Talking Image Connection brings together writers, performers, contemporary art and new audiences in art galleries around the Twin Cities. We would also like to introduce the newest director of TIC, Lucas Pingel!

Poetry by Brett Elizabeth Jenkins, William D. Waltz and Patrick Werle, short stories by fiction writer Claire DeBerg and non-fiction creative writer Jordan K. Thomas, plus a performance by Venus de Mars. Curated by Lucas Pingel in response to superusted, The Soap Factory’s 4th Midwest biennial curated by Cheryl Wilgren Clyne.

Lucas Pingel is the author of three chapbooks of poetry, most recently, Yes, I’m Sure This Was a Beautiful Place (Strange Cage, 2013), which was a collaboration with fellow poet, B.J. Love. His work has appeared in many journals, including North American Review, Poydras Review, Ellipsis, The William and Mary Review, Blood Lotus, and Midway Journal. He has also published a number of book reviews for Cant Journal and Heavy Feather Review. In 2012, he was awarded the Denny Prize for Distinction in Creative Writing at St. Catherine University, where he is an assistant professor.

Jordan K. Thomas is from the “lesser” Midwestern state of Iowa and is glad to have left. He is an MFA candidate in Creative Nonfiction at the University of Minnesota working on a hybrid memoir/essay collection focused on blackness, faith and the lack of faith, non-belonging, and being Othered by the Other. He also likes candy a lot. Some would say too much.

Claire DeBerg writes from a closet in Minneapolis. The working title of her unpublished novel, Yakamoz, (which is Turkish for phosphorescence) is completed and being shopped to literary agents. Her essay, “Choosing Gloria” published in Brain, Child magazine reveals what transpired two short days before her plan to place her baby for adoption. She is the editor of a small women’s quarterly magazine which she promises you’ve never read (but thinks you probably should). With a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Northern Iowa, Claire prefers red shoes and her favorite punctuation is a colon: giddy up.

Brett Elizabeth Jenkins teaches in St Paul. She is the author of the chapbook OH NO EVERYTHING (Pockets Press 2015) and was a winner of Best of the Net for 2014. Look for her work in PANK, Beloit Poetry Journal, Linebreak, BOXCAR, Drunken Boat, and elsewhere.

William D Waltz is the author of Adventures in the Lost Interiors of America, which won the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Open Competition. Zoo Music, his first book, won Slope Editions’ First Book Prize. He is the founder and editor of Conduit magazine, the only magazine that risks annihilation. Waltz lives in Saint Paul, near the Mississippi River and its fossil spotted bluffs.

Patrick Werle is a poet and poetry-instigator living in South Minneapolis. He is a Senior Editor with Poetry City, USA and an MFA Candidate at Hamline University. He is currently working on his first manuscript.

Venus de Mars is a multidisciplinary artist and musician, best known as a singer-songwriting transgender rock star and leader of the band All the Pretty Horses. A chance tax audit transformed her into a champion of artists’ tax rights, after which the Venus de Mars Fund with Springboard for the Arts was established. De Mars is the recipient of multiple grants and awards, among them a Minnesota State Arts Board grant, a Bush Fellowship, and a Minnesota Music Award. She is currently working on a memoir and her newest album is “Flesh and Wire.”

For more information about Talking Image Connection email

Hand-in-Glove III

A national conference of alternative spaces and places. Supported by Common Field, curated and organized by Works Progress and The Soap Factory

Hand-in-Glove is a national convergence for those engaged in the imaginative possibilities and pragmatic realities of artist organzing, including independent artist-led exhibitions, re-granting initiatives, publications, residencies, public programs, pedagogical experiments, community enagement platforms, and a variety of other projects that develop and advance grassroots production and reception models for art and culture.

The first Hand-in-Glove was a four day conference hosted by Threewalls in Chicago in October 2011. Hand-in-Glove continues as an itinerant convergence, now affililated with Common Field (, organized by Press Street in New Orleans in October 2013 and continuing in Minneapolis in September 2015.

For ongoing information about this exciting event, please join our Facebook page at



The 4th Midwest Biennial exhibition at The Soap Factory, curated by Cheryl Wilgren Clyne

This exhibition presents the work of seventeen artists, from five states across the Midwest, selected from a series of some 120 studio visits.

Participating Artists: Alexa Horochowski , Andrea Carlson, Areca Roe, Carlos DeGroot, Clarence White, Dyani White Hawk Polk, Jennifer Rogers, Jessica Christy, John Fleischer, Laura Primozic, Lindsay Smith, Mandy Martinson, Margaret Pezalla-Granlund, Phil Olmstead, Pritika Chowdry, Shana Kaplow, Sonja Peterson

The Soap Factory’s biennial is purposely set outside of the usual biennial survey, and is deliberately presented as the selection and choice of one or of a small group of curators. For 2015, superusted has been brought together by St Paul curator Cheryl Wilgren Clyne, presenting artists within the context of what she sees as important for contemporary art in the Midwest.

“The position from which each artist’s work comes is fully accessible through a lively and engaging aesthetic and an often highly skilled technique. From one curatorial perspective, each artist shows a dedication to art as a deliberate action in response to what is occurring in our complex world at this single moment in time. What is apparent from the work of each of the artists is a genuine love of, and commitment to, creating, and a devotion to staying true to themselves. There may be a series of conceptual threads that run throughout the works: perhaps each informs the other? Rather than overstate what that might be, the intent is to allow the viewer to find their own themes.” – Cheryl Wilgren Clyne

About the curator:

Cheryl Wilgren Clyne is a multimedia artist, curator, and educator based in Saint Paul, MN. She received a BS in Architecture and Film and an MFA in Experimental Media Art, both from the University of Minnesota.

In 2001 Cheryl began experimenting with exhibition design and curatorial practice in nontraditional spaces, highlighting underrepresented artists. Through the years she has worked with several well-known curators, developing her own methods. Her connections with hundreds of local, national and international artists has helped to fill spaces for public art, private collections, private and cooperative galleries, nonprofit organizations, film venues and public engagement arenas. Cheryl has operated air sweet air since 2010, initially a gallery that has transitioned to a versatile art platform.

The art and artists she most admires work with concerns of the modern world in a way that is less didactic and more subtle in concept and aesthetic. She is especially attracted to art that surrounds itself in the importance of nature and humankind.

Since May 2014, she has been designing and curating superusted, The Soap Factory Midwest Biennial, opening in September 2015. Cheryl became the Art Director for the St. Paul Saints on April 21, 2015. To the Saints credit, they may have pioneered this role, the first ever Art Director housed within a ballpark.


Common Room


A summer series of tours by Andy Sturdevant and Sergio Vucci, now in it’s eighth season.

Common Room began as a month-long series of interactive art events, out of a refurbished art deco office at The Soap Factory. Since 2011, Vucci and Sturdevant have taken the Common Room concept outside the four walls of The Soap Factory and into the city, activating public spaces and redefining our relationship with our surroundings.

Scroll down to take a look at this summer’s tour descriptions!

2015 Common Room Tours

Wednesday, August 12, at 6:30pm // The Repatriation Tour

Wednesday, August 19, at 8:45pm // The Mobile Karaoke Dance Party Tour with Mike Hoyt

Wednesday, August 26, at 5:30 pm // The Youth Tour

Wednesday, September 2, schedule posted below // The Minnesota State Fair Tour with Peter Haakon Thompson

The Repatriation Tour: 
Have you ever visited a city where you once lived, years ago, and attempted to make your way through it again, finding yourself surprised at all that’s changed, and how unreliable your own memories are? Live that experience over again: Common Room has invited Detroit artist and one-time Minneapolis resident Jonathan Gabel to lead a walking tour of the city, beginning from The Soap Factory. Gabel hasn’t visited the city in nearly a decade, and won’t be making a set itinerary or agenda in advance. We’ll follow Jonathan through the potentially familiar, potentially alien landscape, revisiting a familiar city through the eyes of someone who hasn’t experienced it in years, comparing our own experiences and memories with his.

Tour begins at 6:30pm at The Soap Factory.

The Mobile Karaoke Dance Party Tour with Mike Hoyt: 
Join Common Room and artist Mike Hoyt of Rolling Revelry and Norae Shanty fame on a bike-driven dance themed karaoke excursion down the Greenway.

Meet up in the back parking lot of Calhoun Village Shopping Center (behind Punch Pizza), 3226 W Lake St, at 8:45 pm.

The Youth Tour: The geography of childhood is radically different than the geography of adults. A group of students from the Marcy Open School near The Soap Factory, ranging in ages from 10 to 13, have created a tour focused around Marcy Field, the open park that serves as a playground, gathering place and landmark for the school. The students will walk Common Room attendees through important historical landmarks, remembered experiences, sites for games, points of conflict, and other notable spaces they’ve experienced through in their childhoods.

Tour begins at 5:30pm at The Soap Factory.

Peter Haakon Thompson’s Auto Ethnographic State Fair Tour: 
Join Common Room and artist Peter Haakon Thompson, founder of The A Project and co-founder of Art Shanty Projects, at the Great Minnesota Get-together. See the fair through an artist’s lens as we embark on an epic, endurance version of the artist’s classic Auto-ethnographic Tours of the fair and its offerings. Join for the whole day or just segments.

Link to MPR tour info:

*Wed, Sept 2—Read and Ride Day, present valid public library card for discounted admission

Tour begins!

Meet at 8:30am Salem Lutheran Church Dining Hall—located in front of Eco Experience Progress Center/Fine Arts Bldg.—north east end of Fair. We can all wait in line together for breakfast, Thompson Family tradition is to lay down a solid eggs/bacon/toast brekkie first.

**After breakfast–all times approximate! Other stops TBD and of course many integrated foods on a stick and otherwise. Follow the tour and their locations on twitter! @sergiovucci #commonroom, or text 612-695-5875***

9-10:30am starting at Eco Progress and moving South down Cosgrove St through Fine Arts, 4H, Education (Pencil Challenge) and Creative Activities.

10:30-11:30am Famers Union/DFL/AFL-CIO stops– corner of Cooper and Dan Patch

12-2pm Ye Olde Mill? Territorial Pioneers, Ag-Hort (seed art etc), Dairy Building, MPR, DNR

2-3pm Animal Barns, Sheep, Horses (boring), Swine, Cattle, sit for a bit in the Coliseum watch some horse shows, depending.

4-6pm Grandstand, West End (formerly Heritage Sq.)

6pm Either Llama Costume Show (Ag Star Arena) or State Fair Talent Show (Leinie Lodge Bandshell)

7pm Beer, Midway, final sweep, making sure we ate everything desired.

9ish? Call it a day.

Cant make it or more likely, can’t get enough? Check out the 4H Livestream-

Shaping the Qualitative Phase of Contemporary Chinese Art

A collaborative residency project with the University of Minnesota and Beijing Artists’ Village


An exhibition featuring work by Liu Xuguang with artists Jia Yuming, Wang Zhi, Liu Qianyi, Meng Xianglong, Liu Danshu, and Zhang Jinghan. Curated by Professor Tom Rose.

Exhibition runs: July 11 – August 30th

Artist’s talk: July 11th, 6-7pm

The Zhuangzi is regarded as one of the greatest literary works in all of Chinese history, and has been called “the most important pre-Chin text for the study of Chinese literature”, thus predating what we currently call China. The Zhuangzi is named for and attributed to Zhuang Zhou — “Master Zhuang” (Chinese:”Zhuangzi”) — born around 369 BCE in Song state, near the borders of modern Henan and Shandong provinces of modern China. He advocated a mode of understanding that is not committed to a fixed system, but is fluid and flexible, and that maintains a provisional, pragmatic attitude towards the application of categories and evaluations to existence and objects. He died around 286 BCE. A coruscating exposition of a prescient hermetic philosophy, the Zhuangzi, examines existence through the experience of an object, describing object-ness through metaphorical and metaphysical states.

The Zhuangzi posits that the metaphysical existence of objects and their intrinsic form is both a product of the human interpretation of an object’s nature, and of the various relationships that are possible between an object’s actual material state and of its essence in creating space for human spirituality. While the image of an object (art) establishes a human-centric method for the contemplation of the connections between physical states, through both time and space, art also creates multiple possible readings and meanings for existence.  In art relationships between people co-exist equally with the relations with the space of existence, defining the entire process (time and space) of human and object existence.  Contemporary civilization has discovered interpretations that offer a harmonious relationship between the direct vision and the space of art — through mutual connections in a common space, works of art can present similar patterns of communication.

Liu Xuguang Translation by Jin Stone

Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going was never there…
-Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood



Visual artist Chris Larson and composer Anthony Gatto join forces to bring the darkly humorous world of Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood to life. Set in The Soap Factory, the post-industrial beauty of a 130-year-old factory turned art gallery, this wild and immersive opera-exhibition takes the audience on an intimate journey alongside the oftentimes eccentric and always captivating characters of this Southern Gothic tale. The audience is guided directly into, around, and through the galleries that feature large scale installation pieces, kinetic sculptures, and live music.

Directed by Twin Cities’ Michael Sommers, WISE BLOOD features an incredibly diverse cast of performers including celebrated New York opera tenor Martin Bakari, baritone Brian Major, Zoo Animal’s Holly Hansen, New York-based singer Gelsey Bell, Baroque music master David Echelard, actor Jason Paul Andrews, and other special guests. The Adam Meckler Orchestra provided the core musical accompaniment to this masterful story of redemption and retribution in 1950s America.

Performances: Thursday – Sunday June 4th -7th and June 11th – 14th, 8:00 pm

The WISE BLOOD installation and sound design at The Soap Factory will be an on-going exhibit, open from May 9 to June 21, 2015 during regular exhibition hours.

WISE BLOOD is co-presented with The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. The Walker Art Center is a catalyst for the creative expression of artists and the active engagement of audiences. Focusing on the visual, performing, and media arts of our time, the Walker takes a global, multidisciplinary, and diverse approach to the creation, presentation, interpretation, collection, and preservation of art. Walker programs examine the questions that shape and inspire us as individuals, cultures, and communities.


Facebook: WISE BLOOD


Crime and Punishment


Live Action Set, Dangerous Productions and The Soap Factory are very excited to announce the remount of Crime and Punishment in April of 2015!



A twisted interpretation of the Dostoevsky novel, CRIME AND PUNISHMENT blends physical theater, dance and visual art into an adventurous, immersive performance in the basement of The Soap Factory.

Over 30 of the most captivating performers in the Twin Cities have been assembled under the creative direction of Noah Bremer, Tyler Olsen and Joanna Harmon to bring the characters, stories and psychological madness to life. Built over the entire span of The Soap Factory’s basement and inspired by the post-industrial decay of this notorious space, some of the most talented visual artists around created an all-encompassing subterranean city fit for Dostoevsky’s world. Composer Michael Croswell’s original soundtrack, along with custom smells by St. Croix Sensory add a 4th dimension that weaves through the city, creating a thrilling and completely immersive experience.


You run into a room where you hear a woman screaming for help. As you enter, her murderer runs out the door. And now, you have a choice- stay with the victim, or chase after the person who killed her?


This is just one of the many situations you may find yourself in CRIME AND PUNISHMENT. Follow a character’s plea, explore the nooks and crannies of the environment, even discover secrets seen only by you. Enter the subterranean city built beneath The Soap Factory, and prepare yourself for a mind-bending theatrical experience.

As one of the most successful shows in the 2014 Minnesota Fringe Festival, Live Action Set’s CRIME AND PUNISHMENT brings an expertly crafted performance to The Soap Factory’s basement. Hailed as “a triumph … of tone and design”, “elegantly constructed” and “impossibly rich” by the Tangential and a promise to “provoke, frighten, amuse, and evoke at once” by Minnesota Monthly, CRIME AND PUNISHMENT is an experience not to be missed.


*If you choose to continue on this journey, you will have the choice to purchase a ticket at different levels. With each level, you gain more elaborate opportunities for adventure. They are intended to be surprises, so the details are hidden at this time. You must take a chance and find your path.

*Due to some adult content, Crime and Punishment is not recommended for those under 16 years old.

*We recommend wearing comfortable shoes as audience members will walk and stand for extended periods of time during their performance experience.

*Each audience member must wear a lightweight plastic mask for the duration of the performance. We strongly recommend that you wear contact lenses to avoid discomfort with glasses. Some masks are modified to better accommodate glasses. Masks must be returned at the conclusion of the performance experience. Talking while wearing masks is not permitted.

*We provide a complimentary bag check for our audience and require that any large purses, bags, coats or objects are checked prior to the performance.

*Be advised, although audience members may be touched by actors, inappropriate reciprocal contact is prohibited.

*Crime and Punishment is ADA accessible. Please notify the Soap Factory upon purchasing tickets to make arrangements for your visit.

Art(ists) On the Verge 6


The Soap Factory and Northern Lights are pleased to announce the 6th installment of our annual collaboration.

This exhibition features new work from five Minnesota-based artists. AOV6 is an intensive, year-long, mentor-based fellowship program for emerging artists working experimentally at the intersection of art, technology, and digital culture.

One of the fundamental concepts defining the mission of the Art(ists) On the Verge Fellowship is the commitment to emerging artists whose practice often falls outside of and in between the traditional notions of media or disciplines. The Art(ists) On the Verge fellows are no exception. Their work at The Soap Factory engages with a broad spectrum of ideas.

AOV6 Artists: Molly Balcom Raleigh, Meridith Lynn, Ryan Aasen, Claire Barber and Daniel Dean

Click on the artist to access their interview on our soapcast


Executive produced by Jay-Z, Wyatt Cenac and dream hampton, Terence Nance’s dazzling, delightful and explosively creative debut, AN OVERSIMPLIFICATION OF HER BEAUTY utilizes a mix of live action and animation to tell the story of a relationship between Terence and a lovely young woman as it teeters between the platonic and romantic.

Join us at The Soap Factory on March 6, 2015 from 7-9pm for a screening of An Oversimplification of Her Beauty followed by a talkback with Director Terence Nance.

Executive produced by Jay-Z, Wyatt Cenac and dream hampton, Terence Nance’s dazzling, delightful and explosively creative debut, AN OVERSIMPLIFICATION OF HER BEAUTY utilizes a mix of live action and animation to tell the story of a relationship between Terence and a lovely young woman as it teeters between the platonic and romantic.

This event is free and open to the public.

You’ve just arrived home after a bad day. You’re broke and lonely, even though you live in the biggest and busiest city in America. You do, however, have one cause for mild optimism: you seem to have captured the attention of an intriguing young lady. You’ve rushed home to clean your apartment before she comes over. In your haste, you see that you’ve missed a call. There’s a voice mail; she tells you that she won’t be seeing you tonight.

With arresting insight, vulnerability, and a delightful sense of humor, Terence Nance’s explosively creative debut feature, AN OVERSIMPLIFICATION OF HER BEAUTY, documents the relationship between Terence and a lovely young woman (Namik Minter) as it teeters on the divide between platonic and romantic. Utilizing a tapestry of live action and various styles of animation, Terence explores the fantasies, emotions, and memories that race through his mind during a singular moment in time.


Party’s Over


Location: Galleries Two and Three

This exhibition is a collaboration between The Soap Factory and the Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC).

The Party’s Over is the culminating exhibition between the Chicago Artists Coalitions’ BOLT Residency and The Soap Factory’s resident artists, who partnered together in 2013 for the Midwest Artist Exchange, a yearly initiative that connects CAC’s BOLT Residency with artistic communities in neighboring Midwest cities.

At its core, the initiative makes space for an exchange of knowledge and trends, to tap into the creative production within each community. Artists visit one another’s cities to intimately experience the community through gallery talks, potlucks and behind the scenes tours. If the feeling is right and the artists are attracted to one another’s honesty of thinking and aesthetics, they may agree to socially engage in the form of exhibitions. The Party’s Over is one such exhibition. It completes the loop between the Chicago Artists Coalition and The Soap Factory and impresses upon us a mood of newness and possibility, as well as the question of “what’s next?” for the artists.

The exhibition features new works in an expansive range of subject and media by Chicago artists Madeleine Bailey, Sarah and Joseph Belknap, Adebukola Bodunrin, Joseph G. Cruz, Helen Maurene Cooper, Laura Davis, Azadeh Gholizadeh, Jennifer Mills, Christopher Ottinger and Stacia Yeapanis. The Party’s Over looks at the artists’ emotional and formal tendencies to use humor, repetition, the revenant and physical space to emanate a curiosity for what’s ahead now that the party has come to an end.

Featured artists: Adebukola Bodunrin, Sarah and Joseph Belknap, Christopher Ottinger, Helen Maurene Cooper, Jennifer Mills, Joseph G. Cruz, Laura Davis, Madeleine Bailey, Stacia Yeapanis and Azadeh Gholizadeh

Curated by Teresa Silva