46th Street Block Party to raise funds for park

Taylor Lindgren painting Live
Taylor Lindgren painting Live
Photo courtesy ColorWheel Gallery

For the third annual 46th Street Block Party & Kings Birthday Bash, businesses are teaming up with the Kingfield Neighborhood Association to raise money for a new playground at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park. In addition to local art, live music, and lots of food, visitors may purchase tickets for the jumping house and for a chance to dunk people such as City Council member Elizabeth Glidden, school-board candidate Tracine Asberry, and local author/musician Jim Walsh into a tank full of water.

46th Street Block Party to raise funds for park
Photo courtesy ColorWheel Gallery

As in past years, each business at the intersection of 46th Street and Grand Avenue -- the ColorWheel Gallery, Cafe Ena, Kings Wine Bar, and Patisserie 46 -- will host its own activities. You can check out the local art, live aerosol and stencil painting, and flea market at ColorWheel Gallery; taste some Latin-style street-food at Café Ena, including elotes, Mexican-style corn on the cob, tostadas, empanadas, and mangos on a stick; walk over to Patisserie 46 for some homemade ice cream and other treats; and leave room for burgers, hot dogs, root beer, and locally brewed fusion beers at Kings Wine Bar, which is also presenting music by Chastity Brown, Mayda, Bunny Clogs, Megonia, Brianna Lane, and a Twin Town Guitars showcase.

New this year, the party will be blocking off the street to make room for a fundraiser carnival featuring a jumping house, dunk tank, face painting, temporary tattoos, hair extensions, balloon artists, and more. There will also be prizes throughout the day from local businesses. Money raised by the carnival and raffle tickets will go toward building a new playground at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Park.
Latin Style Street Food at Cafe Ena
Latin Style Street Food at Cafe Ena
Photo courtesy ColorWheel Gallery

In 2010, controversy erupted around the park when a proposed off-leash area dog area offended a group of elder African Americans, many of whom fought to get the park's name changed in the 1960s. The proposed site eventually moved to Lyndale Farmstead Park, and a newly formed legacy committee began making plans to bring awareness of King's legacy to the park. That included moving Daniel Johnson's Freedom Form II sculpture, installed when the park was dedicated in 1968, back to a more prominent location from where it had been moved to in recent years. 

According to Tammy Ortegon, owner of ColorWheel Gallery, the improvements led by the Legacy Advisory Council are a positive that came out of the dog-park controversy, and the businesses that sponsor the 46th Street Block Party wanted to give toward the effort. Jennifer Ringold, manager of public engagement and citywide planning for the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, says that the legacy committee has already raised $21,300 for the park, of which $15,000 is specifically designated for interpretive markers near Freedom Form II. Additionally, the park board earmarked $225,000 for the playground in 2013, which the committee must match with $55,000.
46th Street Block Party to raise funds for park
Photo Courtesy ColorWheel Gallery

"One of the things the group envisioned," says Art Seratoff, treasurer for the legacy committee, "is a makeover of the whole park around the theme of honoring Dr. King and what he stood for in terms of legacy and the inclusiveness of all people." Now that the sculpture has been successfully moved, Seratoff says the group wants to pave the sidewalks that spiral up to it, creating interpretive plaques containing messages from King, as well as the significance of this particular park. They also hope to install benches that somehow extend the artistic theme of the sculpture. 

For the playground itself, Seratoff says the committee is partnering with the Chicago Fire Arts Center to come up with ways that the new playground will have community participation and an educational element. For instance, one idea that has been discussed is designing equipment around the theme of African American inventors.


The 46th Street Block Party and Kings Birthday Bash
Noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, August 12
46th Street and Grand Avenue South

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Kings Wine Bar

4555 Grand Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55419-4947


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