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Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy Program Newsletter

Welcome to the City of Minneapolis office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy newsletter. Here you will find information on program and partner related news and updates, opportunities, events and special announcements.

Sign up for the Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy newsletter at

12 art installations debut at Northern Spark June 14

Creative City Challenge winner, 11 others to bring healing, joyful art to The Commons

Everyone is invited to the ninth annual Northern Spark to immerse themselves in the interactive public art installation “Radical Playground,” the 2019 Creative City Challenge winner, at The Commons along with 11 other “We Are the Commons” installations. The Creative City Challenge winner will remain in place through August.

Northern Spark 2019
9 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday, June 14, and Saturday, June 15
The Commons, 425 Portland Ave. S.

Northern Spark returns to The Commons this summer for the third time with installations that compel festivalgoers to move their feet, make some noise and reclaim their space including:

  • Visitors can join dynamic duo Beatrix*Jar for a one-of-a-kind audio experience making music on vintage electronics instruments and having sonic conversations with the community: “Let’s Make Some Sounds!” People of all sonic skill levels are invited to experiment with sound without the pressure of a formal musical outcome.
  • Who will move their bodies in joyful protest? “What Will You Dance For? (The Exuberant Activist Body),” presented by the artist collective Don’t You Feel It Too? invites participants to dance their wild and embodied states of resilience and resistance. Visitors can try this form of mind-body training, exuberant art, flash mob and street protest.
  • The winner of the 2019 Creative City Challenge, “Radical Playground,” is a participatory art installation by Candida Gonzalez and Mary Anne Quiroz. Visitors can try their hands at painting an “alejibre” and dance to the beats of all-femme DJ collective Indigo Crew throughout the nights of Northern Spark. The artists invite indigenous communities and communities of color to a space where they feel free to gather, to play, to heal.
  • The begena, an Ethiopian harp, is an instrument that has been around for centuries. Festivalgoers who visit “Begena At Night: The ceremony of Ethiopian art through different mediums” by Yilma Hailu will experience different aspects of Ethiopian art including traditional instruments such as the begena, gesture paintings and coffee ceremonies.
  • Created by artist Kelly Leaf, “Poetry People/People Poetry: A Community Conversation” is about making personal statements of belonging. People can choose anthems, slogans or phrases from a selection of large word cards. The statements will be photographed, be posted to Instagram and become a line in a community poem.
  • And finally, artist Joshua McGarvey wants to highlight the ability of humans to “Synchronize” heartbeats. Participants are invited to wear harnesses that allow them to feel the heartbeat of the person sitting across from them, stare into their eyes, match breathing and feel the presence of another.

Find more information about Northern Spark.

The Creative City Challenge is a program of the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy of the City of Minneapolis created in in collaboration with The Commons and Northern


NEA Our Town

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) FY2020 Our Town guidelines are now available.

NEA Our Town applications require two primary partners; a nonprofit organization and a local government entity. One of these two primary partners must be a cultural (arts or design) organization. Matching grants range from $25,000 to $200,000.

Each local government -- whether applying as the lead applicant or as the primary partner with a nonprofit organization -- is limited to two (2) applications. Based on the NEA guidelines, the City of Minneapolis will select up to two (2) projects to apply for/partner with.
The deadline for the City of Minneapolis process will be announced soon. 
Watch for updates in future newsletters and visit the City of Minneapolis Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy webpage for the most current information and details about the City's application process.

For further information about the City's process contact Gülgün Kayim at or 612-673-2488.

Call for Artists: Minneapolis Art Wraps

Art Wraps on utility boxes

The City of Minneapolis is seeking 20 artists to create the next generation of Minneapolis Art Wraps. The Art Wrap program is a collection of pre-approved utility box wrap designs that are available to organizations through our Public Art Permitting Program. The City of Minneapolis invites artists of all experience levels from Minnesota to submit unique designs for utility boxes that will be displayed across the city.

Optional Artist Informational Meetings:

  • Tuesday, June 4, 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. Washburn Library Meeting Room, 5244 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Thursday June 6, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. North Regional Library North Meeting Room, 1315 Lowry Ave N, Minneapolis

Minneapolis Art Wraps Call for Artists.

Amount: $1,100 for Single Design; $2,500 for Suite Designs
Deadline: Intent to apply due July 1. Application due by 4 p.m., July 2.

Events to connect and celebrate the Cedar-Riverside community!

Join Springboard for the Arts, The West Bank Business Association, and neighborhood partners for a series of projects this spring and summer to connect and celebrate the Cedar-Riverside community!

Events include a creative lighting artwork display to increase safety, a youth artist exhibit, a large, community-designed banner, an intergenerational film about the West Bank community, an area clean-up, and neighborhood-wide celebration. All events are free and family-friendly.

  • June 7, West Bank Get Together: A celebration of music and beautification of the West Bank neighborhood through sound art, music and community and cleaning.
  • June 7, Feynuus Lighting Artwork Display: A creative lighting display in Currie Park will showcase how to make the area safer while educating people about the Feynuus, an important source of lighting in Somalia.
  • June 8, Living the Dream Banner Inauguration: An unveiling of a large, community-designed banner that reflects the current and future growing industry present on the West Bank.
  • June 8, Hope Through Art Youth Artworks Display: A display of artwork created by Cedar-Riverside youth mentored by local artist Allen Christian from the House of Balls.
  • June 9, West Bank 6 Story Film Display: A viewing of a film that counters the negative perceptions maintained by many about the peaceful community of West-Bank.

Read all event details on the West Bank Business Association website.

Coming up

Join Gulgun Kayim, Director of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy for office hours in the community, on Fridays from 9-10:30 a.m. Community members are welcome to attend and set the agenda in an informal setting, no reservations necessary. Dates and locations listed below.

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