MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Calling all artists. A new project is being launched in Block E and the Hennepin Theater Trust wants your work.

The idea is to give business owners a whole new perspective on what available usable space can offer them, energizing the area by filling blank store front canvasses with art.

Hennepin Avenue is full of life. But its store fronts are not. Businesses have closed. Block E now stands for “empty.”

“It’s a blank canvas,” said Tom Hoch, Hennepin Theatre Trust President and CEO. “If you’re an artist, we want you here.”

Made Here is an initiative thought about by the Hennepin Theatre Trust.

“The art project is called Made Here and it is one of our strategies for knitting together Hennepin Avenue using arts and culture,” Hoch said.

Pop Up galleries and local artists will soon showcase their works in lease-able space.

“If you can make a visual display of the work you make here in Minnesota then this is your opportunity to showcase that,” said Joan Vorderbruggen, artist coordinator for the Hennepin Cultural District.

There’s already one storefront filled. It showcases locally made custom furniture.

“The idea is not only to display Minnesota art and artists but to also showcase the spaces that are available for lease, first in the cultural district then throughout downtown,” Hoch said.

The artists get credit and their contact information listed, so people like what they see, they can buy the art, too.

“This is about transforming and asking people to re-think everything they thought about downtown and this is a good place to start,” Hoch said.

Block E could have 40 artists and art collectors.
Anywhere there’s a vacant storefront, the cultural initiative wants to get creative.

“Block E is iconic in many ways about downtown both good and bad,” Hoch said. “We want to shift that to good and have people think this is the place you want to be.”

They’re still looking for artists interested in displaying their works.

They’re looking at everything from photography to fashion and will help provide lighting and displays.

The deadline to submit is Sept. 3 and the target opening is Sept. 27. For more information, click here.