It’s the People 2021
In its third year, It’s the People joined existing murals and public art projects in the Hennepin Theatre District. These captivating images showcased the stories of the people who make Hennepin Avenue a unique and colorful place. Portrait themes included frontline health care providers, multicultural dance community, social justice and identity among youth, back-of-house Latine workforce, emergency shelter advocates and empowered immigrant African artists.
“We are excited about what It’s the People brings to the Hennepin Theatre District, which is one of Minneapolis’ most historic and vibrant neighborhoods,” said Mark Nerenhausen, president and CEO of Hennepin Theatre Trust. As we looked forward to reopening the District, we’re provided our platforms to uplift talented Minnesota artists who are representational and inclusive of Minnesota’s diverse makeup. Storytelling through art transforms the places and spaces outside our historic theatres during such a transformative time.
The portraits are displayed in downtown Minneapolis on Clear Channel Outdoor billboards and on large-scale banners hanging at the following locations:
- Hennepin Theatre Trust, 900 Hennepin Ave.
- The Saloon, 830 Hennepin Ave.
- The FAIR High School for Arts, 10 South Tenth St.
- City Center, 33 South Sixth St.
- The historic Pantages Theatre, 710 Hennepin Ave.
- Mayo Clinic Square, 600 Hennepin Avenue
“We’re excited to again to bring It’s the People to life in downtown Minneapolis,” said Stephen Glynn, Managing Director and Minnesota-Northern Plains Market Head at UBS Wealth Management USA. “This public art initiative truly reflects our aim of provoking thought and discussion while being inspirational. We’re honored to play a role in establishing the Hennepin Theatre District as a Minnesota destination for arts and culture.”
Glynn said, “Due to the pandemic, that year of isolation and uncertainty heightened our awareness of the ways that art can inspire and connect us.”
“We partnered with six amazing people whose mastery of fine art portrait photography will capture the richness and diversity to tell the stories of the people of Hennepin Avenue,” said Joan Vorderbruggen, Director of Hennepin Theatre District Engagement for the Trust. “These artists helped illuminate the historic Hennepin Theatre District with their portraits inspired by their personal stories. When we add human elements to urban environments, we can come together as a community to create a sense of pride and opportunities for discovery.”
Thoughts and perspectives from our artists and subjects
Participating artists include:
Dahli Durley is an Asian American portrait photographer focused on documenting “beautiful faces in wondrous places.”
Jaida Grey Eagle is an Oglala Lakota artist located in St. Paul. Grey Eagle is a photojournalist, producer, beadwork artist and writer.
Isabel Gloss, born in the Midwest but raised around the world, is a photographer and visual artist working in Minneapolis. Her interest in photography stems from the time her father, a scientist and artist, first showed her how to use a 35mm camera as a child.
Kristine Heykants will lead high school students from The FAIR High School for the Arts in exploring identity and social justice through the lens of photography, creating banner images to be displayed publicly on the school building exterior and billboards.
Awa Mally is a Togolese photographer based in Minneapolis. Born in Togo, she immigrated with her family to Minnesota in 2003. Always having an interest in arts and culture, she was involved in many youth programs growing up though not having much support.
Andy Richter is a visual artist based in Minneapolis. He immerses himself in his subjects and their wider context, exploring such themes as family, fatherhood, self-transformations, consciousness and spirituality with the heightened awareness that the camera brings.