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Building Connections Through the Arts

Twin Cities Public Television

Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) connects Minnesota’s artists with audiences through MN Original, its award-winning weekly arts series celebrating Minnesota’s creative community, across all disciplines and all cultures. Now in its eighth year, MN Original has featured more than 4,000 Minnesota artists since its inception. Broadcast throughout Minnesota and on PBS stations across the country, MN Original increases awareness of Minnesota artists and arts organizations, inspires viewers to think about the arts and artists in new ways and cultivates new audiences for the arts by promoting a deeper understanding of the creative process.

In 2015, TPT launched Artist Day Jobs, MN Original’s digital-only series designed to give audiences a fresh entry point into TPT’s arts and cultural programming. The importance and impact of TPT’s arts programming are clearly demonstrated by the example of Emily Lynch Victory, a painter featured in Artist Day Jobs.

77% of artists featured on TPT’s arts and cultural programs reported increased awareness of and interest in their work.

As Emily has written, “Artist Day Jobs has changed my life. For real.” She notes that prior to being featured on the program, she was accepted to one out of every ten show she applied to, and often had to show her work at informal venues. But Artist Day Jobs brought vastly increased visibility and respectability. Her episode was seen by more than 382,000 people online and shared 2,200 times. Shortly thereafter, invitations came pouring in from universities, national conferences, even the prestigious Walker Art Center. Emily went on to explain that her participation brought about a personal transformation, too: “That video—most importantly—made me believe in myself.” She gained confidence in her abilities, and her position as a painter. Ultimately, Emily wrote, “I am a firm believer that work makes more work. And I was working hard prior to the video release—but my hard work wasn’t hitting the right crowd. That darn 5 minute video… it got my work to people who cared about its content. And now my work is getting me places. It has me painting and creating… and motivated and stimulated and working harder than ever.”

Emily’s case is not an isolated example. In fact, 77% of artists featured on TPT’s arts and cultural programs reported increased awareness of and interest in their work. Performing artists attribute more than $500,000 in new bookings to their appearance on MN Original or TPT’s concert series The Lowertown Line. Plus, a recent survey revealed that visual artists featured on MN Original directly attributed $143,000 in sales of their work to having appeared on the program. In addition, 31% of visual artists surveyed reported an increase in potential sales of their work.

MN Original is made possible by the State Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund and the citizens of Minnesota. Operating grants from The McKnight Foundation support TPT’s overall arts innovation and free and universal access to diverse cultural opportunities for people of all ages and from all walks of life. Thanks to these gifts, TPT fosters a creative economy and builds vibrant and connected communities.


May 2015