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.






Wing Young Huie’s project “Shifting Identities” will involve Wing photographing five people in the four neighborhoods connected by 38th & Chicago, each in two ways that show their shifting identities (diptychs) for a total of 10 photos. Wing will interview each person and collaboratively write a back-story that will complicate and challenge the perceptions of their photos.

Niky Duxbury will make two ceramic little tea cups for folks on her block – one for them and one to give as a gift or share a drink with someone. This gift will come with encouragement to spend a few moments with another person over tea.

Daniel Bergin, Xiaolu Wang, and Junauda Petrus will be showing new films they have been commissioned to make through Art Blocks using a portable bike trailer projector called the Mobile Cinema.

Florence Hill will bring neighbors together to paint on a garage mural at 3200 Elliot Av. This piece will feature words from songs, poems, or quotations, that echos the original lyrics and music on the garage at 3238 Elliot Av. and serve to connect the two ends of our block.

Jessica Lopez Lyman will be creating a block-long poem with lines/stanzas on every one of her neighbor’s lawns.

Plant-Grow-Share will integrate arts-based community engagement into its free produce give aways at the Little Free Farmer’s Market, at its main garden, and at its community meals and bonfires.

Summer Cypher Minneapolis gives our community a free expression space that hosts pop-up dance parties, graffiti artists, and whatever else artists want to have happen there.  Summer Cypher consists of Kimani Beard and Teddy Grimes as the creators and Heather Farley as the organizer

Erin Sharkey will be coordinating public rehearsals of music and magic for her Sweetness of Wild film series.

Lacey will create a satin banner, stretching the width of her street, to act as a gateway or healing portal to pass under. It will have protective symbols sewn on, printed as cyanotypes, and will incorporate braided hairwork. It will also have something at ground level for people to take with them as talismans.

Zoe Haas will host another Haunted Front Porch extravaganza on Halloween, transforming her porch and front yard into a hilarious, scary, epic community ritual.


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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