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The Road Map travels to you!

Last week, the traveling Creative City Road Map exhibit wrapped up its stint at the Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) and made its way south east to the Brian Coyle Community Center.

Music and discussion at UROC

uroc photoBefore leaving UROC, artist engagement team members Keegan Xavi and Chrys Carroll hosted a “loop back” event full of music, delicious food from Ghandi Mahal Restaurant, and discussion about the Road Map and arts in Minneapolis.

After a welcome from Keegan and Chrys, Representative Keith Ellison took the stage where he strummed tunes on his guitar and waxed poetic on the importance of artists and arts in our community. He said that one result of the Road Map planning process has been building a base of constituents that share values and understanding of needs in the arts ecology.

Keegan and Chrys took people on a tour of the exhibit and then led a discussion about the Road Map, including individual artists’ needs and how it would be implemented.

A big thank you to Hawona Sullivan Janzen, Gallery Curator and Special Projects Coordinator at UROC, for hosting the traveling exhibit and the “loop back” at UROC.

Coffee, tea and conversation at Brian Coyle Center

Last Fridexhibit with rachel and aliay, Road Map team members Rachel Engh and Abdiwahab Ali hosted an informal Coffee Talk at Brian Coyle. With refreshments from Mapps Coffee and Tea and Afro Deli, two local Cedar Riverside businesses, Rachel and Abdiwahab answered questions about the planning process and led a conversation about the Road Map, including discussing arts and cultural activities going on in the neighborhood.

In attendance were representatives from The Cedar Cultural Center, West Bank Business Association, Cedar Riverside Neighborhood Revitalization Program, and the University of Minnesota. Abdiwahab was available to translate Road Map content into Somali for non-English Somali speakers.

A big thank you to the Brian Coyle Center staff for making us feel welcome!

Last chance to see the Road Map exhibit!

Up next, the Road Map exhibit travels to its last stop, Two Rivers Gallery, from Nov. 2-10, with a “loop back” event on Nov. 10.

Exhibit and “loop back” at Midtown Global Market

IMG_1791Artist Engagement Team members Sha Cage and E.G. Bailey, in partnership with Alejandra Tobar-Alatriz of Lake Street Arts and Pangea World Theater hosted the first “loop back” event Monday at Midtown Global Market. Opening with a poem, Sha captivated the lunch crowd and set the energy for the rest of the event.

Alejandra then introduced Elder Sharon Day, executive director of the Indigenous People’s Taskforce, who shared some words about Indigenous Peoples Day and performed an original song.

IMG_1816Sha described the Creative City Road Map planning process and E.G. shared some of the key findings from the information we collected from the community. Alejandra, who has been part of the Creative City Road Map planning process as a committee member, gave her perspective on the planning process and offered to translate the content Sha and E.G. presented into Spanish.

Sha and E.G. then led a group to the Creative City Road Map exhibit, which had been displayed for the previous week on the Midtown Global Market’s Art Wall. They talked about the exhibit and filled in the comment cards with ideas and questions regarding the Road Map.

The “loop backs” are designed to reach underserved communities around Minneapolis and return to geographies we engaged during the first part of the planning process. The goals of the “loop backs” are to report back on what we heard, and ask for feedback on the draft Road Map and ideas for how to achieve Road Map goals. Join us at the next exhibit and “loop back” event at the University of Minnesota Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center Oct. 14-20.

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Spoken word artist A Comeaux brings data to life

9R8A6505“We got people that want to do the art right in their city but they don’t even know the same group of people all the way on the other side want to do it, too. How can we collectively let them know you’re welcome here? Your skin might not look like mine but you’re my brother anyway.”

Spoken word artist A Comeaux lit up the Creative City Road Map work group meeting on May 14. A Comeaux was commissioned to create two pieces using answers to survey questions: “ what is your favorite place in Minneapolis and why?” and “in what ways can the City of Minneapolis help you advance your artistic, design or creative practice?” Through her performances, A Comeaux vibrantly brought the data to life, providing a creative way for work group members to be immersed in the data. View one of A Comeaux’s pieces from May 14 here.

Data Update

On April 15, the Minneapolis Arts Commission hosted a Data Update. We shared information about who filled out our survey, including the age, race, and place of residence of people who took the survey online and in paper form. Find our presentation below; click on specific slides to see them up close.

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Community mural visioning sessions

On Wednesday, Feb. 25 and Thursday, Feb. 26, the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) hosted two community mural visioning sessions at the Little Earth community and the Minneapolis American Indian Center and a total of approximately 100 people attended.  Along with artists Gregg Deal and Cheyenne Randall, attendees participated in a World Cafe dialogue to discuss the issues of healing from historical trauma and reclaiming traditional tobacco ways, especially about keeping tobacco sacred. Creative City Road Map artist Keegan Xavi attended both visioning sessions and asked participants to carry their visioning to a city-wide level and imagine what their creative city looks like and share their vision on the Creative City Road Map Survey.

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The Creative City Road Map Over the Holiday Season

As many efforts do in late December and early January, the Creative City Road Map slowed down over the holiday season. However, there were a few vibrant moments that punctuated the end of 2014 and the start of the new year.
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Artist Engagement team, Sha and E.G. hosted a Hip Hop Caroling at Brian Coyle Center on the West Bank. Sha notes, “It turned out to be THE highlight of all our engagements. We were at the Coyle center for about 4 hours on Dec 22nd while there was a basketball tournament and community members dropping in. With the help of Bedlam Theater and its infamous Art Van, we set up a hip hop stage outside and an inside room with food and conversation alongside spontaneous spoken word poetry. Huge support from Shavunda Horsley, Farrington Starnes, and Ifrah Mansour.  Surveys were available in Somali and English. Some of the elders took the Somali ones while most youth filled out the English. We noticed most participants marked ‘Black’ on the forms. We flagged this for future engagement work as we may want to know how many new americans/immigrants are participating in the process so creating a different bubble for them to check could be wise.  The best part of the night was about 50 people (mostly youth) outside with music playing and a 7 year old girl singing into the microphone followed by a teenage Somali male rapping about cultural identity and community. Everyone kept saying ‘more of these’ — more events like this!’ 
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And then on Christmas Day, the team made a stop at Safari Restaurant. The team notes,“Big luv to Ifrah Mansour for facilitating the engagement at the Safari on Christmas day. She suggested it to us as she knew there was going to be a big gathering of Somali members and was excited about the Creative City Road Map committee getting Somali surveys made. She also mentioned that Xmas was not a big day for them so people would indeed come out and it would offer a chance for her to talk to them about the project and to have their voice included in the process. It turned out to be a HUGE success with almost 100 people there. We only wish we would have had more surveys. Still it was great to have the people so so eager to fill out the material and be ‘represented’ as they said.  This spoke volumes.”  

Open Streets: Artist-led Engagement First Days On the Streets

Sha Cage and E.G. Bailey share their reflections on their first on-street engagements at Open Streets Minneapolis.  They used a variety of engagement tools, including a dry erase board asking people to draw or write in response to the following prompt,  “A creative Minneapolis looks like this:”  See some responses in the photos below.
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“Open Streets Nicollet  was our first engagement activity so we were excited to get out there but honestly didn’t know what to expect. Were people going to want to talk to us, were folks going to be honest, did we have all the right tools, etc? We quickly got a rhythm and realized that people were appreciative of the effort to gauge their voice. They wanted to talk and they wanted someone to listen.”
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“For Open Streets Lowry, it  was just amazing to be in wide open space on such a beautiful day with such a great turn out of families, kids, and community members. There was a good amount of curiosity about the Creative Minneapolis campaign and a number of people who were willing to stop and talk art ideas, outreach, and accessibility. This was affirming. It felt good to meet the people where they live!”