80 Twin Cities Living 2014-2015
play | culture
Grammy Award for their recording of Jean
Sibelius’ first and fourth symphonies.
Small theaters such as Theatre in
the Round ( www.theatreintheround.
org), Park Square Theatre (www.
parksquaretheatre.org) and Jungle Theater
( www.jungletheater.com) also showcase
great performances. Depending on where
you settle, you may find a talented troupe
of performers in your own neighborhood.
Theatergoers who live here are lucky
enough to have such an array of options,
from theater that entertains to theater
that educates. At the History Theatre
( www.historytheatre.com) performers
use theater to illuminate stories of the
past, while Mixed Blood Theatre (www.
mixedblood.com) promotes diversity
with its productions, even offering some
seats for free (first come, first serve).
The nation’s largest African American
theater, Penumbra Theatre (www.
penumbratheatre.org), puts forth thought-provoking performances and has launched
the careers of famous playwrights,
including two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner
Performance of all types finds a voice, a
space and an audience in the Twin Cities.
Ballet enthusiasts can rejoice in the fact
that the area is home to many talented
performance groups, including the
Metropolitan Ballet ( www.metroballet.org),
Ballet Minnesota ( www.balletminnesota.
org) and the innovative Ballet of the
Dolls ( www.ritz-theater.org) Plus, groups
such as Zenon Dance Company (www.
zenondance.org), Ananya Dance Theatre
( www.ananyadancetheatre.org) and Mu
Performing Arts ( www.muperformingarts.
org) offer their talents. Another well-regarded company, Ragamala Music and
Dance Theater (www.ragamaladance.
org), dedicates itself to preserving the
South Indian classical dance form of
Bharatanatyam. For vocal talents, you can
listen for VocalEssence (www.vocalessence.
org) and the Rose Ensemble (www.
roseensemble.org), among others.
There’s no limit to the ways residents of
the Twin Cities can add culture to their lives.
Whether you buy season tickets or go out
for an occasional show, you’ll appreciate the
The Weisman Art Museum (
www.weis-man.umn.edu) is just one example of how
our museums are as beautiful on the outside
as they are inside. The stunning Frank
Gehry-designed museum, which first
opened in 1993, is the only Gehry-designed
art museum in the United States and the
only building the visionary architect has
returned to for an expansion, which opened
in 2011 and brings the building’s striking
riverside stainless steel exterior full circle.
The University of Minnesota museum
displays a collection of early 20th-century
American art alongside a diverse selection of
The Walker Art Center (www.walkerart.
org), said by Newsweek to be “possibly
America’s best contemporary art museum,”
reemerged from its own renovations nine
years ago and now boasts twice as much
gallery space. Edward Larrabee Barnes’
Mill City MuseuM
This museum pays homage to
Minneapolis’ former claim to
fame as the flour milling capital
of the world. Set alongside the
riverfront, the family-friendly
museum chronicles the intertwined histories of the flour
industry, the river and the city
of Minneapolis in the late 1800s.
The highlight of any visit here is
the Flour Tower Tour. Take a seat
in the enormous working elevator for an eight-story multisen-sory experience and guided tour.
Not only will you learn about the
people behind the flour, but also
about the fires and explosions
that almost caused the industry
to collapse. After meeting the
authentic 19th-century milling
machines and learning all about
wheat, take in the behemoth
that made it all possible—the
Mississippi River—from the roof-
top observation deck.
the Bakken MuseuM }
Sitting on a hill above Lake
Calhoun in Uptown, the family-
friendly Bakken features “elec-
trifying” interactive exhibits
that explore the mysteries of
our electrical world. The one-
of-a-kind museum is located
in a 1930s Tudor mansion filled
with interactive exhibits about
electricity and magnetism, a
multi-media Frankenstein exhibit,
the Florence Bakken Medicinal
Garden and a world-renowned
collection of books and artifacts
on the history and impact of
electricity. Discover the scientist
within with shocking histori-
cal medical devices, scientific
instruments and even an electric
aquarium filled with electric fish.
The museum was founded in
1975 by Earl Bakken, the inventor
of the first transistorized cardiac
pacemaker and cofounder of
For art that traces our native
history, there’s no place like the
American Swedish Institute,
which honors the Nordic back-
top sMall MuseuMs