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Huie/Adrian Exhibit

Exhibit in Andersen Gallery

Open through December 29, 2006. Free and open to the public.*

"A Mighty Fortress" Far from Lake Wobegon:

21st Century Lutherans at the Confluence

of Religion and Ethnicity

by Wing Young Huie and Allison Adrian


Lao Evangelical Lutheran Church

Lao Evangelical Lutheran Church


Hmong Central Lutheran Church

Hmong Central Lutheran Church

Christ Lutheran Church on Capitol Hill

Christ Lutheran Church on Capitol Hill

About the project:

Pervasive stereotypes of Minnesotans as Scandinavian and Lutheran dominate popular media about the area: A Prairie Home Companion’s fictitious setting in Lake Wobegon paints a picture of a culturally and racially homogeneous Minnesota. However, recent immigration to the Midwest has fundamentally altered Minnesotan demographics. Minnesota currently ranks highest in the nation for proportion of refugees to residents and second in the nation, after California, in the number of refugee arrivals. The Lutheran Church reflects these changes: Tanzanian, Hmong, Sudanese, Latvian, Liberian, Cambodian, Lao, Oromo, Amhara, Anuak, Latino, and Chinese immigrant communities have formed Lutheran congregations in the Twin Cities along ethnic and linguistic lines.

“A Mighty Fortress” Far from Lake Wobegon uses the Lutheran Church in the Twin Cities as an entry point to discuss immigration, Minnesotan identity and the significant role worship music plays in negotiating spiritual and ethnic identity. While Lutheran immigrant congregations may wholeheartedly adopt parts of the worship service from their North American mother churches, music is venerated as a personal expression from the homeland too precious to drastically alter in their new setting. Selected photographs, audio-visual recordings and hymnals from twenty different Lutheran services in the Twin Cities illustrate our increasingly global urban landscape and challenge archaic assumptions of who Minnesotan Lutherans are.

Photographer Wing Young Huie

Internationally known artist Wing Young Huie (above) and ethnomusicologist Allison Adrian (below) join talents to create this exhibit.

Ethnomusicologist Allison Adrian

Listen to a short recording of the Swahili Choir at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. (Use your browser's plug-in for the URL


The photographs featured in the exhibit were taken by internationally-known artist, Wing Young Huie. Wing (a lapsed Presbyterian) was born and bred in Duluth and has extensively documented the dizzying mixture of socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural realities throughout Minnesota. Wing worked with Allison Adrian, a graduate student in ethnomusicology at the University of Minnesota, to create the exhibit. Allison’s dissertation uses music as a lens through which to analyze recent changes in the ethnicity of Lutheran parishioners in the Twin Cities. She was raised a Catholic in White Bear Lake, MN, but has attended up to four Lutheran services each Sunday for the past three years.

More about Wing Young Huie

Cosponsors for this exhibit:
  • Asian American Studies Program, U of M
  • Department of American Studies, U of M
  • Department of Chicano Studies, U of M
  • Friends of the IHRC
  • Institute for Advanced Studies, U of M
  • Minnesota Journalism Center, U of M


* Gallery is open 8:00 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 1st floor of
Elmer L. Andersen Library at University of Minnesota, 222-21st Ave. S.,
Minneapolis MN 55455 (directions & parking)