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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
Laura Zabel, Springboard for the Arts executive director, on a rooftop patio at the nonprofit's new St. Paul headquarters.

Springboard for the Arts is saving Minnesota's arts scene, $500 at a time

The St. Paul nonprofit uses "lots of little" to make big change in a crisis through its emergency relief fund.
Star Tribune photo illustration

Has summer been canceled? Minnesotans in mourning as cancellations add up

Minnesotans mourn as cancellations take a toll on our short, sweet season.
Jasmine Rognrud and Kayley Hoaby at the 2019 Pride Parade. Star Tribune file photo

Reversing decision to postpone, Twin Cities Pride will go online with a virtual parade

  Twin Cities Pride is moving its parade, party and booths online. It’s hoping crowds will follow. The nonprofit will announce Friday a…
Landmark's Uptown Theatre in Minneapolis. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez@startribune.com – Minneapolis, MN – March 23, 2020, Photos of Minneapoli

Uptown Theatre may be closed, but its marquee keeps delivering the jokes

Even shuttered, the Uptown Theatre continues to reflect its quirky community via its marquee.
A clown with Z Puppets Rosenschnoz collected audio of laughter at a Maplewood YMCA event in 2016.

Shift in state funding worries Minnesota artists hit by the coronavirus crisis

State Arts Board is scrapping some grant programs with the aim of providing "more flexible support."
When Maggie Schmidt reached out to artist Maggie Thompson about a mask for her mother, Kris Brown, she expected something functional. What she receive

Minnesotans get practical, and creative, with their face mask designs

It's not only about protection. It's also a personal expression.
Philip Harder at his Minneapolis riverfront home, where he shot parts of his first feature-length film,“Tuscaloosa.”

Minnesota director's debut movie is called 'Tuscaloosa' but it was filmed right here

Philip Harder has made videos for Prince, Low and the Foo Fighters, and ads for Apple and Target. He filmed his dream project entirely in Minnesota, including in his own Minneapolis backyard.
Insipred instax images

6 Minnesotans who were voices of inspiration in 2019

As the year draws to a close, let's be inspired by people who aspire to connect, heal and support their communities.
Many Minnesota arts organizations are adapting to COVID-19 shutdowns by shifting online, as Walker Art Center did Tuesday with a lecture by Amsterdam-

As Minnesota artists struggle, state leader says: 'We'll come back'

Sue Gens talks about what the State Arts Board is doing to alleviate the current crisis.
Corrina Bakken, the Minnesota Opera’s costume director, ironed fabric to sew into masks for hospital workers.

Minneapolis costumers sew to save lives, making coronavirus face masks

Artists and theater costume makers are turning their talents to making coronavirus face masks.

Minnesota Orchestra cancels summer tour to Vietnam, South Korea

The Minnesota Orchestra has called off its tour to Vietnam and South Korea, set for late June, due to coronavirus pandemic."We wish to be exceedingly…
There’s plenty of food — and fun — at Chef Camp, where campers were treated to sessions by popular local culinary talents, including Raghavan Iy

Campfires, s'mores, canoeing and booze: Welcome to summer camp for adults

This summer adults-only getaway takes campfires and s'mores up a notch with drinks and gourmet fare.
1993 inductee Syl Liebl played Polka music as Syl and the Jolly Swiss Boys. They were very popular in the 1960’s and 70’s. The Minnesota Music Hal

With shrines to Prince and polka, the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame draws fans to this small city

The state's Music Hall of Fame honors our legends of all genres, from polka to Prince.
The Minnesota Orchestra performed to a nearly empty hall for a radio broadcast as concerns for the coronavirus forced cancellation of events around th

To an empty hall, the Minnesota Orchestra plays a goodbye — for now

Across Minnesota and beyond, people were listening.
Arts closings due to Covid 19
Star Tribune illustration
istock photos
theater, red curtains, sorry we're closed, red seats, coronavirus

'It's going to be devastating': Minnesota arts, artists brace for coronavirus fallout

Amid a flurry of cancellations, Twin Cities arts groups and artists brace for a major financial hit.
A landscape by photographer Lynn Geesaman.

Famed landscape photographer Lynn Geesaman dies at age 81

She photographed the gardens of France, the parks of England, the canals of Belgium. But her favorite location was the darkroom of her Edina home.
“We serve people by serving art,” says Katherine Luber, new director and president of the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

New boss wants Mpls. Institute of Art to welcome tough conversations: 'Art is never easy'

As she settles in at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Katherine Luber is educating herself on issues — big and small.
Jon Kimura Parker enjoyed the renovated Peavey Plaza outside Orchestra Hall in July during the Minnesota Orchestra’s International Day of Music.

Bells will ring across Minneapolis for Minnesota Orchestra's new summer festival

The orchestra will play a free concert on Peavey Plaza as part of the reinvented four-week event.
Rob Kapilow

Don't get Beethoven? SPCO's new artistic partner can break it down for you

Rob Kapilow brings Beethoven down to earth in his new role with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Moira Villiard designed a mural at the University of Minnesota Duluth that captures Native stories of the land.

In plays, shows and podcasts, Minnesotans are hearing about Native land

The goal of the growing practice is to make audiences aware of the people who once called — or still call — the land home.
Eville Gorham

University of Minnesota's Eville Gorham, 'the grandfather of acid rain research,' dies at 94

His discovery of acid rain soaking remote bogs led to cleaner power plants, to the Clean Air Act Amendments in 1990.
6 Minnesotans are 2019 Artists of the Year

6 Minnesotans are 2019 Artists of the Year

Meet the Minnesotans at the heart of the year's most groundbreaking show.
The woodwinds section of the SPCO during the rehearsal of a Beethoven work.

St. Paul Chamber Orchestra finishes year with a surplus for its rainy-day fund

Donations hit a record level as the orchestra tackled future financial challenges.
Kate Nordstrum

Looking to expand, Minnesota's Great Northern winter fest hires a music innovator

Liquid Music founder Kate Nordstrum will lead an expansion of the Twin Cities midwinter festival.
Graduate student Jenn Carnell makes her selection from the dairy case. Popular items at the campus Dairy and Meat Salesroom often run out.

Inside the University of Minnesota's secret meat and cheese market

A small shop on the U's St. Paul campus has been selling dairy and meat at bargain prices for decades.
Osmo Vanska led the Minnesota Orchestra in Soweto in 2018. The orchestra performed in Regina Mundi Church as part of tour of South Africa.

Minnesota Orchestra reports biggest deficit ever, but says it's fiscally 'strong'

A strong year for fundraising built its endowment, but provided less support for day-to-day operations than expected.
Tracy K. Smith will appear Nov. 21 in St. Paul as the final guest in this year’s Talking Volumes series.

Former poet laureate Tracy K. Smith rediscovered poetry's power while crisscrossing rural America

Smith, who might be poetry's most generous ambassador, will discuss that love Nov. 21 in St. Paul as the final guest of this year's Talking Volumes series.
Members of South Africa’s Gauteng Choristers performed an impromptu concert during a visit Tuesday to the Mall of America.

Minnesota singers welcome South African choir into their homes

Singers from South Africa and Minnesota raise their voices together again.
“Churchmen in the New World” in the Guild Hall at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis church is split over a tapestry that some call insensitive

First hung in 1974, "Churchmen in the New World" depicts Pilgrims and Native Americans gathered around a table as well as a slave ship.
The October gathering of Creative Mornings was held at Paikka in St. Paul and featured dancers Ranee, Aparna and Ashwini Ramaswamy.

Creativity is the sugar in their coffee at a monthly event for Twin Cities talents

Twin Citians of all stripes gather once a month to get inspired.
Lindy West

Writer Lindy West tackles everything from abortion to Donald Trump

Fierce and funny writer Lindy West fights misogyny in the media, arguing that bad pop culture breeds bad politics.
First Friday Art Walk in Grand Rapids, Minn.

Grand Rapids shows how the arts can boost small communities

As host for the Rural Arts and Culture Summit, Grand Rapids shared its successes and struggles with visitors from 25 states.
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.