Plan-It Hennepin: Creating Cultural Connections in Downtown Minneapolis

Imagine a re-energized and refreshed Hennepin Avenue as a walkable and unified cultural corridor stretching from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden to the Mississippi Riverfront. We are working with our partners Walker Art CenterArtspace and the City of Minneapolis to gather input and ideas to plan the re-invention of Minneapolis’ oldest street.

Former Trust PR Intern Lucas Erickson shares his experience as a part of the re-visioning, re-imagining Plan-It process.

What do a policeman, a church pastor, a light rail rider and an Orpheum Theatre staff member have in common?  Hennepin Avenue.

Four months ago I started working at Hennepin Theatre Trust as a public relations intern. I grew up in the Twin Cities and have always had a strong connection to downtown, and more importantly, theatre.

I have since moved on to a different, more focused project headed by three local arts organizations — Hennepin Theatre Trust, Walker Art Center and Artspace– that all share the same vision of revitalizing Hennepin Avenue into an arts-inspired cultural corridor.

Imagine that. Hennepin Avenue, from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden at the Walker, past Loring Park, threading through our amazing theatre district to the banks of the Mighty Mississippi. And all united by various forms of art venues and expression. This arts corridor would have the potential to be an approximately mile long neighborhood full of arts activities and attractions for visitors and residents alike that just might make us the envy of other urban areas our size.

To kick off this major city-arts collaborative effort, students at Intermedia Arts are on the streets collecting video profiles from those who live or work on Hennepin Avenue.

Questions being asked include “What is your relationship to the avenue?” “How would you describe the ‘vibe’ or character of Hennepin Avenue?” “What changes would you like to see made?”

Responses have highlighted many different ideas, memories and experiences. The videos will be part of the research behind the urban planning and are also available online.

Teens involved with the Walker Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) and young people working with Kulture Klub Collaborative, as well as students at FAIR School Downtown, have also been exploring the avenue, taking pictures, writing stories and creating spoken word tomes and original music about their experiences on Hennepin Avenue. Other youth groups and schools, including Hennepin Theatre Trust’s own Critical View Program, are also getting involved in thinking about both the past and the future of the Avenue.

Being a part of this very forward-thinking project makes me realize that I was right all along about my hometown– it’s a great place to live for those of us who love the creative arts and know how much they can add to our experience.

I invite you to follow along and contribute as we continue to roll this out! Like Plan-It Hennepin on Facebook, visit our website to share your thoughts on the future of Minneapolis’s oldest street, view historical photos and read feature articles about this project and more!

2 responses to “Plan-It Hennepin: Creating Cultural Connections in Downtown Minneapolis

  1. Hi Hennepin Theatre Trust, I am impressed with your blog!


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