Minnesota is a haven for artists – some of them well-known, others we still need to meet. This is why TPT launched ART IS…, a multi-media and event series aimed at bringing visibility to emerging and established artists, alike.

Between April and June of 2019, TPT hosted three ART IS… events, curated by literary artists Tish Jones, Kao Kalia Yang and Marcie Rendon. Each curator picked three emerging artists they thought the public should know more about and showcased their work in front of a live audience.

If you missed the events in person, you can check out some highlights of the events and hear reactions to the night from the artists and audience members in the videos below. If you would like to know more about all the artists in the shows, please check out this collection of short documentaries on their work.


ART IS… My Origin features three powerful young artists from the black community in the Twin Cities. Donte Collins, Al Ta’wam (Khadijah and Iman) and Yevrah. It is a journey of these young, black artists finding home through their craft… I’m proud, but I’m really honored, and what they did tonight really encourages me to do more myself. 

Tish Jones, Curating Artist, ART IS…My Origin


Bee Yang, traditional Hmong song poet; Xee Reiter, visual artist; Kevin Yang, spoken word poet; and Kao Kalia Yang, writer, crossed generations and mediums to join their forms in a call for peace. These artists journeyed into memories, dream spaces and the transient gifts of place to bring together an evening dedicated to lives of refugees here in Minnesota by interrogating the depth of their experiences as newcomers to this state. 

Kao Kalia Yang, Lead Artist, ART IS…Our Call for Peace


ART IS…CreativeNativeResilience was a resounding success – artistically, culturally and community-wise. Sir Curtis Kirby III, Director of the Ikidowen Youth Theater, brought youthful interpretations of social justice, Anishinabe truths and a good dose of humor to the stage. ‘Downtown’ Jada Brown mesmerized listeners with soulful songs and spoken word poetry, after which she encouraged other young people to not be afraid to be heard. Language and cultural preservationist Andrea Fairbanks did it all – performed, danced and painted on stage, all the while imprinting the idea that generational teachings are central to our continued existence as a people. These three Anishinabe artists filled the evening with art, love and cultural resiliency.

Marcie Rendon, Lead Curator, ART IS…CreativeNativeResilience

Production Team: Kate McDonald, Michael Phillips, Matt Mead, Jacob Kelso, Josh Stallings, Eric Pagel, Jennilee Park, Joe Demko, Nathan Reapelle, Val Mondor.