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Jenna Ross

Reporter | Arts and Culture
Phone: 612-673-7168
Jenna Ross is an arts and culture reporter. Before joining the Star Tribune's arts and entertainment team, she covered regional and breaking news as an enterprise reporter, spotting emerging issues and intriguing characters. Her favorite stories on that beat seemed to involve big lakes: the winter surfing scene on Lake Superior, the longtime teacher at a one-room schoolhouse on Lake of the Woods. She has also covered higher education and suburban news for the newspaper.
Recent content from Jenna Ross
Safy-Hallan Farah

With new magazine, Minnesota writer curates stories for global Somali diaspora

Safy-Hallan Farah launches a platform for young Somali writers and artists.
A World War I aerial image from the exhibit 11/11.

Artist marks Mpls. homecoming with DIY exhibit of WWI photography

Matthew Bakkom marks his Minneapolis homecoming with an exhibit featuring hundreds of archival discoveries.
The first World War is “such a distant memory,” said Eric Simonson, director of "Silent Night” at Minnesota Opera.

Minnesota artists remember World War I's 'enormous sacrifice'

With plays and music, Minnesota arts groups reanimate World War I 100 years after the armistice.
“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”

8 Minnesota music lovers reveal favorite movie scores, soundtracks

What are the undercelebrated triumphs in nearly 100 years of musical movie moments?
Todd Bol helped Eddye Watkins erect a Little Free Library on her yard in Minneapolis in October 2013.

Todd Bol, creator of the Little Free Library movement, dies at 62

Todd Bol hammered together the first Little Free Library. Then he built a movement around it. Bol believed the now-ubiquitous little boxes of books —…
Todd Bol built the first Little Free Library nine years ago. Now they’re in 88 countries.

After terminal cancer diagnosis, Little Free Library founder feels like 'most successful person I know'

Todd Bol reflects on the movement he sparked, and the seeds he planted in neighborhoods across America — and beyond.
When Christopher and Julie Rice took a sauna together, something clicked, they said. Three years later, the Rochester couple have created a large saun

Rochester sauna evangelists say steamy Finnish tradition saved their marriage

The couple started a website and a Facebook group to share their obsession.
Rebecca Traister uncovers the hidden history of female fury in “Good and Mad,” which brings her to St. Paul’s Fitzgerald Theater Oct. 17.

Feminist author Rebecca Traister talks 'female rage' ahead of St. Paul appearance

Her new book praises the revolutionary force of female anger.
St. Paul's old Schmidt Brewery is finding new life.

Former St. Paul beer master tells hidden history of old Schmidt Brewery

As Schmidt Brewery is being restored to its former glory, one man never lost sight of the building's ancestry, and he gladly shares its secrets.
Legendary set designer and artist Jack Barkla, known for his intricate imaginative sets and flower shows, is poised to have his first gallery show exh

Legendary set designer for Guthrie, Dayton's, Holidazzle reveals lifetime of paintings

After decades designing sets for the Guthrie, Children's Theatre, Holidazzle and Dayton's eighth-floor auditorium, Jack Barkla is putting on his first gallery show.
Jerry and Patty Wetterling.

Wetterling family expresses sorrow on eve of release of investigative files

Stearns County sheriff will release thousands of pages pertaining to the 1989 abduction and murder.
Dessa's debut memoir is called "My Own Devices."

Minnesota hip-hop star Dessa breaks into NYC publishing with new memoir

Known primarily as a hip-hop artist, Dessa's latest release comes from a New York City book publisher.
About 40,000 people visited the 2018 Art Shanty Projects on Minneapolis' Lake Harriet.

After record attendance on Lake Harriet, Art Shanty Projects won't return this winter

The organization is running a shortfall after missing out on a major Minnesota State Arts Board grant.
During the first day at the lodge, Brothers Nathan (left) and Gabe Usem broke out the paddle boards on White Iron Lake. Their family was visiting from

Why autumn is the best time for a trip to the Boundary Waters

Autumn visitors to the wilderness area find fewer bugs, less campsite competition and a new season of beauty.
Minnesota Orchestra associate conductor Roderick Cox posed with South African National Youth Orchestra members Boitumelo Mtsatse, Refilwe Moeketsane a

A young South African symphony takes its cue from the Minnesota Orchestra

After a 2014 visit, Osmo Vänskä had promised to return. He and his musicians gave the South African National Youth Orchestra a week of intense training — and a lot of confidence-building.
Gilberto Alves Araujo of Johannesburg cheered during Friday night's concert by the Minnesota Orchestra at Regina Mundi Church in Soweto, South Africa.

Concert in anti-apartheid Soweto church is an ode to joy — in many languages

The performance brought the crowd packed into the historic Regina Mundi Catholic Church to its feet, singing, stepping and clapping.
Minnesota Orchestra music director Osmo Vanska receives a standing ovation at the end of the final Minnesota Orchestra concert at City Hall in Johanne

An extended goodbye in Johannesburg as the trip wraps up with an emotional finale

Powerful lessons learned, the musicians look back and look forward. But next stop: home.
Minnesota Orchestra trombone player Andrew Chappell said goodbye to members of the KwaZulu Natal Youth Wind Band after a coaching session in Durban, S

In teaching young South African talents, Minn. Orchestra musicians find their own inspiration

While encouraging young South African talents, Minnesota Orchestra musicians are finding inspiration of their own.
Michelle Miller Burns will become the second woman to lead Minnesota Orchestra as president and CEO.

Meet the orchestra's new CEO: 'The Minnesota model really resonates with me'

Incoming CEO Michelle Miller Burns vows to continue open, collaborative leadership at Minnesota Orchestra.
Lauren Hertzenberg and members of the South African gospel choir 29:11 sang at a private home in Bloomington.

South African gospel choir brings 'healing' post-apartheid message to Orchestra Hall

Touring the Midwest this summer, the 29:11 choir found an unlikely partner in Minnesota Orchestra.
Tour guide and former political prisoner Derrick Basson leads a tour of the former prison on Robben Island.

Musicians make a grim pilgrimage to Mandela's prison cell: 'I know I don't have that strength'

A former prisoner led the grim trek through Robben Island, where South Africa's future president spent 18 years.
Bass players pack up their instruments into their trunks after the Durban concert in South Africa.

Touring involves a 1,000-mile, high-stakes truck ride with precious cargo

Some of the instruments also need their own kind of visas to travel.
The Minnesota Chorale and South Africa-based choir Gauteng Choristers rehearsed for the first time together in Johannesburg.

Minnesota Chorale joins voices with South African singers: 'It's magic all the way'

Minnesota Chorale loosens up, while the South Africans get a lesson in German.
Soprano Goitsemang Lehobye sings during the South African premiere of “Harmonia Ubuntu” by composer Bongani Ndodana-Breen, during Friday’s Minne

At a historic concert in Cape Town, music echoes the words of Nelson Mandela

During a rousing, sold-out start for the Minnesota Orchestra in South Africa, the former president's words were sung by a soaring soprano.
Osmo Vänskä led the Minnesota Orchestra’s “Celebrating Mandela at 100” concert at Orchestra Hall Friday.

'Music became a weapon against apartheid,' Mandela's daughter says as orchestra previews its program

"We're not in Kansas anymore, are we?" joked the evening's host, Brian Newhouse of Classical MPR, after the drums had quieted and the applause died down.
Music director Osmo Vanska visited South Africa in 2014 and “came back raving about the whole experience.”

'It's not just a tour': Orchestra announces another first

The organization will perform in five cities, playing classical works and a new Mandela-inspired piece.
Osmo Vänskä conducts the Minnesota Orchestra during the "Celebrating Mandela at 100" concert at Orchestra Hall.

Trip to South Africa is the flowering of 'a new way' for Vänskä and his veterans

The orchestra embarks for South Africa this week, realizing "a big dream" for its players and partners.
Sarah Butala, far right, comforted friend Angela Emerson when her favorite contestant was eliminated from “The Bachelorette.”

Minnesota's 'Bachelorette' brings friends together for 'guilty pleasure' viewing parties

With tongues in cheeks, savvy Minnesotans gather with friends for weekly "Bachelorette" viewing parties.
Neda Kellogg, center, founded Project Diva to help mentor girls and offer them the resources she didn’t have when she was young.

Project Diva founder bolsters black girls with intensive, immersive mentorship

Neda Kellogg is "being who she needed at the time when she was young."
Michael Dagen, executive director of the Nemeth Art Center.

Collection of old European paintings and contemporary art hangs in Northwoods of Minnesota

What's a collection of old European paintings and vibrant contemporary art doing in the Northwoods? Go find out.
In his new gig at Berklee College of Music, Toki Wright will teach, advise, lead and run an in-house record label.

Hip-hop artist, educator Toki Wright says goodbye to Minneapolis: 'It's pushing me to make decisions'

Hip-hop luminary Toki Wright is leaving for Boston, but first comes a going-away concert packed with favorite artists and friends.
Valerie Castile sat amid the paintings and other works strangers have made for her since the death of her son.

Philando Castile exhibit at Minneapolis Institute of Art embraces beauty and trauma

Bringing Castile's story into the Minneapolis Institute of Art gives it weight, artists say about "Art and Healing: In the Moment," which opened this weekend.
Teens from Communist East Berlin go on a rollicking road trip in “Hot Summer,” showing Thursday at the Heights Theater in Columbia Heights.

Heights Theater lands rare Minnesota screening of feel-good musical from East Germany

1968 film "Hot Summer" is the centerpiece of a rock 'n' roll film fest at the Heights Theater.
A rendering by Ann Ryan of the new Springboard for the Arts building in St. Paul.

Springboard to turn ex-auto dealership into St. Paul arts hub

Springboard for the Arts purchased an old auto dealership in St. Paul.
Bill Gossman is mayor of New London and a potter — a mix that gives him insight into how arts can build community.

10 years later, Minnesota's Legacy Amendment fueling small town arts

The impact is clearest, leaders and artists say, in outstate Minnesota, where grants have boosted artists' projects and rooted fledgling organizations.
The women of “Westworld” spent much of Season 1 with their clothes off. Now it’s the men’s turn, with the Season 2 premiere featuring full-fro

HBO shows seek to 'normalize' full-frontal male nudity

Notorious for baring women, the network now leads the way in putting naked men on-screen.
The 14th season of "The Bachelorette" premieres Monday on KSTP.

Minnesota's Becca Kufrin gets another shot at love on 'The Bachelorette'

After a big breakup last season on "The Bachelor," the Prior Lake native returns as the star of "The Bachelorette."
U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis held three town halls Saturday with Minnesota constituents in Lakeville, Wabasha, and Jordan.

Jason Lewis holds town halls, in person this time

Empty seats inside the ticketed event rankle protesters outside.
Justin Vernon founded the Eaux Claires music fest.

Eaux neaux! Justin Vernon keeping Wisconsin music fest lineup a secret

The Bon Iver ringleader wants to "disrupt normality" by keeping names under wraps at Eaux Claires' fourth annual installment.
The moment the schedule drops, Bonnie Palmquist begins mapping out the 60-plus films she will see in the course of the two-week Minneapolis St. Paul I

How this superfan sees 64 movies in 17 days at Minnesota's largest film festival

An aficionado camps out for maximum moviegoing at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival.
Michelle Miller Burns will lead Minnesota’s largest performing arts organization beginning Sept. 1.

Minnesota Orchestra unanimous in CEO pick: 'We were startled and pleased'

Michelle Miller Burns impressed board, musicians as a collaborator.
Choreographer Uri Sands and Grammy-winning musician Justin Vernon, center, watched dancers rehearse their collaborative show.

Bon Iver and TU Dance offer a 'moving' mix of music and dance

Bon Iver and TU Dance see past "very challenging times" with their new show, premiering Thursday at St. Paul's Palace Theatre.
The artist Chuck Close at his home in Long Beach, N.Y.

Too Close for comfort? Museums face questions about works of accused artists

Since the National Gallery of Art announced in January that it would indefinitely postpone its Close exhibition, museums have been debating how to handle works by artists accused of harassment.
Minnesota Orchestra's 2018-19 season features five women composers during its flagship classical series including Florence Price, left, and Libby Lars

Minnesota Orchestra champions women composers in new season

The Minnesota Orchestra will kick off its next season with something still rare for symphony orchestras — a piece written by a woman. At a…
Minnesota audiences soon will have the chance to hear music by these women composers: Nathalie Joachim, Florence Price and Paola Prestini.

Minnesota music scene finally amplifying women composers: 'It's past time'

With small ensembles taking the lead, change is finally coming to the state's largest music institutions.
Debra Messing on the Golden Globes red carpet: “I was so shocked to hear that E! doesn’t believe in paying their female co-host the same as their

Why the Oscars red carpet needs more feminism: 'This is not the year to talk fashion'

Protests on the Golden Globes red carpet were refreshing. Here's why Hollywood should take the feminist cause even further.
Co-founders Liz Giel, Erinn Farrell, Bethany Iverson and Alex West Steinman in the North Loop office that will house the Coven, their co-working space

Women-only co-working spaces on the rise in Twin Cities

Minnesota's newest co-working spaces are designed to be a sexism-free hubs for professional women.
Nye's in Minneapolis features a mural by Burlesque Public Works Division.

From Nye's to 3M: Mpls. design studio paints town with bright, graphic murals

Murals are a new focus for the creative studio Burlesque of North America.
Theater artist Robert Wilson will present a new, immersive show at the Minneapolis Institute of Art about the Qing Empire, the last imperial dynasty o

Theater legend brings dramatic eye to new Chinese show at Minneapolis Institute of Art

Robert Wilson re-imagines what a museum show can be.
Fridley school apologizes for altering photo of student's shirt

Fridley school apologizes for altering photo of student's shirt

The words 'Deport racists' were removed from a photo of the award-winning students.
The museum wants to know if art can help you better imagine the lives of others.

Is art an answer to divided nation? Mpls. museum will test it

Minneapolis Institute of Art received $750,000 grant to study whether gazing at art can boost your empathy.
Arlene Burke-Morgan

Artist Arlene Burke-Morgan created 'circles of light' inspired by God's love

Arlene, a prolific artist who painted "circles of light" as a reflection of her deep faith, died in the couple's Minneapolis home on Dec. 16, days after their 47th wedding anniversary. She was 67.
Diane and Alan Page’s home is full of African-American art, antiques and artifacts. Many of these items will be included in an exhibit called “Tes

Alan Page and family showcase haunting array of African-American artifacts

Page and his wife, Diane, will exhibit their personal collection at the downtown Minneapolis library.
Kate DiCamillo's "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane" will become a kid-friendly opera.

Minnesota Opera commissions kid-friendly opera based on Kate DiCamillo bestseller

"The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane" will also be the company's first new work composed by a woman.
The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra released its annual report Wednesday evening.

St. Paul Chamber Orchestra quadruples young concertgoers in 2017 with help of free tickets

Ticket revenue was steady during the past fiscal year, but the orchestra recorded impressive results from a program designed to lure young people.
Steve Eisenmenger, a regular at the sauna and Ely resident, pulled the lever for a wave of steam to begin his Wednesday night sauna at Ely Steam Sauna

For 100 years, public sauna has drawn Minnesotans to Ely — birthday suits optional

One of the oldest public saunas in the state boasts hot steam, cold showers and good conversation.
Karin Kraemer, owner of Duluth Pottery, worked on a new piece under the watchful eye of 4-year-old Amaya St. John.

Duluth's Lincoln Park neighborhood transformed by artisans, brewers, chefs

The business district has experienced a makeover at the hands of makers.
Minnesota Orchestra President and CEO Kevin Smith will leave the organization in August 2018.

Minnesota Orchestra board announces search for new CEO

Kevin Smith, leaving in August, announced third balanced budget in a row.
Walker Art Center director Olga Viso was photographed next to Liz Larner's "X" sculpture.

What will Olga Viso's legacy be? Her final year at the Walker was telling

Her decade as director culminated in a momentous way, with shows on Cunningham and Cuba, the Sculpture Garden reopening — and "Scaffold," of course.
Amy Tan: "My parents kept secrets."

Amy Tan on new memoir: 'I want to know why I got damaged and why I'm glad'

While writing her new memoir, the author uncovered dark family secrets. She also found the source of her need to write.
From the art exhibit "Bobby Rogers: The Blacker the Berry" at Public Functionary.

In regal portraits, Mpls. photographer portrays beauty, power of black lives

Bobby Rogers' first solo show nods to the Harlem Renaissance and a hit song by rap superstar Kendrick Lamar.
Russ Ringsak, the longtime truck driver for A Prairie Home Companion, plays a song as a farewell on his final show of the tour at the Ryman Auditorium

Russ Ringsak, longtime truck driver for 'Prairie Home Companion,' dies at 81

Garrison Keillor introduced Russ Ringsak to audiences as "our truck driver."
Steve Orfield, owner of Orfield Laboratories, is interested in how the anechoic chamber, at left, could help people with PTSD or autism.

A negative-decibel chamber, the 'quietest place on Earth,' is in south Minneapolis

A lab dubbed the "quietest place on Earth" finds a purpose beyond testing products: healing humans.
Ashley Hanson interviewed Dylan Locke at The Floyd Country Store in Floyd, Vir., pop. 432, after a bluegrass jam session. The jam sessions happen at t

Minnesotan makes cross-country trek to meet America's isolated rural artists

Her goal: to better understand the disconnect, made clear by polls and voting maps, between folks in urban and rural areas.
“I had forgotten how much I loved growing up in this town,” said
photographer Alex Blondeau, who recently moved back to his hometown of Fergus Fal

Fergus Falls aims to be national model with thriving arts scene

The creative economy there attracts national grant money and shows a novel method for reinventing a city.
Jessica Metcalfe on the North Dakota prairie. When she started the blog “Beyond Buckskin,” she didn’t know it would become a force for Native Am

Top American Indian stylemaker's home base: a tiny N.D. town, pop. 29

Jessica Metcalfe is one of the nation's most influential purveyors of American Indian fashion. And she does it all from a small Midwestern town.
Vintage Music owner Scott Holthus closes his eyes while listening to a record in his store. He sells solely 78s along with restored consoles and phono

Why this Minneapolis record shop owner stockpiles forgotten music

This Minneapolis shop owner has three-quarters of a million records — and he's not done collecting yet.
Cantus: Grant cut by 34%

Minnesota arts groups adapt to an unexpected dip in state funding

Some of Minnesota's largest arts groups adapt to unexpected cuts in state funding.
Yo-Yo Ma performed with the Minnesota Orchestra in June, with sponsorship from Ameriprise Financial.

As arts funding shifts, Twin Cities groups get creative to woo sponsors

As funding shifts, companies' marketing dollars are increasingly important to art institutions' bottom lines.
Osmo Vänskä at Orchestra Hall in 2014.

Minnesota Orchestra extends Osmo Vänskä's contract through 2022

His current contract expires at the end of the 2018-19 season.
Artcrank founder Charles Youel posed with one of his loyal steeds at his studio in northeast Minneapolis.

Artcrank peddled bike posters around world – now it marks 10 years in Mpls.

Artcrank's founder celebrates the 10th anniversary of his bike-inspired art show.
Performers and audience members flew kites for an interactive piece by Minnesota artist Bethany Lacktorin called "A Steady and Irresistible Wind."

Rural Midwestern artists on cultural divide: 'We can save this world'

At the Rural Arts and Culture Summit, creatives explored their role as cultural translators.
The re-opening day at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden Saturday, June 10, 2017, in Minneapolis, MN. Here, a visitor walks by Mark Manders September Ro

Celebration prevails at Sculpture Garden opening, with nod to controversy

All day, a steady stream of visitors celebrated the Sculpture Garden, a partnership between the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, with 17 new works from a new generation of artists, as well as old favorites in new spots. But a sculpture removed from the garden cast a shadow over Saturday's event.
Joseph Bester of the Mendota Dakota burned sage as work began on dismantling "Scaffold" June 2 at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

Date and location set for Dakota elders to decide fate of 'Scaffold' wood

Meeting of elders will be June 25 in Sisseton, S.D.
Walker Art Center director Olga Viso watched as Sam Durant, the artist behind the "Scaffold" sculpture, spoke during a Q&A on May 31.

Walker director admits to pain of 'learning in public'

Sculpture may not be burned after all, Olga Viso says in one of her first interviews since the controversy erupted.
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