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Putting Creativity to Work: Stronger Communities Through Locally Rooted Art and Design

Minneapolis, MN
September 14, 2011

The Twin Cities is a culturally and economically vibrant metropolis with an industrious populous that has used the area's natural resources and human assets to build a region that is consistently ranked as one of the most livable in the country. The area's arts sector is renowned for a quality, breadth, and depth that exceed expectations for a city of its size.
However the Twin Cities also boasts some of the worst employment, health, education, and housing disparities in the nation. One of the neighborhoods that suffer most in terms of unequal access to opportunity and equitable outcomes is North Minneapolis where thirty to fifty percent of residents are under 18 years old and the majority are people of color.
Organizations and individuals in North Minneapolis have built a successful track record demonstrating that art and design is an effective way to leverage this communities' greatest asset – an abundant population of youth of color – as the foundation for equitable, sustainable, locally driven development. The spring 2011 B/LF explored and investigated questions that shape efforts to grow art and design based community development to a scale necessary to build stronger communities from the ground up.

Participants saw high energy short case study and best practices presentations, engaged in small group table discussions, dissected models and ideas in hands-on creative mapping activities, toured local neighborhoods in order to see examples of arts-based development activities in Minneapolis and enjoyed an exhibition of ideas and asset based proposals for engaging design in building stronger communities.

Program:    MN Program 2011.pdf

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