Art Connects Us
About the project
Hennepin Theatre Trust partnered with Clear Channel Outdoor to produce ten works of original artwork by Minnesota-based artists to be featured on digital billboards across the region with messages of hope and gratitude to those who are working on the front lines in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Trust has expanded the scope of Art Connects Us to include reactions to the local and national conversations demanding the breakdown of systemic racism “This injustice in our city and beyond must not be ignored,” said Mark Nerenhausen, president and CEO of Hennepin Theatre Trust. “While the arts can be a source of unity, we are committed to joining other voices in the community that are calling for equity and justice in Minnesota.”
Joan Vorderbruggen, director of Hennepin Theatre District Engagement, reached out to artists for additional designs to reflect those themes. Due to the positive response focusing on social justice will now be included in rotations for July and August. “We are grateful to our artists for the opportunity to expand our Art Connects Us billboard project to include meaningful responses to the killing of George Floyd and the worldwide outcry for change,” said Vorderbruggen.” The ten previously scheduled designs relating to COVID-19 for July and August will be featured in September.
Daniel Ballard, Minneapolis brand president of Clear Channel Outdoor said that they welcome the change to engage in the community conversation. By providing resources through its 60 roadside signs throughout the five-county metro area, Art Connects Us reaches millions of people each month.
Art Connects Us launched in April as a pilot project originally scheduled to run for six weeks. Following its initial success, the Trust was among 44 nonprofit organizations to receive a OneMPLS Pandemic Response Grant from the Minneapolis Foundation which enabled the Trust to extend the project throughout the summer by featuring additional paid artists.
Many of the artists come from diverse backgrounds from the Trust’s board network of visual artists who have participated in previous Trust public art projects. Both emerging and internationally renowned artists are represented in Art Connects Us with 50 percent from communities of color, LGBTQ+, disabled, seniors and students. Collectively, the digital artwork will showcase a sense of hope and motivation during these uncertain times.
In the press
- StarTribune, Minnesota billboards respond to coronavirus with artist-made messages of hope and thanks
- Pioneer Press, Artists offer messages of hope on billboard around the Twin Cities
- Los Angeles Times, Essential Arts: Peter Sellars is using coronavirus restrictions to reflect
View our gallery
Past month’s artists:
This month’s artists include:
Originally an illustrator and house painter, Allison has been sharpening her large-scale chalk and mural skills over the past two years. She enjoys all aspects of the creative process, but relishes in the surprise and novelty of a large mural or a colorful street drawing.
Brighton often combines various mediums, but the resulting works live in the domain of sculpture. Utilizing experimental casting techniques for metal and clay Brighton fossilizes memories and reflections of everyday moments and formed ideologies.
Camille Gage is a Minneapolis artist and writer. She is inspired by the intersection of art and political expression and believes artists have a role to play in shaping the public consciousness and creating a more compassionate and equitable world.
Katie Blanchard is an artist and designer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her art practice began making zines in the back of class in her hometown in Northern Michigan, and is suffused with the hope-in-the-dark-winter spirit of all the Midwestern places she has called home.
Keren is a recipient of 2015, 2017, and 2019 Artist Initiative Grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Her work has been featured in MN Original, and in print publications such as Paint Lab, Color Lab and Tangled Art. She holds an MFA in Painting from Parsons School of Design.
Kprecia uses illustration as a tool to empower, collaborate with businesses, celebrate her culture, and create home décor catered to black girls. Her hope is to inspire others like her to build their own door and pursue their dreams.
Michael Gaughan is a Minneapolis based watercolor Artist with an MFA Painting 2014 San Francisco Art Institute, M.Ed Art Education in 2004 from the University of Minnesota, BFA Painting in 2002 from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
Neal Peterson is a Minneapolis-based artist. His primary work includes a photo collage series of cities called Urban Mandalas. Peterson teaches occasionally at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design.
Philipo is a self-taught artist from Tanzania currently living and working in Minneapolis. His art is primarily acrylic paintings and is inspired by his favorite musicians, Saturday morning cartoons and film.