Hennepin Theatre Trust COVID-19 Updates

Art Connects Us

Katie Blanchard- "Still Blooming" artwork for 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

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#ArtConnectsUs - August

Past month’s artists:

View July artists View June artists View May artists

This month’s artists include: