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.


2018 Artists

Summer Cypher Minneapolis

Summer Cypher Minneapolis gives our community a free expression space that hosts pop-up dance parties, graffiti artists, and whatever else ...
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Florence Hill

Florence Hill will bring neighbors together to paint on a garage mural at 3200 Elliot Av. This piece will feature ...
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Wing Young Huie

Wing Young Huie’s project “Shifting Identities” will involve Wing photographing five people in the four neighborhoods connected by 38th & ...
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Niky Duxbury

Niky Duxbury will make two ceramic little tea cups for folks on her block - one for them and one ...
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Zoe Haas

Zoe Haas will host another Haunted Front Porch extravaganza on Halloween, transforming her porch and front yard into a hilarious, ...
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Plant-Grow-Share will integrate arts-based community engagement into its free produce give aways at the Little Free Farmer’s Market, at its ...
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Lacey Prpić Hedtke

Lacey will create a satin banner, stretching the width of her street, to act as a gateway or healing portal ...
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Jessica Lopez Lyman

Jessica Lopez Lyman will be creating a block-long poem with lines/stanzas on every one of her neighbor’s lawns ...
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Daniel Bergin, Xiaolu Wang, and Junauda Petrus

Daniel Bergin, Xiaolu Wang, and Junauda Petrus will be showing new films they have been commissioned to make through Art ...
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Erin Sharkey

Erin Sharkey will be coordinating public rehearsals of music and magic for her Sweetness of Wild film series ...
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Valerie Deus and Den-Zell Gilliard

Valerie Deus and Den-Zell Gilliard will be working together to create the next addition of We/Here, a Southside literary and ...
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Sayge Carroll

Sayge Carroll will host the third annual Harvest Feast. She will transform her backyard into a gathering place for food, ...
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Esther Ouray

Esther Ouray’s project, “There is so Much Trouble in the World: Kinehora (Yiddish for No Evil Eye)”, involved Esther inviting ...
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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