Hennepin Theatre Trust COVID-19 Updates

Hennepin Theatre Trust and Clear Channel Outdoor present Art Connects Us artists for August on metro billboards

August 3, 2020

The digital artwork project that offers messages of hope and gratitude during COVID-19 will also feature designs addressing social injustice

MINNEAPOLIS (Aug. 3, 2020) — Hennepin Theatre Trust today announced the August artists for Art Connects Us, a digital public art project in partnership with Clear Channel Outdoor. The project 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.

Art Connects Us launched in April as a pilot project originally scheduled to run for six weeks. Following its initial success, the Trust was among 44 nonprofit organizations to receive a OneMPLS Pandemic Response Grant from the Minneapolis Foundation which enabled the Trust to extend the project throughout the summer by featuring additional paid artists.

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 features works from ten artists each month through September. August’s lineup includes:

  • Kprecia Ambers, an illustrator to inspire others like her to build their own door and pursue their dream, celebrate her culture and empower others
  • Katie Blanchard, an artist and designer in Minneapolis who began her art practice making zines whose work explores language, history, memory, pattern and place
  • Philipo Dyauli, a self-taught artist from Tanzania primarily focusing on acrylic painting inspired by his favorite musicians, Saturday morning cartoons and film that infuses his roots and experiences to reflect his life in the United States and east Africa
  • Camille Gage and David Grant, Camille is a Minneapolis artist and writer inspired by the intersection of art and political expression; David is a Twin Cities-based writer and playwright who facilitates life skills groups for incarcerated men
  • Michael Gaughan, a Minneapolis-based watercolor artist with more than 19 years of exhibiting experience as a visual artist, performing artist and commercial artist
  • Keren Kroul, a multi-year recipient of the Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, her work has been featured in MN Original and print publications
  • Shawn McCann, a street artist and muralist whose work has been exhibited worldwide and co-founded Chalkfest at Arbor Lakes among other Midwest street art festivals
  • Brighton McCormick, his material-based artform incorporates handcrafted objects, 2D images, and sound and video
  • Neal Peterson, a Minneapolis-based artist whose primary work includes a photo collage series of cities entitled Urban Mandalas
  • Allison Severson, originally an illustrator and house painter, Allison has been perfecting her large-scale chalk and mural skills

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 presenting the annual Spotlight Showcase in a video tribute entitled Virtually Together. 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.

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.