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Listen Up: Best Local Minnesota Arts Podcasts

By Coco Mault

Even when there isn't time to visit a museum in person, it's easy to get a virtual glimpse and any number of exhibitions. In-person visits to a museum or art gallery can often be supplemented with online features that provide an even more comprehensive perspective. There are many local museums and galleries that have embraced social media -- making themselves known on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and even Flickr -- but have gone the extra step to feature podcasts as well. The following are a few Twin Cities institutions that want that coveted earbud airtime.

Talk of the Stacks

Friends of the Hennepin County Library

Talk of the Stacks is a regularly featured event at the Minneapolis Public Library in which authors are the featured special guests. Listen to famous locals such as Kevin Kling talk about his books The Dog Says How and Holiday Inn; or Andrew Zimmern discuss Bizarre Truth: How I Walked out the Door Mouth First and Came Back Shaking My Head. Other authors include author Nuruddin Farah, a Somalian man exiled by dictator Siyad Barre. Farah was also the 2010-2012 Winton Chair in the Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota. Dozens of other authors have participated in this program including National Book Award recipient and Professor of Humanities at Princeton University, Joyce Carol Oates. Other podcasts offered by Friends of the Hennepin County Library highlight local publishing houses as well as issues concerning globalization.

2/2 Nightlife & Music Digital Jukebox
(credit: Coco Mault)

Collections Up Close

Minnesota Historical Society

These podcasts highlight a broad range of fascinating historical facts and stories, from the history of bow ties to the origins of the Pillsbury Doughboy, to more personal stories such as the story of St. Paul's first female homicide investigator, Carolen Bailey. Listeners can even find out the process by which curators evaluate collection donations. Though there are currently four years' worth of podcasts available, history buffs and interesting fact collectors will surely find themselves saying, "Just one more!" and devour them in record time.


Soap Factory

Beginning in 2008, non-profit art gallery, The Soap Factory, began their own podcast that includes interviews with curators as well as information about current gallery exhibits. The podcasts about the annual Art Shanty Project on Medicine Lake are particularly amusing, including the biking tips for a bike race that also takes place on the ice ("Some people put rocks on their tires"). Another episode is sure to raise the hair on listeners' necks as SoapCast takes a tour through the Soap Factory's famous Halloween Haunted Basement.

Other local podcasts include the Walker Art Center's Art On Call, as well as those by the Guthrie Theater and Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Keep an ear out for mnartists' literary podcast, You Are Hear, which began in January. This monthly show will feature original work by Minnesota writers. And let's not forget about architecture as an art form. Listen to Building Minnesota for detailed stories and discussions about local structures, including the Frank Gehry designed Weisman Art Museum.

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