LGBT+ by Nancy Musinguzi
Location: 830 Hennepin Ave (The Saloon)
Subjects: Nick Herrera and Reggie Acker, bartenders at The Saloon
Nancy Musinguzi, Nick Herrera and Reggie Acker all came to Hennepin Avenue in different ways, but came together to tell a shared story of life in Minneapolis.
Herrera and Acker work at The Saloon, one of the oldest gay bars in Minneapolis, where you can see a portrait featuring them, as part of Hennepin Theatre Trust’s “It’s the People” public art project. Acker moved to Minneapolis from North Carolina 10 years ago and started working at The Saloon shortly after.
“I would never have thought that being a bartender at The Saloon would be such like a centerpiece for the lives of other people,” says Acker. “I work with a great family, brothers and sisters of the community, the patrons.”
Herrera didn’t travel as far — he was born and raised in St. Paul and considers himself a Minneapolis transplant.
“I like being in a city. I like the immersion of all the arts,” says Herrera. “You got street stuff going on, entertainment, you have the hustle and bustle and the nightlife.”
He feels that his job and coworkers play a role in allowing people to be true to their identities.
“People still want to come back to the place where they feel comfortable or they belong,” he says. “The Saloon really does a good job of embodying that.”
Musinguzi, the artist, says “It’s the People” brings an opportunity to represent the LGBT+ community in a fresh way.
“I wanted to capture a portrait of folks from my community that doesn’t make them feel static or a stereotype, that queer and trans and gay and lesbian folks all look different, and we come from different generations, and we all build community differently,” Musinguzi says.
Musinguzi moved to Minneapolis from New Jersey, and loves the types of people that come to the city.
“I’ve always felt Hennepin Avenue has been inspirational as an artist,” Musinguzi says. “I walk the street, and I’m constantly looking for a new face to highlight or a voice to uplift. I don’t find difficulty in finding them.”