The MPLS Foundation awards grant adding 30 Minnesota-based artists to the digital artwork project offering messages of hope and gratitude during COVID-19
MINNEAPOLIS (June 9, 2020) — Hennepin Theatre Trust today announced that Art Connects Us, a digital public art installation, has been extended to continue through the end of August. The project is a partnership with Clear Channel Outdoor which features original artwork by Minnesota-based artists presenting images and messages of hope to those affected by COVID-19 and gratitude for the people working on the front lines.
Beginning today, new artwork will be featured on 60 Clear Channel Outdoor billboards throughout the Twin Cities. “We’re excited to have artists from all over the state participating in Art Connects Us which aligns with our mission of creating positive change through the arts across the state,” said Mark Nerenhausen, president and CEO of Hennepin Theatre Trust. He says that the project’s artists come from all walks of life from Minneapolis and St. Paul and far reaching areas of the state including Mankato and Duluth.
The pilot project that launched in April was originally scheduled to run for six weeks. Following its success, the Trust was among 44 nonprofit organizations to receive a OneMPLS Pandemic Response Grant from the Minneapolis Foundation which enables the Trust to continue Art Connects Us by featuring a total of 30 paid artists in June, July and August. Nerenhausen attributes the ability to engage artists in this unique way is largely due to a collaboration with Clear Channel Outdoor by providing a virtual canvas for artists that are looking to make a positive impact.
“In these times of social distancing, public art is an indispensable way of uniting the community and bring us closer together,” said Daniel Ballard, Minneapolis branch president of Clear Channel Outdoor. “We’re fortunate to combine our resources with Hennepin Theatre Trust.” Ballard estimates that Art Connects Us will continue to reach millions of people throughout the extension of the exhibit on 60 roadside digital signs throughout the five-county metro area.
Many of the artists come from diverse backgrounds from the Trust’s broad 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% 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.
Art Connects Us will feature works from ten artists each month from now through August. June’s lineup includes:
- Daniel Brevick, an artist, photographer and peacemaker combining commercial art and fine art to create a unique voice of personal exploration and expression
- Daniel Reiva, an artist who devises theatre workshops and creates digital art with displays at North Hennepin Community College
- Regan Golden, a multimedia artist and writer whose works depict ecological change in the American landscape
- Heather C. Lou, hclou is a St. Paul-based artist self-described as multiracial, disabled, cisgender, queer and anxious womxn of color
- Jayda Joy Mc, a 13-year-old Afircan-American artist who loves to paint, draw and develop cartoon character, she hopes to publish a diverse cartoon series in the future
- Jane Nicolo, a multidisciplinary artist and designer whose work is rooted in realism but deconstructed into abstracted and conceptual aesthetics
- Steven Premo, a self-taught illustrator, muralist and graphic designer; reservation and inner-city raised, he is a strong indigenous advocate
- Emily Victory, an artist obsessed with pattern and color who loves combining math and art
- Gregory T. Wilkins and Levi Janssen, Gregory is a mixed media artist reflecting on the environment and social justice, Levi is a photographer – both residing in Mankato
- Alejandro (Junyaho) Zhang, a Chinese interdisciplinary artist who explores the visibility of queer identify by re-envisioning gallery space as a dance club
Art Connects Us is just one of the ways that the Trust is responding to the changing cultural landscape brought about by the COVID-19 situation. For example, the Trust’s education department has transformed its programs to virtual spaces by offering online masterclasses for Spotlight Education high school students multiple times a week. Just recently, in collaboration with Downtown Improvement District, the “Street Show” summer concert series of street buskers on Nicollet Mall and Hennepin Avenue has been rebooted to online streaming performances. The Trust will also be honoring this year’s graduating seniors from the FAIR School’s downtown campus later this month.
Hennepin Theatre Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit institution and relies on both ticket sales and contributed revenue for all operational needs related to its community mission. Annually, the Trust serves more than 8,000 high school students statewide and brings nearly 600,000 people to the Hennepin Theatre District to experience art on the street and stage. Ticket holders who can no longer use their tickets to for canceled or rescheduled events are encouraged to consider donating the value of their tickets to the Trust. These donations will further support Trust programs which promote the community and introduce new audiences to the arts.
To learn more about the artists, and to see their digital artwork, please visit HennepinTheatreTrust.org/ArtConnectsUs. #ArtConnectsUs
Hennepin Theatre Trust drives cultural and economic vitality in Minnesota through leadership of the dynamic Hennepin Theatre District in downtown Minneapolis and educational programming that reaches every area of the state. Its historic theatres — Orpheum, State and Pantages — and event center at 900 Hennepin Avenue light up Hennepin Avenue with top-tier entertainment, including the best of Broadway and a wide variety of arts programming. Hennepin Theatre Trust is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Learn more at HennepinTheatreTrust.org.