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.






Sayge Carroll will host the third annual Harvest Feast. She will transform her backyard into a gathering place for food, neighbors, music, and a chef-driven meal featuring food from her neighbors’ gardens. Sayge will create the pottery for people to eat on and then gift them to people to take home.

Esther Ouray’s project, “There is so Much Trouble in the World: Kinehora (Yiddish for No Evil Eye)”, involved Esther inviting her neighbors to a gathering with a fresh bouquet of flowers. At the gathering pots for flowers were painted with the greeting Hello, inviting neighbors to get to know each other as a way to heal from a traumatic event that happened on her block.

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.


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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