PCYC’s Capri Theater continues its arts legacy

For many people in North Minneapolis, the Capri Theater is a landmark. Some remember watching movies while others recall that Minnesota’s own Prince played his early concerts at the Capri.  

As owner and operator of the Capri,  PCYC continues the building’s legacy in nurturing the performing arts whether in young people or mature professional artists. 

We are pleased to share an excellent article about the Capri and its impact on Minneapolis here:  http://blog.thecurrent.org/2014/01/then-and-now-the-capri-theater-where-prince-played-his-first-solo-show/



We pleased to share PCYC’s 2012-13 Annual Report here

Our Annual Report to the community is now available for your review here Perspectives Fall 2013

Please contact us if you have any suggestions or comments about this report.  Thank you.


Join us at the monthly Feedom of Xpression Open Mic on first Mondays

Do you like to spot emerging artists before they hit the big leagues? 

Then come join us for an Open Mic session on the first Monday of each month at the Capri Theater.  PCYC’s open mic sessions are aptly named Freedom of Xpression to encourage the performance of all genres from jazz to beatboxing to dance. 

Freedom of Xpression Open Mic was featured recently by TC Daily Planet, an online publication.  Click here http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/node/79534  to read the published article.  It is also featured below:

Capri Theater’s Open Mic offers a lab for performance talent in North Minneapolis

The young woman sauntered onto the stage, cracked a half smile then pulled the mike almost to her lips.  The lights dimmed, music piped in and the spotlight turned onto her.   The smoky voice that emerged from this girl was surprising as was the melody.  Here on the Capri Theater stage in North Minneapolis, an African American girl was singing a jazz song popularized by Billie Holiday, an American cultural icon of the 1940’-s.  The audience of about 50 young students, teens and middle aged folks hooted and howled encouragement when this aspiring singer ended her rendition.  She glowed with a big smile, waved, and bounded off into the wings. 

This performance is typical of the monthly Open Mic sessions at the Capri Theater (www.thecapritheater.org).  Held on the first Monday evening, Freedom of Xpression (FOX) provides a free platform for emerging and amateur artists to test and hone their art form.  Anyone who wishes an audience for her creative expressions has five minutes to unleash that talent at Capri’s FOX Open Mic.  Poets, rappers, dancers, singers, musicians have come on stage to get a no-risk and free opportunity to share their craft with a diverse audience.  Any art form is allowed and the range of expressions is wide.   Immediately following a hip-hop poet, a Hmong student played the queej (traditional pan flute) and danced to rousing audience approval at a recent FOX Open Mic. 

Poet Crystal “Azteca” Ruiz has hosted the Capri’s FOX Open Mic since late 2009. This emcee role is a natural outgrowth from Ruiz’s regular job as a student advisor at the alternative high school run by Plymouth Christian Youth Center (PCYC). Hosting the monthly FOX Open Mic also allows Ruiz to publicly share her creative impulses.  Soft-spoken yet firm, Ruiz is passionate about giving young people a chance to develop their talents and test their alter egos on stage.  Ruiz encourages the high school students at PCYC to perform at FOX Open Mic.  She especially reaches out to female students.  Many high schoolers have taken up Ruiz’s offer; some for the first time, but many reprising or honing their earlier FOX Open Mic performances.   

Crystal Ruiz 2013

Since its inception more than five years ago, FOX Open Mic has drawn performers mainly from neighborhoods that surround the Capri Theater.  Many North Minneapolis performance groups have tested and refined their material here.  One such group is the “Why So Serious” hip-hop collective of North Minneapolis.  Collective member, Marquis “Eddiecane” Harris, said performing more than a dozen times at Capri’s FOX Open Mic gave them the exposure they needed.  “Why So Serious” has produced several albums since 2010.  

In this way, Capri Theater’s FOX Open Mic is an incubator for performance talent.  This harkens back to the early 1970’-s when a young performer later known as Prince first performed a concert on the same stage.  Today, FOX Open Mic performers sign up for slots half an hour ahead of the monthly 6 to 8 p.m. event.  Slots are allotted on a first come, first served basis for any art form.  The only restriction is obscene language.  If it is used at all, the Capri Theater’s technical staff cuts off the microphone.  Host Ruiz reminds performers of this rule when they sign up for their five-minute slot. 

Each Capri Theater FOX Open Mic also features 15-minute performances from artists whose art forms are more developed or well-known locally and regionally.  Featured artists have included B Girl Be co-founder Desdamona and R&B singer/songwriter Gabrielle Samone.  Host Crystal Ruiz points out that featured artists give novice performers a sense of the arc of artistic development and helps to inspire the emerging performers to keep perfecting their art forms. 

Ruiz is excited that the October 7 FOX Open Mic will feature PCYC High School senior Daniel Reyes, who grew up in New York.  Reyes will be singing several tunes he wrote while battling homelessness.  Despite his living circumstances, Reyes is optimistic about his future.  This emerging performance artist wants a career as a chiropractor to supplement his passionate pursuits of music and fashion in his free time. To that end, Reyes is focusing on his high school studies while writing songs dedicated to his girlfriend Nicole and trying hard to secure safe and secure shelter.  Reyes’ story is one of many inspirational ones that you’ll experience frequently at Open Mic and PYC. 

Daniel Reyes 2013


Inspired to learn more about the Capri Theater’s Freedom of Xpression Open Mic?   Check out the details at www.thecapritheater.org or contact Host Crystal Ruiz at cruiz@pcyc-mpls.org or 612-643-2045.


Introducing Mike Huerth

PYC Arts & Tech High School welcomed Mike Huerth as its new Director of Education on July 29, 2013. 

We are excited that Mike is bringing his talents and skills to help our contract alternative high school achieve its next level of progress. Mike Huerth  Although Mike is new to PYC, he has four decades of experience as an educator in urban and rural settings including an Indian school in eastern South Dakota.  Mike has taught in the classroom, served as mentor to younger teachers, and led schools as a principal and as an assistant principal.  From 1992 until 2007, Mike was the principal at three Minneapolis high schools – South, Roosevelt, Henry – where he helped to restructure their functions and programs.  He also “fresh started” Anishinabe Academy, a Native American K-8th grade Minneapolis public school. Most recently, Mike taught in Minneapolis’ Nawayee Center School and also consulted with Forest Lake public schools. 

When asked about his goals for PYC High School for the next two years, Mike shared his belief that learning must be joyful in order to engage the students.  Mike believes that young people who enjoy their tasks and who are motivated to seek answers to their questions, with the help of teachers and learning resources including the Internet, will stay in school.  That’s the first and necessary step toward academic achievement.  Mike also believes “differentiated instruction, when done well, is important to our students.” 

The 300 students expected to attend PYC Arts & Tech High School in the upcoming school year will surely benefit from Mike’s sensible and refreshing approach to learning.  So will their families and the entire PYC community.  We plan to report back to you on the progress of our students in future postings.  Meanwhile, please help us welcome Mike Huerth to the PYC family and North Minneapolis!   

Aneen (“hello” in Ojibwe) and welcome, Mike!


Kathleen Butts assumes new role as Associate Executive Director

We are excited to welcome Mike Huerth as the Director of Education for our alternative high school program to succeed Kathleen Butts who began her new role as Associate Executive Director on Monday, July 29. Congratulations to both Mike and Kathleen!

Along with other PCYC staff, both Mike and Kathleen are busy preparing the agency for a new school year.  Like all good things, the summer break is coming to an end.  The new school year starts on Monday, August 26. 

Share our excitement about the big things we plan to accomplish with Kathleen’s promotion.  Kathleen’s new role and background can found in our PCYC newsletter  Perspectives June 2013


Enroll Today at PYC Arts & Tech High School

PYC Arts and Technology High School is a friendly and safe community that promotes student achievement. Teachers integrate art and technology into our classrooms to increase student engagement and academic growth in all subject areas. Our social workers will help you find solutions to the challenges that keep you from gaining your credits toward graduation.   

PYC offers hands-on workshops in theater and acting, web design, visual arts, and music and video production. Our staff cares about your success, our artists spark your creativity and our educational technology broadens your horizons.

Students set and achieve goals to prepare for college and their future careers at PYC. You don’t have to be an artist at all.  All you need is to care and take action today for your academic and life success. 

To enroll, stop by the front desk at PCYC at 2210 Oliver Avenue North, or contact Kiana Batteau by calling 612-643-2018 or emailing her at: kbatteau@pcyc-mpls.org


Make a difference in the lives of children

Looking for a more meaningful way to enrich the lives of North Minneapolis children?

Make a donation to help children and youth to succeed in school, strengthen the North Minneapolis community, and support the vitality of arts at the Capri Theater.

Just click on our Network for Good button, make your gift and be sure to include the name of the gift recipient in the “dedication” area.  You also have the option of sending an e-card to notify the recipient of your gift, or to print out a card for mailing.