Art Blocks


About Art Blocks

About Art Blocks:

Photo by Bruce Silcox.

What is Art Blocks?

Art Blocks is a program that allows artists to use their artistic practice to deepen relationships on the blocks where they live. Each year, we recruit an array of artists from various levels of experience and multiple disciplines. Through a series of conversations and dinners, the artists dream up an event or series of arts-based interactions that explore the history, skills, identities, passions, and stories that make up a city block. By the end of the summer, the artists have played a central role in deepening existing relationships or forming new ones between neighbors.

Photo by Bruce Silcox.

Why did we dream up Art Blocks?

Art Blocks is an opportunity to reach deeper into our community, get connected with our neighbors on a personal level through exciting artistic activities, and, in the end, strengthen the relationships that make the area around Pillsbury House and Theatre a more vibrant place for everyone to live.

There is a high concentration of artists that live in the Central, Bryant, Bancroft, and Powderhorn neighborhoods. We believe that artists play a pivotal role in envisioning and co-creating opportunities for exchange and expression and reveal nuanced perspectives on place.

We recognize that in order for our neighborhoods to do the urgent work of determining and shaping a more equitable future, people need to have healthy and productive relationships with one another. Art Blocks artists are building those relationships, one block at a time.

Photo by Bruce Silcox.

The goals of this program are as follows:

  • To increase access to the arts among the 23,000 people living in Central, Bryant, Bancroft and Powderhorn Park neighborhoods of South Minneapolis.
  • To increase connections and attachment among residents and artists.
  • To train and support artists living in these four neighborhoods in leadership skills and diverse approaches to arts-based engagement.

Photo by Bruce Silcox.


2017 Artists

Molly Van Avery

Molly Van Avery | 35th and 11th Ave Molly will host the 5th annual Poetry and Pie Picnic in Powderhorn ...
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Bruce Silcox

Bruce Silcox | 35th and 13th Ave Bruce will continue to create and distribute postcards and display images on his ...
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Rebecca Rayman

Rebecca Rayman | 39th and 17th Ave Rebecca is a clay artist who will teach her neighbors how to create ...
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Esther Ouray

Esther Ouray | 33rd and Columbus Ave Esther will host a screening of Dan Bergin’s newest documentary that focuses on ...
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Farhia Omar

Farhia Omar | 33rd and 3rd Ave Farhia, a multidisciplinary and visual artist, will create a new painting for her ...
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Jessica Lopez Lyman & Emmanuel Ortiz

Jessica Lopez Lyman & Emmanuel | Ortiz 31st and Elliot Ave Jessica and Emmanuel are creating a short film about ...
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Florence Hill & Blayn Lemke

Florence Hill & Blayn Lemke | Alleys on 31st through 33rd Street between Chicago and Elliot Avenues Florence and Blayn ...
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Zoe Sommers Haas

Zoe Sommers Haas | 32nd and Portland Zoe is holding her third annual Haunted Front Porch on Halloween. Using their ...
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Douglas Ewart

Douglas Ewart | 37th and 17th Ave Douglas will create instruments to contribute sonic joy in the march against gentrification ...
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Junauda Petrus

Junauda Petrus | 32nd and Columbus Ave Junauda will be previewing her film “Sweetness of Wild” at an outdoor screening at ...
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Xiaolu Wang & Niky Duxburry

Xiaolu Wang & Niky Duxburry | 38th and 40th  and 12th Ave Xiaolu and Niky will create interactive, mosaicked chalkboards that ...
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Lacey Prpić Hedtke

Lacey Prpić Hedtke Lacey will host a series of workshops for community members create Suffragette-inspired banners around the themes of ...
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Valerie Deus

Valerie Deus | 35th and Clinton Ave Valerie is a poet who will create a zine called We/Here that will ...
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Sayge Carroll

Sayge Carroll | 41st and Chicago Ave Sayge will host her second Good Food Good Neighbors Harvest celebration in her ...
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Wing Young Huie

Wing Young Huie Wing will approach people, businesses, organizations, and places of worship and play in the four neighborhoods and ...
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Erin Sharkey

Erin Sharkey | 31st and 12th Ave Historical Research, Place and Storytelling is an exploration of hyperlocal history and the ...
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Ed Bok Lee and Bridget Lee

Ed Bok Lee and Bridget Lee | 33rd and 10th Ave Ed and Bridget will discuss with their neighbors the ...
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Den-Zell Gillard

Den-Zell Gillard | Churches along 4th Ave Den-Zell is a Bryant neighborhood photographer who believes in the preservation of culture ...
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Fernanda Sequeiros

Fernanda Sequeiros | Central Neighborhood Fernanda runs CANDO’s Plant, Grow, Share program that educates people on how to grow and ...
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Art Blocks Birdhouse

Celebrate an outdoor exhibit or original birdhouses by Jade Townsend & Witt Siasoco inspired by a summer of over 25 Art Blocks projects that strengthened relationships, block by block.

Pillsbury House + Theatre is thrilled to announce a new partnership with HECUA and their Art for Social Change course.

This House is Not for Sale. Open House Openings.

Join Art Block Leader Molly Van Avery for a front yard celebration featuring poetry by Moheb Soliman, screenprinting with Witt Siasoco, live music by Martin Dosh, food, and festivities.

Art Block leaders with their social analytics mapping.

“Sociography” This poem was written by Molly Van Avery after a dinner conversation with the 2015 Art Block leaders in May.

people listening to poetry at the 2014 Poetry Picnic

Our Art Blocks program is introducing a new Block Swap initiative in which Art Block leaders team up to host larger scale events!

This poem was written by Molly Van Avery after a dinner conversation with the 2015 Art Block leaders in March. “poverty forces creativity…”

Xavier Tavera Zine preview

Come celebrate another awesome photography project in South Minneapolis! Art Block leader Xavier Tavera will share portraits he as taken of small business owners on the South Side.

Poetry Picnic, June 27, 6pm

A celebration of language, food and summer light, the event includes a free picnic dinner prepared by Youth Farm, music, and poetry delivered to your blanket by powerful poets.

Artist Eduardo Cardenas is facilitating a community building art project with his neighbors to build and re-make playful structures.


Art Blocks Volume One features the photographic work of resident photographer Bruce Silcox taken in the Central, Bryant, Bancroft, and Powderhorn neighborhoods of South Minneapolis between 2015-2017. The images are vibrant examples of what happens when the creativity of artists is unleashed in their very own yards and blocks, sparking connection and deepening relationships between neighbors.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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an integral part of Pillsbury United Communities