Art Center, under whose aegis he has developed, premiered and performed many works. He also directed "Dream on Monkey Mountain" at the Guthrie Theater.
On Monday, Walker director Olga Viso (left) posed with honoree Jones alongside Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy, who are, respectively, founder and principal dancer of Ragamala Dance Theater.
President Obama appointed Ranee Ramaswamy (who supplied the image) to the National Council on the Arts in 2012.
Jones was one of 11 luminary winners of the arts medal, among the nation's highest honors for artists. The winner's roster included writers Julia Alvarez and Maxine Hong Kingston, musical theater composer John Kander, musician Linda Ronstadt and pioneering documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles.
KARE, the Twin Cities' NBC affiliate, has won two Edward R. Murrow awards, which are among the most prestigious honors in the electronic media world.
The station was cited in feature reporting was a piece called "Climbing Out" and in hard-news reporting for "Know Before You Tow."
MPR was also recognized for its website.
The awards will be presented Oct. 6 in New York.
High-school seniors Angela Steele and Davis Brinker are Broadway bound, at least for a few days, after winning the Triple Threat competition that's part of Hennepin Theatre Trust's celebration of high-school musicals, SpotLight Showcase, which took place at the Orpheum Sunday and Monday nights. The showcase is the annual culmination of SpotLight, HTT's education initiative.
The two bested 10 other finalists to win the all-expenses-paid trip, which will include voice, acting and dance lessons, an audtion with a casting agent, a brief performance at an event called "Broadway Sessions" and, of course, several Broadway shows -- which Brinker said he hopes will include the current Les Miz revival.
Steele last played the antagonist supporting character Amber Von Tussle in "Hairspray" at her school, the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, while Brinker portrayed Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables" at Washburn High School in Minneapolis. To be eligible for the contest, they first had to be named an outstanding performer in a school musical, do both video and live auditions, then rehearse for a week with the other candidates for the SpotLight performance.
Davis said he plans to begin studying acting at the University of Indiana in Evansville in the fall. Steele, who moved here from New Zealand with her family a few years ago "because there are a lot more performing opportunities," is taking a year off before college until she can establish citizenship. She's already landed a role in Theater Latte Da's production of "Oliver!" opening in early 2015.
A MCAD staff member finished installing the last McKnight Foundation visual art exhibition in January 2014. Star Tribune staff photo by Richard Sennott
Eight Minnesota visual artists have received $25,000 each from the McKnight Foundation in a program administered by the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD). The winners are: David Bowen of Duluth, and Sam Gould, Alexa Horochowski, Michael Hoyt, Alison Malone, Lamar Peterson, Joe Smith, and Tetsuya Hamada, all Twin Cities residents.
A support program for mid-career artists, the McKnight Artist Fellowships for Visual Artists provides each winner with three things besides the money: critiques with national critics; a limited edition book about their work; a speaking opportunity. The public exhibitions that were an element of the program for 32 years were discontinued this year in favor of the book/talk component. When the exhibitions were cancelled, the number of visual art grants also was increased from four to eight.
Five of the 2014/15 Fellowship winners are academics. Bowden is an associate professor of sculpture and computing at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. Horochowski is a sculpture professor at St. Cloud State University. Smith is an art professor at University of Northwestern in St. Paul. Peterson, an assistant professor of drawing and painting, and Yamada, an associate professor of art, both teach at the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus.
The other three winners are engaged in various activities. Gould is a writer/ publisher who co-founded Red 76 and is the editor/designer of the Journal of Radical Shimming. Hoyt produces arts-based community development projects. Malone is a photographer who documents American subcultures.
Fellowship winners were picked by three jurors: Xandra Eden, exhibition curator at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro; Hesse McGraw, vice-president of exhibitions at the San Francisco Art Institute; and Deborah Willis, artist, professor and chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch Center for the Arts at New York University.
Stanley E. Hubbard, a radio pioneer who created one of the most successful broadcasting companies in history, will be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.
Hubbard, who passed away in 1992, put the Twin Cities on the map when he launched WAMD, airing the popular dance show "Where All Minneapolis Dances." He later went on to create what many believe is the first regularly scheduled daily news broadcast.
Other inductees include Charlie & Hannigan, Barry Farber, Jon Miller, Agnes Moorehead, Dick Orkin and "This American Life" with Ira Glass.
Ceremonies will be held Nov. 9 in Los Angeles.
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