MPR News with Angela Davis

How Minnesota arts community adapted during pandemic 

Wendy Knox, left, and William Eddins.
Wendy Knox, left, is the artistic director of Frank Theatre in Minneapolis. William Eddins, right, is the music director emeritus of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
Left: Courtesy of Wendy Knox | Right: Creative Commons via

This year has been harsh for the performing arts. COVID-19 shuttered theaters and concert halls practically overnight in March. 

At first, it looked like things might get back to normal in the summer. Then, there were hopes for a fall season. Now, here we are at the end of the year and even holiday shows, which can be lucrative for arts organizations, have been canceled or moved online. 

What did 2020 look like for the performing arts? Amid the upheaval and loss, some artists and institutions continued creating online or in small outdoor performances.  

The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra have streamed live concerts. 

Some theaters like Open Eye put their archived shows online. Others, like the Jungle Theater and the Guthrie experimented with creating new work to show on video platforms like Zoom. Still others took on current issues: Mixed Blood Theatre created community shows to respond to the killing of George Floyd and Pillsbury House Theatre staged a virtual show to inspire voting.

MPR News guest host Euan Kerr spoke with Minnesota theater and music makers about how the pandemic and racial reckoning shaped this artistic season. 


  • Denzel Belin is an ambassador for the MPR News weekly Art Hounds segment. 

  • Wendy Knox is artistic director of Frank Theatre in Minneapolis. 

  • William Eddins is a music director emeritus of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and guest conductor based in the Twin Cities.  

  • Lowell Pickett is co-owner of the Dakota in Minneapolis.

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