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When Nelson and I founded Söntés in the fall of 2006, we were determined to showcase our love of food, travel, and art to the citizens of Rochester. My younger sister Tanya, who is herself an artist, was a strong guiding influence while the restaurant was being designed. She insisted that most of the walls be left white and open to allow local artists to properly display their work—and for the once the big sister listened!

As a farm to table restaurant that changes its menu weekly as the locally available items available shift with the seasons, we understand the value of creativity in all its forms. Chef Bryce and Chef Trevor practice their art by serving it up to our guests every night; we want to help other artists in our area practice their craft as well. We truly take pride in showing what artisans, farmers, musicians, and local people can do (and do well!). We feature local musicians live every Saturday, and also supports as many Minnesota-grown projects and events as possible.

Söntés has built its website and social media sites with visual artists in mind. We specifically created a heading entitled “Eye Candy” on our newly redesigned website to promote artists who display their art at the restaurant. The other purpose behind this page is to give artists the opportunity to have an additional venue to talk about their art, and of course to link restaurant guests directly to the artists’ websites. With the implementation of our revised Art Program, we’re creating a comprehensive art program that will include display, sales, and online presence.

Söntés regularly sells art that is displayed in the restaurant. With 2.2 million visitors per year coming through Rochester and a large international clientele at Söntés, artwork is regularly viewed by dignitaries, heads of state, CEOs, and a wide variety of interested art collectors. Our mission is to promote artists and their work warmly and professionally while helping them gain exposure to a broad base of potential clients and be compensated for their artistic efforts. We encourage all interested artists to submit their work for consideration for display. To submit work, or to learn more about our Art Program, contacting our Art Scene Investigator, Fred Ginocchio, at fred (at) sontes.com.

Tessa and Nelson Leung