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Meg Forney

Doug Verdier

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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.


Note Street Closures Near US Bank Stadium for Sunday’s Vikings Game

The City of Minneapolis will close streets around U.S. Bank Stadium for Sunday’s Minnesota Vikings game, which starts at noon. 

Beginning at 6 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 31 the City will close:
• Chicago Avenue, from Fourth Street to Sixth Street.
• Norm McGrew Place from Third Street to Fourth Street.

Beginning at 9 a.m. Sunday, the City will close:
• Fourth Street from Park Avenue to Interstate 35W.

These street closings are for traffic safety and security needs related to a large stadium event. All streets will reopen about one hour after the completion of the game.

Metered spaces change for events
Prior to the game, metered parking spaces on streets surrounding U.S. Bank Stadium will switch from hourly rates to event rates. Starting at 9 a.m., event rate spaces will require a flat fee of $25, which will cover parking costs for the entire game. Anyone starting a parking session after 1 p.m. will use hourly rates. To find out which streets have event rate parking, please see the attached map or use the interactive parking meter map at

All of the City’s parking pay stations and the MPLS Parking app on a smartphone (iPhone or Android device) will automatically charge the rate in effect. Drivers should follow all signed hours of enforcement, time limits and other parking restrictions.   


Metro Transit, J.J. Taylor Distributing Co and Miller Lite team up to offer Free Rides New Years Eve

Celebrate New Year’s Eve responsibly and get a free ride!

On December 31, Metro Transit customers can ride free from 6pm to 3am on all Metro Transit routes – buses and light rail. No fare, no coupons; simply hop on and take a seat for free. MVTA will also be providing free rides.

Whether you’ll be out celebrating, or simply not interested in driving alongside those who are - riding Metro Transit is an easy, safe alternative.

Miller Free Rides is a community service program in partnership with Metro Transit, J.J. Taylor Distributing Company and Miller Lite.

Learn more at 1-800-FREE-RIDES, or visit
Miller Lite Free Rides is a community service program in partnership with Metro Transit and Miller Lite.

Plan your Miller Lite Free Ride now with our interactive Trip Planner. Know your route, and note that not all routes operate past midnight.

METRO Blue Line and Green Line trains and 29 bus routes offer trips after midnight on December 31 - check out the schedule here:


Mississippi Watershed Management Organization's 2017 Magazine is Now Available Online

The Mississippi Watershed Management Organization's (MWMO) new 2017 Magazine is now available online. Read about their latest work protecting and improving water quality and habitat in our watershed, including:

  • Water Quality Monitoring
  • Capital Project Grants
  • Stewardship Fund Grants
  • Communications and Outreach
  • Planning
  • Watershed Assessment
  • Staff, Budget and Other Info


Friends of the Mississippi River's Request for Community Feedback at January 18 NIEBNA Meeting

This information was shared in a December 27 e-newsletter from the Nicollet Island - East Bank Neighborhood Association (NIEBNA):

Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR) has asked NIEBNA to take an official vote during the January 18 Meeting in support of both the Natural Resource Management Plan and the additional management brief. If you have questions or comments, please submit them directly to Alex at A full copy of the additional plan (50 pages) will be made available by January 2, 2018. This link points to a map that shows the entire 7.1-acre project.


Hours extended to prepay 2018 Hennepin County property taxes

Via a December 26 e-newsletter from Hennepin County:

Hennepin County has extended hours for residents to prepay their 2018 property taxes in person at the Hennepin County Government Center. The extended hours are a response to an unprecedented number of taxpayers wishing to prepay their property taxes following recent federal tax law changes. 

Extended hours:
- 8am to 5:30pm Tuesday, December 26, to Friday, December 29
- 9am to 2:00pm Saturday, December 30 (The Government Center parking ramp will be open during this time.)

How to prepay:

Residents may pay up to the amount stated in their proposed property tax (truth in taxation) notice sent in November. Prepay your taxes using one of the following methods:

In person
Services are located at the Hennepin County Government Center (map).

Pay via e-check by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, December 31. 
   1) Enter your 13-digit property ID.
   2) Click the "other years" button.
   3) Enter your payment amount. Do not choose a transaction type, but continue to enter your banking information.
   4) Click "continue" and follow directions to complete your payment.

Hennepin County must receive payments by Friday, December 29. The county will not honor postmark dates.
- Make checks payable to the Hennepin County Treasurer.
- Specify that the amount is a prepayment of 2018 taxes.
- Include the property identification (PID) number.
- Mail to Hennepin County Treasurer: A-600 Government Center, 300 S 6th Street, Minneapolis, MN, 55487.

More Info:

UPDATE: Correction: A previous version of this news release included incorrect information about the mail payment deadline. Hennepin County will accept any mailed prepayment of 2018 property taxes. However, to ensure that the payment is deductible in 2017, please talk with your tax advisor.


Hennepin Health’s Walk-In Service Center is Temporarily Relocating (Jan 22 - Feb 5) due to Super Bowl

Via the Hennepin Health Quarterly Newsletter from Hennepin County:

Hennepin Health is temporarily relocating its walk-in service center from January 22 through February 5 so members can still receive the services they need in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. With how close Hennepin Health is to the U.S. Bank Stadium, along with the fact that transportation will be limited downtown, Hennepin Health made the decision to have staff available at two more easily accessible locations:

HSD – Brookdale
Brookdale Regional Center
6125 Shingle Creek Parkway
Brooklyn Center, MN 55430
Suggested bus numbers: 19 & 22

HSD – Chemical and Mental Health Services
1800 Chicago Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Suggested bus numbers: 2 & 14

• Members will be able to receive continued assistance from their care guides, the community health workers and the social services navigation team.
• Members who qualify for a bus pass will still be able to receive their pass either by stopping in at one of the temporary locations or reloading their pass over the phone.
• At the Chicago Avenue location, members can receive chemical and behavioral health services by appointment; at the Brookdale location, members can receive human services, as well as WIC and child protection services.
If you have any questions about the walk-in service center’s temporary change in location, please call Hennepin Health Member Services at 612-596-1036.


The Mill Yard at Stonebridge Lofts Art Exhibit: “Nature: In the Eye of the Beholder” debuts with January 13 Opening Reception

The Stonebridge Lofts, 1120 South 2nd Street, is debuting "The Mill Yard at Stonebridge Lofts", a new art exhibit venue, with a January 13 opening reception for The Mill Yard at Stonebridge Lofts Art Exhibit: “Nature: In the Eye of the Beholder”.  

 This exhibit will run January 13 to March 31, 2018, and will showcase the work of eight artists, around a Nature theme:

Bevie Labrie (painting)  “Hundreds of days and nights spent in nature over the course of my life have imbedded the colors, textures, smells and intricacies of my natural surroundings into my mind’s eye.  Each of these paintings were completed from a very intuitive, expressive place inside of me.”

Owen Brown (painting)  “These works were painted during a residency I received last year in the south of France, in the little village of Pampelonne.  The French countryside was beautiful, low hills, small fields, rivers and streams, copses of wood, barns and tiny storerooms. The sun was spellbinding on the earth.”

Richard James Nelson (printmaking),My woodblock prints are inspired by the Inuit and Japanese printmaking and echo the spiritualness of nature.”


Julie Carson (photography) “On any given day, you will find me scouring the ground looking for objects, patterns and colors to photograph. Photography captures and holds the moment to draw upon later.  No matter where I go, I find ideas in a rusted trash can, leaf or flower.”

Marilyn Cuellar (graphite) “I find my vision in the details of life. My art brings out the subtle details in its subjects, creating a picture of life more particular than the fleeting glance with which we normally look at the world.“

Ernest Miller, “As a maker, inspiration comes from field landscape, farm implements, and architectural features such as barns found in the Midwest as starting points for ceramic vessels and glaze surfaces. Observations of source material may be interpreted literally or sometimes abstracted using elements to complement functional or sculptural forms.”

Nick Earl, “I am continually fascinated by the softness and reception of the clay from which my pots are made. These qualities translate into the finished pieces, objects that will hopefully enrich the regular ceremonies of life. I have a strong interest in art history and I try to exhibit the strength and beauty I see in old pots in my own work.”

Audra Smith, “My goal is to make well-made, utilitarian pottery. I continually explore color, pattern, space, and shape in the surface decoration, all of which inform the ongoing discovery of my personal language as a ceramic artist.” 

(Opening reception only: Potters Ernest Miller, Nick Earl and Audra Smith)

About The Mill Yard at Stonebridge Lofts
The Mill City. Residents celebrate our area’s industrial heritage of the mighty Mississippi River and the mills. Today, what we see are the most recognizable Minneapolis landmarks. However, this is only part of the story. Rail lines were key to Minneapolis’ growth, and were particularly integral to the Mill District, bringing in wheat and timber and shipping out flour and lumber. We also honor the history of the mills, the reason for the rail yard’s existence. The Mill Yard aims to be both a gathering place for art and artists and a conduit by which art can be shared with and disseminated into the wider community.

Facebook - Twitter, Contact:

The Mill Yard at Stonebridge Lofts thanks Luke Kleckner, Condo Development and Sales, for his generous sponsorship.


"Together We SOAR" Contest at Cedar Riverside Community School reflects Bright Students Working Towards a Positive Future

Article by Claudia Kittock, photos by Rick Kittock

The future is in very safe hands with the students of Cedar Riverside Community School. 

December 21 was a very important day in the lives of the students of Cedar Riverside Community School. It was the day for the long anticipated ‘door judging’. Seven years ago, Coach Jennifer Weber started a contest between the classes that entailed decorating the door to each classroom around a theme. This year the theme was Together We SOAR. I was honored to be a judge along with Jan Mershon, Coach Weber, and Mecca Mohamed the school administrative assistant. Rick Kittock was the photographer.

Judges Coach Weber, Mecca Mohamed, Jan Mershon and Claudia Kittock

When we came into the school there was an immediate buzz, “They are HERE! Get your paper. Don’t forget to say what we rehearsed.” As we walked from class to class, a small number of students from each room presented their decoration, describing to us what they had, how they had reached their decisions, and what the designs meant. The judging was based on 6 categories: Visual Impact, Craftsmanship, Completeness, Class Involvement, Originality and Perseverance, awarding 1-4 points for each category. Many of presenters went through each category explaining why they deserved a ‘4’ for each one.

I am not a believer in the ‘everybody deserves a medal’ philosophy of dealing with children, but these designs were incredible. We handed in our score sheets to Coach Weber and she announced the winners the next day. I have to confess I was glad I wasn’t there because every class did a wonderful job.

The 90 minutes of judging reminded me of what the future can look like. I saw polite, well-educated, articulate, enthusiastic young people with a strong sense of responsibility to do well for their families and for their community. The future is in very safe hands with the students of Cedar Riverside Community School.  They truly do SOAR together!!

And the winners were:

Pre-K - 2nd: Pre-k (Gingerbread Baby)

3rd - 5th: Tie between 3rd & 4th (Eagle Heart and Eagle with the beaded snowflakes hanging above the door.)

6th - 8th: 7th Grade (Marble Run) almost perfect score. Most original design!

Click here to view the full set of pictures on Flickr.


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About Claudia Kittock

Claudia is a resident of the Mill District. In addition to writing for Mill City Times, she is a founding Board Member of Friends of the Mill District. Claudia is the author of Health Through Chaos, mentors young adults at YouthLink, and has served on the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA).



Sheridan Memorial Park Improvements Update

Via an e-newsletter from the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board:

An artist's depiction of the exciting slate of improvements scheduled to be constructed at Sheridan Memorial Park in 2018.

Online survey available to weigh in on impact to Grain Belt Brewing Company Historic District

The preferred concept for more than $1 million in upcoming improvements at Sheridan Memorial Park has been updated.

Click the link below to view a detailed depiction of the proposed improvements, which include new playgrounds, paths, public art, restrooms, picnic shelter and basketball court. Construction is scheduled in 2018.

Sheridan Memorial Park Improvements Preferred Concept

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Grain Belt Brewing Company Historic District

Funding for these improvements is supported by a $500,000 grant from the National Park Service for Outdoor Legacy Partnership and a $1 million match from Minnesota Parks and Trails Legacy funding. 

These funding sources and the park's location within the Grain Belt Brewing Company Historic District requires review under the provisions of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Public participation is an important part of the Section 106 process. Take the survey linked below to give feedback on how you think the upcoming park improvements will affect the historic district.

Take Survey


Drone Footage from the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL)

Did you know the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL) is poised to celebrate their 80th anniversary (1938 - 2018) next year?  Here is some drone footage of St. Anthony Falls and the SAFL:


35W Bridge Lighting Has Been Restored

MnDOT's 35W Bridge Aesthetic Lighting Replacement Project appears to be complete.

These shots are a little fuzzy because I took them with my cell phone on the way to work this morning (sans any special settings), but you get the idea. The black outs are gone and it appears to shine brighter than ever.




Out of the Box Opera to Pop Out Again in February

Article by Merle Minda, photos by Dan Norman Photography

Fledgling opera company Out of the Box Opera will stage another imaginative and fun performance February 10, 2018 at the Weisman Art Museum. Performances to date have been wildly acclaimed for originality, top-notch musicality and all-round enjoyment. Their most recent performance last fall featured a DIVA CAGE MATCH, staged at the Uppercut Boxing Gym in NE Minneapolis. Six opera divas faced off in the ring until a winner was chosen. Judges were American baritone Lucas Meachem; Twin Cities rapper Dessa, and well-known performer J.D. Steele. Click here to see this evocative video of what actually took place.

Program for February 10 is still to-be-announced, but artistic director for Out of the Box David Lefkowich promises yet another spectacle, this time mixing opera with jazz and soul. These are “don’t miss” events. Watch their website and Facebook for upcoming details.

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About Merle Minda

Journalist and free-lance writer Merle Minda writes about travel, business, people profiles and other subjects for a number of national and regional publications, including Delta SKY, Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Business, Star Tribune, Twin Cities Statement, Minnesota Monthly, and now Mill City Times. She can be reached at or on the web.


MPRB Seeks Residents Interested in Serving on a Community Advisory Committee (CAC)

Applications for 2018 appointments are due Friday, December 22, 2017

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) Board of Commissioners is seeking applications for appointments to five ongoing community advisory committees:

  • Saint Anthony Falls Heritage Board – One Appointment
  • Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee – Three Appointments
  • Neighborhood & Community Engagement Commission (NCEC) – One Appointment
  • Minneapolis Tree Advisory Commission – Four Appointments
  • HomeGrown Food Council – One Appointment

Service commitment may vary based upon needs, expectations and policy goals. However, most advisory committee members can expect to approximately 10-15 hours of work per month. Most terms are two years and all board and commission members are not subject to term limits.

Some Boards/Commissions have a need for specialized skills, but most people will find a Board or Commission that is a great fit for their knowledge base. Public members of Board and Commissions are people who may not have regular, ongoing experience in a specific topic area, but have a general interest in a Board or Commission’s work area. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about an area of interest and contribute a perspective that is fresh and unique to the service area.

Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m., Friday, December 22, 2017.  Following submission, applicants will receive an email confirming receipt of the application and describing the general process for appointment. Appointments for open positions will be made at the January 2, 2018 business meeting of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. For a full description of each committee and to complete the application please visit:

Applicants with questions about the appointments process should email their questions to or contact Radious Guess at 612-230-6419.

Contact:  Radious Guess, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Community Outreach, Equity and Inclusion Manager, 612-230-6419,


My North Series - 52 Minnesota Stories Leading up to the 2018 Super Bowl (Episodes 41 - 45)

Count down to Super Bowl 52 with this weekly video series of 52 love letters to Minnesota from notable Minnesotans. My North is an editorial video series created by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and presented by Explore Minnesota. Hear from tastemakers and stylemakers. Artists and athletes. Authors and entertainers. These are their odes to the state they love. Below are episodes 41-45 - click here to see more!


Mill City Singers 2017 Recap (and Exciting News for 2018!)

Article by Claudia Kittock

It has been quite a year for the Mill City Singers. Our roster has swollen to 199 singers, and we are averaging 49 singers/rehearsal. The Guthrie has been kind enough to host all of our rehearsals this year and we are so very grateful to them.

Besides the joy of rehearsing with each other, we have shared a number of performances together. We sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame at a Minnesota Twins game, we performed in 2 concerts at the Capri Theater, the Loring Park Music Festival, and caroled up and down 2nd Street for Winterfest. This group loves a party and we have shared great times together throughout 2017. All that is needed to have a party is to open the door . . . everything else follows.

During 2017 we were asked to become community partners with the Minnesota Orchestra and will be singing at Orchestra Hall in March, 2018. More details will be shared as they develop. We are also incredibly excited to be performing at a Super Bowl event at Westminster Presbyterian Church on January 28, 2-3pm. It's an Interfaith Gathering called Bold Hope in the North that will showcase Minnesota’s national leadership in multi-faith dialogue and cooperation. It will raise money to prevent homelessness through the interfaith Downtown Congregations to End Homelessness Emergency Rental Assistance Program. You won’t want to miss this event!

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About Claudia Kittock

Claudia is a resident of the Mill District. In addition to writing for Mill City Times, she is a founding Board Member of Friends of the Mill District. Claudia is the author of Health Through Chaos, mentors young adults at YouthLink, and has served on the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA).



Dayton's Project, Downtown Minneapolis | News Tracker

The former retail flagship in Downtown Minneapolis is scheduled to open in the middle of 2019.

WEEK OF 12/18/2017

Andrew Zimmern to develop food hall at Dayton's Project on Nicollet Mall
Andrew Zimmern – the producer, creator and host of Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods," and a self-described adopted Minnesotan for more than 25 years – is teaming with the Dayton's Project to debut a new food experience inside the historic site that formerly housed Macy's.

And the first official Dayton's Project tenant is...
it seems exceedingly on-trend that the first official tenant announced for the Dayton's Project in downtown Minneapolis is -- what else? -- another food hall.

New Food Hall by Andrew Zimmern for Dayton's Project
Downtown Minneapolis is truly getting its own food hall! Confirmation dropped today that Andrew Zimmern and his Passport Hospitality company would be partnering with Robert Montwaid, creator and co-founder of Gansevoort Market in New York City, to create The Dayton's Food Hall & Market in the what we already knew to be the developing Dayton's Project on Nicollet Mall.

A Downtown Minneapolis Food Hall Taps a Celebrity Chef to Run It
The ground floor and subterranean levels of the historic downtown Minneapolis Dayton’s will be transformed into a massive food hall courtesy of Minnesota’s best-known culinary personality. Andrew Zimmern’s Passport Hospitality has teamed with Robert Montwaid of New York’s Gansevoort Market for the The Dayton’s Project.

Chef sees recipe for success at Dayton’s Project
Chef and TV star Andrew Zimmern is collaborating with a partner out of New York on a food hall and market concept destined for The Dayton’s Project in downtown Minneapolis.

Andrew Zimmern joining Minneapolis Dayton's Project with food hall concept
The food hall is slated to open along Nicollet Mall in the middle of 2019.


Mpls Downtown Improvement District (MDID) Survey 

The Mpls Downtown Improvement District (MDID) needs your input to make downtown Minneapolis a more vibrant place to live, work and visit. Your responses to this 15 minute survey will help MDID and their partners direct services in 2018 to create a cleaner, greener, safer and more vibrant downtown.

Upon completion of the survey you will have the opportunity to enter a drawing for a chance to win one of five $50 gift cards. Click here to start the Survey:


Street closures near US Bank Stadium for Sunday’s Vikings game

The City of Minneapolis will close streets around US Bank Stadium for the Sunday, December 17, Vikings game, which starts at Noon. 

Beginning at 6:00am Sunday, the City will close:
• Chicago Avenue, from Fourth Street to Sixth Street.
• Norm McGrew Place from Third Street to Fourth Street.

Beginning at 9:00am Sunday, the City will close:
• Fourth Street from Park Avenue to Interstate 35W.

These street closings are for traffic safety and security needs related to a large stadium event. All streets will reopen about one hour after the completion of the game.

Metered spaces change for events
Prior to the game, metered parking spaces on streets surrounding U.S. Bank Stadium will switch from hourly rates to event rates. Starting at 9 a.m., event rate spaces will require a flat fee of $25, which will cover parking costs for the entire game. Anyone starting a parking session after 1 p.m. will use hourly rates. To find out which streets have event rate parking, please see the attached map or use the interactive parking meter map at

All of the City’s parking pay stations and the MPLS Parking app on a smartphone (iPhone or Android device) will automatically charge the rate in effect. Drivers should follow all signed hours of enforcement, time limits and other parking restrictions.   


Creative City Challenge Finalists Announced for 2018 Northern Spark

Via a December 14 e-newsletter from Northern

Announcing the Creative City Challenge finalists

Each year three teams are selected to create a full proposal for an interactive art installation that launches the first night of Northern Spark and remains up for several weeks of summer in downtown Minneapolis. Congratulations to 2018’s finalists:

Carry-on Family, Carry-on Homes

Preliminary project sketch, Carry-on Family.


We are struck by the urgency of this year’s theme-- commonality. It is now, more important than ever to recognize how we can unite. Over the past year we have seen the division between people deepen because of increasingly divisive politics, protests and cultural trauma. These divisions have made social progress static and put many innocent people in danger of brutal violence. Protest here in the United States has motivated many of us immigrants from countries where public protesting is banned to step up and march in the streets. We hear marching slogans, we saw rising signs and rushed to participate. Applying labels to people and situations in haste. But labeling something or someone is not understanding. Stereotyping and categorizing only further divides us. Stories remain untold, voices remain unheard. In the spirit of those protests, it is urgent to reclaim public sites as common ground for mutual understanding.

We propose to build a multi-functional venue for story sharing, where individuals can come together and speak to their homes--near and far. This idea of home is a universally shared idea across cultures that transcends race, gender, class, and polemics. Our project gives a platform to those immigrants of Minnesota, who came from all over the world in search of peace, love, family, opportunities, and freedom. Not just listening, the viewers can also participate by sharing their own immigration story on a stage during various community gathering events, or through writing notes and tie on a “journey wall.” Carry-on Family is Peng Wu, Preston Drum, Shunjie Yong, Aki Shibata, Zoe Cinel, Omar Sameh Shehata.

Samuel B. Ero-Phillips, United Nations

Preliminary project sketch, Sam B. Eros-Phillips. 


This project takes inspiration from the mission of the United Nations as it relates to our common human experience around the world. This assembly hall serves as platform for people to discuss our strategies for reaching these goals. The base creates a space to sit and gather while the overhead structure provides shelter by displaying and illuminating our best shared ideals. The murals on the lower wood deck seating area and the custom globes will respond to a theme of commonality and will be curated by my network of youth worker community artists.

Yes Let’s!, Uncommon Courtesies

project sketch, Yes, Let's.


With a common question, a common experience, and a common community,  Uncommon Courtesies  is set up as an interactive radial experience, where visitors move through four different levels, each with stations that have recorded stories from diverse communities paired with supplementary graphics and text, ending in the center where they have an opportunity to contribute to the piece and experience.

Through this project we hope to use emotions as a universal language for human connection. Bringing stories from every corner of our diverse communities to a central hub like The Commons provides an accessible way for guests to connect across unnecessary divides.

Yes Let's is Sarah Alfalah, Rory Alt, David Brajkovic, Krystianna Johnson, Nina Johnson, Kenya Z. Mejia, Elizabeth T. Wolner, and Jason Quick. 


4-Story signature artwork “piece-by-pieced” into HCMC’s Clinic & Specialty Center

On Wednesday, December 13, 2017 the intricate task of installing a 4-story glass artwork in Hennepin County Medical Center’s (HCMC) new Clinic & Specialty Center began – a process that may take up to three days and represents almost two years of planning. A gift from the Hennepin Health Foundation (HHF), the piece illuminates images of life, hope, healing, and a sense of belonging to a community inclusive of our patients, families, and staff. The new Clinic & Specialty Center, located just across 8th Street from HCMC’s emergency department, is near completion and scheduled to open in March, 2018.

Architectural glass artist Martin Donlin, who is known for designing major installations of this type worldwide, was selected by a special art committee made up of employees, patients, artists, and community members using a local, national and international Call for Artists. The narrative design incorporates the Minnesota iconic element of water as a symbol of life and resiliency. The 15 panels tell a story that started as a unique collaboration between Donlin and local environmental poet Laurie Allmann, who was commissioned to write the corresponding poem Mirroring the Light. Together the poem and design describe the transformation of water and life, shown through nurturing figures and wildlife ascending from a single plant to the heavens, spanning from 1st to 4th floor, all while acknowledging local hallmarks and heritage. (A video featuring the artists and their inspiration for this piece is below, and can be found online.)

“When the Clinic & Specialty Center doors open in March of 2018, patients, families, visitors and staff will enter a space that embraces healing and wellness, with this magnificent sculpture at the heart of it all,” explains Wenda Lyons Ballinger, Arts Program Coordinator at HCMC. “In fact, the artwork’s healing presence will be a strong force for those who see it through the expansive windows from the outside, too.”

The art glass itself was made of two layers of 8mm float glass, heat strengthened and laminated together. The design was airbrushed and hand painted with colored enamels and silver stains. The panels will be hung with stainless steel airline cables to secure each section in place. Professionals from Empire House, Inc. will complete the installation.

“With this art piece we’ve captured the beauty and strength of our mission that continues in our Clinic & Specialty Center, where literally we’re changing the way health care is delivered in the heart of Minneapolis,” said Ford Bell, Vice President of Philanthropy for HHF. “It’s a very real representation of our big, beautiful vision that every Minnesotan will have access to our state-of-the art, convenient care.”

The glass artwork is one of over 600 works of art that will be featured in the building, with most of the original work created by local, Minnesota, and regional artists. No longer considered “nice to have” decoration, art is now understood to be a vital part of the healthcare environment. Studies have proven that integrating the arts into healthcare settings cultivates a healing environment and supports the physical, mental, and emotional recovery of patients and families.  HCMC has maintained a healing art collection since 1974 and boasts a multi-disciplinary arts program since 2003 named Inspire Arts. Curating for the Clinic & Specialty Center artwork was led by local art consultancy Dorsey Hovde Art Design.

Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc. (HHS) is a comprehensive health care system that includes HCMC, a 484-bed Level I Adult and Pediatric Trauma Center, as well as primary care and specialty care clinics located in downtown Minneapolis and suburban Hennepin County. In 2018, HHS opens its new Clinic & Specialty Center downtown offering convenient, easy access to clinics and specialty services. For more information, go to

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