Mobile Engagement Theater project engages community around Dinkytown Small Area Plan

As part of the Creative CityMaking partnership between Intermedia Arts and the City of Minneapolis, local artists have teamed up with City planners to collaborate on key planning projects around town. One of the projects, called Mobile Engagement Theater, featuring the work of artists Sam Ero-Phillips, Caroline Kent, and Roger Cummings in collaboration with City Planner, Haila Maze, will launch the week of Sept. 16 around Dinkytown and the University of Minnesota.

The Mobile Engagement Theater invites people to engage in the past, present and future of Dinkytown to help form the Dinkytown Small Area Plan. The Creative CityMaking team will be out on the streets of Dinkytown as well as at the University of Minnesota Community Involvement Fair on Wednesday, Sept. 18th, 10 a.m. -2 p.m. at Coffman Memorial Union. At the fair, the team will invite attendees to fill out a zine, an interactive, illustrated booklet to capture the diversity of voices in the Dinkytown area. Participants will also be invited to print their own free Dinkytown t-shirts and view the launch of the Mobile Engagement Theater.

The Mobile Engagement Theater is a bike-powered venue designed to learn about the issues facing the Dinkytown area, and solicit input from the numerous and diverse people on the move throughout the area. The concept is to meet people ‘where they are’- engage them in the midst of their daily lives, and use that to provide input for a plan for the future of the area.

The Mobile Engagement Theater will also be around Dinkytown on Park(ing) Day, Friday, Sept. 20th between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PARK(ing) Day is an annual worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks. Visit for more information. They also will be traveling around the area on an ongoing basis throughout September and October.

The purpose of the Dinkytown Small Area Plan is to refine the City’s land use and development policy for the Dinkytown activity center area. The process is being undertaken through the initiative of the Dinkytown Business Association, in partnership with the Marcy Holmes Neighborhood Association and the City.

About Creative CityMaking

Creative CityMaking is a partnership of Intermedia Arts and the City of Minneapolis that fosters collaborations between local artists and City planners to develop fresh and innovative approaches for addressing the long-term transportation, land use, economic, environmental, and social issues facing Minneapolis.

In 2013, Creative CityMaking embedded seven artists in the Long Range Planning Division of the City’s Community Planning and Economic Development Department (CPED).  These artists have been selected and paired up with five planning projects. The partnership of artists and planners is intended to forge, enhance, or develop new strategies for working through the creative processes inherent in visionary planing and city making. It is intended to engage artists in critical thinking and art making around City and urban issues and to increase artists’ and planners’ ability to facilitate community interaction and work collaborativley with the public to foster positive change in the quality and trajectory of social discourse about the city’s urban future.  Their collaborative work will be showcased throughout the year at citywide community events, culminating in a public exhibition and forum at Intermedia Arts on November 22-23, 2013.

Creative CityMaking is one of three Minneapolis initiatives funded in 2012 by ArtPlace America totaling $1.5 million dollars.  The projects are designed to increase livability, vibrancy and economic development in communities throughout the city. Intermedia Arts was awarded a grant in the amount of $325,000 for Creative CityMaking, and those grant funds augment and enhance the City’s funding for these projects.  It does not replace City funding, and the use of the ArtPlace funds does not take away from the City’s tax base or funding sources.

The goals of Creative CityMaking are:

Creative CityMaking is examining the ways in which artist/planner collaborations can contribute to placemaking, vibrancy, and community change.

Creative CityMaking Partners

Intermedia Arts has been pioneering creative placemaking and community development for two decades. Intermedia Arts is a nationally recognized leader in empowering artists and community leaders to use arts-based approaches to solve community issues and whose mission is to be a catalyst that builds understanding among people through art. Annually, their work engages over 25,000 people, 1200 local artists, 2500 young people and 60 arts and non-profit partners. By stimulating broader civic dialogue and giving voice to artists and the issues and experiences of underrepresented communities, they contribute to a stronger, healthier society.

Intermedia Arts' Creative Community Leadership Institute is one of only a few programs nationwide to provide comprehensive, professional-level training and support for local community-engaged artists and community developers. Led by a core faculty of three of the leading thinkers in the field of community cultural development, the Creative Community Leadership Institute has trained 150 of the most active community artists, organizers and community developers in the region. 

The City's Plan for Arts and Culture, established by the Minneapolis Arts Commission and the Minneapolis City Council, outlines a vision for bringing together artists and City Departments to explore creative ideas for addressing city problems. The mission of the City’s Arts, Culture and Creative Economy program is to leverage the creative sector towards strengthening social and economic growth in the City of Minneapolis. The program aims to achieve this goal in part by stimulating cross-sector collaboration that strengthens the arts economy and community in Minneapolis.

The Long Range Planning Division of the Minneapolis Department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) is responsible for long term strategic planning for the City. This division of CPED coordinates City planning processes for Minneapolis and advises other public entities and neighborhoods on their own planning processes.


Published Sep 17, 2013



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