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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
Osmo Vanska led the Minnesota Orchestra in Soweto in 2018. The orchestra performed in Regina Mundi Church as part of tour of South Africa.

After Cuba and South Africa, next stop for Minnesota Orchestra is Vietnam

It was invited to perform in Hanoi for the 25th anniversary of restored diplomatic relations. It also will play South Korea for the first time.
Katherine Crawford Luber was named the new Minneapolis Institute of Art director. “She brings both the business world and the art curatorial world t

Minneapolis Institute of Art turns to Texas, hires second female director

Katherine Luber has led the San Antonio Museum of Art for eight years and brings some business world know-how to the job.
Form and function: Nordic touches fill the former home of rosemaling artist Karen Jenson, including clocks, shelves, bed frames and self-portraits.

Extreme example of the Norwegian art form 'rosemaling' found in a tiny Minnesota town

A Scandinavian-inspired home in quaint Milan is covered in a renowned painter's life's work.
Jack Decker, a diver with the Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society from Clear Lake, Iowa, splashed into the water after making a giant stride en

Discovering Lake Superior's deepest, lost shipwrecks

Meet the group that plumbs the depths of North America's biggest lake to find sunken ships.
Jon Kimura Parker

Minnesota Orchestra's Sommerfest gets a new face, and maybe a new name

Pianist Jon Kimura Parker will help design the shows, as well as host and perform.
Minneapolis artist Marlys Mandaville painted a friend's portrait during a 2018 Art-A-Whirl event at the Northrup King Building.

Deal will preserve 'crown jewel' of northeast Minneapolis arts scene

Nonprofit will purchase Northrup King complex, home to 350-plus artists.
The MayDay parade will be taking a year off so the nonprofit behind the annual rite of spring in south Minneapolis can reinvent it, improving it for a

Minneapolis MayDay Parade will take a year off to regroup

A "redesign" is planned to make the event sustainable and bring in new voices.
An artist’s rendition of new gallery space envisioned by the Minnesota Museum of American Art in the Cass Gilbert-designed arcade of the Endicott Bu

Minnesota Museum of American Art gets $1.5M grant for St. Paul expansion

It is among six Knight grants meant to energize downtown St. Paul.
Sean Connaughty, considered by many to be Lake Hiawatha’s personal caretaker, studied his painting of the lake and surrounding area, including the n

Lake Hiawatha's guardian artist uses sculptures to call attention to trash problem

In his Minneapolis neighborhood and at City Hall, Sean Connaughty has become known as the lake's outspoken caretaker.
Taylor Lieber

Taylor Lieber, three-time cancer survivor, dies at 22

Athletic and musical, with a love for giraffes and the outdoors, Lieber received a diagnosis at 15 of Ewing's sarcoma.
All eyes on Mary Ceruti: The Walker director posed with a giant “scare eye” balloon that the art collective Postcommodity used in making “Repell

Thoughtful new leader brings 'a nice shift in tone' to Walker Art Center

Sculpture is central to the story of Walker Art Center's new boss. But people skills may matter more.
A rabbit peeked at the Mississippi River. Caleb Smith hopes to keep his rabbit island rustic, “like the Boundary Waters,” he said.

Minnesota teen buys an island in the Mississippi for his beloved bunnies

On a Mississippi River isle, a teenager has created a haven for his beloved bunnies, and a healing place for humans.
María Guinand led the Minnesota Orchestra in a rehearsal of “La Pasión según San Marcos,” to be performed this weekend.

Think choral music is bland? Minnesota Orchestra concert may blow your mind

International cast presents "La Pasión" as the finale of Minnesota Orchestra's Sommerfest.
During Mesaba Co-op Park’s midsummer celebration, a woman unrolled her mat and practiced yoga on the dock of the park’s 42-acre, spring-fed lake,

'Best-kept secret': FBI spied on northern Minnesota park founded by Finnish radicals

Once spied on by the FBI, the co-op park on Minnesota's Iron Range just celebrated its 90th anniversary.
"Live From Here" host Chris Thile practiced his mandolin during a break from rehearsals at Minneapolis' State Theater in March. He subsequently announ

Minnesota pride takes a hit as our radio shows move to New York

With New Yorkers now at the helm of the formerly Minne-centric "Live From Here" and "The Splendid Table," some feel a sense of loss.
Dancers celebrating Aztec traditions were part of this year’s annual May Day Parade, put on by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre.

After years of losses, Minneapolis MayDay Parade has record-breaking year

The nonprofit behind it, which lost money on the event for years, announced steps to sort out its future.
There’s nothing fancy about the tiny space where owner Jim Picard crafts his repairs. More than three decades of that hard work has led to several b

How a decades-old shoe repair shop survived the Target-ization of Dinkytown

Fast Eddie's has been fixing shoes in the same small Dinkytown workshop for decades.
One of the performers in “Nooma” interacted with a young audience member during its premiere at Carnegie Hall last month. “We like to think of t

New opera targets a younger audience: babies and toddlers

Babies are the target audience for a Minnesota Opera work that dares to think small.
Samuel Robertson with the King James Bible — a highlighter taped to the cover — that he pores through for inspiration. Its antiquated language app

Agnostic Minneapolis painter gives the Old Testament a colorful, surreal new look

Struggling for a subject, an agnostic Minneapolis painter found his purpose in the King James Bible.
Liquid Music Series is known for programming that pairs indie, classical and dance. A 2016 Liquid Music project featured the Minnesota band Polica wit

Facing revenue shortfall, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra cuts Liquid Music Series

The cost-cutting measure comes after the orchestra lost major sources of corporate funding.
Brock Besse conducted a rehearsal with the Rochester Pops Orchestra at Bethel Lutheran Church in Rochester.

Rochester maestro is the Johnny Appleseed of Minn. orchestras: 'Sleep is optional'

Wherever he goes, this Rochester maestro builds community around his passion for song.
Staff and volunteers prepared for the upcoming MayDay Parade at Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre on April 13, 2019, in Minneapolis. The 45th

As MayDay parade comes together, puppet theater struggles for survival

"The business model for midsize arts organizations just doesn't work anymore," Heart of the Beast's executive director says.
Shifting spending at Target, Wells Fargo and 3M means funding for Minnesota arts programs such as the Ordway, Minnesota Orchestra, Youth Performance C

Minnesota arts groups worry about losing corporate funding: 'We were shocked'

As corporate giving is steered elsewhere, "the future is a little scary for the arts sector," says the author of a recent study.
Mariyah Gerber, who skates on national skate shows, lets it fly on the ice.

Black culture takes the ice with Twin Cities skating troupe Brownbody

Modern dance meets African-American culture — on skates — in the work of Twin Cities troupe Brownbody.
Frank “Woody” Jewett III

For the late Woody Jewett, Lake Minnetonka was the center of a life spent on the water

There were the two years in the Peace Corps. The time in the Marines. But every other summer of his life Frank Greenwood Jewett III…
Hmong writer Kao Kalia Yang, left, and her father Bee Yang. Her book “The Song Poet” will be turned into a youth opera by Minnesota Opera.

Hmong saga will be first to be translated to operatic stage

Minnesota Opera is adapting St. Paul writer's memoir "The Song Poet" for young audiences.
Dorothy Anderson plans to travel with twin sister, Vera, in retirement. Customers will miss her work ethic and smile.

Minnesotan becomes White Castle royalty after serving up sliders for nearly 40 years

The 64-year-old Bloomington resident is known as "the heart and soul of that place."
The Polish National Alliance outpost in South St. Paul is in the basement of this duplex.

110-year-old Polish dive bar is one of South St. Paul's hidden treasures

The Polish National Alliance outpost is tucked away in a basement.
Collection by local designer Joy Teiken.

Minneapolis fashion designer Joy Teiken takes latest collection to New York, Los Angeles

Rooted in the Midwest, fashion designer Joy Teiken's latest couture collection aims for a national stage.
Kate Lindello of Duluth, shown at home in a Farrow blouse and Ilana Kohn trousers, started her Instagram-based fashion resale store Noihsaf Bazaar (@n

Meet the Duluth woman behind hit Instagram feed selling 'elevated' secondhand fashions

It started with a pair of shoes: the Instagram story that's rewriting how women shop.
Cars sat Sunday in floodwaters from the Platte River alongside a BNSF train in Plattsmouth, Neb. Hundreds of Nebraskans remained out of their homes.

Ice jams, melting snow escalate flooding in Minn., region

Fueled by a powerful winter storm, the water overwhelmed infrastructure, threatened a nuclear power plant and cut off access to some towns and cities.
A golden, mirrored, 15-foot-tall egg is on display at the American Swedish Institute. It's a sculpture -- but it's also a functioning sauna. Swedish a

Giant golden egg-shaped sauna lands in Mpls. to spark sweaty conversation

The 16-foot-tall "Solar Egg" hatched this week at the American Swedish Institute where visitors can sauna in its steamy, 180-degree heat.
Dominick Argento at his home in Minneapolis in 2016.

Dominick Argento, acclaimed Minnesota opera composer, dies at 91

"For me, it's been a love affair with my community here," he once said. "I do think of myself as a Minnesota composer."
Mary Ann Feldman with composer Aaron Copland at an orchestra luncheon in 1970. She once served him chicken soup — and a book of Carl Sandburg poems.

'Voice of the Minnesota Orchestra,' Mary Ann Feldman, 85, illuminated music for all

Mary Ann Feldman didn’t step onstage with an instrument or a baton. She commanded Orchestra Hall with words. For decades, Feldman gave smart, funny pre-concert…
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra artistic director Kyu-Young Kim played Tuesday at a Tapestry festival event at the Turf Club in St. Paul, where SPCO member

Twin Cities residents 'Say Home' in new work by SPCO composer in residence

What does home mean? A host of Minnesotans responded, for a work being debuted by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
PaviElle French

Mother's spirit moved soul singer to write a 'Requiem' for St. Paul Chamber Orchestra

PaviElle French wanted to "make a big sound" to honor her mom. SPCO granted her wish.
Spectators waited outside the Little Theatre in New London, Minn., last spring. The theater is a recipient of Legacy Amendment funding.

Auditor sees 'room for improvement' in State Arts Board oversight of Legacy funds

Report calls on State Arts Board to tighten up some of its funding practices.
Composers Institute participants for 2019 include, from left, Matthew Ricketts, Connor Elias Way, Will Healy, TJ Cole and Alyssa Weinberg.

For young composers, Minnesota Orchestra workshop brings blast of nerves and thrills

A Minnesota Orchestra workshop invites young artists to Minneapolis to challenge and celebrate their music.
Some hats from the Minnesota Historical Society’s digital photo archive, clockwise from top left: Watteau-style hat retailed by Phillips of Minneapo

Want to ogle chic vintage hats? Minnesota Historical Society unveils vast digital archive

Thanks to a dedicated staffer, the Minnesota Historical Society has a vast digital headwear archive.
Tanesha Nicole read a poem Monday at "Button Poetry Live" at Park Square Theatre in St. Paul, clinching top honors for the night.

For a diverse new generation, poetry is a 'growth industry'

More people are reading and buying the reinvented art form, with an assist from social media.
Dancer Leslie Parker during a dress rehearsal for “Weave,” Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, at O’Shaughnessy Auditorium at St. Catherine University in St

Native artist Rosy Simas pulls various threads to build a bold new dance work, 'Weave'

An ambitious dance work premiering Saturday in St. Paul is "an invitation to true inclusiveness."
A self-portrait by Paul Oxborough, the Excelsior-based artist chosen to paint Gov. Mark Dayton’s official portrait. (Image provided by Paul Oxboroug

Breaking from predecessors, Dayton picks a Minnesotan to paint his official portrait

Though reluctant to be painted at all, the governor chose a Minnesotan after Ventura and Pawlenty chose out-of-state artists.
"Elf" is a holiday favorite of Minnesota movie buffs, too.

7 favorite holiday movies picked by Minnesota film lovers and experts

From dark foreign films to comic classics, these features come highly recommended.
The Jailhouse Inn features a "cellblock suite."

Tiny Minnesota town's historic jail-turned-B&B lets you sleep behind bars

Preston's Jailhouse Inn offers a "slumbering in the slammer" experience.
Kaywin Feldman built her reputation on making museums “attractive to a broader audience."

MIA director to become first woman to lead D.C.'s flagship art museum

Kaywin Feldman will be the National Gallery's first female director.
Michelle Henkel, owner and teacher at the Whispering Cave in Wayzata, was accompanied by Minnesota Orchestra harpist Kathy Kienzle at a yoga class las

Yoga mats become concert seats for new Minnesota Orchestra workout series

Minnesota Orchestra musicians provide live, invigorating music for a new series of classes.
Osmo Vänskä shown in South Africa with the Minnesota Orchestra. The longtime music director wants to leave “when things are going well,” he said

Osmo Vänskä will leave Minnesota Orchestra in 2022

Search for a new leader begins as he prepares for his departure in 2022, which is when his contract expires.
Free mobile app Riddle Mia This uses augmented reality to transform the Minneapolis Institute of Art into a big escape room. Users follow clues on the

Minneapolis Institute of Art aims for 'surprise and delight' with new escape room app

Inspired by escape rooms, a new app sparks mini-adventures at the vast Minneapolis Institute of Art.
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.