“It’s the People” Public Art Project

Inspired by the people whose experiences and stories create the unique vibrancy of Hennepin Avenue, this major public art project captures the heart and soul of Minneapolis’ most famous street. It features nine large-scale portraits displayed on five buildings between 5th and 10th Streets in downtown Minneapolis. The portraits are created by renowned Minnesota artists and feature the avenue’s regulars, from business owners to transit workers to theatregoers.

“We are excited about what this project brings to the Hennepin Theatre District, which is one of Minneapolis’ most historic and vibrant neighborhoods,” says Mark Nerenhausen, president and CEO of Hennepin Theatre Trust. “Public art projects like this help transform the places and spaces outside our historic theatres by creating an outdoor gallery for everyone to enjoy. Our goal is to provide downtown visitors with a wide variety of art and cultural projects and events so that they return time and time again.”

“It’s the People” joins existing murals and public art projects that make the Hennepin Theatre District a vibrant and welcoming place. The new artwork centers on five themes: workforce, transportation, LGBT+, theatre and youth.

The banners will hang at these locations:

Nancy Musinguzi, artist; Nick Herrera, Saloon bartender; Reggie Acker, Saloon bartender

Nancy Musinguzi, artist; Nick Herrera, Saloon bartender; Reggie Acker, Saloon bartender

The “theatregoers” theme features multi-generations of one family who attends shows together; “workforce” features a police officer and members of the Downtown Improvement District team; “LGBT+” features bartenders at the Saloon, the city’s oldest gay bar; and “youth” includes five banners, each showcasing multiple artworks created by high school students at FAIR School who were coached in the principles of visual storytelling by artist Wing Young Huie. Additionally, student art will be displayed and available for public viewing in the art gallery at 900 Hennepin.

This project is just one way Hennepin Theatre Trust plans to add vitality to the Hennepin Theatre District during the Hennepin Avenue construction project happening during the next four years.

“We’ve made a promise to our stakeholders, partners and the businesses along Hennepin Avenue that we would lead visible, vibrant public art activities and other activations that are going to help us to get through the disruption of Hennepin reconstruction,” says Joan Vorderbruggen, Hennepin Theatre Trust’s director of placemaking and public art.
“I want everyone to come down to Hennepin Avenue, and I want everybody to celebrate and enjoy this work.”