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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
Sandy Spieler, a founder of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, in the storage space where the work of many hands over dozens of years

Can the puppets from Minneapolis' May Day Parade be saved?

Beset by financial woes, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theatre is vacating its longtime storage space.
See a review of Lauren Groff’s “Matrix,” E2. ELI SINKUS

Craving 'a world without men,' author Lauren Groff found one in 12th-century England

Talking Volumes guest Lauren Groff explores the lives of medieval nuns in "Matrix."
Dreamland Faces — Andy McCormick and Karen Majewicz — at the Trylon Cinema, where they’ll perform live scores to silent Buster Keaton films.

Treasures of Twin Cities film scene, musical duo Dreamland Faces returns after studio fire

Minneapolis duo Dreamland Faces create distinctive soundtracks for films that have none.
Rich red sunsets and sunrises have been enhanced by the thick smoke in the air from the Greenwood fire west of Isabella, Minn.

Greenwood fire 14% contained after rainfall slows spread

Hundreds of workers stretching around the fire's perimeter are now working to fortify the rest of the line in Superior National Forest.
Laura Mattson talked with Minnesota Orchestra Communications Manager Emma Plehal as she was one of the first to arrive to see a performance at Orchest

The pandemic has opened up access to the performing arts. But will it continue?

Streaming shows opened up access to the arts world for those with mobility and other issues.
Carol Ericson

Carol Ericson, schools superintendent, dies at 88

When Carol Ericson interviewed to become superintendent of the Chaska School District in 1984, a local newspaper headline asked: "Can a woman do the job?…
The board of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre has voted to sell the Avalon Theatre, its home since 1988.

Minneapolis' MayDay Parade puppets lose their home, warehouse to downsizing

Heart of the Beast selling its longtime home and warehouse to downsize.
Sarah Fossen

She reinvented Rosedale, now she'll be Minnesota's No. 1 arts advocate

Sarah Fossen named to lead Minnesota Citizens for the Arts.
After a tough year of isolation due to COVID-19, residents love the opportunity to gather for dinner each day and express their experiences during the

Unique Minnesota residency offers Deaf artists a place to create and connect

Together, they might shape Deaf art's future.
The cast of “The Tempest” stood for applause after their preview show at the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona.   LEILA NAVIDI • leila.

In Winona, it's Shakespeare like Will himself did it – outdoors, rain or shine

This year's Great River Shakespeare Festival takes the show to a great riverside park.
Emmy DeOliveira, Mystic Inscho, Seth Carr and Marta Timofeeva in “The Mysterious Benedict Society.” Disney Plus

10 best things our critics are watching this week

Meet the most adventurous orphans since Harry Potter. Plus KISS, Bob Dylan, Jackie Collins and more.
Music director Osmo Vänskä led the Minnesota Orchestra in their first performance in front of a live audience at Orchestra Hall since March 2020.

'We're so glad you're here!' Orchestra signals a cautious return for Minnesota's arts scene

Joy and awkwardness mix in equal measure as Orchestra Hall welcomes audiences once again.
Phil Handy had a pre-Revolutionary War bible in need of repair. After searching and searching for book conservators, he came across Bailey Kinsky and

She brought a Minnesota man's 250-year-old family Bible back to life

How a book conservator breathed new life into an ancient family heirloom.
Jon Kimura Parker, the Minnesota Orchestra’s creative partner for summer programming, will serve as piano soloist for many of this summer’s concer

Minnesota Orchestra thinks bigger as it plans its summer schedule

Full-scale orchestral works and larger audiences are in store at Orchestra Hall in July and August.
Alyssa Anderson made an instructional video from her apartment in the Whittier neighborhood of Minneapolis.

Among the worst hit by COVID, vocalists are cautiously starting to sing again

When it comes to COVID, classical singers have struggled like no others.
"Friends," reunited.

'Friends' reunion and 9 other things our critics are watching right now

From the "Friends" reunion to pop superstar Pink, here's what we're tuning into.
David Dovenberg

David Dovenberg, Twin Cities businessman who celebrated each day, dies at 76

A cancer survivor and CEO, mentor and volunteer, Dovenberg died May 10 after a stroke.
Community members did the electric slide last summer during an event in north Minneapolis organized by TruArtSpeaks, one of 10 Minnesota arts groups t

10 arts groups serving communities of color to split $7M in funding

At least $500,000 each for "cultural treasures" linked to communities of color.
Thuso Mbedu in "The Underground Railroad."

10 best things our critics are watching this week

From Amazon's epic "The Underground Railroad" to comic Erica Rhodes, here's what we're tuning into.
Steve Sweat of Mankato did a handstand Saturday during the final day of skating at Roller Garden in St. Louis Park.

Emotional skaters say farewell to St. Louis Park roller rink

After a half-century, Twin Cities skaters bid a bittersweet farewell to the Roller Garden.
Minnesota performers gear up for pandemic comeback: 'My hustle has changed'

Minnesota performers gear up for pandemic comeback: 'My hustle has changed'

Performers are beginning to book gigs and banter with audiences again. But they're rethinking what they do and why they do it.
John Stamos in "Big Shot."Disney Plus

10 best things our critics are watching this week

From John Stamos' new Disney series to a Dolly Parton tribute, here's what we're tuning into.
Minnesota music scene faces a #MeToo reckoning led by sexual assault survivors

Minnesota music scene faces a #MeToo reckoning led by sexual assault survivors

Survivors are leading the way as the Twin Cities music scene confronts long-standing issues of sexual assault and harassment.
DAVID JOLES • Springboard for the Arts executive director Laura Zabel at the nonprofit's offices in St. Paul's F

Pioneering program will pay St. Paul artists a guaranteed monthly income

25 artists will receive $500 a month under the privately funded effort launched by Springboard for the Arts.
Sean Tillmann, aka Har Mar Superstar, issued a statement last week apologizing for misbehavior “fueled by a toxic mixture of alcohol, drugs, and cav

Har Mar Superstar faces further accusations, fallout from supporters

Another woman said singer Sean Tillmann assaulted her at his home as Minnesota companies cut ties with him.
Festivalgoers at Northern Spark in 2017 wrote love letters to the planet at an installation called "Dear Earth."

After hiatus, Northern Spark festival will make a cautious return this summer

The two-week June fest will be online (and by mail), but organizers aren't ruling out in-person events.
Sean Tillmann as Har Mar Superstar performed at the Current’s birthday party at First Avenue in 2014.

Accused of misconduct by women, Minneapolis singer Har Mar Superstar offers 'deep apology'

Sean Tillmann was accused by several women of sexual assault and harassment.
Piotr Szyhalski’s daily COVID posters wallpaper a gallery at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Born on Instagram, Minneapolis artist's daily COVID posters get a museum show

All 225 of Piotr Szyhalski's drawings are on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
The Twin City Model Railroad Museum’s Night Train events are popular, as is watching volunteer Peter “The Train Doctor” Southard at work. tcmrm.

Volunteers keep St. Paul's model train museum on track

A group of "engineers" works to ensure museumgoers have a magical experience.
After a tough breakup with “The Bachelor” star Matt James that aired Monday night, elementary school teacher Michelle Young was named the next “

Minnesota teacher Michelle Young will become 'The Bachelorette'

The season finale aired Monday amid controversy over the show's handling of race.
Osmo Vanska conducted a Minnesota Orchestra livestream in September. (Photo by Courtney Perry)

Minnesota Orchestra to resume indoor concerts in June

In-person, indoor concerts will resume in June at about 20% of Orchestra Hall's capacity.
After a tough breakup with “The Bachelor” star Matt James that aired Monday night, elementary school teacher Michelle Young was named the next “

Minnesota teacher Michelle Young poised to become "The Bachelorette"

Former students and their parents root for Young.
N. Scott Momaday

Attuned to the Earth's moods, revered Native writer N. Scott Momaday sounds an alarm

"The Earth is getting angry with us," says the Pulitzer winner, part of a special Talking Volumes series on race in America.
In a livestreamed St. Paul Chamber Orchestra concert last fall, violinists Steven Copes and Kyu-Young Kim, cellist Julie Albers and violist Maiya Papa

St. Paul Chamber Orchestra musicians sign an early contract extension with no pay cut

Nailing that down is seen as crucial to the orchestra's pandemic recovery plan.
Delilah (played by Maahra Hill) with kids in “Delilah.” OWN

10 best things our critics are watching this week

From Oprah's 'Delilah' to Aubrey Plaza's 'Black Bear,' here's what we're tuning into right now.
Alfred Sanders, left, and Keno Evol stood in the new space for Black Table Arts. Quotes from Black writers adorn the cooperative’s south Minneapolis

With a grand opening this week, Black Table Arts, a hub for artists, celebrates a permanent home

With a grand opening this week, Black Table Arts celebrates its first permanent home.
Sharon Mc­Mahon, a former high school government teacher, has taken to social media to continue teaching.

Duluth woman debunks conspiracies, promotes facts on viral Instagram account, CNN, the 'Daily Show'

With plain language and silly accents, Sharon McMahon has become Instagram's civics teacher.
THE BACHELOR - �2508� � It�s time to meet the families! Though Matt and his final four won�t be leaving the resort, their loved ones have sa

'The Bachelor' meets Minnesotan Michelle Young's students, parents

Star Matt James said he'd be "open" to moving to Minnesota, should the pair work out.
THE BACHELOR - Ò2504Ó Ð Still reeling from SarahÕs sudden departure, Matt fights his tendency to put up walls as his journey continues with the 18

Minnesotan Michelle Young makes final four on 'The Bachelor'

Finalists nabbed roses during episode that aired amid controversy over host Chris Harrison's comments in interview.
Sarah Hicks, center, prerecorded a segment with the Amur tiger and her keepers at the Minnesota Zoo for the Minnesota Orchestra’s Young People’s C

Minnesota Orchestra plays with tigers and bears for its first TV children's concert

The Minnesota Orchestra enlisted new on-camera talent for its first-ever televised children's concert.
The Minnesota Orchestra performed to a nearly empty hall last March in its last performance before the pandemic shutdown, a concert that wound up as a

Minnesota Orchestra reports $11.7 million loss, its largest ever

The deficit is the largest yet reported by a Minnesota arts institution. The financial results for fiscal year 2020 capture the first few months of the pandemic, which shuttered theaters and concert halls across the country.
Amelia Brown

Amelia Brown, Minneapolis arts activist who saw artists as emergency responders, died at 41

After the killing of George Floyd, Amelia Brown started a petition to declare racism a public health emergency. She also seeded art.In just six days,…
THE BACHELOR - Ò2501Ó Ð Matt James, the charismatic and engaging star of ABCÕs hit romance reality series ÒThe Bachelor,Ó will hand out the rose

One of the two Minnesotans has been booted from 'The Bachelor' after spreading rumor

Anna Redman, one of two Minnesotans on this season of the ABC reality show, left the show on Monday.
Michelle Young was among five contestants who arrived Monday night, a few episodes into the series.

Minnesota elementary school teacher stands out on 'The Bachelor'

Michelle Young, an Edina resident looking to change the world, was once a Woodbury High School basketball star.
Kate Nordstrum, the new head of the Great Northern.

With the Great Northern fest, Minnesota winters just got a little cooler

Great Northern Festival expands its reach, even in a pandemic year.
KT Taylor held copies of the zine, “Not Alone, Never Was: a Penpal Zine 4 Rural Queers.”

Minnesotans discover that art can offer a cure for loneliness in the pandemic

Minnesotans combat the pain of isolation with projects big and small.
Sheila Smith

A force behind Minnesota's Legacy Fund, arts advocate Sheila Smith retires after a quarter-century

Sheila Smith championed state funding for cultural programs.
Violinist Maureen Nelson played during a recent livestream by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Despite COVID-19, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra reports $74K surplus for 2020

Cancellations cut its season short, but the real test will come next year.
The Minnesota Orchestra's bass section during a recent livestream concert.(photo by Courtney Perry)

Minnesota Orchestra to continue livestreaming concerts through March

The pandemic forced another round of cancellations of in-person concerts.
Julie Nelson Courtesy of KARE 11

KARE anchor Julie Nelson off the air after testing positive for coronavirus

She thought it was just "a nasty cold."
Richard Cisek in 1982 outside Orchestra Hall. He oversaw the hall’s construction and took performances year-round.

Richard Cisek, who helped put the Minnesota Orchestra in the big leagues, dies at 92

Cisek oversaw the construction of Orchestra Hall, the creation of Sommerfest and the hiring of sought-after guest conductors.
A sampling of the 225 ink drawings that Piotr Szyhalski produced daily during the pandemic. More can be found on his Instagram page, @laborcamp.

Minneapolis artist documents the pandemic with brush and ink

Every day, from March to November, a local artist responded to the pandemic with brush and ink.
From left, violinists Steven Copes and Kyu-Young Kim, cellist Julie Albers and violist Maiya Papach performed during a recent St. Paul Chamber Orchest

St. Paul Chamber Orchestra suspends livestream concerts due to 'rampaging' COVID

The move comes two weeks after the nonprofit canceled a performance after someone directly involved with the livestream tested positive for the virus.
Springboard for the Arts created the first CSA for art.

This CSA box will contain art, not veggies, as St. Paul nonprofit revives pioneering program

Springboard for the Arts revives pioneering artist-share program.
C. Fausto Cabrera

For famed Minneapolis artist Alec Soth, the mail delivered an unlikely friendship

A correspondence with a prison inmate yields a book, and much more.
A volunteer with the People’s Laundry placed clean clothes into a Burley to return to residents at an encampment on the Minneapolis Greenway.

People's Laundry volunteers wash and mend clothes for people living in Minneapolis encampments

For months, the People's Laundry has had a simple aim: to wash clothes for folks who could use the help.
Peyton Scott Russell depicted community members in a mural at City of Lakes Community Land Trust.

Meet the artist behind an iconic George Floyd mural and Prince's gold star

George Floyd's death reframed the life of longtime Minneapolis artist Peyton Scott Russell.
U Prof. Jiarong Hong, second from left, and U students tested aerosols as Michael Gast played.

In Minnesota study, U's engineers try to orchestrate a return to concerts

The University of Minnesota is working with the Minnesota Orchestra to study aerosols, with hopes of getting musicians back on stage.
Sarah M. Broom photo by Adam Shemper

Author Sarah M. Broom made childhood home into something much bigger in 'The Yellow House'

Talking Volumes guest rebuilt "The Yellow House" as a metaphor of America.
Minnesota Orchestra oboist John Snow and violinist Peter McGuire played an an outdoor concert in Peavey Plaza last month. LEILA NAVIDI • leila.navid

Minnesota Orchestra musicians agree to 2-year contract extension, 25% pay cut

Two-year contract extension reverses cuts after a year if whole orchestra begins performing for a full audience.

Ramsey County jail inmate died of apparent natural causes

Nurses and correctional officers tried lifesaving measures, but paramedics pronounced the 38-year-old dead.
Renowned local artist Leslie Barlow and a crew painted a mural on the boarded up front of Fall Out Arts Initiative in the wake of the death of George

Minnesota artists rise to meet a daunting challenge

Facing the uncertainties of the pandemic and mounting demands for social justice, artists are finding novel ways to connect with audiences.
Catch a glimpse of history along Stuntz Bay Boathouse Historic District on Lake Vermilion in Breitung Township, Minn.

These 143 historic boathouses offer a peek into Minnesota's past

A collection of boathouses on Lake Vermilion, built by miners, hint at the area's work-hard, play-hard past.
Protesers marched past First Avenue Saturday night. ] The 10k March for a “Free North” began outside US Bank Stadiu

These 5 civil rights leaders changed Minnesota — but not as much as they hoped

For decades, these leaders marched and protested, rallied and fought against injustice.
Garrett McQueen during the recording of the classical music podcast Trilloquy with co-host Scott Blankenship in Blankenship's basement studio.

Black MPR classical music host says he was fired after switching up playlist

Radio execs say he was warned several times about copyright concerns in changing playlists.
Mary Ceruti, executive director of Walker Art Center, in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden with Mark Manders’ sculpture “September Room.” Photo b

Staff shakeup at Walker Art Center aims to raise its 'public voice'

In a staff shakeup, the Minneapolis art center tries to refocus on "what matters to people."
Frankie Rockwell, 4, enjoyed a snow cone on opening day of Jennifer Debrow’s “State Fair at Home” on Thursday. Debrow created a mini fair for ne

Minnesota woman builds elaborate mini State Fair in her backyard

Some devoted State Fair lovers are crafting backyard homages, with classic booths and foods.
Seeds of creation: Crop artist Laura Melnick worked on a piece for the State Fair’s virtual showcase at her home in St. Paul. Melnick has won more t

Even without a State Fair, Minnesota's crop artists are in full flower

There will be a virtual version of the beloved contest, with no winners declared. But these artists don't do it for the blue ribbon, anyway.
Minnesota State Arts Board Executive Director Sue Gens.

As Minnesota arts groups struggle during COVID, controversy brews over Legacy money

Artists and arts leaders are calling for broader changes, saying the State Arts Board has focused too much of its funding on big institutions.
The woodwinds section of the SPCO during a 2019 rehearsal.

St. Paul Chamber Orchestra cancels all concerts for the rest of the year

Orchestra had planned to start a scaled-back season in September.
Ryan Stopera filming “The Return.”

Hothouse festival in northeast Minneapolis this weekend is all about poets and filmmakers of color

Saturday's Hothouse celebrates poets and filmmakers of color.
Dance will return the Northrop stage Feb. 6-7 with the Twin Cities debut of Victor Quijada’s company Rubberband, which combines hip-hop, ballet and

U of M's Northrop plans a return to live dance concerts in February

Fall season will mainly focus on virtual events.
David Grant teaches “Elements of Screenwriting,” one of 20 online filmmaking courses offered this summer at FilmNorth.

Federal dollars help keep Minnesota arts groups afloat during pandemic

But the crisis is far from over, and many organizations say they may not survive.
Polka king Winnie Taylor broke out his best dancing duds for the show in Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids arts center brings people together with drive-ins, boat-ins and 'polka pods'

A Minnesota arts center finds ways to gather people in the pandemic — with drive-ins, boat-ins and "polka pods."
Jon Kimura Parker enjoyed the renovated Peavey Plaza outside Orchestra Hall in July 2019.

Minnesota Orchestra swaps big concerts for free summer shows

In August, the orchestra will play 24 free chamber music shows outside on Peavey Plaza for concertgoers with tickets to the nixed indoor concerts.