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 later expanded the scope of Art Connects Us to include reactions to 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, social justice themes were included in the July, August and September installments. “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.”
Daniel Ballard, Minneapolis brand president of Clear Channel Outdoor said that they welcomed 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 came from diverse backgrounds from the Trust’s broad network of visual artists who have participated in previous Trust public art projects. Both emerging and internationally renowned artists were represented in Art Connects Us with 50 percent from communities of color, LGBTQ+, disabled, seniors and students. Collectively, the digital artwork showcased a sense of hope and motivation during the uncertain times of the coronavirus pandemic.
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
Additional month’s artists:
September 2020 artists include:
Andrew Hammond is a writer and artist at the Northrup King Building in Minneapolis. His work focuses on expressing the people in the African American dispersion.
Christopher Harrison lives and works in his studio practice in Minneapolis as a visual artist, illustrator and graphic designer. He is currently a museum arts educator at Walker Art Center.
Connor Rice a mixed-media artist from Minneapolis. He takes visual inspiration from hieroglyphs and graffiti. His work chronicles the issues and motifs of pan-Africanist realities across time and space.
Daniel Brevick is an artist, photographer and peacemaker combining commercial art and fine art to create a unique voice of personal exploration and expression.
Camille Gage is a Minneapolis artist and writer. David Grant is a Twin Cities-based writer and playwright. Scott Streble is a Minneapolis photographer.
Jayda is an exceptional middle school student who has been sketching and painting since she was three years old. Her current focus is animation, digital art and multimedia compositions.
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.
Steven Premo is a self-taught illustrator, muralist and graphic designer; reservation and inner-city raised, he is a strong indigenous advocate.