Minneapolis College Joins WeDo™, Celebrating Arts and Culture
New Partnership with the West Downtown Minneapolis Cultural District
Minneapolis College is partnering with several downtown organizations to make the West Downtown Minneapolis Cultural District (WeDo™) a destination to celebrate arts, and culture and everything that makes Minneapolis unique. Together, they are creating awareness of arts, culture, education, business and entertainment through the WeDo website (wedompls.org), as well as social media. The partnership, and the WeDo digital platforms, gives Minneapolis College an opportunity to highlight its campus and showcase the work of its creative students alongside other organizations in the area.
Following Hennepin Avenue, from the Walker Art Center to the river, and between First Avenue and Nicollet Mall, We Do spans 1.7 miles end-to-end - all of it walkable in any season. Bikes, cars, buses and light rail also make it easy to get around.
"Minneapolis College is the only public education institution located within WeDo," said Gregory Rose, Minneapolis College fine arts faculty, who hopes the WeDo website and social media will encourage enrollment, engagement and inclusion on campus. "Dozens of creative events happen on our campus throughout the year and WeDo digital platforms make them more accessible to the public. This partnership gives Minneapolis College an opportunity to engage our community and shine."
Hennepin Theatre Trust is leading efforts to realize the long-term vision for this unique arts and cultural district, in close partnership with the Walker Art Center, Artspace (developer of The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts) and the City of Minneapolis. The group, alongside newer partners like Minneapolis College, considers itself collective enthusiasts who are turning big dreams for downtown into a reality. "If we can continue to grow, enhance, support and keep access open to all, we will have one of the most active and unique cultural and arts districts in the nation, maybe even internationally," said Rose.
WeDo and Made Here
In addition to providing platforms that strengthen awareness about arts and culture in downtown Minneapolis, WeDo offers a unique urban canvass for artists to shine. For example, Made Here, a project of the Trust, temporarily fills empty storefronts and commercial spaces that are in transition with art by local artists, turning WeDo into a walkable urban art gallery.
Several Minneapolis College students have had their work showcased through Made Here, including current student Treneyle Scheele. "I was encouraged to participate in Made Here during an art class at Minneapolis College," said Scheele. "It provided a chance for me to branch out, do my own thing and experience getting paid for my art. This has been a real confidence boost for me and I can't wait to continue on with my art career."
Minneapolis College's involvement in Made Here can be credited to the late Kirk Washington, former Minneapolis College student, who encouraged his peers and faculty to get involved in 2014. A longtime resident of North Minneapolis, Washington served as a creative catalyst for Minneapolis College students, faculty and staff to more deeply engage with urban communities facing barriers to access in higher education and the arts. His legacy continues to be honored through Minneapolis College's continued involvement in Made Here and WeDo.