Celebrating Fine Arts Faculty Accomplishments

Ms. Sonka. teaching artThis week, MPA art teacher Renee Sonka and MPA theater teacher Heather Mastel were both featured and celebrated around the local and arts community for their crafts. We are so grateful to have such creative and passionate teachers in our MPA community!

Ms. Sonka’s sumi-e ink and watercolor artwork is featured in a virtual exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. This show contains over 2000 pieces, but only occurs every 10 years. View her work in the online exhibit here.

Ms. Mastel was featured as a panelist for Communication and Theater Association of Minnesota this week. The session she spoke at was titled “Performing Safely: In-Person Theater Practices During COVID-19.” She and the other panelists shared unique experiences navigating in-person theater during the pandemic.

Ms. mastel teaching theater outside“From outdoor musical theater productions with physically distanced audiences, to shifting distance-to-hybrid curriculum, to virtual streamings of readers’ theater performances on school stages, and more, gather insights from the challenges and successes of myriad models as they have played out over the past eight months,” writes CTAM. “Because there is no one-size-fits-all solution to theater-making in a pandemic, this snapshot of the range of possibilities from elementary to college level theater education can help you feel better equipped with multiple possibilities moving forward.”

The Show Must Go On In MPA Theatre!

MPA students in the CHICAGO musicalEven in an upside-down world, the show must go on! Join the MPA Theatre Department for a virtual info meeting on Thursday, September 3 at 4 PM. Learn how to get involved, more about show information, audition dates, and what this year will hold for MPA actors and technicians!

Join via Zoom >

Theatre at MPA develops students’ fundamental skills in self-expression, communication, creative problem-solving, and critical thinking. Creative dramatics begin in the Lower School where students form fundamental foundations through activities and guided play. Older students grow in their sense of self and character by connecting to multiple perspectives and the larger world around them. Students learn to understand the practical aspects of theatre production through hands-on experiences within the classroom as well as through co-curricular productions throughout the school year. Productions and classrooms are student-centered in order to empower students both onstage and off to create, problem-solve, and grow as artists.

Meet Alumni Board Member Kethan Dahlberg ’14

Kethan Dahlberg '14During his time at MPA, Kethan Dahlberg found his home-away-from-home. From early morning jazz band rehearsals and Nordic ski practices to late night track meets and study sessions for group projects, MPA taught him the importance of teamwork, perseverance, grit, and, importantly, the value and benefit of being an active and engaged member of the community. “Now, reflecting as an alumnus, and especially given the past few months of lock-down orders and quarantines, I feel it’s important for me to become further involved with my fellow alumni and the school to make sure the same strong sense of family and opportunities that I had during my time on campus remain in place for current students,” he said.

After MPA, he attended Harvard and graduated in 2018 with a concentration in government, secondary in music and citation in Spanish. He also pursued a variety of internship opportunities in various levels and branches of government. While he ultimately hopes to end up back in public service someday, he applied for his job with a private law firm before law school to see the other side of the coin and gain some insight into how businesses operate from a legal perspective. Read More

Five Class of 2020 Members Receive Graduate Certificates of Distinction

Jordan akers working in sustainable farmingFive MPA seniors received and presented on their Graduate Certificates of Distinctions last week. For the first time in MPA history, three seniors were STEM recipients: Misk Khalif, Jordan Akers, and Annie Portoghese. Two seniors were Fine Art recipients: Charles Grimes and Solveig Svenniveg-Brosi.

Graduate Certificates of Distinction are designed with the belief that Upper School students can be architects of their education. The program recognizes students who have a passion within a discipline that drives them. These students are exploring their passions while staying committed to a balanced education. All MPA Upper School students are eligible to work toward a single Certificate of Distinction in one of three areas: Fine Arts, Global, or STEM.

Misk spoke on her role as founder and executive director of the STEM Center For Girl Innovators, where she manages operations such as tutoring, science experiments, coding, and mentorship programs. She is a passionate advocate for gender and racial equity in the STEM field, which is why she founded the Center for Girl Innovators early in her STEM career. With hopes to pursue a degree in medical research, she centered her final project on Gut-Brain Axis, which is the biochemical reaction between the nervous and gastrointestinal systems. Read More

Vote For William Kim Through April 5!

mpa senior William kimKeep on casting your vote for MPA senior William Kim to be a finalist for the MPR Minnesota Varsity showcase concert! MPR listeners are voting to select one of this year’s 10 Featured Artists to advance to the Showcase concert in May.

Listen online and click here to vote for William until 11:59 PM on Sunday, April 5!

Congratulations To All-State And State Honor Choir

all state choir groupCongratulations to All-State Choir members Ryan Ghose, Jordan Akers, Solie Svennevig-Brosi, and Caleb Rhodes! Ryan sang in the SATB Mixed Choir under the direction of Jo Ann Miller while Solie sang in the Soprano Alto Choir with Therees Hibbard. Jordan and Caleb were in the Tenor Bass Choir with Michael Culloton conducting. Today marked the culmination of an All-State process that started with auditions last spring, a summer camp, and a final performance at Orchestra Hall. Ryan, Jordan, Solie, and Caleb are members of the MPA Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers.

honor choir singersCongratulations to freshman Jack Peterson and sophomore Elissa Frankel on their performances with the 9-10 State Honor Choir! Jack sang in the SATB Choir under the direction Aimee Beckmann-Collier while Elissa sang in the SSA Choir with Brandon Dean conducting. After a day full of rehearsals, they performed at Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis. Jack sings in the MPA Varsity Choir while Elissa is a member of Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers.

Keep singing your song, Panthers!

See You At Pajamarama On Thursday!

pajamarama 2019Pajamarama is Thursday, January 30! From 5:45-6:45 PM, Lower School students will enjoy a short concert of their favorite Disney music, meet our musicians, and enjoy story telling in a new and imaginative way. Following the Disney performance, the children are led in interactive activities designed to spark excitement and curiosity about music. To finalize our program we will have a reading of a popular children’s book performed by a narrator while being accompanied by the MPA Upper School Orchestra. Students will receive a snack while they cozy up to hear this famous story come to life! Wear your pajamas or your comfy clothes!

MPA Students Receive Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards

Rising FlameThe 2020 Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards have been announced, and we have a number of Upper School artists to congratulate this year! Collectively, the students received several ceramics, drawing, painting, and mixed media awards. View the pieces here.

  • Amelia Dickson, “Symmetry,” Drawing, Honorable Mention
  • Amelia Dickson, “Kitchen Mixer,” Drawing, Honorable Mention
  • Anna Gaudio, “Young Self,” Drawing, Silver Key
  • Charles Grimes, “Organic Forms,” Ceramics Portfolio, Honorable Mention
  • Charles Grimes, “Cups and Saucers,” Ceramics, Gold Key
  • Charles Grimes, “Sliced Garlic,” Ceramics, Honorable Mention
  • Charles Grimes, “Harvest Gathering,” Ceramics, Silver Key
  • Charles Grimes, “Self-Portrait,” Drawing, Silver Key
  • Ani Helgeson, “Toddler Self,” Drawing, Honorable Mention
  • Ella Jones, “Boycott,” Mixed Media, Honorable Mention
  • Ella Jones, “Pollution,” Drawing, Gold Key
  • Graham Li, “Air of Literature,” Mixed Media, Honorable Mention
  • Graham Li, “Joyful,” Drawing, Gold Key
  • Graham Li, “Rising Flame,” Painting, Silver Key
  • Cloris Lin, “Mixed Media Still Life, Mixed Media, Honorable Mention
  • Sehar Mapara, “I am a Truck Driver,” Painting, Honorable Mention
  • Emmet Tanzer-Tragatsch, “Minute to Win It!” Ceramics, Honorable Mention
  • TC Yang, “Mixed Media Still Life, Mixed Media, Honorable Mention
  • TC Yang, “Honey Comb,” Ceramics, Gold Key Read More

Meet Juliana Wu ’19

Juliana wu visiting campus What do you love about MPA?
I love the inclusive environment MPA offers to each and every student that goes there.

How were you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
I started to play cello right after submitting my college application during my senior year. Now, it has become one of my favorite ways to get away from the heavy workload at Carnegie Mellon and a great hobby of my life in general. Thinking back, it is still a bold and somewhat “reckless” decision that I made to begin a new instrument at the end of high school, but without the encouragement of MPA, I wouldn’t have made that decision and I would have missed out on a lot of the fun I have playing cello. Read More

Meet Annie Stewart ’11

Annie stewart '11Meet 2019-20 Alumni Association Board member Annie Stewart ’11!

After attending MPA from grades 6-12, Annie Stewart ’11 went to St. Olaf College for four years and graduated in 2015 with a B.A. in Theater. She worked at a number of theater companies in St. Paul and Minneapolis before finding her way back to MPA as a substitute teacher and PreK teaching assistant. She worked in MPA’s Lower School for a year before deciding to go back to school to pursue her K-6 teaching license and Masters in Elementary Education! Annie says that it was working at MPA that helped solidify her passion for teaching, and she is so thankful for all of the experiences that led her to where she is today.

“MPA was such an important place and community for many years of my academic career,” said Annie. “Now, as I am completing a license and Masters, I use the tools and skills I learned at MPA on a daily basis. Most importantly, I am excited to teach and that love of teaching comes from the teachers and community I had at MPA. I’m especially looking forward to teaching the next generation of students how to think, not just what to think.” Read More