The Saint Paul Public Library presents an array of arts, cultural, literary, and Minnesota history programs in collaboration with arts and cultural organizations, independent artists, historical societies, and community organizations. Programs are funded in part with money from the Minnesota Legacy Amendment Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
Black History Month 2012
Lady Griot Blues Storytelling
Lady Griot connects the audience to the blues with resonance, poetry, and dramatic flair. West African griots, praise-singers who immortalize family lineages and retell ancient poetry, are vital sources of themes and rhythms that bring a crowd into chanting and dancing communion. (February 2012 - West 7th)
Robert Robinson Concert
A concert with Gospel and contemporary music artist Robert Robinson, who has performed with Aretha Franklin, Grammy winner Andrae Crouch, the Sounds of Blackness, Bobby McFerrin, Barry Manilow, Jermaine Jackson, and others. (February 2012 - Rondo)
Walter Mosley Panel Discussion
A panel of local scholars of African American literature discussed the work of best-selling author Walter Mosley. The panel included Nothando Zulu, storyteller and educator; Arleta Little, Executive Director of the Givens Foundation; Ezra Hyland, African American Read-In and Black Men Reading; Davu Seru, PhD candidate in African American Literature. (February 2012 - Rondo)
Givens Black Books: Walter Mosley's Twelve Steps Toward Political Revelation
A discussion of Walter Mosley's Twelve Steps Towards Political Revelation: the Potential for an American Epiphany under the Rough Blanket of Capitalism. (February 2012 - Arlington Hills)
Penumbra Theatre's "The Amen Corner"
Lou Bellamy, artistic director of Penumbra Theater, and Sarah Bellamy, Education Director, presented a page-to-stage discussion of "The Amen Corner" by James Baldwin. It introduced readers and literary buffs to Baldwin's writing for the theater and provided a sneak peek into the process of mounting the production. Actors from the company presented brief excerpts. (February 2012 - Central)
The Golden Age of Radio
Three old-time radio shows live at the library featuring music, commercials, and short radio programs from the 1930s and 1940s. Presented by the Prime Time Players.
Terror & Sci Fi
A production featuring Flash Gordon and The Telltale Heart. (November 2011 - Central)
Drama & Mystery
A production featuring The Shadow and Sherlock Holmes. (November 2011 - St. Anthony Park)
A production featuring sketches about Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, Jack Benny, and more. (November 2011 - West 7th)
The Saint Paul Public Library partnered with Twin Cities Jazz Festival to present four music events for the public.
A local saxophone legend, Brewington, along with Solomon Parham, Tom West, Jeff Bailey, and Eric Kamau Gravatt performed at Rondo Library. (June 2012 - Rondo)
Jana Nyberg Group
Jana, who has appeared on American Idol and is known for her unique blend of jazz and pop music, performed at Hayden Heights Library. (June 2012 - Hayden Heights)
St. Peter Street Stompers
The St. Peter Street Stompers performed classic New Orleans-style jazz for the lovers of Louis Armstrong, Kid Thomas Valentine, Joe King Oliver, and the 1960's Preservation Hall Jazz Band. (June 2012 - St. Anthony Park)
Jack Brass Band
Jack Brass embraces the traditions of New Orleans jazz, as well as old time blues, rock, hip-hop, pop, funk, and reggae. The event officially kicked off the 2012 Jazz Festival. (June 2012 - Central)
Ordway Extras at Saint Paul Public Library
Ordway Extras featured a mix of lively interviews, discussions, and musical performances and presented a free, behind-the-scenes look at Ordway performances.
Ordway Extra: Playing for Change
Playing for Change featured artists based in the Twin Cities who utilize their art form as a tool for social change and awareness, and as a uniting force between people from different backgrounds. The artists performed excerpts of their work and told stories about their journeys as global artists. (January 2012 - Central)
Ordway Extra: The Addams Family
A page-to-the-stage presentation that looked at classic cartoon characters that made it to Broadway. This special event looked at the beloved musical comedies based on well known cartoon characters, including Annie, Charlie Brown, and, of course, The Addams Family and featured musical performances by some of the Twin Cities brightest musical comedy talents. (April 2012 - Central)
Summer Reading Kickoff 2012
Saint Paul Public Library kicked off its 2012 Summer Reading Program during the Flint Hills International Children's Festival on June 2 and 3, which takes place in Rice Park, right outside Central Library's front doors. Thousands of visitors attend the festival every year. The library had a booth in the park where children could work with staff from Mosaic on a Stick to help make mosaics to display in the library. The Bookmobile was also present in the park. During the two-day festival, Central Library hosted performers Bill the Juggler and Circus Manduhai.
Teen Tech Month
A series of workshop covering animation, film, hip-hop production, digital photo editing, and even robotics presented in partnership with McNally Smith College of Music, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and the St. Paul Neighborhood Network.
Participants created computer animations with Scratch, an easy to learn computer program. The programs were led by the Teen Tech Crew, a group of teens working to teach other teens digital technology skills. (March 2012 - Rondo, Rice Street, Arlington)
Spoken Word Video Workshop
Participants brought poetry to life and explored their voices in media by learning how to use film and edit their own spoken word video using Final Cut Express. (March 2012 - Rice)
Teens built machines that respond to light and sound. (March 2012 - Dayton's Bluff)
Hip Hop Lyric Writing and Performance
Teens learned about hip-hop songwriting and production: storytelling, sampling, and multitrack recording with Medium Zach from the local hip-hop duo Big Quarters. (March 2012 - Riverview)
Fun with Photos
Teens learned to change and manipulate photos using Aviary Phoenix, a free online program similar to Photoshop. (March 2012 - Rice)
Storytelling through Short Film
Teens explored how to tell a short story through video and learned how to make a short film using cameras, Final Cut Express, and their amazing creativity. (April 2012 - Central)
A series of performances featuring Z Puppets, a puppet troupe that aims to delight children and adults with feats of the imagination.
A La Carte: In a Fool's Kitchen
A highly physical, playfully interactive comedy featuring clowning, puppetry, and a few unruly vegetables for ages 3 and up. (September/October. 2011 - Arlington Hills, Hamline Midway, Merriam Park, Rice Street, Sun Ray; March 2012 - Highland, Rondo)
The Comic Misadventures of Mr. Punch
A whimsical, modern twist on the British tradition of Punch and Judy for ages 5 and up. (October 2011 - Dayton's Bluff)
Amazing Gnip Gnop Circus
A glow-in-the-dark ping pong ball circus for ages 2 and up. (September 2011 - Hayden Heights, West 7th; February 2012 - St. Anthony Park)
A celebration of Minnesota's great inventions with Dr. Historificus and a ukulele sing-a-long! Presented in association with the Minnesota History Center. (March 2012 - Riverview)
Faces of New America
Photography exhibit featuring portraits of new Americans. (May-June 2012 - Dayton's Bluff, Hamline Midway)
Community Cinema: "More Than a Month"
Filmmaker Shukree Hassan Tilghman sets off on a cross-country campaign to end Black History Month. His tongue-in-cheek journey explores the complexity and contradictions of relegating an entire group's history to one month in a so-called post-racial America. A discussion followed the film. (February 2012 - Merriam Park)
Community Cinema: "Revenge of the Electric Car"
Filmmaker Chris Paine takes his film crew behind the closed doors of Nissan, GM, and the Silicon Valley start-up Tesla Motors to chronicle the story of the global resurgence of electric cars. Without using a single drop of foreign oil, this new generation of car is America's future: fast, furious, and cleaner than ever. Presented by MELSA and The Friends. (March 2012 - Merriam Park)
Community Cinema: "Hell and Back Again"
U.S. Marine Sergeant Nathan Harris, 25, leads his unit to fight a ghostlike enemy in Afghanistan. Wounded in battle, Harris returns to North Carolina and his devoted wife to fight pain, addiction, and the terrifying normalcy of life at home. Presented by MELSA and The Friends. (April 2012 - Merriam Park)
They Played for the Love of the Game: Adding to the Legacy of Minnesota Black Baseball
A touring exhibit that traced the history of the Negro Baseball Leagues and many outstanding African American players who contributed to the game in Minnesota, including a program discussing the exhibit with Curator Frank White. (November 2011 - Rondo)