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Hennepin Theatre Trust kicks off Heart of Hennepin celebrating 100 years of cultural and economic vibrancy with a centennial-focused exhibit series

February 8, 2022

The first exhibit, Historic Lounges, begins March 15 at The Hennepin

MINNEAPOLIS (Feb. 8, 2022) — Buildings along Minneapolis’ Hennepin Avenue have served as a backdrop to 100 years of experiences at the heart of downtown. The Hennepin Theatre District has been the stage for celebrating life and art with Broadway shows, musical acts and comedians on its stages and dancing, eating, drinking and celebrating in its restaurants, bars and clubs. Many businesses have called the area home for generations. It has also been the center of numerous civil rights movements, incredible human advancement and has provided a place to gather for public reckoning, observance and healing.

 To honor the centennial, Hennepin Theatre Trust is kicking off Heart of Hennepin, a yearlong celebration for the Orpheum, State and Pantages theatres, along with The Hennepin event center and 824 Hennepin, home to the Brave New Workshop comedy theatre. The centennial celebration will honor the history of the Hennepin Theatre District and look ahead to what the future holds for the arts, the Trust and downtown neighbors.

“Minnesotans have traveled to Hennepin Avenue for theater and art that thrills, moves and amazes for 100 years. It is an honor to be a part of the celebrations that bring Minnesotans and visitors to the heart of our city. Minnesota and Minneapolis have been invigorated by the art, theater, events and tourism in the district. This celebration moves us forward as we continue to drive vibrancy,” said Hennepin Theatre Trust President and CEO Mark Nerenhausen.

Visitors to The Hennepin, an arts and cultural event center, can look forward to experiencing exhibits that share the history of the Hennepin Theatre District. The exhibits will explore how the historic buildings are centered at the heart of the avenue, from characters that have come through them, to social movements, to the acts and artists who graced the stage, to the businesses and community that have changed around and with them.

There will be a series of four centennial-focused exhibits. The first Heart of Hennepin exhibit titled, Historic Lounges, opens on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, in the Best Buy Foundation Gallery in The Hennepin (900 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis).

From the turn of the 20th century through the 1960s, the Hennepin Theatre District was commonly referred to as “The Loop”. The golden age of theater lounges thrived during this time and were highly attractive destinations. Since the 1990s, Hennepin Theatre Trust and the City of Minneapolis have brought the district back to life by reimaging contemporary nightlife with the many restaurants, clubs, and cocktail bars that we all enjoy today.

“The centennial exhibits will show how Hennepin Avenue has evolved and adapted over 100 years and will continue to adapt and change with the future,” said Melvin Tennant, Meet Minneapolis president and Hennepin Theatre Trust board member. “This centennial celebration honors the history of Hennepin Avenue and invites Minnesotans and visitors to be part of the Hennepin Theatre District’s next act.”

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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

Heart of Hennepin – celebrating 100 years of the Hennepin Theatre District To honor the centennial of the Hennepin Theatre District, Hennepin Theatre Trust is not only celebrating its historic venues — the Orpheum, State and Pantages theatres, The Hennepin event center and 824 Hennepin — but also everyone who is part of the legacy that has made the district the heart of Hennepin for 100 years. This year-long centennial celebration pays tribute to our community and history, and looks ahead to the future of the arts, the Trust and downtown Minneapolis.