"Hey bro, let's meet up for a couple beers in WeDo!"
That sentence may seem nonsensical now, but civic leaders hope you'll soon be using WeDo to describe the West Downtown Cultural District, a far-reaching arts and cultural swath of downtown Minneapolis.
The municipal rebrand helmed by the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin Theater Trust, Walker Art Center, and Artspace launches Wednesday, with WeDo (pronounced wee-doo) territory spanning from the Mississippi River to the Walker along Hennepin Avenue and the surrounding blocks.
"It’s a place to celebrate arts, culture and everything that makes our city unique," explains the new WeDo website, replete with its images of smiling millennials. Popular destinations such as the Walker, First Avenue, Target Center, Target Field, and the State, Orpheum, and Pantages theaters will now call WeDo home.
The biggest hurdle, of course, will be getting residents and tourists to actually refer to the 1.7 mile area as WeDo, a goofy-sounding term that doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. It brings to mind images of a Webelo scout riding a Ski-Doo. Moreover, is it becoming of our (relatively) modest downtown area to get all SoHo? Tough to say, but the WeDo mission — "to reimagine Hennepin Avenue as an arts corridor and year-round cultural destination" — seems well-intentioned.
Here's a little history. Back in 2011, Hennepin Theater Trust won the “Our Town” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, which began the WeDo rebranding campaign. More than 1,500 downtown stakeholders were involved in the resulting “Plan-It Hennepin" process. The five-story Bob Dylan mural on Hennepin Avenue — an attraction that may or may not be necessary, argues City Pages — is part of the revitalization efforts. You can view other projects here.
WeDo unveiling events are planned for Wednesday, including volunteers "in colorful WeDo attire" handing out coffee, merch, and gift cards. Expect free senior dance classes at Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts and improv games at Brave New Workshop, both going down at 11:30 a.m. Beginning at 8th and Hennepin, free historic tours will run from noon to 2 p.m.
In unrelated news, Minnesota's grand plan to rebrand as "North" is still a thing.
UPDATE: An amazing reader pointed out WeDo's similarity to this classic Simpsons song. God, it's so good: