'Arts on Chicago' hosts a preview party this Saturday

'Arts on Chicago' hosts a preview party this Saturday
Photo courtesy Pillsbury House + Theatre

This Saturday, 20 artists and art teams will present their plans for the Arts on Chicago placemaking projects at the Chicago Arts Fire Center. Each have been awarded small grants ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 to be used to create works such as poetry mobiles, murals, and glow in the dark exhibits. 

Photo by Wing Young Huie 
Photo by Wing Young Huie 

The project is funded through a $250,000 Artspace grant that Pillsbury House + Theatre received this year. PHT is working with a leadership team that includes Upstream Arts, Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association, the office of City Councilmember Elizabeth Glidden, and MCAD associate professor Natasha Pestich. The chosen projects reflect a broad spectrum of artistic disciplines and diversity of artists, says PHT's Mike Hoyte, who is the Arts on Chicago community liaison.  

The leadership team used five goals to guide them in their selections: To join the creative assets on Chicago between 32nd and 42nd Street, to reinforce the creative identity of the Chicago Avenue corridor, to bring community members together to create and experience art in public spaces, to stimulate relationships that carry forward, and to increase accessibility and connection across differences. 

'Arts on Chicago' hosts a preview party this Saturday
Photo courtesy Pillsbury House + Theatre

There were close to 60 applications, and all were very strong. "It's really interesting how many artists are in this neighborhood, and the diversity of what they do," Hoyt says. 

Saturday's event will include presentations by all of the artists, and will be moderated by Elizabeth Glidden. Afterward, audiences will be invited to walk across the street to Wing Young Huie's Third Place Gallery for an exhibition of the works in progress, and to speak with some of the artists one on one. The evening will end with ping pong and karaoke, which is a tradition with the space. 

The artists will also ask the public questions as a way to engage as many community members as possible.

"A lot of the artists have ideas of which communities they want to work with, but don't have those connections completely locked down," Hoyt says. Hopefully, the event will be a chance to get people from the neighborhood -- whether they are seniors, youth, churchgoers, business owners, and so on -- involved with the upcoming projects. 

Arts on Chicago will include Wing Young Huie's photography project about connecting people across cultural lines. It will eventually include 100 photographs in 10 different businesses, with separate openings for each venue.
'Arts on Chicago' hosts a preview party this Saturday
Photo courtesy Pillsbury House + Theatre

There's also plans for a pedal powered poetry mobile, created by Molly Van Avery, to be launched this spring. People will be invited to write poems on postcards that will be delivered to residents in Powderhorn. 

Peter Haakon Thompson will be working on a mobile sign shop, where the artist will create name signs for neighbors, facilitating connections while also giving people an idea of who lives in the area. 

Another piece is Eye Site, created by Jenny Schmid, Drew Anderson, and Andrea Steudel. Together, they will create glow-in-dark images using light activated paint powered by privately owned motion-sensor lights in the neighborhood.

As for Pillsbury House, they'll be doing two projects. The first is to "transform the dead space outside the building into more of a comfortable hangout spot," Hoyt says, so that people waiting for the bus might pause and reflect on what's happening inside. They're still working out what the changes will entail, but possibilities include creating an outdoor work space or a small stage. 

The other project will be working with the community and artists on issues of gentrification around the neighborhood, as part of the Breaking Ice program. "[Gentrification] is an issue that is pretty hot here,"  Hoyt says.


Arts on Chicago Preview Party
7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.) Saturday, December 1
The Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center
3749 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis

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Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center

3749 Chicago Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55407


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