The 'Parklot' to Open 7/11

The 'Parklot' to Open 7/11

The "Parklot," Minneapolis' new, first-of-its-kind pop-up park, and Made Here, downtown's new urban walking gallery, will launch from 7 p.m. to midnight, Friday, July 11, 2014 in the surface parking lot adjacent to the Orpheum Theatre between 9th and 10th Streets. The Parklot will be the center of the Trust's Summer in the City celebration, a fun public party also featuring free walking tours of the newly installed Made Here window Showcases, large scale projections on the Orpheum's outer wall, a variety of street musicians including accordionist Mark Stillman, urban and break dancing, comedy improvisation by Brave New Workshop, a cash bar, a food truck and other highlights to create a vibrant and welcoming city oasis.

The Parklot uniquely transforms the normally utilitarian Orpheum Theatre parking lot on Hennepin Avenue into an inviting, friendly space with colorfully painted building walls and street surfaces, landscaping and greenery such as trees, flowers and other plants. The seating and a performance area, inspired by sustainable practices, are crafted from wooden shipping pallets. The Parklot is a collaborative project involving businesses, educational organizations and other downtown stakeholders. Weather permitting, it will remain open into the fall. The Parklot provides a template for upcoming initiatives and is presented by Bank of America with additional support from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Damon Farber, Tangletown Gardens and LOLL Designs.

Friday, July 11 also marks the official launch of Made Here, downtown's new urban walking gallery and the largest storefront window initiative in the country. Temporarily filling empty spaces with Minnesota artwork, some 40 window "Showcases" encompassing 15 venues and covering nearly 15 city blocks will be unveiled. Made Here celebrates creativity from across Minnesota and the displays have been created by more than 50 individual local artists, 11 artist collaborations and a group of local companies including presenting sponsor Andersen Windows, recognized as a premiere Minnesota heritage brand. In addition, the popular Pedalstar Gallactica, a bicycle powered kinetic sculpture, returns for the evening for the public to view and ride during at the Highland Bank Court building, 811 LaSalle Avenue.

Standout Made Here projects include a pop-up gallery featuring work from the Somali Museum of Minnesota, highlighting two authentic huts shipped from Djibouti, Somalia, as well as artifacts, digital media and paintings demonstrating nomadic life; and a project by artist Robin Schwartzman, a 2014 Jerome Grant recipient, who will install "No Vacancy," a video projection of lights, shadows and ghostly figures on the second floor of the "Chevy's" building on 7th Street and Hennepin Avenue. Artists Venus DeMars and Mach Fox are mounting "Space Lounge" with music and film projections in the former National Camera Exchange Building at 930 Hennepin. Other Made Here window Showcases will commemorate the Minnesota Twins All Stars and celebrate photographer Edward Curtis and the North American Indian.

In addition to visual artists, the Showcase windows are being created by a variety of organizations including the Arts Institute International Minnesota, the University of Minnesota College of Design, Dunwoody Institute and the University of Minnesota Duluth School of Fine Arts; the architectural firms of Perkins + Will, U + B and DLR Group; and Minnesota-based companies including Andersen Windows and Faribault Woolen Mill Company. The window displays encompass 16 mediums including painting, photographs, textiles and even an art vending station. Some incorporate digital technology and encourage viewers to capture or alter their own image, such as Playatta, an photo/video digital playground.

Made Here and The Parklot are ongoing collaborations activating the downtown Minneapolis Cultural District, a walkable center of arts, culture and economic activity that benefits residents, business and property owners, artists and visitors. The Made Here projects, directed by Joan Vorderbruggen, the Trust's Cultural District Arts Coordinator, highlight the rich diversity of our cultural community. The Cultural District is an initiative with partners including Hennepin Theatre Trust, Walker Art Center, Artspace and the City of Minneapolis.