TownTalks on Nicollet

2018-2019 Season

Engaging the next generation in conversation and reflection on the key issues of our day


TownTalks is planning its next season. Information on speakers and dates will be announced in early-2020. Thank you for your interest, and be sure to check back in the new year!

Previous TownTalks Events

The Music Men
Thursday, August 15, 2019

In an informal and self-revealing conversation, Mark Wheat and Jeremy Messersmith explored the meaning and impact of music in their lives and in the life of our community. Along with their stories, perspectives, and memories, Jeremy Messersmith played a number of his songs.

Mark Wheat is the weeknight host at MPR’s The Current. Described as a Minnesota music hero, singer-songwriter Jeremy Messersmith has built a national reputation for elegant, literate song craft. His releases include The Alcatraz Kid, The Silver City, The Reluctant Graveyard, Heart Murmurs, the songbook 11 Obscenely Optimistic Songs for Ukulele, and the orchestral pop record Late Stage Capitalism.

Cantus Celebrates Voices of Hope
Thursday, July 11, 2019

Cantus Vocal Ensemble sang selections from the repertoire of songs they created with Voices of Hope, a choral group at Shakopee Correctional Facility for Women, during their collaboration at the prison this spring. Amanda Weber, Minister of Music and the Arts at Westminster shared the story of the founding of the choir and the powerful role it plays in bringing meaning, purpose, and hope to the lives of its incarcerated members. The event concluded with a panel discussion by local experts and activists, including Rebecca Shlafer, Research Director of the MN Prison Doula Project, and Deborah Jiang-Stein from the unPrison Project, exploring the challenges and issues facing women who have been incarcerated.

Social Enterprises: Doing Well by Doing Good
Thursday, June 27, 2019

The founders of three local social enterprises shared the values and vision that motivated them to form businesses that support positive social change. The panelists included: Emily Hunt Turner, an attorney and founder of All Square, a nonprofit gourmet grilled-cheese restaurant employing and empowering individuals who have been incarcerated; Jacquie Berglund of FINNEGANS, a brewery and taproom offering solutions to food insecurity and supporting social entrepreneurs; and Amber Haukedahl and Kate Marchand co-founders of TARE Market, Minnesota’s first zero-waste store to provide package-free, sustainable products. Marianne Combs, arts and culture reporter for MPR, moderated the discussion. 

Jacquie Berglund  | Finnegans

Jacquie Berglund | Finnegans

Emily Hunt Turner  | All Square

Emily Hunt Turner | All Square

Amber Haukedahl & Kate Marchand  | TARE

Amber Haukedahl & Kate Marchand | TARE

Women Leading
Thursday, November 29, 2018

These young, innovative women are setting the stage for future women entrepreneurs, small business owners, and CEOs. Panelists included Melissa Coleman, Ashley Mary, Carly Van Veldhuizen, and Alex West Steinmann. Minnesota Public Radio reporter Marianne Combs moderated the discussion.

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Indigenous Food, Culture and History
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Chef Sean Sherman, the James Beard award-winning author of The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, and Dr. Anton Treuer, professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University and author of 14 books on Native American history, shared insights on indigenous culture and answered audience questions in a lively, interactive exchange.

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