Kim Eslinger

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Claudia Kittock
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Doug Verdier

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Minneapolis Riverfront News

Covering life, work, and play in the Historic Mill District and Downtown Minneapolis Riverfront neighborhoods. Have an opinion, local news or events to share?  Contact us.


Hennepin County Library’s Teen Tech Squad is Hiring Teens to Research, Design and Lead Interactive Workshops

Hennepin County Library’s Teen Tech Squad is hiring teens to research, design and lead interactive workshops for and with youth, and teach STEAM skills through tinkering and making. STEAM includes science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. 

Teen leaders work with adult mentors to create innovative programming for school-aged participants in programs held afternoons and on weekends. Teen Tech Squad employees work approximately 25 hours per month on nights and weekends, and earn $15/hour. Teens ages 16 to 18 can apply online at The library system will accept applications March 17 to April 7.

The program gets financial support from Friends of the Hennepin County Library.

Teens lead workshops at seven library locations

In its fourth year, Hennepin County Library’s Teen Tech Squad program has employed 71 teens; currently, 30 teens work at Brookdale, Brooklyn Park, Eden Prairie, Franklin, Hosmer, North Regional and Best Buy Teen Tech Center at Minneapolis Central Library downtown. More than 1,200 students have participated in Teen Tech programming.

Library staff members and teen employees at several libraries are available for media interviews. Please contact Maria Elena Baca at or call 612-348-7865 for assistance setting up an interview.


Washington Avenue Reconstruction Update

Generic Save the Date AB bannerVia a March 15 e-newsletter from Hennepin County:

Reconstruction work to resume on Monday, March 27

Starting Monday, March 27, eastbound traffic on Washington Avenue (County Road 152) will be detoured to 4th Street between Hennepin and Park avenues. This detour will remain in place until fall.

Westbound Washington Avenue will remain open through 2017, although some short-term lane reductions are possible.

The closure will allow crews to resume work on the north side of Washington Avenue between 4th and 3rd avenues and to begin work on the south side of Washington Avenue between 2nd and Hennepin Avenues.  Crews are removing and replacing utilities, as well as reconstructing the road and sidewalks. New traffic signals will be installed. And, there will be a new cycle track (off-street bike path) on both sides of the road.

When complete this fall, the Washington Avenue reconstruction project will:
• Improve the driving surface, curbs, gutters and medians
• Add dedicated turn lanes at key intersections
• Provide more space for pedestrians and shorten crossing distances at intersections
• Provide one-way cycle tracks, or protected bike lanes

Contact us

Project website:
Project email:
Project phone: 612-543-3722
See active projects on our interactive road construction map.

Learn more about how transportation is connecting people to places.


2017 Minneapolis Bike Tour Will Be September 17 - Registration Now Open

2017 BT Logo

Early Bird registration now open for the 2017 Minneapolis Bike Tour 

All riders will get a $10 discount through the end of March on their registration fee. This year, rather than receiving a T-Shirt, riders will have the option to purchase a moisture-wicking, Technical Shirt. Click on the Merchandise tab during the registration process if you are interested in purchasing a shirt.



Public Hearing Set For New Transportation and Transit Sales Tax

Via a March 15 Hennepin County e-newsletter:

Votes Tuesday approved a public hearing to gather feedback on transportation and transit tax, approved an agreement that will help secure resources for the homeless, renewed funding that helps teen parents, approved agreements relating to road reconstruction in Medina and appointed candidates to citizen advisory boards.

The board approved a public hearing to gather public comment on the imposition of a new sales tax of up to one-half cent and the potential uses of that revenue for transportation and transit projects.

This tax would replace the current sales tax of one-quarter cent imposed by Hennepin County for the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB).

The public hearing will be held before the Public Works Committee on Tuesday, March 21, at 1:30 p.m. in the Board Room (A-2400) of the Hennepin County Government Center, 300 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis.

All are welcome.

Prior to the hearing, Hennepin County Public Works staff will hold two open houses to share information about the new tax and its potential uses. Staff will answer questions and take written comments.

Both open houses will be held at county libraries on Monday, March 20, 5 – 7 p.m., with a short presentation at 6 p.m.

Read more about the action.

Learn more about how Hennepin County is connecting people to places.


Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition Announces 2017 Open Streets Dates

Via a March 15 e-newsletter from the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition:

Open Streets 2017 is here!

It's getting warmer outside which can mean only one thing - it's almost time for Open Streets again! We're happy to announce the seven summer Open Streets events for this year; we hope you'll join us at one or many of them!

If you're a business, artist, performer, or community org - sign up for your spot on the street today!


MPRB is Looking for Youth Sports Coaches for Spring Activities

Farview Baseball

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is seeking enthusiastic volunteer coaches for youth Track & Field, T-Ball, Baseball and Softball.

  • Practices start in April games/meets begin May.
  • Athletes range from 5-18 years old
  • Teams practice 1-2 times per week
  • Games/meets are scheduled for a weeknight and/or Saturdays
  • MPRB will provide orientation for all new coaches
  • Can't coach this Spring? We'll need coaches for fallFootball, Soccer, and Volleyball

Click here to receive more information or to express interest in MPRB volunteer opportunities

Contact: 612-230-6493,


Free NCHC Fan Skate at Target Center March 16


National Collegiate Hockey Conference Frozen Faceoff offers the public free opportunity to skate the ice at Target Center

If you’ve ever wanted to hit the ice in a big-time arena and see what it’s like to be a college or professional hockey player, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Frozen Faceoff offers you a free chance to do just that. As part of the championship events, Sports Minneapolis is sponsoring the 2017 NCHC Fan Skate from 7 to 8:30 p.m.March 16 at Target Center.

The fan skate is your chance to take to the same ice where the college teams play, in the center of a 20,000-seat arena. Fans can enter Target Center’s main lobby doors on 1st Avenue beginning at 6:30 p.m., and skate rentals will be available for purchase. Fans are welcome to bring their own skates, but no sticks, pucks, balls, or skate-assist equipment will be allowed.

#askMPLS your questions!

Whether you’re following one of the NCHC teams to town, or if you live in the area, tweet to #askMPLS to ask questions about Minneapolis while you’re attending the events. Meet Minneapolis team members can provide recommendations on what to do, where to eat, how to get around, and just about anything you’d like to know about the city. And if you’re visiting Minneapolis for the Frozen Faceoff, the fan skate or the St. Patrick’s Day parade, be sure to stop by Minneapolis Visitor Information on Nicollet, located in the center of the action at Nicollet and Fifth Street. It’s the perfect place to plan your time in Minneapolis, learn about transportation options, or find the perfect gift made by a Minnesota artist.


The NCHC is an eight-school NCAA Division I men’s hockey conference in the midst of its fourth season. Its members are: Colorado College, the University of Denver, Miami University, the University of Minnesota Duluth, the University of Nebraska Omaha, the University of North Dakota, St. Cloud State University and Western Michigan University. Since the NCHC began play in 2013-14, 13 NCHC programs have qualified for the NCAA Tournament, including five Frozen Four berths in the NCHC’s three-year history, and its first national champion in North Dakota in 2016. NCHC programs have won a combined 18 NCAA national championships in their history. For more information, visit the NCHC website at


Sports Minneapolis, powered by Meet Minneapolis, works to recruit, enhance and produce sporting events in the Minneapolis area for the benefit of our community. We do this by partnering with event rights holders to assist them with venue selection, event services, volunteer identification, marketing and promotional support and on-site recognition opportunities in order to ensure a successful event. For more information, visit


Minneapolis River Current

*****Events and Activities*****

Weisman Art Museum

Weisman Art Museum, 333 E. River Road

Dear Darwin

On exhibit February 25 – July 23

Featuring the work of local artists Vesna Kittelson and Carolyn Halliday and New York based artist Julia Randall, Dear Darwin presents their individual explorations on the themes of natural science, evolution and the figure of Darwin himself. Kittelson’s books present imaginary “evolved” flowers from Mrs. Darwin’s Garden while Halliday presents passages on evolution written on forms knitted from sausage casings. Randall’s large drawings present creatures and plants that have advanced beyond imagination. For information:

Veterans Clay Vessel | Making Veterans only workshop

Monday, March 20, 9 am – 4 pm

Hosted by visual artists and American war veterans Suzanne Asher and Matthew Krousey, this workshop will address a series of questions raised by WAM’s exhibition The Talking Cure through the creation of clay objects. No experience is required. Lunch will be included. Can’t make it to the entire workshop? No problem. Contact organizers with your availability, and they’ll coordinate drop in times. If you have questions, please contact Laura at Reserve your ticket at For information: presents:


March 9 – 12

The Lab Theater, 700 First St. N.

Featuring a company of fourteen dancers, {IN}SOMNO marvels at the breadth of the subconscious and uncovers exactly where we go, in sleep. Our waking experiences and deepest thoughts are brought to vivid intersection each night when we close our eyes and leave our conscious selves. At its best, a restorative eutopia; at its worst, an exhausting infinitude, the sleeping mind creates an alternate universe embedded within the brain’s electrical impulses. $30 premium seating (includes early admission); $15 general admission; $10 student rush (ID required). For information and tickets:


Keegan’s 15th Anniversary Celebration

Friday, March 10, 7 pm

Keegan’s Pub, 16 University Ave. NE

Keegan’s invites you to help celebrate their 15th anniversary. All day long you can get $7 fish and chips, $3 Summit taps and $4 Guinness. At 7 pm, they’ll be tapping a special Summit firkin, the Guinness Team will be there and Test Site 67 is coming back to play from 8 pm to 12 midnight.


Milwaukee Road Bar Grand Re-Opening

Friday, March 10, 8 pm

The Depot Renaissance, 225 Third Ave. S.

Come down to the Milwaukee Road Bar for their grand reopening. They’ll be hosting the Stone Arch Trio playing all of your favorite modern jazz and blues favorites. Join your friends or make some new ones while you enjoy the candle light and share in the great vibe of the room, staff and libations. For information on this and other events at the Depot Renaissance:


St. Patrick’s Day Tent Party

Friday, March 17, 3 pm on

Keegan’s Pub, 16 University Avenue NE

Keegan’s annual St. Patrick’s Day tent party starts at 3 pm with Reverse Cowboy, followed by the Minnesota Police Pipe Band at 4:30 pm and Four Pints Shy at 7 pm. There will be a special food menu and beer and drink specials. For information:


Reconnecting North Minneapolis to the Mighty Mississippi

Tuesday, March 21, 5:30 -- 8:30 pm

UROC, 2001 Plymouth Ave. N., Minneapolis

The Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR) are excited about the new parkland coming to the riverfront in North Minneapolis and also want it to be more easily accessible for existing North neighborhoods. Residents must currently cross bridges that are unwelcoming to pedestrians and bicyclists to reach the riverfront. Throughout 2016, Eric King of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs worked with FMR to research connections between Northside residential neighborhoods and the riverfront. At this event, Eric will summarize the study findings that spanned broadly from overcoming physical barriers such as I-94 to socioeconomic concerns such as gentrification due to riverfront redevelopment. Afterward, stick around for a panel discussion about how to take this research and use it to advocate for improved river connections in North Minneapolis. Learn more about this special presentation on the event page or sign up now. (Free. Food provided.) For information:


Irony, Paradox and Humor Authors

Tuesday, March 21, 6:30 – 9 pm

Vic’s Dining, 201 Main St. SE

Vic’s and The Loft Literary Center bring you a series of events featuring four loft authors (Michael Kleber-Diggs, Janaya Martin, LaDonna Redmond and Kathryn Savage). There will be a mingling reception at 6:30 and readings after a 7 pm introduction by The Loft. From 8 to 9 pm, there will be additional mingling, book signing and opportunity to meet the author(s). The event is free and open to the public. For directions:


Taste of West Broadway

Thursday, March 23, 5 – 8 pm

Mpls Photo Center, 2400 Second St. N.

Please join the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition for their annual fundraiser. The event is a celebration showcasing North Minneapolis assets. Food, fun and connection! $35. For information and tickets:


Samples of Classes and Activities at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts

1011 Washington Ave. S., 612-215-2520,

Hours: Monday 10 am -- 5 pm, Tuesday 10 am -- 9 pm, Wednesday-Saturday 10 am -- 5 pm, Sunday 12 noon – 4 pm

Class details, instructor biographies, registration details and online registration are all available at above web site. You may also register by calling 612-215-2520. Note: This is only a sampling of classes, focusing on those that are less expensive and that don’t require experience.

A Simple Sewn Sketchbook

with Anna Shepard

Thursday, March 23, 6 – 9 pm

In this evening workshop, make a simple, pocket-sized sketchbook with a flexible spine. Learn how to sew high-quality drawing paper onto thin, but strong, vellum tapes. Then, cover the sketchbooks in handmade decorative paper to make an attractive, soft-cover structure — ideal for the artist on the go! $55 ($50 members) + $25 supply fee. For information and to register:

Print Your Own Poster – “The Places We Love”

Saturday, March 25, 10 am – 12 noon

The theme and inspiration for this class is “The places we love.” Come to class with ideas for images of your favorite place and create a pressure-printed poster. Participants will use a Vandercook printing press to make multiple copies. Leave with unique artwork to hang in your home. For families with children 6 and up. Adult/child pair: $40 ($36 members) + $8 supply fee; additional participants (adult or child): $20 ($18 members) + $4 supply fee. For information and to register:

Asemic Writing Special Event

Saturday, March 25, 7 – 9 pm

In association with the Asemic Writing exhibit, there will be a special reading by various asemic artists and scholars, and music by Ghostband. This event is sponsored by Rain Taxi and is free and open to the public.


Sample of Activities and Classes at The Loft

1011 Washington Ave. S.

For information about The Loft’s wide variety of classes and other activities:

Motherhood and Words: Curated by Kate Hooper

Thursday, March 23, 7 – 9 pm

The Loft presents the 11th Annual Motherhood and Words Reading, which local author Kate Hopper launched in 2007 as a way to highlight literature by women writers who are also mothers. This year's readers are Shannon Gibney, Susan Ito and Judy Batalion. Kate Hopper is the founder of Motherhood & Words, author of Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers, Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood, and co-author of Silent Running, a memoir of one family’s journey with autism and running. Shannon Gibney is a writer, educator, activist and the author of See No Color (Carolrhoda Lab, 2015), a young adult novel that won the 2016 Minnesota Book Award in Young Peoples' Literature. Susan Ito is co-editor of the literary anthology A Ghost At Heart’s Edge: Stories & Poems of Adoption (North Atlantic Books). Her essays, articles and stories have won awards and nominations including the Pushcart Prize and have appeared in numerous publications. Judy Batalion was born in Montreal and worked as an art historian and comedian in London before settling in New York City, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. No suggested admission for this event. For information:

Loft Mentor Series: Reading with Laura Flynn

Friday, March 24, 7 – 8:30 pm

The Loft proudly presents a 2016-2017 Loft Mentor Series Reading with mentor Laura Flynn and participants Anthony Ceballos (poetry) and Trisha Collopy (fiction). Laura Flynn is the author of Swallow the Ocean: A Memoir (Counterpoint, 2008), which chronicles life growing up with her mother's catastrophic mental illness. It was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, and a BookSense Notable Pick for March 2008. Anthony Ceballos has been a guest on KFAI’s Write on Radio and Fresh Fruit radio programs and has read for the Intermedia Arts Queer Voices Reading Series, Minneapolis Community and Technical College's Night of Native American Music and Poetry and The Many Faces of Two-Spirit People gallery show at Two Rivers Art Gallery in Minneapolis. Trisha Collopy is a writer, book reviewer and copy editor whose journalism has appeared in the Washington Post, the Star Tribune and many other publications. Her fiction and poetry have been published in Blithe House Quarterly, rock, paper, scissors and the anthology Queer and Celtic. $10; members $5. For information:

Equilibrium: Sham-E-Ali Nayeem with Giles Li

Saturday, March 25, 8 – 9:30 pm

Equilibrium (EQ) is the Loft's Spoken Word series. This EQ features the Loft's Spoken Word Immersion Fellow, Sham-e-Ali Nayeem, with Giles Li, and is co-sponsored with Metropolitan State University's Global Poetry Festival. Also featuring DJ Nak. Sham-e-Ali Nayeem is a poet and visual artist who was born in Hyderabad, India, and raised in both the UK and the US. Recipient of the 2016 Loft Literary Center Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship, her poetry has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies. Sham-e-Ali has performed her poetry both locally and internationally. She is currently working on her forthcoming book of poetry, The City of Pearls (UpSet Press 2017). Giles Li is a nationally recognized performance poet and community educator. His writing has been taught in curricula across the country. His poetry has been published in several places, including and the Asian American Literary Review. He was one of three featured artists in the documentary film Art Beyond Borders, produced by the Transnational Studies Initiative at Harvard University, and also starred in the award-winning short comedy film The Humberville Poetry Slam. They will be joined by two students from this event's cosponsor, Metropolitan State University's Global Poetry Festival. Due to this partnership, this event is free. Due to a partnership with Metropolitan State University's Global Poetry Festival, this event is free. For information:

More Than a Single Story: Reclaiming Our Food

Sunday, March 26, 2 – 4 pm

Food has always been a tool for organizing, celebrating and creating community. By those determined to assert and maintain power, it has been a means of gaining control of the people. Human bodies and land—a natural resource like air and water, have been commodified. Food became a privilege instead of a human right. In this discussion with Pakou Hang, LaDonna Sanders Redmond, Princess Titus and Diane Wilson we will hear how colonization and commodification have affected our communities’ relationships with food and how we can reclaim the food that is meaningful to us. For information:


Sample of Performances at MacPhail Center for Music

501 Second St. S.

For more information about events (including student performances) and classes: or 612-321-0100.

Spring I Honors Recital

Friday, March 24, 7:30 pm

Antonello Hall

No tickets required. Free and open to the public. For information:

MacPhail Faculty Performance: MacPhail SongFest

Saturday, March 25, 4 pm

Antonello Hall

Join the MacPhail Voice Faculty for a night of song! No tickets required. Free and open to the public. For information:


Mill City Farmers Indoor Winter Market

Saturday, March 25, 10 am – 1 pm

Mill City Museum, 704 Second Street South

Shop for all the local produce, meat, cheeses, and artisan foods you need this winter. Plus, treat your sweetheart to some handmade jewelry, pottery and more from the market’s featured local artists! Enjoy breakfast and lunch from Salty Tart, Heritage Breads, Gorkha Palace and Chef Shack. Wander North Distillery will be at the market, offering samples of their Minneapolis-made craft cocktails. Kids can participate in the Power of Produce kids’ veggie tasting club. Each Winter Market brings a unique celebration of seasonal offerings. From 10:30 am to 1 pm Michael Keyes & Nick Jordan will be playing Americana and bluegrass music. Make sure to check out the Recipe Archive for seasonal meal ideas. For information:


Mill City Museum Programs and Events

704 Second St. S.

For more information about Mill City Museum events call 612-341-7555, or visit

Women of Mill City Family Day

Saturday, March 25, 12 noon – 3 pm

Celebrate Women's History Month with a day devoted to the women of Mill City. Enjoy performances by four Mill City Museum history players portraying 19th and 20th century women from Minneapolis and the surrounding area. Explore the museum exhibits for stories of women who contribute to Minnesota history and Minneapolis' flour milling, such as the female flour packers who began working at the Washburn A Mill in 1902. Test your skills in a "piecework challenge" against the speed of women mill workers who produced 2,200 bags of floor a day. Visitors can also dress up and have their picture taken as a 1950s "mill girl" and make their own paper hat like women flour packers wore in 1919. Included with site admission of $12 adults, $10 seniors and college students, $6 ages 5-17, free age 4 and under and MNHS members. For information:


Kroening Interpretive Center Programs

North Mississippi Regional Park, 4900 Mississippi Court

For information: 763-694-7693; for map and driving instructions:

Outdoors: Bird Signs of Spring

Saturday March 25, 1 -- 2:30 pm

With a change in weather comes a change in activity. Discover the early spring activities of our local birds by seeking out their signs of the season! Join us along the Mississippi River flyway as we watch for fishing eagles, early nesting birds and the return of waterfowl. Free for all ages. For information and to register:



*****Planning Ahead*****

Alternative Motion Project presents:


March 31 – April 2

The Lab Theater, 700 First St. N.

Alternative Motion Project (AMP) continues its commitment to create and present new contemporary dance work with its sixth annual performance, AMP#SIX. Enter a different world with each of the five pieces performed by this dynamic company that offers relentless physicality and dedicated artistry. Includes choreography by Guest Artist Jennifer Glaws (Minneapolis), live original music by composer Dameun Strange (St. Paul) and photography by Ellen Gustafson (Minneapolis). $20 general admission; $17 senior/student; $17 children under 12; $3 off with 2016 MN Fringe Festival Button. Group discounts available. For information and tickets:


Pangea World Theater presents:

5 Weeks

April 7 – 23

The Lab Theater, 700 First St. N.

Inspired by personal narratives and short stories about partition, 5 Weeks brings to stage the stories of Hindus, Muslims, Parsis, Anglo-Indians and the fate of women and children abducted during the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. Set at this pivotal moment in South Asian history, this play journeys through a complex web of narratives, bringing to life those forced to flee what they once called home, the pressures to choose allegiance and the desperate search for compassion in a time when humanity hung in the balance. $18 general admission; $15 groups of 10+; $12 students and seniors. For information and tickets:


Ann Bancroft Foundation 20th Anniversary Celebration

Thursday, April 20, 5:30 – 8:30 pm

Minneapolis Event Center, 212 Second St. NE

The Ann Bancroft Foundation invites you to join them for an exciting evening as they celebrate their 20th anniversary. They’ll reflect on the past twenty years and look forward to the next as they hear stories of past leaders, supporters and grantees. There will be an entrée food station, cash bar, live and silent auction, alumnae stories and the opportunity to spark a girl’s potential. The Ann Bancroft Foundation empowers girls to imagine something bigger and helps them reach their full potential. $25 (youth) to $125 (adult). For information and tickets:



*****Reminder of Ongoing Activities*****

Depot Rink – Closing Permanently on March 11

The Depot, 225 Third Ave. S.

It's fun, it's romantic, and it's warm in the winter. Named one of the top ten best places in the United States to ice skate by the USA Today and MSNBC, The Depot Rink is a historic downtown Minneapolis train shed that now houses a modern-day, indoor rink with floor-to-ceiling glass walls showcasing views of the downtown city skyline. Take a moment out of your busy winter schedule for the perfect place for birthday parties, family outings and reunions, school field trips, holiday parties, romantic dates, team building and employee appreciation parties. The rink offers public skating or private rink rental, a full catering menu and group party packages. For information about skating and rental rates and rink hours, visit or call 612-339-2253.


Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul

St. Anthony Main Theatres, 115 Main St. SE

In addition to first-run movies, the Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul exhibits the best of classic and contemporary cinema from around the world, including several topical festivals. To see what’s on the schedule, visit:


Live Music at Stone Arch Bar

The Depot Minneapolis, 225 Third Ave. S.

The Stone Arch Bar occasionally offers live music at the Stone Arch Bar for an enjoyable evening when you can join your friends or make new ones. For schedule information:


Live Music and Movies at Crooked Pint Ale House

Crooked Pint Ale House, 501 Washington Ave. S.

Crooked Pint Ale House is a nouveau urban pub with a local neighborhood feel that offers movies and live music. Live music every weekend features local, regional, and national performers and a range of music styles. Visit for schedule information. For more information: or 612-877-6900.


Real Ghost Tours

Fridays and Saturdays, 8 pm

St. Anthony Main, 125 Main St. SE

Visit the Other Side — beneath your feet is a world few ever see. What secrets do these 19th century limestone walls hold? What lies beneath today's bustling Mill City?

Step into the past with Real Ghost Tours of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Join a real ghost hunter on an expedition into the city's shadowlands, to meet the colorful characters of bygone days, where technology, theater and a bit of the supernatural bring lingering souls to life. Join us at 125 Main Street SE Minneapolis to touch, and be touched by, the past ... if you dare. For more information:


Mill City Museum

Museum Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am -- 5 pm; Sunday, 12 noon -- 5 pm

704 Second St. S.

Built within the limestone ruins of the Washburn A Mill - the National Historic Landmark that was once the centerpiece of the world's flour milling industry - the museum tells the story of a mighty river, a young city and how the production of flour fueled the growth of Minnesota. The museum's 12,000 square foot exhibit space is packed with fun and intrigue for visitors of all ages. Follow your nose to the Baking Lab, splash around in the water lab and enjoy the rooftop view of the riverfront. The eight-story Flour Tower show tells the story of the mill through the voices of former workers and runs throughout each day. The newly restored West Engine House features Kevin Kling's take on Minneapolis history in the movie "Minneapolis in 19 Minutes Flat" and shows every half hour. Fee: $12 adults, $10 seniors and college students with ID, $6 youth ages 5 – 17, free for children under 4 and MHS members. Call 612-341-7555 or visit for more information.


Music at Aster Café

125 Main St. SE

The Aster Café now has live music on many evenings (and weekend brunches) to complement its food and beverage offerings. For more information and a schedule: .


Guthrie Theater Backstage Tours

Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings at 10 am

Guthrie Theater, 818 Second St. S.

This 45-minute backstage tour offers a look at what goes on behind the scenes at the Guthrie. Discover the stunning and expanded features of this state-of-the-art facility and learn how the Guthrie takes its plays from script to stage, including the many intriguing steps in between. On the tour, visit the Guthrie’s various production departments, including the shops where costumes, sets and props are expertly crafted by talented artisans. The cost is $12 per person; $7 for subscribers, students or seniors. To book a tour, call the Guthrie Box Office at 612-377-2224 or order online at Additional tours may be scheduled for groups of 20 or more based on availability. Groups may call the group sales office at 612-225-6240 for information and scheduling options. Advance reservations are required for groups of 20 or more.



*****Grants, Awards, Contests and Funding Resources*****

MWMO Capital Project Grants

The deadline for applications for a Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) Capital Project Grant is Friday, April 7. Capital project grants are designed to support large-scale, innovative stormwater management projects that protect or improve water quality and habitat within the MWMO watershed. The MWMO provides both technical and financial assistance to eligible projects. Capital project grants are intended for large-scale projects that advance stormwater management technologies and/or attain the MWMO’s high standards for water quality treatment. (Smaller-scale projects may be eligible for a Stewardship Fund Grant.) Eligible projects include those that are either implemented on public land within an MWMO member community or implemented on private property and able show a demonstrable public benefit. MWMO funds are reserved for project components that are above-and-beyond typical stormwater management. Funds cannot be used to fund project components that are required by a regulating authority. In addition to water management, the MWMO underscores habitat improvement and restoration projects, as well as those projects specific to riverbank stabilization and erosion control. For more information (including how to apply):


Nonprofit Spotlight: Catholic Charities Opportunity Center

Article by Claudia Kittock, photos by Rick Kittock

Editor's note - This is the fourth in a series of articles spotlighting local nonprofits.

On a cold Thursday morning, I traveled to the Catholic Charties Opportunity Center. It’s a short walk from our neighborhood, but is a place that seems as invisible as the people who use the services. I didn’t know it was there until recently, and was mortified that I had overlooked this vital part of our city. It is a nondescript building on the busy corner of Chicago and 17th, but the work that happens inside saves lives and supports people experiencing homelessness.

I spent some time talking with Melvin, who uses the services there.  Melvin served in the Army right after Vietnam and spent most of his life working. When the economic downturn of 2008 happened, Melvin found himself laid off and without any prospects for employment. He came to Minneapolis because he had heard there were jobs here.

Melvin worked at a temp job when he got here and was laid off from that, but then found a job that lasted for 5 years. When he was laid off this last time, he needed a ‘safe place to think’ and found that at the Opportunity Center. Melvin talked about the need for more centers to help people who need a hand up and the support he has found here.  As he said, “People here tell you the truth.”


Sponsored by Catholic Charities, the mission statement is “Every person who comes through our doors is on a journey.” I saw that clearly during my visit. People often come to the Center when the shelters are closed during the day. Most shelters open around 4 or 5:00 p.m. and then close again between 7-8:00 a.m.  In between those times, there is nowhere to go. The Center is a place to get a breakfast and/or lunch and to find rest from a day of wandering the city, waiting for a place to sleep for the night.

Catholic Charities serves those most in need. For almost 150 years, they have served the poorest and most vulnerable members of our community. Today, they are the largest comprehensive social service nonprofit in the metro area. The focus of the services they offer is found in 17 locations and through 39 different programs. Catholic Charities provided more than 467,000 nights of housing and emergency shelter in 2016.

People experiencing or at risk of homelessness can find meals, shelter, help finding jobs, securing a stable home, and medical care at places likes Dorothy Day Center, Higher Ground, the Family Service Center, and the Opportunity Center. The St. Joseph’s Home for Children offers help and support to children and their families who need a nurturing environment, comfort in crisis, and mental health counseling. Catholic Charities also helps refugees work towards independence by reuniting families and providing assistance as they settle into their new lives. Older adults and people with disabilities will also find help in living independently in their homes, as well as connecting homeless elders to housing.

There are many, many success stories. Billy Joe has gone from addiction and homelessness to living in his own place with a commitment to living a healthful life. Habon and Mohamed were able to rent a home with help from Catholic Charities. It is the first for their 3 children who had spent their entire lives in refugee camps. Wade is one of the hundreds of homeless vets who was able to move into an apartment of his own, thankful he won’t be out in the cold and snow another winter.

“I know I’m going to be a good cop. 
I try to be objective. I don’t like to take
sides on anything. Before I judge someone,
I try to get to know them first.”

Every day, many different community organizations come to the Opportunity Center to provide a wide array of services. The Center is responsible for serving 100,000 meals a year, as well as offering dental care, foot care, legal consultations and veteran services. The Culinary Skills Program serves about 60 people every year. Many of these students are people currently experiencing homelessness, and in this class learn cooking skills as well as employment training to help them find a way out of poverty.

I met Brice several years ago at Higher Ground. He has lived there for several years. An incredibly intelligent, kind, sweet man, this 36 year old Navy vet has already graduated from Minneapolis Community and Technical College and is attending Metropolitan State University, completing the next stage of his journey to become a police officer. Brice and I spent our morning runs talking about schoolwork, papers he was writing, and tests that were coming up. As Brice said, “I know I’m going to be a good cop. I try to be objective. I don’t like to take sides on anything. Before I judge someone, I try to get to know them first.”

Catholic Charities is a group that offers help to people who are looking for a way up! They provide people with the support needed to make the changes that will allow them to become self-sufficient. Catholic Charities and the Opportunity Center work! How can you help?

· Learn more about the work being done:
· Become a volunteer:
· Donate

Melvin, Brice, Billy Joe, Habon and Mohammed are all working toward self-sufficiency because of the support of Catholic Charities. Please be part of their journeys and the journey of so many others.  Help make Minneapolis the first major city to eradicate street homelessness!

Claudia can be reached at


Kids on Spring Break? Take Advantage of These Special Programs from the Mpls Park & Rec Board

Spring Break Programs for Kids / Full Day Spring Break Programs / Keep your kids active and learning!

Like North Mississippi on Facebook to discover weekend themes and stay in the loop about what’s happening in the park; and check out their website to learn more about North Mississippi Regional Park. Here are some upcoming activities:

Predator vs. Prey
Wednesday, March 15th  8am-4pm Ages 6-12
Find out how animals battle for survival.  Learn about food chains and animal adaptations by looking at skulls, furs and more! Then take your knowledge on the trails by looking for animal signs and playing survival games! Registration Fee $20. Activity #74414

Nature Detectives
Thursday, March 16th  8am-4pm Ages 6-12
Follow tracks, scat and other wild signs. Use tools such as binoculars and magnifying glasses to learn how to become the ultimate nature sleuth! Test your skills off trail and solve creature sign investigations. Registration Fee $20. Activity #74415

Leprechaun Secrets
Friday, March 17th  8am-4pm Ages 6-12
Learn the best kept tricks of the forest. Do you know the tricks plants and animals use to thrive in the wild? Then, come learn the ways of the woods! Test your own survival skills with fort building, animal tracking, identifying edible plants, and more! Registration Fee $20. Activity #74416

Expert of the Dirt
Friday, March 31st  8am-4pm Ages 6-12
Do you love to get messy head to toe playing in the dirt? Then, join us in discovery! Find out what dirt is made from, why it’s important and how fun it is to build with. We’ll explore to seek out soils, decomposers, and animals living under the ground. Registration Fee $20. Activity #74417

Nature Art and Adventure Camp
Monday - Friday, April 3rd-7th  8am-4pm Ages 6-12
Discover your creative side in the wild. Observe the wonders of nature while exploring the woods, prairie and river bank. Let your outdoor adventures inspire nature based works of art. Use a variety of methods to create your masterpieces. Registration Fee $150. Activity #74419


FREE All Ages Programs for the Whole Family

Hike: Spring Ephemerals
Sunday, March 19th 1:30-3pm
Welcome the beginning of spring by going in search of the earliest blooms of the season. Find out more about these fast blooming, short lasting (ephemeral) perennials with a naturalist guide. Hike through our woods and try to hunt down these low to the ground hidden wonders! FREE for All ages. Activity #74412

Outdoors: Bird Signs of Spring
Saturday March 25th  1-2:30pm
With a change in weather comes a change in activity. Discover the early spring activities of our local birds by seeking out their signs of the season! Join us along the Mississippi River flyway as we watch for fishing eagles, early nesting birds and the return of waterfowl. FREE for all ages.  Activity #74413


Visit North Mississippi on the Weekends - Explore a different seasonal theme in the park each weekend for free!

Naturalist’s Nature Table
Saturdays between 11am-3pm stop by the Nature Table to learn more about a seasonal topic with a naturalist

Family Funday
Sundays are about learning and enjoying nature while spending quality time as a family every week from 12:30-3:30pm


City of Minneapolis TechHire Program Celebrates Two Year Anniversary with 439 Program Graduates and 369 Engaged Employers

Via a News Release from the City of Minneapolis department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED):

This month marks the two-year anniversary of the City of Minneapolis Employment and Training Program, Minneapolis Saint Paul TechHire (MSP TechHire) launch and being named one of the first national TechHire cities by President Obama.  With the goal to close the workforce skills gap in the high tech economy by building a path for diverse workers to access training, support and tech jobs across the Greater Minneapolis Region, MSP TechHire has graduated 439 students and engaged 369 employers since its launch in 2015.

“When I partnered with the White House two years ago to become a TechHire city, we knew that the best way to keep our economy moving forward is by giving everyone the ability to maximize their genius and by keeping our workforce competitive,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges. “TechHire is Minneapolis’ gift to our regional economy and I am proud of the investments we have made and the partnerships we have built to give individuals – particularly women and people of color – the training needed to fill the many vacancies that require tech training across multiple industries.”

With over 6,977 open technology positions currently in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul-Bloomington labor market landscape, the need for MSP TechHire is greater than ever.  MSP TechHire prepares its students through accelerated training boot camps or online training to become service/help desk, desktop support and/or software developers depending on which training students access.  In addition to in-demand technical skills, training includes soft skills like workplace communications, and connections to employers with job openings and an interest at looking at a non-traditional candidates.  Hired graduates receive ongoing support as they acclimate to their work environment to ensure long-term success and continued growth.

Cedar Riverside resident Ahmed Mohamed found out about a special City of Minneapolis sponsored class, IT-Ready, provided by MSP TechHire partner Creating IT Futures last year and enrolled with encouragement from his mother.  Within eight weeks, Ahmed was provided with nearly 300 hours of training to master the technical skills needed to obtain the professional CompTIA A+ certification.  He also learned the soft skills necessary for interviews and to thrive in the workplace.  Prior to training, Ahmed had been working at a travel agency as an on-call reservation specialist.  Today he is a successful member of Fairview Health Services’ Endpoint Project Execution Team. 

Ahmed Mohamed Source: Creating IT Futures“I feel like I have another family outside of my family when I am here,” Ahmed Mohamed said of his work at Fairview. “I know Fairview is in my best interest.” Thanks to mentors like Lori Offerman, a Fairview IT Consultant who participated in hiring Mohamed, he is excited to advance his career. Supported by the resources IT Ready helped to align, Mohamed personifies his mantra “you get out of it what you put in.” Mohamed’s next goal is to become a project manager.

Fairview Health Services is committed to hiring more graduates like Ahmed and already have. Since 2015, Fairview has hired seven MSP TechHire graduates.

“MSP TechHire is an important and strategic initiative that has helped train local residents and fill critical job openings in the Cedar Riverside Community,” said Laura Beeth, Fairview Health Services System Director Talent Acquisition, Human Resources. “This is important to us as an anchor organization in the neighborhood, we are committed to invest and hire locally.”

Of the 439 MSP TechHire program graduates, 186 graduated from software development boot camps and are Minneapolis residents.  Their net taxable income increased by $2.6M which represents more than 150% improvement in wages for the average placed software program graduate from Minneapolis.  

“The students from Prime Digital Academy are immersed in real-world software development experience. These are the type of students you should be looking at having within your organization,” said Justin Grammens, Founder, Recursive Awesome. “Employees who are agile, think differently and bring a diverse background of experiences to their job.”

The economy does not show any slowdown in the demand for workers in tech jobs. The State predicts there will be more than 200,000 tech jobs available in Minnesota in the next decade (not including health care tech jobs).  MSP TechHire partners are continuing to produce innovative programs and solutions to help meet this demand.  PRIME Digital Academy recently launched a new program aimed at producing in-demand user experience design talent from the local community.  Creating It Futures piloted a soft skills course called PrepareU, targeted for IT workers and is looking at additional courses to meet employer needs such as project management and cyber security. The Software Guild now is offering a 10-14 month part-time online program to increase student access to education and employers.  The online course teaches the same soft skills and tech skills as the on-the-ground trainings.

To learn more about MSP TechHire’s ten partner organizations and program offerings visit the program’s website or join in the conversation at #MSPTechHire.


Community Celebration of Cedar Riverside Opportunity Center Grand Opening Scheduled for March 12

Via a March 10 Hennepin County e-newsletter:

Community to Celebrate Grand Opening of Cedar Riverside Opportunity Center

The grand opening community celebration is set for Sunday, March 12, at 2 p.m. The outdoor program will occur at 515 15th Avenue South, Minneapolis. Following the ribbon cutting, enjoy a tour of the building and learn more about the center.

A community celebration to highlight the opening of the Cedar Riverside Opportunity Center – a one-stop shop for educational and workforce resources and a pipeline for job opportunities. Anchor partners include EMERGE Community Development, Hennepin County, City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

The event will feature remarks by Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, Minneapolis City Council Member Abdi Warsame, EMERGE associate director Mohamed Ali, Muhubo Mohamed and Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow. Tours of the new building and entertainment will follow the program and ribbon-cutting celebration.

The Cedar Riverside Opportunity Center will feature programming by EMERGE Community Development, including workforce development, youth employment and education, and personal finance tips. Hennepin County Library will provide the Teen Tech Squad, an overview of library resources and employment-focused learning circles, among other things.


March 11 Artist Talk with Russ White at Truckstop Gallery

There is an Artist Talk scheduled for Saturday, March 11 at 4pm for Situation Normal, is a solo art exhibit by Russ White. The exhibit runs thru March 19 at Truckstop Gallery, 20 Grove Street, #72, Nicollet Island.

This new body of work uses orange and white traffic barricades as a kind of mixed metaphor for our current national mood. In day-to-day life, these traffic cones and “Road Closed” signs stand in our way; they slow us down, they reroute our commute, they inconvenience us. But from another perspective, they are beneficial. They are signs of roads being fixed, of bridges being built, of infrastructure being strengthened. Of progress. Staunch and impassive, emblazoned with an American flag reworked in dirty white and safety orange, these barricades are a call to arms to resist the unAmerican initiatives of this administration and this Congress.
Liberty – Russ WhiteFeatured in the exhibition will be large scale colored pencil drawings, sculptures, homemade flags, and a series of brightly colored portraits inspired by coins. Where the barricades are passive and impersonal reminders of the turmoil in our country, the faces of White’s subjects are striking reminders of our shared humanity. Playing off the idea of loose change, this series of colored pencil busts questions our traditional notions of worth and value, emphasizing the beauty in us all. These are not just pretty portraits; they reframe empathy against the backdrop of capital, asking the viewer to consider what truly makes us rich.

The show takes its name from the military acronym SNAFU, meaning “Situation Normal: All Fucked Up.” The work in this exhibition strives to remind viewers that this new political reality is, in fact, not normal at all.

Closing Reception: Sunday, March 19, 12pm – 5pm

A percentage of all sales will be donated to Planned Parenthood and the Southern Poverty Law Center. The gallery will be collecting donations for these organizations at the opening reception as well.


Profiles in Courage Opening Reception, plus Fundraiser to Benefit Firefighters for Healing, Scheduled for March 23 at Birchwood Cafe

In 2015, Susan Schaefer was granted access to photograph the courageous firefighters of the Seward Neighborhood’s Minneapolis Fire Department (MFD) Station #7 for a University of Minnesota fine arts photography project. These stewards of public service graciously posed, sharing stories and intimate reflections. For Schaefer, whose godfather was fire captain of Philadelphia’s 50th Ward, they are genuine champions – selfless defenders of our public realm.

An opening reception for Susan's Profiles in Courage exhibit is scheduled for March 23 from 5 - 8pm at Birchwood Cafe, 3311 E 25th Street. This event will include a fundraiser to benefit Firefighters for Healing. Special guest speakers and auction, with some items provided by Welna II Hardware & Paint on Franklin Avenue.

Captain “Buck” Buchanan

Captain Kathrynne Baumtrog

Carrying up to 60 lbs. of gear while scaling precipitous heights, fearlessly facing scorching conflagrations, and administering life saving first aid are but a few of modern, highly skilled and trained firefighters duties. Firefighters for Healing is an acclaimed 501-(C)(3) that supports burn victims and their families in ways insurance companies and caretakers are unable to. Captain Kathrynne Baumtrog will speak about the work of firefighters and Firefighters for Healing. In 2012, she, along with four other firefighters, were seriously burned fighting a fire the destroyed Walker United Methodist Church.

This exhibit uses fine art portraiture and still lifes to create an accessible and universal portrayal of the humans of the MFD. The exhibit runs March 20 - May 21, 2017.

Susan Schaefer is a communications consultant, professor and photojournalist – a verbal and visual storyteller. Her work currently appears in The Southwest Journal’s monthly “Creative Class” column and Mill City Times. She studies in the University of Minnesota’s Fine Arts Department and is a recent graduate of St. Catherine’s Women’s Art Institute.


MacPhail Spotlight Series Presents: From the Balkans to the Holy Land - April 8

Via a March 6 e-newsletter from MacPhail Center for Music:


MacPhail Spotlight Series Presents: From the Balkans to the Holy Land - April 8

Using the passion and power of Eastern European and Jewish Folk music combined with the stunning theatrical dance ensemble that provides audiences “the opportunity to experience unexpected possibilities through [their] gentle, beautiful, rare, wild” work, MacPhail Center for Music will transport you from the Balkans to the Holy Land and back!

MacPhail Spotlight Series: From the Balkans to the Holy Land is an eclectic show that showcases the virtuosity of Paul Schoenfeld’s Klezmer-inspired trio, the transcendent Fantasy on a Yiddish Song by David Evan Thomas, old Ukrainian folk tunes passed on through generations and the beloved Hungarian Dances by Brahms. The show will feature the imaginative and kinetic theatre group Impossible Salt, who specialize in folk stories and mythology, and will perform the Hungarian Dances with their exotic gypsy flair.

Spotlight Series: From the Balkans to the Holy Land features pieces inspired by folk music from Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The program beautifully reflects the vivacious, poetic, and emotional streaks in each culture,” said Mischa Santora, artist director, MacPhail Spotlight Series. “It's also an impressive reminder that music is truly the universal language, transcending borders and languages, without losing any of its impact.”

Spotlight Series: From the Balkans to the Holy Land will take place on Saturday, April 8 at 8 p.m. in MacPhail Center for Music’s Antonello Hall, 501 South 2nd Street in Minneapolis. A pre-concert conversation discussing the musical direction of the concert will occur at 7 p.m.

Tickets are available for $25 for adults, $15 for seniors (ages 55 and older) as well as youth (ages 6 through 18), and can be purchased by phone at 612-767-5250 or by stopping by Student Services at MacPhail locations in Minneapolis, Chanhassen, Apple Valley or White Bear Lake.

The MacPhail Spotlight Series is MacPhail Center for Music’s premier performance event. This four-part concert series explores diverse musical themes performed by MacPhail Center for Music faculty and special guests – showcasing some of the finest musicians in the Twin Cities.

MacPhail Center for Music is a non-profit organization committed to transforming lives and enriching the community through exceptional music learning experiences. Each year, MacPhail opens its doors to more than 13,000 students offering programming for all ages, backgrounds and abilities, at locations in Minneapolis, White Bear Lake, Chanhassen, Golden Valley and Apple Valley, as well as 100 community partnerships across the Twin Cities and online at MacPhail Online. MacPhail has a 108-year history of excellence, promoting life-long learning and building long-term relationships between students and teachers. For more information, visit


Ironclad Hotel/Apartment Project Gains Approval from Planning Commission

The Ironclad project slated for the corner of Washington & Chicago was approved last week by the City Planning Commission.

Download the staff report (40MB)...


SITE DESCRIPTION AND PRESENT USE. The subject property is currently a surface parking lot located at Chicago Avenue and Washington Avenue South. The property was historically used by the Chicago, Milwaukee, and Saint Paul Railway as a connection into the rail facilities in the Mill District and was the site of a grain elevator. In 1884, the company built a viaduct to carry depot-bound trains over Washington Avenue near 8th Avenue South. The viaduct was demolished in 1984, but remnants of the stone wall that supported the viaduct remain along Washington and Chicago Avenues. The site is irregularly shaped due to the former location of the railroad.

SURROUNDING PROPERTIES AND NEIGHBORHOOD. The property is surrounded by a mix of uses, including residential units, restaurants, hotels, and offices. Surrounding zoning is mostly B4N Downtown Neighborhood District and C3A Community Activity Center District. There are several surface parking lots in the surrounding area, though some are currently being redeveloped. The site is about one block from the Downtown East light rail station and several bus routes serve the immediate area.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION. The applicant is proposing to construct a mixed use building including 171 dwelling units, a hotel with 148 rooms, approximately 8,000 square feet of retail space, and 388 parking spaces. Additionally, the applicant is proposing a second phase of residential development including approximately 38,000 square feet of additional space and 20 more dwelling units along 9th Avenue South. The initial residential portion would be 14 stories or 148 feet in height. The hotel would be 8 stories or 90 feet tall. The parking spaces would be incorporated in two levels of underground parking and two levels of above grade parking at the rear of the property. This area would be accessed by a curb cut on Chicago Avenue and another curb cut on 9th Avenue South. A valet drop-off would be incorporated at the ground level in the parking structure. Amenities for the hotel and residential uses are proposed above the parking structure at the third floor. The residential portion of the building would be located on the northeast portion of the site along Washington Avenue South and the hotel would be on the northwest side along Chicago Avenue.

The applicant is retaining a significant portion of the existing limestone retaining wall from the historic viaduct, though some deconstruction and reconstruction will be required to allow for construction activities for the building. About 300 linear feet of the wall currently wraps the perimeter of the site along the property lines at Chicago and Washington. Approximately 200 linear feet of the wall would be kept along Chicago and Washington with the proposed new construction. Additional limestone blocks will be utilized as decorative landscape pieces on the site and in the adjacent public right-of-way.

Removal of a portion of the wall allows for direct access from the public sidewalk to the retail spaces on Washington Avenue. The proposal also includes an 18 foot wide walkway along the northeast portion of the property that accesses an additional retail space and provides a pedestrian connection from 9th Avenue South to Washington Avenue. Additionally, the applicant is proposing significant improvements to the public realm along 9th Avenue South.


Northern Spark 2017 Will be Along the Green Line

Via a March e-newsletter from Northern

From sunset on June 10 to sunrise on June 11Northern Spark 2017 is a free all-night art festival exploring the effects of climate change through participatory projects happening in neighborhoods along Metro Transit’s Green Line.           

Northern Spark 2017 will illuminate and draw audiences to neighborhoods and public spaces all along the METRO Green Line, connecting Minneapolis and St. Paul. Experience the largest Northern Spark yet, with nearly 70 art projects organized around neighborhood nodes: Cedar Riverside/West Bank, Weisman Art Museum/East Bank, Little Africa/Snelling, Rondo/Lexington, and Little Mekong/Western. In downtown Minneapolis the festival moves from its usual river location to The Commons, the new green space at Portland and 5th, and culminates in Saint Paul at Union Depot, the Green Line terminus in Lowertown.

Northern Spark Launches Andrea Carlson’s Train Wrap In Partnership with Metro Transit

To kick off Northern Spark 2017, Northern and Metro Transit have partnered to commission a spectacular full-color train wrap created by artist Andrea Carlson, which will run through June 10. Carlson has taken as her theme a water panther on one side with the Dakota words Mni Wiconi (water is life). On the other side of the train is a thunderbird with the words Nibi gaa-bimaaji'iwemagak (water gives life) in Ojibwe.      

In an urban context, paved streets are like tributaries feeding rain and runoff into nearby rivers of the watershed. According to Northern Spark Co-Director Steve Dietz, “Carlson’s design is both a memorial to the power of water and a plea to honor it in all our uses, especially as human activities lead to increased risk of droughts, severe weather events, melting ice caps, sea level rise, and ocean acidification as just some of the water-related effects of climate change.” 

Carlson says of her design,"we have the tools to make sure that Dakota and Ojibwe don’t disappear... because that tool is our minds. Anyone can learn it, so we can save these languages. And I feel like the planet is in the same situation. We have the tools to make sure this doesn’t happen."              

Carlson is an internationally recognized painter and media artist who lives and works in Chicago, IL and Saint Paul, MN. Her Anishinaabe (Ojibwe), French and Scandinavian heritage provides a rich foundation for her investigations of cultural consumption, history and identity, and the intrinsic power of storytelling. Her work is in prominent collections including those of the Weisman Art Museum, the British Museum, and the National Gallery of Canada.                   

The train is a reflection not only of Northern Spark’s connection to the transitway but of Metro Transit’s commitment to sustainability.                

The Green Line construction project included several stormwater management features that help prevent runoff from entering the nearby Mississippi River, including tree trenches and rain gardens. The Green Line’s Operations and Maintenance Facility in Lowertown also has a stormwater capture system that helps provide water for irrigation and restrooms at CHS Field.                

“This partnership is a great opportunity to not only bring our community together but also to highlight our organization’s strong commitment to sustainability in all its forms,” General Manager Brian Lamb said.

Metro Transit is among just a few transit agencies to earn Gold Level certification through the American Public Transit Association’s Sustainability Program.

You can read more about Andrea Carlson’s train wrap design in her interview with NL’s Assistant Curator, Elle Thoni.

Free passes will be available to download for travel on Metro Transit the night of Northern Spark.


Join the First Covenant Church running group and be part of the 2017 Team World Vision team in the Oct 1 TC Marathon

Looking for a running group? First Covenant Church, 810 S 7th Street, invites you to join a group that will be running every Saturday morning. All runners are welcome, no matter the ability or pace. 

Some of the runners from First Covenant Church will also be running with the 2017 Team World Vision team in the October 1 Twin Cities Marathon. The planning team for the 2017 Team World Vision team for First Covenant Church meets every Monday evening, 7:00p - 8:00p at Common Roots Cafe, 2558 Lyndale Avenue S.  Anyone who is interested can attend.  This is a time for conversation, brainstorming and planning, for getting "organized", as well as getting acquainted with your fellow runners.

The official "launch" for First Covenant's Team - to encourage people to consider being part of the team - will be Sunday, March 26, at First Covenant.

Find additional information here: and

World Vision is the largest non-government provider of clean water in the world, and its mission is to create better lives for children in need.


Friends of the Mill District Singers Update

Article by Claudia Kittock, Photos by Rick Kittock
The Friends of the Mill District Singers are back! We had our first rehearsal of this session on Saturday, March 4th. 50 people were in attendance and the singing was enthusiastic and joyful.
If you have never heard of this group, we are neighbors representing every ethnicity, every socioeconomic group, every age, both males and females. We gather together to build community, to build relationships, and to foster understanding through the music we sing. We sing songs of hope and equality. Everyone is included.
There is no fee associated with our group, and no impediment. If you want to be part of our group and show up, you are welcomed and are included. We are directed by JD Steele, and accompanied by Fred Steele. Please join us on Saturdays, from 2:00p-3:30p on the 8th floor of the GuthrieIf you have any questions, please contact Claudia Kittock at

Nonprofit Spotlight: Joseph Desenclos, Livability Team Supervisor, Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District (DID)

Article by Claudia Kittock

Editor's note - This is the third in a series of articles spotlighting people who are involved with local nonprofits.

Joseph has become a cherished friend and my source for ALL things nonprofit.  I wouldn't be doing any of the work I do without him.

Joseph Desenclos

1) Tell us who you are and how you got to this position? 

I am the Livability Team Supervisor for the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District (DID). I currently manage a staff off four Community Livability Engagement Workers. 

I advanced to the Livability Team Supervisor position as a result of my work with business stakeholders, community members and individuals experiencing homelessness when I was the Street Outreach Team Program Manager at St. Stephen’s Human Services. Additionally, I co-chair the Ending Street Homelessness Committee as part of the Minneapolis Downtown 2025 Plan.

2) What do you do in your current position?

In my current position I navigate three specific areas as it relates to the broad term of livability. On a daily basis, I collaborate with stakeholders, social service partners, law enforcement, and community residents on issues relating to public safety, environmental concerns, and human service resources.

Furthermore, I actively participate in the Minneapolis Public Health Advisory Committee, Minneapolis Police/Hennepin County Mental Health Roundtable, Minneapolis Downtown 100 Chronic Offenders Program, neighborhood safety meetings, and co-chair the Ending Street Homelessness Committee as part of the Minneapolis Downtown 2025 Plan. My involvement in these meetings greatly assists in building a robust network of public and private partners so that the MDID Livability Team can continue to be an instrumental partner in fostering a safe and hospitable city for everyone who works, lives or visits downtown Minneapolis.

"What has been most compelling
about my work is in the recognition
of the immeasurable level of compassion
that is thriving, sometimes quietly,
within our city on any given day
despite our unique differences."

3) What are you doing in your work that is working?

Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District has recently implemented the ISS/24-7 communication tool that has significantly impacted the communication between all of the homeless street outreach teams, MDID Fusion Center, and our MDID Livability Team. The introduction of this tool has assisted in streamlining service delivery to downtown stakeholders and community members by identifying the appropriate interventions for specific livability issues in real time.

Additionally, in my role I have the opportunity to reach out to the business stakeholders, community residents, and individuals experiencing homelessness in downtown Minneapolis. What has been most compelling about my work is in the recognition of the immeasurable level of compassion that is thriving, sometimes quietly, within our city on any given day despite our unique differences.

For example, over the summer there was a man who was experiencing homelessness and cycling in and out of Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) on a weekly basis due to complex behavioral health issues. I was able to work closely with the HCMC’s Coordinated Care Clinic to identify what was needed to expedite services for positive change. The turning point came when we were able to elevate and include the concerned voices of several business stakeholders, other individuals experiencing homelessness, community residents, law enforcement, and MDID Ambassadors, human service providers who were requesting an immediate medical intervention that would honor and uphold this man’s human dignity.

Experiences like this truly offer us an opportunity to witness and embrace the soul of our city. We had an eclectic group of concerned citizens, who generally would not mix on a daily basis, all speaking with one empathetic voice to wrap the appropriate services around this man so that he may have one more chance at self-sufficiency and improved health.

4) What do you want the politicians of our city/county/state/country to know about the work you do? How can they help?

I would like our politicians, regardless of their level of governance, to know that their work greatly impacts the work that our team and I do on a daily basis in our city. In July of 2016, we conducted a livability survey and the findings reflected that, for the most part, despite our racial and economic differences, we agreed that public safety was our number one concern, followed by walkability, cleanliness, and access to services. These citizen-inspired concerns should be the pillars of our collective work in Minneapolis in 2017.

Individuals in public governance can help by doing the following:

· Work towards equality as it relates to building truly affordable new housing options in Minneapolis to prevent and end homelessness.
· Actively address the communities concerns for public safety in the spirit of equity where if an individual is committing a crime they are held accountable in a manner that is fair and just in adherence to our laws and constitution.
· Continue to highlight our city’s ability to build strong and diverse public/private partnerships to implement change.
· Move from focusing on systematic change to citizen-centered change in public service delivery to allow for governmental services to be delivered in a manner that is both efficient and consumer-based.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Questions or feedback for Joseph? You can reach him at the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District, 917 5th Avenue S, or 612-418-1247.

Claudia can be reached at

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