Public is invited to attend the first annual Minneapolis Arts Commission awards

A colorful public park bench, murals on the walls of local businesses, and a skyway public arts photo display that captured the spirit of the City's heritage are the recipients of the Minneapolis Arts Commission’s first annual public art projects awards. Mayor R.T. Rybak will recognize the winners June 6 at the MOSAIC opening night event at 7:20 p.m. at the Pantages Theatre (710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis). The award ceremony is free and open to the public.

The SPEAK Project for the Cottage Park, which received the Award for Community Involvement in Public Art was created by 25 neighborhood youth and former street gang members through the SPEAK Project. The youth worked with artists to express themselves through poetry, photography and metal arts. The bench incorporates the word JUSTICE into its frame, and is a symbol of hope for the neighborhood.

The youth created the project with assistance from Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center SPEAK Project. The art project was commissioned by the Pohlad Family Foundation.

The Walldogs on Nicollet mural was the winner of the Award for Celebration the City through Public Art. The artists, FranCisco Vargas, Bernie Gietl, Randy Szarzynski, David Butler, Dale Manor, David Petri, Adam May, Dawn and Steve Lane, Bob Parsons, Bill Diaz, and Judy Grossman, created the mural depicting historic elements of the city including street cars and the Nicollet Baseball Park.

Lyndale and Kingfield Neighborhood Associations, along with local businesses and community members, commissioned the mural project.

Speaking of Home, a pictorial story exhibit depicting the City's expanding immigrant population, along one of Minneapolis’ busiest skyways downtown between the IDS Center and Macy’s was the recipient of the Award for Integration of Public Art in Private Development. The stories of 23 new Americans, represented by 13 x 10-foot photographs were created by Nancy Ann Coyne.

The photo project was commissioned by Forecast Public Art together with the Family Housing Fund and the Institute for Advanced Study at University of Minnesota.

The Minneapolis Arts Commission was chartered in 1974 with the mission to strengthen the arts and enrich cultural life in Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Arts Commission works closely with the staff of the Department of Community Planning & Economic Development-Planning Division, Cultural Affairs and shares their goal of developing a strong and vital arts community throughout Minneapolis. In 2005, the Arts Commission and Cultural Affairs launched a comprehensive cultural planning process that will result in the City of Minneapolis Plan for Arts and Culture a ten-year strategic plan that defines the role of the City of Minneapolis in supporting the arts and culture.

Published Jun. 3, 2009