5 to 10 on Hennepin event series closes season with a community meal
The savory aroma of jerk chicken, rice and beans and sweet potatoes greeted visitors as they entered the Hennepin Theatre Trust Event Center on the day before Thanksgiving. The Trust’s upbeat 5 to 10 on Hennepin community music series wrapped up the 2019 season with a hearty community meal open to everyone. In addition to the delicious and nutritious food from Pimento Jamaican Kitchen, a family-owned Minneapolis restaurant, about 100 guests enjoyed face painting, head wreath braiding and live music from local bands. They also had access to support through a variety of community organizations who are on hand to pass out information as well as necessities like toothbrushes, floss and water bottles.
Hennepin Theatre Trust launched 5 to 10 on Hennepin in 2016, as a monthly summertime series, as a way to activate the neighborhood along Hennepin Avenue between Fifth and Tenth streets and create a safe, welcoming environment for everyone who spends time on Hennepin Avenue.
In 2019, the Trust piloted extending the series into the fall, thanks to a grant from the City of Minneapolis’ Office of Violence Prevention.
“One of the reasons we wanted an event center right on Hennepin Avenue was to expand our ability to create events and performances for diverse audiences,” said Joan Vorderbruggen, the Trust’s director of theatre district engagement. “Opening our doors for a community meal takes that one step further, providing a place where people can gather, be warm and share stories and delicious food together. It was gratifying to serve a hot meal to our neighbors, and to talk to them and hear their stories.”
Many people who came to the event receive emergency shelter services in the area and lack meaningful daytime activities that are welcoming and provide a place to belong. 5 to 10 on Hennepin engages with this population through art and food and connects them with organizations offering services ranging from health check-ups to housing.
Hennepin Theatre Trust President and CEO Mark Nerenhausen says this event showcases the Trust’s mission in action.
“It is easy to talk about diversity and equity and inclusion as buzzwords. It is another thing to invite people into our home and provide a meal,” he said. “With events like this, we are living up to our mandate of serving the citizens of the state and building a vibrant, diverse Hennepin Theatre District.”