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June 13, 2005 // UPDATED 1:55 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

Let coffee be your muse

While many are inspired to make art about nature, science, places, memories or issues - coffee is the muse for some of us (so much so that I've been known to be a coffee pusher, trying to persuade my non-coffee-drinking friends and relatives to acquire the habit). There's a certain intimacy that coffee heartily affords - from conversation with a friend to an in-depth study of homework or other documents.

I often do my best work at coffee shops. Sort of like an energy vampire, I feed off the alertness not only of caffeine, but the vivacity of others actually in the caf. The fact that others are awake encourages me to plod on. I've even developed some superhuman skills within the coffee shop environment. I'm very proud of my ability to focus on my work while simultaneously eavesdropping on nearby discussions.

Part of the ambiance that I rely on so much is the artwork usually featured in cafs - which are a grounds-up mechanism for local artists. A lot of the artwork that I happen to see daily graces the walls of our neighborhood caffeine fix. Now, to honor that longtime link, Dunn Bros coffee shops become a muse in a Dunn Bros art contest.

Depict the idea of "Local Flavor" for a chance to win lots of exposure on ads and online, print ads, a hot spot on mnartists.org, a charity benefit auction and coffee paraphernalia (a French press brewer, 10 pounds of assorted coffee, coffee cup, Rechargecard worth $250 and a plaque). Artwork may be submitted in any medium, including photography, illustrations and paintings.

• Entries should come in the form of a photo, 35mm slide or 8.5" x 11" paper. Send entries to Dunn Bros Coffee, Attn: LF Art Contest, 111 3rd Ave. S., Ste. 200, Mpls. MN 55401. Check www.dunnbros.com for more information about submission guidelines.

Embracing dance

Veteran dancers Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands, an athletic team, consolidated their sweeping steps when they started their brand new company, TU Dance. It's a take off of their earlier project, Space TU Embrace that practically spelled out "embrace" - as dancers figuratively hugged the stage and each other with their dynamic and intricately fitted roles.

Toni and Uri, who've achieved acclaim both locally and internationally, are devoted to showcasing emerging talent. Dancers represent companies that span the U.S. One of their other aims is to make it easy for audiences to cross genres and view modern, ballet and traditional influences within one breath. However, in a statement about the show, the couple clarifies that they don't want the dances to melt together. Their idea is to dedicate floor time to each style.

Similarly, their shows range in everything from tales of heroism in South Africa to the more local, like the sounds of Minnesota lakes.

•Th-Sa June 16-26; Th-Sa 8 p.m., Su 7 p.m., Sa 2 p.m. Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Ave. S. $17-$22. 340-1725, www.tudance.org.

Anna Pratt can be reached at annapratt@artlover.com.