Art condition

Stimulating art

Long praised for its role in combating morning fatigue, the importance of caffeine and coffee has risen to a higher cultural level — art.

Dunn Bros Coffee asked Twin Cities artists to submit original artwork representing the atmosphere of their favorite Dunn Bros coffeehouse. After considering 140 submissions, six winners and six merit finalists were selected — including Linden Hills resident Beth Niestat.

Niestat, a quilt-maker, depicted the "flavor" of the 3348 Hennepin Ave. S. site in unconventional, colorful imagery: a quilt of Lake Calhoun windsurfers riding waves inside a giant coffee mug.

"When I think about the ‘local flavor’ around the lake, I thought it would have to be the lake itself," said the artist, who often walks around Lake Calhoun.

Prints of Niestat’s and other winners’ works will be displayed at Dunn Bros throughout the city this fall, and the original 12 pieces will be auctioned off Thursday, Sept. 23, to raise money for two local arts nonprofits and an international humanitarian agency.

The auction will take place 7:30-9 p.m. at downtown’s Depot Winter Garden reception room, 225 3rd Ave. S., Room 225. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. To order, call 334-9746. To check out the other winning pieces up for auction, go to dunnbros.com.

Intergenerational hip-hop

Think hip-hop is only for teens? Think again. Zenon Dance Company has put together a 13-week intergenerational hip-hop dance class that begins Sunday, Sept. 26 in the Center for Performing Arts, 3754 Pleasant Ave. S.

Mothers and children, adults in their mid- to late-20s, teenage girls and one grandfather were among the 17 students in Zenon’s free sample class at an open house in late August. The class was led by Jason Noer, a professional hip-hop, tap and break dancer, who will also teach the class at the downtown dance company’s satellite Kingfield location.

"This is a great way to bridge the generational gap … Too often, the dancing as much as the [hip-hop] culture, is misunderstood. I can play good hip-hop music in class that adults can enjoy with their kids. I also throw in older, classic songs that the parents recognize," said Noer, whose 5-year-old son, Elijah, is also a break-dancer.

Marsha Palmer, managing director of Zenon Dance Company & School, said she expects the class to become a "favorite Sunday activity for a variety of people."

The 13-week class will be offered Sundays, 1-2 p.m. Cost is $130 per student and $65 for an additional student who enrolls in the class with the full-price student. Because of growing interest in the class, Zenon will extend enrollment and adjust prices accordingly, however, it is not a pay-per-class setup. For more information, check out zenondance.org or contact Palmer at 338-1101.

Gaza Strip meets Linden Hills

Minneapolis artist Jennifer Gulbrandson has lived and worked in the Gaza Strip three times within the past five years, and she’s eager to share her more peaceful interpretations of this turmoil-laden land at Linden Hills’ Geesu art+design, Monday, Sept. 27, 6-7 p.m.

Gulbrandson will present her photos of Gazans’ traditional and modern dance and artwork and discuss how these images contrast with stereotypes.

Gulbrandson most prople’s view of Gaza is incomplete, "Gaza is a place of incredible historic depth."

The presentation is free, however, donations are recommended. Geesu art+design is located at 2720 W. 43rd St. For more information, call 253-0021.

Youthful singers

Senior singing group Minneapolis Southside Singers will celebrate their 15th anniversary with nostalgic, comedic performances Friday-Saturday, Oct. 1-2.

"We believe music helps keep you young," said David Schmit, one of the original six Southside Singers and a Fulton resident.

The show will feature ’30s and ’40s music (primarily patriotic, spiritual and show tunes) as well as dance numbers and vaudevillian skits.

But don’t expect to sit and watch quietly, warns Schmit, "We try to connect with our audience … We let the audience know what the music is about and have them join in."

The Southside Singers has performed at such Twin Cities mainstays as the Minnesota State Fair and the Lake Harriet Bandshell. The group welcomes people 55 and up from Minneapolis and surrounding communities. Several Southwest residents — including David Schmit, Virgie Olson, Ginny Jacobson, Eleanor Trnka,Diane Kolisnyk, Jane Dugan, Nancy Lockard and Alice Paul — belong to the 40-some-member group.

The anniversary performances will be Friday, Oct. 1, 7 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 2, 2 p.m. at Anne Sullivan Communication Center in the Longfellow neighborhood, 3100 E. 28th St. Tickets are $6. For more information, call 729-4984. For information on joining the Minneapolis Southside Singers, call Cheryl Markgraf, 651-501-4901, or Joan Klopp, 952-223-0142.

Isles Quartet debut

The newly formed Isles Quartet will present a free evening of chamber music Sunday, Oct. 3, 7 p.m. at Lake of the Isles Lutheran Church, 2020 W. Lake of the Isles Pkwy.

The quartet consists of two members of the Minnesota Orchestra — Wedge resident and violinist Joanne Opgenorth and Whittier resident and violist Megan Tam, and two members of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra — Wedge resident and violinist Leslie Shank and cellist Joshua Koestenbaum.

Opgenorth said the Isles Quartet will offer a fresh approach to the classic string quartet repertoire, as well as an introduction to some lesser-known works. "There’s more artistic freedom in a quartet than as a member of an orchestra," she said. "It’s more intimate."

At their debut, they will perform string quartet pieces from Beethoven, Dvorak and Schulhoff. A brief explanation of the music will follow the performances, as will a reception. Admission is free, and donations are accepted.

The performance is the quartet’s first in a four-part series at the church, the next will be Sundays Dec. 19, March 13, and May 1. For more information, visit islesquartet.org, or contact Joanne Opgenorth, 203-2406.

Art Condition

‘9-11 Tribute’

Southwest residents will once again unite through music to remember and reflect on the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 at Linden Hills’ Lake Harriet Bandshell.

"The 9-11 Tribute serves to bring our community together through music in a spirit of patriotic reflection of the most terrible day in our nation’s history," said program producer Bob Bayers of Bayers Do It Best Hardware, 4312 Upton Ave. S.

Last year, the free annual concert drew over 2,500 people, filling the 760-seat arena and surrounding grassy park area — showcasing not only local talent but the local sense of community as well.

Southwest residents Amelia Santaniello of WCCO-Channel 4 News and her husband, Frank Vascellaro of Kare-11 News, will return to host this year’s event.

Linden Hills Chamber Orchestra conductor Dr. Jeffrey Stirling will direct this year’s orchestra. Janice Hunton, the choral director at the First Universalist Church, 3400 Dupont Ave. S. and a past member of the Dale Warland Singers, will conduct this year’s memorial concert chorus. Last year’s chorus and orchestra of Southwest residents were 50 members strong.

The night’s program will include such classics as "Stars and Stripes Forever," "Adagio for Strings," "Amazing Grace" and "God Bless America."

The Saturday, Sept. 11 concert begins at 7 p.m. The Lake Harriet Bandshell is located on the north end of Lake Harriet near the connecting parkway to Lake Calhoun. Get there early if you want a spot on the bandshell benches.

Free day of dance

Southwest residents of all age and experience levels are invited to Lowry Hill East’s Hauser Dance open house, Saturday, Sept. 11.

Director Heidi Jasmin emphasizes that her studio values the joy of dance above else. Dance, she says, should revolve around "imagination and originality — not just following strict rules and forcing yourself through the motions."

Several modern dance sessions will be offered between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The Beginning Adult class will be held 11 a.m.-noon; the Mixed Level Adult from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m.; and the two sessions of Children’s Creative Dance (ages 4-6 and 7-10) are 10-10:45 a.m. An informal performance at noon will precede a Gypsy Card Give-Away at 1:15 p.m.

The studio is located at 1940 Hennepin Ave. S. For more information, call 871-9077.

‘Steeped in Strayhorn’

Heads up local jazz fans, Southwest jazz artist Lucia Newell has just released a new CD, "Steeped in Strayhorn." Lucia Newell and jazz band Departure Point perform several of Billy Strayhorn’s songs on the album. Strayhorn was primarily known as Duke Ellington’s right-hand man.

Newell has been performing professionally for over 20 years, and has enriched her vocal talents and musical repertoire with competence in Portuguese and French. In addition to her bilingual singing abilities, Newell has performed internationally, lighting up several clubs in Mexico City.

Closer to home, "Minnesota Monthly" described the Kenny resident as "one of the most powerful vocalists on the Twin Cities scene."

Newell will celebrate the release of her CD with a Thursday, Sept. 16 performance at the Artists’ Quarter in downtown St. Paul (entry is $8; the show begins at 8 p.m.) and a Thursday, Oct. 7 performance at the Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant in downtown Minneapolis (entry is $10; the show begins at 8 p.m.).

For more information, check out www.LuciaNewell.com.

Crop art at the MIA

Myriad artists tirelessly seek to capture the delicacy of flower petals, the majesty of the rolling plains or the reflection of lily pads on the water’s surface. Minnesota artist Lillian Colton, however, has chosen to work with a different stage in the growth cycle: seeds.

Now in her 90s, self-taught Colton has dedicated her artistic life to making

portraits of American "Who’s Who" from seeds.

In 1966, Colton submitted her first seed portrait to the Minnesota State Fair and won second place. Since then, the successful hair salon owner from Owatonna, Minn. has won "best in show" several times.

An exhibition of Colton’s seed art, "Lillian’s Vision," will be featured at Whittier’s Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 3rd Ave. S., through Sunday, Sept. 19. On Saturday, Sept. 11 at 3 p.m., tour leader and Jan Elftmann — the founder and organizer of the Art Car parade and owner-artist of the oft-spotted Cork Truck — will guide guests through the exhibit, and then Colton will give a crop art demonstration. On Sunday, Sept. 19, critic Rob Silberman will conduct a discussion of Colton’s work at 3 p.m. The exhibit, tour and talk are free.