Hennepin Theatre Trust is a leader of public art and placemaking in WeDo™, the West Downtown MPLS Cultural District.
Through our public art efforts, we work with local and international artists to create arts and cultural experiences for anyone who works, plays, lives or visits downtown Minneapolis. Our work to date includes the now-iconic Bob Dylan mural by Eduardo Kobra; the pop art mural by local artist Greg Gossel; and our Made Here program, which features Minnesota-made artwork and pop-up art activities in underused public spaces.
Our placemaking projects aim to transform how people experience public spaces in WeDo. We take a glass half-full approach to this work. An alley can become a pop-up market; a sidewalk can be a gathering space with some chairs; and a blank wall can become the perfect kaleidoscope of colors for a selfie.
We know it takes a village to make downtown a destination for everyone – and the work is better and more fun when there is a diversity of voices and experiences at the table. We collaborate with arts organizations, nonprofit service providers, city officials, business leaders, artists, residents and others to uncover opportunities for more people to experience all that the WeDo™ MPLS Cultural District has to offer.
Keep exploring this section to learn more about our growing impact in downtown Minneapolis.
Happening Now in the Cultural District
Spirit: Made Here Open Call
The Made Here Showcases temporarily fill empty storefronts and commercial spaces that are in transition with art by local artists, turning the downtown Minneapolis cultural district into a walkable urban art gallery.
The theme for the winter Showcases is “Spirit.” Artists may submit their proposals from now until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, September 12, 2016.
The Story Behind the West Downtown MPLS Cultural District
WeDo™ (pronounced wee-doo) is the West Downtown Cultural District in Minneapolis. It’s a place to celebrate arts, culture and everything that makes our city unique.
When you visit WeDo, you’ll find an urban setting steeped in contrasts. Gilded theaters rub elbows with modern architecture. Sports fans and ballet enthusiasts share rooftop views and sidewalk patios. Dog walkers co-exist in a city of Internet cat devotees. Mini golf mixes with performance art, and music fans rock out at the basilica.
You’ll also find a quiet park and a small lake — and one of the largest public art gardens in the country — all in the middle of an energetic city.
With Hennepin Avenue at its center, the district spans 1.7 miles end-to-end — all of it walkable with a comfortable pair of shoes. Bikes, cars, buses and light rail also make it easy to get around in WeDo. Follow Hennepin Avenue, from the Walker Art Center to the river, and between First Avenue and Nicollet Mall.
WeDo is a place, but it takes teamwork to make it a destination. Hennepin Theatre Trust is leading efforts to realize the long-term vision for this unique arts and cultural district, in close partnership with the Walker Art Center, Artspace (developer of The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts) and the City of Minneapolis.
Learn more and explore the Cultural District at wedompls.org.
Made Here, a project of Hennepin Theatre Trust, is a walkable urban art experience that connects people to local art and artists in the West Downtown Minneapolis Cultural District.
Twice per year, Made Here fills windows and other underused spaces throughout the WeDo Cultural District with art made by local artists. The project has grown from visual displays in windows to live performances, artist markets, pop-up galleries and more.
Since it launched in 2013, Made Here has produced 336 window displays in commercial spaces, making it the largest initiative of its kind in the country. And that presence has mattered. Seven downtown commercial spaces that had a combined vacancy rate of more than 35 years were leased within 12 months of participating in Made Here.
Learn more at MadeHereMN.org.
Large-scale murals are a can’t-miss attraction and can be found throughout WeDo. Five murals have been created in WeDo by artists like Greg Gossel and Eduardo Kobra. Learn more.
The 5 to 10 on Hennepin project will reimagine a five-block stretch of Hennepin Avenue between 5th and 10th streets as a vibrant destination for everyone to enjoy.
Southwest Airlines’ Heart of the Community program awarded the Trust with a $200,000 grant to bring the 5 to 10 on Hennepin project to life. PPS, a nonprofit pioneer in the global placemaking movement, will provide technical assistance.
Plan-It Hennepin established the downtown Minneapolis cultural district, now called WeDo, and laid out a long-term vision that is coming to life.
The Plan-It Hennepin initiative is also directly involved with Downtown 2025, a consortium of Minneapolis business leaders, city staff and elected officials formed in 2010 to envision and plan what the area should become during the next 15 years. Visit the Downtown Council website for a summary and a full published PDF version of the full plan, named Intersections 2025.