The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Jan 16, 2013

A free-for-all night of art, improvisation and music at McNally Smith this weekend

Posted by sschouweiler

This year's headliners will once again be the fluid improv collaborative, Coloring Time. Photo courtesy of the artists

This Saturday night, McNally Smith College of Music in downtown St. Paul is hosting a five-and-a-half hour wintertime arts “conflagration,” the Second Annual Deepwinter Bonfire. This performance free-for-all emphasizes collaboration, interdisciplinary experimentation and improvisation, bringing together visual artists, spoken word and hip hop dancers, along with a small army of DJs and musicians for a free, community cultural celebration.

Headlining again this year is the fluid hip hop-meets-jazz improv ensemble, Coloring Time, whose rotation of musicians currently includes Chastity Brown; Kristoff Krane; Adam Svec; Joe Horton, Graham O’Brien, and Bobby Mulrennan of No Bird Sing; Casey O’Brien, John Keston (Ostracon); Michelle Kinney (Mississippi Peace); and Christopher Thomson (The New Standards).

From the time the doors open at 6 p.m. and throughout the evening, teams of visual artists from the College of Visual Arts, collectively called Quadrefiore, will work on a large collaboratively painted mural in the college Atrium. Also on the docket this year is Improvestra, a 20-piece improv orchestra based at McNally Smith; an award-winning Hmong breakdance group, Motion Crew; spoken word by the McNally Smith Bonfire Freestyle Team; student DJs from McNally Smith and The St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists; and a video performance by multimedia artist and founder of Playatta design company, Hal Lovemelt, of Time Squid.

Co-sponsored by the St. Paul Winter Carnival and the St. Paul College of Visual Arts, the Deepwinter Bonfire takes place at McNally Smith’s Atrium and Auditorium in downtown St. Paul (adjacent to the History Theatre at the intersection of West 10th and Cedar streets) on Saturday, January 19 from 6  p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Admission is free and all ages are welcome; a cash bar will be available. For a full schedule, visit

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