Talk-It series encourages conversation about revitalizing Hennepin Avenue

As part of an effort to develop plans to revitalize Hennepin Avenue into a cultural corridor, a four-part series of public conversations and workshops is planned for this spring. The free workshops will bring together the foremost thinkers and professionals in city planning and urban design with folks interested in Hennepin Avenue’s future.

Talk-It conversation topics include a discussion of the history of Hennepin Avenue, emerging cultural districts and global trends in urban planning, transit and public space. These public conversations will be paired with follow-up, interdisciplinary workshops conducted by Twin Cities’ artists to help define values, vision and achieve goals.

The Talk-It series is part of the broader Plan-It Hennepin, a year-long initiative led by partners Hennepin Theatre Trust, Walker Art Center, Artspace and the City of Minneapolis. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the plan will re-imagine a stretch of this storied avenue as a revitalized cultural corridor from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden to the Mississippi River.

Upcoming conversations and workshops

The Avenue through the Ages – A conversation
Thursday, March 8
7 – 9 p.m.
Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall

Talk-It Hennepin kicks off with a panel of local historians and experts in Native history, transit and GLBT issues examining the stories and histories of Minneapolis’ first street and gathering place. Discussion will range from Hennepin Avenue’s roots as a Dakota footpath and a trading/transportation hub for fur, agricultural commodities and people, to its modern transformation and function within the city’s evolving economy.

Honoring History – A workshop
Saturday, March 10
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall

This public planning workshop will engage participants in creative activities to explore Hennepin Avenue’s history and values to help guide planning. Everyone is welcome, regardless of previous attendance at the March 8 conversation.

Creative Urban Interventions — A dialogue with Candy Chang
Thursday, April 26
7 – 9 p.m.
Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Avenue

Candy Chang, artist, designer, urban planner and co-founder of the New Orleans-based studio Civic Center, likes to make cities more comfortable for people. Many of her projects combine street art with urban planning and social activism, sparking conversations among strangers in public places and providing people with easy and innovative ways to have a voice. She will draw on many of these concepts in her Talk-It Hennepin conversation. Chang has worked with communities around the world — New York, Johannesburg, Finland, Nairobi, Vancouver, Querétaro, Mexico and Almaty, Kazakhstan — to address issues ranging from tree-planting to street vendors’ rights. This Talk-It Hennepin conversation is presented by Forecast Public Art, Walker Art Center and Hennepin Theatre Trust.

Planning and design – A workshop
Saturday, April 28
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Avenue

From the perspective of the Walker’s Skyline Room, workshop participants will articulate visions for the Avenue through words, drawings, skits, dance and sculptures to provide additional information to blend traditional city planning with cultural planning. Everyone is welcome, regardless of previous attendance at the April 26 conversation.

How to register

All Talk-It conversations are free; however, advance registration is requested due to limited space. For more information or to confirm your attendance, visit www.hennepintheatretrust.org/plan-it.

Details about the final two Talk-It Hennepin conversation/workshops, scheduled for May and June, will be announced at a later date.

Background

Earlier this year, Hennepin Theatre Trust received a National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” grant to develop plans to revitalize Hennepin Avenue into a cultural corridor working with Walker Art Center, Artspace, owner/operator of The Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts, and the City of Minneapolis.

This creative placemaking initiative, which coincides with the recent Minneapolis Downtown 2025 broader plan, will include recommendations for transit and infrastructure improvements, public art, streetscape designs and ways to increase cultural events and collaboration among the Avenue’s many cultural, business and educational organizations. An urban design team, led by Twin Cities landscape architect Bob Close and architect Mic Johnson, both of AECOM (formerly Ellerbe Beckett), will gather community input and ideas from the workshops to inform streetscape, infrastructure, transit and development.

 

Published Feb. 15, 2012