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It’s the People 2023-24 open call for photographers

It's The People 2022 portrait for open call 2023

Hennepin Theatre Trust is seeking Minnesota based photographers for the 2023-24 edition of their It’s the People public art project, which features large-scale photo banners along Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. This public art initiative is inspired by the exceptional, everyday people whose experiences, contributions and stories create the unique vibrancy of our shared communities.

This run of It’s the People will feature artists and or artist groups from the Twin Cities who have made a positive contribution to the community through their work. Run of show for the banner project is July 2023 – June 2024. The theme is “Network of Mutuality”, in conjunction with the first Minnesota Triennial which will be hosted by Public Art St. Paul July 24 – September 16, 2023. The title of the Triennial is WAK PA , which is Dakota for river. Please consider this as you create your vision for submission. Although they are two separate programs, there will be cross promotion during the Triennial to amplify the impact of your work.



Minnesota based photographers who work in portraiture and fine art photography only. All individuals meeting that requirement are encouraged to apply.

Project scope:

Minnesota-based photographers who wish to apply are asked to select an artist or art group from the Twin Cities they feel have made a positive contribution to the community through their work. Chosen photographers are encouraged to approach this commission through a creative, collaborative lens using their own, unique style. The portraits will be featured on large-scale building banners in the Hennepin Theatre District from July 2023 through June 2024, and on Clear Channel digital billboards around the metro area. Artists and subjects will be asked to participate in a short video interview the day of their photo shoot to help us highlight the work of the photographers and tell the stories of their subjects

Learn more about the project, past artists and subjects, and to view selected videos.


Each photographer selected for the program will receive $2500.00. This amount is intended to cover the cost of the artist’s time to plan, photograph and edit the portraits they will submit as their final selections to be displayed as banners. All other production and administration costs will be covered by Hennepin Theatre Trust.

It is the expectation of Hennepin Theatre Trust that artists applying for this opportunity will have their own professional photography equipment or access to such equipment, including lighting, and all necessary elements to accomplish the photo shoot and process the images for submission.

Artists will retain rights to their work. Hennepin Theatre Trust maintains rights to reproduce, make available and use images of the work for educational, promotional, and other non-commercial purposes in print and digital media of any form.


Application process:

Please have the following documents and work samples prepared to complete the application:

  • A statement of interest. Please tell us why this project sparks your interest and how it aligns with your work as an artist. (150 words or less)
  • An artist statement. (150 words or less)
  • Proposed subject statement. Identify an artist or art group you are interested in photographing for your portrait that you feel have made a positive contribution to the community. Please talk about your connection to your subject(s) and why you are choosing to highlight them in this portrait. This description should convey evidence of your passion for them and their work. (150 words or less)
  • Five or six professional work samples that are representative of how you will approach this portrait project.
  • Image list with the following information: 1.) Artist Name 2.) Phone number. 3.) Email address. 4.) List detailing each image: ArtistName_01.jpg with a brief (50 words or less) description of that image.
  • After the application period closes on January 1, 2023, the selection committee will choose 10 finalists to advance to the next round. Each of the 10 finalists will be awarded a $250. stipend to submit a full proposal (RFP) by January 29, 2023 that will elaborate on the details of their intended photoshoot, vision and timeline, along with letters of intent, contact information for their subject(s), and other associated materials that will be the basis of the story we tell through the portraits and supporting collateral such as presence on the Trust’s web pages, social media posts, print materials and our annual VIP event.
  • Please note, if you are selected for the finalist round, your chosen subject(s) will be asked to sign a letter of intent to participate. Your subject(s) will also receive a small stipend for their participation, the amount of which will be determined after the selection process is complete and all artists and subjects have been determined.


  • December 1, 2022 – Open Call launch
  • December 13 – information session at 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. RSVP required
  • January 1, 2023 – Open call submissions due at 11:59 p.m.
  • January 13 – Invitations to finalists go out
  • January 29 – Finalist’s RFP submissions due at 11:59 p.m.
  • January 30 to February 3 – RFP Review
  • February 6 – Selection committee meets
  • February 8 – Selected Photographers notified
  • February 13 – Signed contracts, W9’s and photo release forms due.
  • February 13 to 24 – Photoshoots scheduling
  • February 24 to March 28 – Photoshoots
  • March 29 to April 11 – Artist’s image processing time
  • April 11 – Print ready photo files are due

If you have any questions, please direct them to [email protected] or register here for the information session on December 13, 2022 at 7 p.m. CST.

Submit your application