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Minneapolis Riverfront News

Covering life, work, and play in the Historic Mill District and Downtown Minneapolis Riverfront neighborhoods. Have an opinion, local news or events to share?  Contact us.


Public Presentation by Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition Finalists is "Sold Out"

The public presentation by the Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition finalists is scheduled for 7:00pm on January 27 at Walker Art Center. 

Two-hundred and fifty free tickets became available on Tuesday, January 4, and by Thursday afternoon all available seats had been reserved.  The Walker will have an in-person wait list starting at 6:00pm prior to the lecture for those who check in at the box office.  Luckily, the event will be webcast live and archived at

The Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition finalists are:

Ken Smith Workshop | New York City
Stoss Landscape Urbanism | Boston
Tom Leader Studio | Berkeley
Turenscape | Beijing

The teams' collective work includes award-winning riverfront and industrial reclamation park projects, in places such as Shanghai, Memphis, Toronto, New York City, Dubai, Milwaukee and London.  Fifty-five design teams responded to the RFQ.

Each team will produce 21st-century parks designs for 220 acres of parkland and the surrounding neighborhoods along both sides of the 5.4-mile stretch of the Mississippi River from the Stone Arch Bridge in the historic downtown Mill District to the city’s northern limits. The winning design will be a comprehensive, integrated vision for the Upper Riverfront that establishes parks as the engine for economic development, transforms the river into a connector rather than a barrier between east and west banks, and refocuses Minneapolis toward what is one of the three great rivers of the world.


The Central Library is a Great Place to Take Your Kids on Saturday

BRRRRRR - Baby, it's cold out there!  But it's warm at the Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall, with underground parking to boot.  Check out some the fun things happening there this Saturday to help stave off cabin fever:

Celebrate Your Dreams at the Library! - Children's Library 10:00am–Noon
Preschool-grade 5. Children and their families are invited to drop in and explore their dreams through crafts, activities and stories.

Family Storytime - Children's Library  10:00am
For children age 2 and up. Share books, stories, rhymes, music, and movement with your children.

Childish Films- Pohlad Hall 10:30am–Noon
January 15: "It’s Cold"  Warm up with Minneapolis dancer Leah Nelson before a program of animated shorts set in wintry climates.
Preschool (age 3) and up and their families. Children's film curators for the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival will present a pre-show art activity and educational intro for children's films fans before each screening. Visit for a complete schedule of films and descriptions. Seating is first-come, first-served.
Sponsored by the Presented by the Library Foundation of Hennepin County. Made possible in part by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support: Whole Foods Market, Target, Weston Wood Studios, Jagged Edge and Minnesota Parent.

Public Tour of the Central Library 11:00am–Noon
Tour this stunning Cesar Pelli structure with a green roof, an art gallery, special collections, four-story atrium and much more!

Added bonus: There's a Dunn Bros open Saturdays 7:30am-6:30pm on premise.  Drinks with lids may be taken into the Library proper.


MacPhail Family Music Event on Saturday, January 15

MacPhail Center for Music, 501 South Second Street, is hosting “Movin’ and Groovin’ to the Sounds of Brass” this Saturday.

* Performance by the Copper Street Brass Quintet.
* Free Sample Lessons to kids and adults on instruments featured in the concert.
* Free music-themed art project with the Early Childhood Music Staff.
* Light refreshments following the concert.

FREE and open to everybody!  For more information call 612-321-0100.


Sample Benefit of Mill City Commons Membership

Dave and I recently became members of Mill City Commons(MCC).   Some of the benefits associated with being members include cultural and social events, and educational and special interest programs.

For example, last night we attended a private event at the Guthrie.  Laura Weber, M.A. US History and Director of Communications for the College of Design at the University of Minnesota, gave us an overview of how preservation programs such as the National Register of Historic Places and the Historic American Building Survey (HABS) recognize, and in a limited way, protect our historic built environment.

Laura related stories about well-known historic places in the Twin Cities, as well as examples of "vernacular architecture", that have benefited from being designated a historic property.

MCC's partnership with Compleat Scholarbrings University of Minnesota experts to our neighborhood to discuss topics based on MCC members' learning interests.

For more information on Mill City Commons, contact Linnea Tweed at 612.455.3329.


New Exhibit Opening at Mill City Museum this Thursday, January 13

The Mill City Museum will hold a public reception to open the exhibit for "Seeing the Big River: The Eco-Art of Peter L. Johnson" on January 13 from 6:00pm-8:00pm.

This new exhibit challenges viewers to 'See Beauty in Damaged Places'.  Peter L. Johnson says of his work that it "seeks and sees beauty in damaged places." By creating what he calls "lyric" photographs, Johnson chooses subjects that present an unsettling truth about the devastating relationship between humans and the Mississippi River.

Johnson will give remarks at 7:00pm and refreshments will be available. The exhibit is located in the museum’s central Mill Commons, and is free and open to the public during regular museum hours.

Photographs accompanied by found "specimens" and videos will be on display at Mill City Museum from January 13 - May 16, 2011.

Johnson draws on his varied background as a documentary photographer, solo street performance artist and social activist to create his body of work entitled "Devastating Beauty." In his recent series called "Specimens" he expands on the bumper sticker slogan, "Take only photographs and leave only footprints." Johnson photographs then removes the "specimen" from the ecosystem finally presenting the item next to the photograph in a gallery setting. Johnson says "this adds another layer of connection between humans and their effect on the environment."

In the "Immersion" series, Johnson sparks a discussion about the dangers of just being in the Mississippi River. In order to enter the waters he had to sign a waiver which he displays alongside the life-size prints and a corresponding video.

This exhibit is part of "Greening the Riverfront," a series of programs that explore how humans interact with nature, in the past, present and future.

Built within the ruins of the Washburn A Mill, a National Historic Landmark, the award-winning Mill City Museum chronicles the flour milling industry that fueled the growth of Minneapolis. The story comes to life through the eight-story Flour Tower, Water Lab, Baking Lab and other hands-on exhibits.


Next Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA) Board Meeting is January 11

Time: 6:00pm

Location:  Central Public Library - Room N-202

DMNAboard meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month. Anyone who lives, works or owns a business or property within the Downtown East and Downtown West neighborhoods is eligible for general membership in the DMNA.

During the December 14, 2010, DMNA Annual Meeting, the membership approved the DMNA Phase II NRP Plan. A link to the plan and its supporting documents is below:

Final DRAFT DMNA Phase II NRP Plan 12-14-10

Final DRAFT DMNA Phase II NRP Plan – Attachments – Maps and Survey document


Taking Your Workout to New Levels

Prior to the Friday night RealRyder spin class as 501SP1N, Andrea and her client Kathy took a few minutes to talk about the pieces that comprise Kathy's weight loss and fitness regime.    

While Kathy cites a number of factors, two things really hit home for me:  Injuries are not a reason to stop working out; and strive to increase activity levels.  For instance - if you did 30 minutes of cardio today, try for 35 minutes the next session.  Below, Kathy does a lunge.

Email Andrea if you'd like to try a complimentary RealRyder spin class, or if you have a fitness or nutrition question. 


Dr. Jon Hallberg of Mill City Clinic on Strategies for Successful New Year's Resolutions

Dr. Hallberg appeared on Minnesota Public Radio this week with tips for keeping resolutions for the new year.  Listen below:

The Mill City Clinic is in the Mill District of Minneapolis.


Milkweed Editions Author Interview on MPR Midmorning

John Reimringer’s first novel, Vestments, was named the Milkweed Editions 2010 Editor’s Circle Selection.   John was recently interviewed by Marianne Combs on Minnesota Public Radio's "Midmorning" program.

Located at 1011 Washington Avenue South, Milkweed Editions is one of the nation's leading independent, nonprofit literary publishers, releasing fifteen to twenty new books each year in the genres of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children's literature.

Milkweed’s authors come from Minnesota and around the world.  According to their website, more than one million Milkweed books are in circulation today. Their books have received more than 190 awards and special designations, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry, two American Book Awards, the Liberatur Prize for Fiction, seven New York Times Book Review Notable Books of the Year, and ten Minnesota Book Awards.


Last Call at 501 Club tomorrow, January 8

Dave and I plan to stop by 501 Club tonight for a farewell drink and to say goodbye to our favorite server, Laura.  Here's a link to Chris Riemenschneider's article in today's Star Tribune. 



DMNA Starts New Year with a Revamped Website

The Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association recently launched an updated version of its website making it far more useful for its members.

They addressed 2 of the biggest usability issues of the old site - an impossible to find directory of past board meeting minutes, and a far from intuitive place to publish upcoming events.

They seem to have taken a pretty cost effective approach, skipping rebranding and many of the bells, whistles and social gadgets that are so prevalent.  Good move considering the recent budget woes facing NRP funded organizations.  Besides, I'm not looking for a new social network, just a place to keep track of my neighborhood association.  In fact, until tipped off by past Board Member Scott Parkin, I hadn't realized they had refreshed the site.  It maintains the general look and feel, but is much more polished.

Perhaps the best move they made was moving to Wordpress, by far the most popular Content Management system for small to medium sized organizations.  With the new platform they no longer need a programmer to add new content and make minor changes to the site.  The old site had become stale and not very useful due to this issue.

Above: Easy to find way to subscribe to DMNA emails.  A big improvement.

Christie Rock, DMNA Coordinator, led the the web effort.  The DMNA requested quotes from five different vendors, and chose Vivid Image based on cost, design and their experience with social media and blogging platforms.  Vivid Image's Web site is


Soothe Winter's Assault on Your Skin

There are two things keeping my skin tropical-soft this winter. 

First, a product I came across this Fall at the Mill City Farmers Market -- Olsen Naturals Organic Healing Body Butter.  It's especially great for the heels and soles, as well as extra protection for the hands.

Mill City Farmers Market 2010

Below, Denise Olsen describes the product line.  In addition to Body Butter, there's also lip balm, bath products, body spray, soap and more. 

Mill City Farmers Market 2010

If you can't make it to Local D'Lish during the winter Mill City Farmers Market dates, you can order Olsen Naturals online.

The second thing that's made a huge difference for my skin is the morning smoothie concoction created by Andrea Austin, personal trainer and RealRyder spin class instructor at 501SP1N.  I don't know if it's the sum of all the parts, or if it's specifically the ground flax seed, but my skin has been silky soft since early November when these smoothies became a part of my daily diet.  They consist of 3/4 cup each of ice, OJ and berries, plus a small banana, 1 heaping Tablespoon each of wheat germ and ground flax seeds, 2 Tablespoons of yogurt and a scoop of protein powder.  (That's a huge smoothie, but it's meant to be the largest meal of the day, early in the day.) 


Get Your Free Tickets for the Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition Presentation

Four Visions of the Minneapolis Riverfront
Ken Smith Workshop (New York City), Stoss Landscape Urbanism (Boston), Tom Leader Studio (Berkeley), and Turenscape (Beijing)

Date: January 27, 2011
Time: 7:00 PM
Place: Walker Art Center
Cost: Free

Call the Walker at 612.375.7600 today - Based on the turn-out at previous events, we advise that you get your tickets soon.

Be among the first to see the final four teams’ design visions for Minneapolis’ upper riverfront, an area extending from the Stone Arch Bridge to the northernmost city limits, along both sides of the Mississippi River. Building on the Park Board’s award-winning 2000 master plan, this is the first demonstration project of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s Next Generation of Parks—a design-driven vision for a 21st-century park system.

The Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition is copresented by the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board and the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, along with creative partners the University of Minnesota College of Design and the Walker Art Center.


The Loft Announces the Minnesota Emerging Writers' Grant

The Minnesota Writers Career Initiative Grant has a new name and a new focus. The Loft is pleased to announce the Minnesota Emerging Writers' Grant.  While the previous grant focused on writers with at least one book published, the new grant will focus on writers in the earlier stages of their careers.

The Minnesota Emerging Writers’ Grant provides writers financial support and professional assistance to develop and implement multifaceted plans to help them with their artistic endeavors.

Two to four winners will be selected to receive grants of up to $10,000 to underwrite projects of their own design.

The deadline is January 28, 2011.  Winners will be announced in May 2011. Download the 2011 Minnesota Emerging Writers' Grant Guidelines.

The 2011 Minnesota Emerging Writers' Grant Program Judges are Rob Spillman, Editor, Tin House, and Tony Valenzuela, executive director, Lambda Literary Foundation.  

This grant is made possible by funding from the Jerome Foundation.


Andrea's Tips for a Successful Start to a Healthy New Year

I asked Andrea to share some tips for a sensible approach to setting fitness goals in the New Year.  She had quite a few!

Andrea is a RealRyder spin instructor at 501SP1N.  She is also an award winning master personal trainer (we started working together in November, 2010), certified through The National Academy of Sports Medicine as a Personal Trainer and is a certified group fitness instructor teaching 3 master classes weekly.  She holds recognition as a top personal trainer, titles in the National Physique Committee Figure Competitions (NPC), and currently sits as a judge for the NPC Regional Bodybuilding, Fitness and Figure Competitions. Contact Andrea for a totally free no obligation in personal consult.


Mill District Loses Two Businesses

The other day someone mentioned that they recently saw a promotion for former Flex Appeal customers on the website of Knockout Bodies, a local workout studio for women.  One of our neighbors who was a Flex Appeal customer confirmed the news.  The person I spoke with at Knockout Bodies stated several Flex Appeal instructors will now be leading classes at Knockout.

Also, the 501 Club is scheduled to close on January 8, 2011.  According to a Star Tribune article (December 28 online, December 31 newspaper) the collapse of the Metrodome roof solidified the decision.


Job Opportunities at the Loft

The Loft Literary Center recently announced three open positions:

Online Education Coordinator
Development Associate
Constituent Services Associate

The Loft is the country’s leading nonprofit literary center, offering 400 creative writing classes a year for youth and adults in Open Book and community settings. In addition to classes, the Loft supports writers and readers through grants, mentorships, writing studios, regular readings and a spoken word series, and a wealth of resources on its website about craft and the writing life.

The award-winning Loft Literary Center is renowned for the quality of its programming and its service to the community. The Loft was awarded the 2009 American Psychological Association’s “Best Practices” Award which recognized the Loft’s “innovative workplace practice that fosters work-life balance.”


It's the Holidays in the Mill District!

This is the final picture of our "Holidays in the Mill District" series.  We hope you've enjoyed the scenes from our beautiful neighborhood.

Christmas Shots in the Mill District


Voices of Experience at MacPhail Center for Music

Voices of Experience, a choir for adults, ages 55 and older, is offering an ‘interim open’ session in January and February at NO COST to participating singers. Additionally, there will be no auditions to be a member for this interim session. The choir will work on a short program of love songs to be performed at one or two outreach mini concerts. Choir members do not need previous choral experience.

The interim session will have six rehearsals on Tuesdays, beginning January 11, 2011, from 10-11:30am at MacPhail Center for Music.

Voices of Experience was created last fall as a collaboration with The Minnesota Choraleand MacPhail Center for Music. Dr. Mary Kay Geston, an associate professor of music at Northwestern College in St. Paul, is the ensemble’s conductor.


To register or for more information, call MacPhail Center for Music at 612-321-0100, or Melissa Falb at 612-767-5438.


It's the Holidays in the Mill District!

From now thru December 31, we'll be posting random shots from around the neighborhood that capture the Holiday Season.  Enjoy!

Christmas Shots in the Mill District

From the Mill District of Minneapolis.