The Andrews Sisters hold a singular place among the many famous Minnesota-born musical talents who have made it big. Rising to fame in the swing era of the late 1930s, they developed their successful close-harmony formula early on. Patty, the blond mezzo-soprano, sang lead; Maxene, the brunette, sang soprano; and LaVerne, the redhead, sang contralto. The trio recorded more than six hundred songs, sold over ninety million records, earned fifteen gold records, and had a dozen number-one hits. Forty-six of their tunes made it to the Billboard Top Ten chart—more than either Elvis Presley or The Beatles.
Captain Billy's Whiz Bang was one of the most popular and notorious humor magazines of the 1920s. It was created by Wilford Hamilton Fawcett, who had been a captain in the U.S. Army during World War I and gained the nickname Captain Billy. Fawcett would later tell reporters that he had started his magazine to give the doughboys—as World War I servicemen were popularly called—something to laugh about.
The Center for Hmong Arts & Talent (CHAT) is an arts advocacy group based in St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood. Since its inception in 1998, CHAT has transformed into a social justice arts organization that engages with local and national Hmongcommunities. In addition to providing diverse arts-based programs, CHAT uses innovative strategies to address social issues affecting Hmong Americans.
Founded in the late 1960s, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres (CDT) is the United States' largest professional dinner theatre company. It is also the main tourist attraction for Carver County and a gem for musical theater enthusiasts. Home to many national and world premiere performances, CDT focuses on musical theatre and comedy shows as its mainstays.
Famed author and lecturer Charles Eastman was raised in a traditional Dakota manner until age fifteen, when he entered Euro-American culture at his father's request. He spent the rest of his life moving between American Indian and white American worlds, achieving renown but never financial security.
One of the most colorful characters on the scene in early twentieth century Minnesota was Wilford Hamilton "Captain Billy" Fawcett. He was editor and publisher of a bawdy men's humor magazine called Captain Billy's Whiz Bang. He was also a veteran of two wars, an Olympic athlete, a world traveler, a big-game hunter, and a resort owner.
Author F. Scott Fitzgerald is a cultural icon of the Roaring Twenties and Jazz Age. His work, although largely underappreciated during his lifetime, reflects the thoughts and feelings of his generation.
Artist Alexis Jean Fournier is well known in Minnesota for his atmospheric paintings of Minneapolis and St. Paul landscapes. Fournier is also renowned beyond Minnesota as an important figure in the Arts and Crafts movement.
Wanda Gág (rhymes with "cog") was determined to be an artist, and ultimately she triumphed. Her talent steered her through family hardship and hesitant early artistic efforts until she created Millions of Cats, her beloved 1928 children's book. It has never been out of print.
Opened in 1947, the Grand Marais Art Colony has been the longest lived art colony in Minnesota. It began as an eight-week summer course but became a year-round art colony that unites the natural beauty of the North Shore with Minnesota's vibrant artistic community.
At the turn of the twentieth century, Minneapolis became a national center for the arts movement known as Arts and Crafts. The city's Handicraft Guild led the way. Founded by women, the Handicraft Guild made the arts in Minneapolis more democratic and populist by offering classes like pottery and metalwork to artists and teachers.
Jacob Fjelde's sculpture Hiawatha and Minnehaha has stood in Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis since the early twentieth century. A popular fixture of the park in the twenty-first century, its placement there was originally controversial.
The Hmong New Year in St. Paul is a unique annual event encapsulated into a weekend celebration held at the end of November. Since 1977, Hmong people have gathered in the city to meet, eat, celebrate the harvest, and enjoy cultural performances. Though the event is rooted in the agricultural history of the Hmong people and their religious traditions, it has found a new expression in St. Paul—the home of one of the largest communities of Hmong outside Southeast Asia.
The Kilmarnock Bookstore in downtown St. Paul brought writers and artists together at the dawn of the Jazz Age and helped inspire some of the best work of their careers. Nearly a hundred years later, the Twin Cities are considered among the most literary cities in the United States.
For more than seventy years, the Minnesota-based writer and activist Meridel Le Sueur was a voice for oppressed peoples worldwide. Beginning in the 1920s, she championed the struggles of workers against the capitalist economy, the efforts of women to find their voices and their power, the rights of American Indians to their lands and their cultures, and environmentalist causes.
Mankato-born Florence Macbeth won international acclaim as an operatic soprano during the 1910s and 1920s. Known as "the Minnesota nightingale," Macbeth made hundreds of concert and recital appearances during her career. She toured the U.S. with the Chicago Opera Company for fourteen years before retiring from singing in the 1930s.
George Morrison, one of Minnesota’s most important artists, is best known for his landscape paintings and wood collages. He drew inspiration from nature, combining impressionism with expressionism, cubism, and surrealism to develop a uniquely textured style. He referred to himself as a formalist in his approach to art.
Home to many historically significant people and places, Carver County's possibly best-known are recording artist Prince and his Paisley Park Studios. Located in what were Chanhassen cornfields, the site was a key location in Minnesota's music industry. In its heyday, it drew artists and musicians from around the world. Though no longer in business, it still draws the eye of travelers along Highway 5 in Chanhassen.
Multi-talented artist, designer, teacher, and author Henrietta Barclay Paist is perhaps best known for her china painting, a popular turn-of-the-century pastime. Born in Red Wing in 1870, she studied ceramics in Germany, watercolor painting in Minneapolis, and design in Chicago before settling in the Twin Cities.
Founded in 1882, the Schubert Club is one of the oldest existing arts organizations in the country. It has had a significant impact on the cultural life of St. Paul, supporting music education and hosting concerts featuring well-respected local, national, and international musicians.
Virginia's Socialist Opera House was one of many halls built in communities across the nation where concentrations of Finnish immigrants had settled. Used for dances, gymnastic performances, and stage plays, the halls also provided meeting places for like-minded Finns, many of them laborers who embraced socialist ideals.
The St. Olaf Christmas Festival is an annual music celebration that began in 1912 and has been performed regularly since then by St. Olaf College students. Widely broadcast and telecast, it is regarded as one of the premier choral events in the world.
Two young men from Cleveland, writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, created the character of Superman in the 1930s. But it was Curt Swan, a Minnesota artist, who defined Superman's look in comic books of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.