Beyond the Box

Beyond the Box will incubate 4 artists in two intentionally paired teams of mentor/mentee. All four will craft their own independent 15-30 minute performance to take place at the new Theater In The Round Amphitheater on Nicollet Mall. Learn more about this exciting new performance venue.

2019 Beyond the Box Artists

Mentor Taiko Arts Midwest's Enso Daiko: Taiko artist Jennifer Weir and members of Enso Daiko will collaborate with local visual artist Bob Schmitt to create a live brush painting and taiko performance. This improvisational performance seeks to highlight shared cultural traditions, inspiration, and energetic visual elements.

Mentee Micah Chermak received his MFA from the University of Arizona School of Dance, working as a preceptor and instructor of record for the University. Currently a dancer and choreographer for Twin Cities Ballet, Micah has worked across the country dancing and setting works at St. Paul Ballet, PDX Contemporary Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theater, Ballet Tucson, and Portland Opera. Micah earned his BFA in Ballet and BA in Liberal Studies from Friends University in Wichita, KS. Some notable danced works include Balanchine’s Serenade and Anna Marie Holmes’ La Vivandiere. Modern and contemporary work includes Christopher Wheeldon’s The American, Jose Limon’s The Unsung, and Ohad Naharin’s Deca.

Mentor BareBones Puppet Theater: There are 6 islands of plastic scattered in the world's oceans. Isle d'Plastique is a puppet pageant about our love affair with plastic, and a culture that tells us we can just throw it away. Built from repurposed plastic garbage, this piece aims to be beautiful, alluring, and diabolical. 

Mentee Laura Korynta is a multimedia artist working in puppetry, illustration and mixed media. Originally an ELL teacher, she was inspired after working on community art projects to pursue a life of making and sharing art. She currently resides in St. Paul

(Note: due to the incubational nature of this program, performance details and focus may change over the course of the development of the piece.)


Selection Process & Program Goals  

The overarching goals of Beyond the Box are to:

  • Cultivate artists’ skills in nontraditional, outdoor performing arts
  • Encourage positive artistic exchange through mentor-driven relationships
  • Create a low threshold for participation by artists, including provision of rehearsal space, an advanced stipend, media documentation, marketing, and institutional support
  • Cultivate adventurous, Fringe-style work -- "Fringe-style" meaning avenues for artist-audience connectivity and engagement; work that could be perceived as less commercially viable in more profit-oriented contexts; and ensuring a wide range of genres, disciplines and voices (including historically marginalized groups) are represented
  • Share free and accessible opportunities for audiences to engage with Fringe-y art in a communal, public space by a wide range of audience members

A jury selected the 2 Mentor artists/companies. Mentors will work with Fringe’s Artistic Director to review and select their Mentee, with a focus on balancing fit, form, and a diverse slate of artists and genres represented across the project.

The Mentor Selection jurors were: 

  • Chitra Vairavan, Dancer & Choreographer / Consulting & Creative Services Coordinator, Forecast Public Art
  • Flordelino Lagundino, Artistic Director, Park Square Theatre
  • Jonathan van Arneman (AJ), Independent Artist (Dancer, Choreographer & Musician) / Data Analyst at The Lewin Group
  • Jay Gilman, Artistic Director, Minnesota Fringe

The jury used this rubric to score criteria (each on a scale of 1-5):

  • Artistic Intent: Does the applicant clearly articulate their artistic intention and outcomes? Does their application support the ability to carry these out with success?
  • Artistic Inclusion: Does this application champion underrepresented voices, themes or stories when compared to our current Minnesotan performing arts ecosystem? Does their application support the ability to carry out this championing with success? 
  • Style & Aesthetic: Does the proposed project push-to-the-Fringe of performance? Is this artist striving to innovate within their form(s)?
  • Feasibility: Is the proposed project feasible within space-and-time constraints? Would it be a successful fit for the physical space?
  • Mentorship: Does this applicant demonstrate interest in the project's mentorship component? Does their application support their skills, experience, and commitment to mentor a peer?
  • Wildcard: At your discretion, you may add up to 3 additional points for reasons not accommodated in the existing criteria. You will be asked to provide a clear explanation to your fellow jurors.

Mentors' Goals and Responsibilities include: 

  • Creating and/or adapting a piece of ~15-30 minutes duration (if closer to 15, ideally the piece can loop)
  • Communicating with Fringe regarding reservation of rehearsal space, learning outcomes, and mentee engagement
  • Engaging the mentee at least twice over the course of the rehearsal period; watch the mentee’s first performance and re-engage between performances (May to July or June to August) for potential additional feedback, support and/or iteration
  • Providing a W9 so payment can be made
  • Participating in an artist pre- and post-program survey
  • Participating in a post-program panel discussion to share knowledge with fellow artists and interested audiences at a free, public event
If you have questions or would like to request any accommodations in order to complete this application, please feel free to contact us at

Please note: 

  • Companies applying as Mentors who are not selected are eligible to re-apply for the Mentee portion of this program.
  • Application and/or selection to this program presents no limitations or conflicts regarding participation in any other Minnesota Fringe projects, including our Fringe Festival, Family Fringe, Drafts & Draughts, Fringe Presents, or other programming. 

This project is a partnership with Vibrant and Safe Downtown and the Downtown Improvement District, and is funded, in part, by support from the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and culture heritage fund.

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