We’re incredibly excited to be working with Artists in Storefronts on this community-building project that will showcase some of the Twin Cities’ most innovative artists and ideas.
Whittier Artists in Storefronts asks: What if vacant buildings and facades became exhibition spaces for public art? What if the public could engage with art in new ways? What if blighted neighborhoods became destination spaces?
This is a first-of-its-kind project in the Twin Cities.
Check it out!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Artists in Storefronts project turns blighted streets and storefronts into spaces for public art
More than 20 artists will use Whittier storefronts, sidewalks, building facades, and more to create interactive, walkable exhibits open to everyone
April 5, 2012 (Minneapolis)—Murals. Yarn bombs. Photography. Sculpture. Library stands. Video projects….Artworks of all kinds will be on display beginning Friday, April 27, in vacant or underused storefronts and on street corners and building facades along the Eat Street commercial corridor, thanks to the efforts of a pilot project by Artists in Storefronts.
The brainchild of writer, artist, and award-winning storefront designer Joan Vorderbruggen, the Artists in Storefronts project works with neighborhood organizations, artists, and local businesses in an effort to promote creativity, revitalize local economies, and provide everyone with equal, open access to art.
The recession and foreclosure crisis have not only created abandoned homes throughout the Twin Cities, but left neighborhoods dotted with empty, beleaguered buildings. Vorderbruggen sees public art as an opportunity to revitalize these neighborhoods and engage the community in new ways.
“I was really inspired by Wing Young Huie’s University Avenue project last year,” says Vorderbruggen. “And I started imagining an entire city block in a declining business area as this urban walking gallery, something everyone could participate in that would also help the community. And I thought, why not start it here in Whittier, in my own backyard?”
New project aims to make sustainable food more accessible in the Twin Cities
Harvest Moon Backyard Farmers are building urban gardens and promoting hands-on agricultural education in an ongoing effort to bring sustainable food to low-income homeowners and vulnerable neighbors
March 12, 2012 (Minneapolis, Minn.) —- Twin Citians are putting their money where their mouths are—most recently supporting urban agriculture projects run by Harvest Moon Backyard Farmers that will benefit the chronically ill, meal-program patrons, and low-income homeowners.
More than 120 Minnesotans donated a total of $9,000 through a Kickstarter campaign to Harvest Moon Backyard Farmers, a Twin Cities small business dedicated to transforming city landscapes into tasty, beautiful, and sustainable mini-farms. Harvest Moon Backyard Farmers will use the funds to partner with area non-profits in an effort to promote hands-on sustainable-farming education and grow food for low-income families and vulnerable neighbors.
“The community-at-large is stepping up and honoring the desire for healthy food that is growing across classes and cultures,” said Harvest Moon Backyard Farmers co-owner Krista Leraas.
Harvest Moon Backyard Farmers, run by Leraas and her partner Dina Kountoupes, works with homeowners, renters, businesses, and communities to grow backyard farms and promote healthy food and a healthy environment. With their expertise in sustainable farming and environmental education, Leraas and Kountoupes have helped hundreds of people turn their yards or community gardens into permaculture mini-farms full of veggies, fruits, herbs, and more.
Beginning this spring, Harvest Moon Backyard Farmers will work with several Habitat for Humanity families throughout the 2012 growing season to help them establish and maintain organic vegetable beds in their yards.
“It’s an empowering step toward greater self-determination for the families,” said Terry Barnes of Twin Cities for Habitat for Humanity.
In addition, area meal programs such as The Aliveness Project will also get a boost of hyper-fresh, hyper-local herbs and produce via Harvest Moon Backyard Farmers’ Food Shelf Gardens.
The Aliveness Project, a Twin Cities community center for people living with HIV/AIDS, will receive fresh, organic vegetables such as gold tomatoes, leeks, heirloom purple chili peppers, spinach, bell peppers, broccoli, and more from Harvest Moon’s Food Shelf Gardens.
In an effort to promote sustainable agriculture education, the Harvest Moon’s Food Shelf Gardens will be grown in partnership with urban-farming students and land-access donors such as South Minneapolis’s Land Stewardship Project.
Harvest Moon’s “Full Service Kitchen Garden” clients will also have the opportunity to participate in the new programs by designating a percentage of their harvest for food shelf donations.
“We were pleasantly surprised at the enthusiasm and generosity of our clients and Kickstarter backers,” said Harvest Moon co-owner Dina Kountoupes. “I think it demonstrates our very human longing to care for one another via good food.”
ABOUT HARVEST MOON BACKYARD FARMERS
Harvest MoonBackyard Farmers helps Twin Citians transform their city landscapes into tasty, beautiful, and sustainable mini-farms. Their mission-driven approach brings eco-friendly food production education, installation, and maintenance to a wide range of eaters including families, community gardeners, businesses, and schools.
For more information, or to schedule an interview with Krista Leraas and/or Dina Kountoupes, please call Krista Leraas at 612-209-2146.
We love puns. Especially when they’re in quotes for emphasis. That’s why this is ”Eggs-actly” the kind of perfect Valentine card that makes us so happy. To all of our great clients and friends doing good work in the Twin Cities and beyond: Have a happy day, all of you small-fry good eggs with hearts of gold.
I’ll be there Friday! Stop in to say “hello”!
This & Every Friday!
To celebrate our new home in the Robert’s Shoes building at Lake & Chicago, we’re hosting a weekly happy hour on Fridays from 3 to 6pm. Stop by anytime for a cup of coffee, tea, wine or beer. Learn what we’ve been up to, relax, brainstorm or share your…
Last week we joined friends and colleagues at the La Belle Vie lounge to celebrate 2012 and the launch of our brand-new web site. Check it out! Tell us what you think. (Pictured above, me (Molly Priesmeyer) and Karen Kopacz. We’re in the bathroom of La Belle Vie. Because we’re classy like that.)
Additional photos are posted here, on our Facebook page. Like us there, and get updates about cool events and organizations, businesses, and entrepreneurs doing good things in the Twin Cities and beyond.
We also just launched our Good Workshop, a new project for 2012. It’s a one-day strategizing session that’s perfect for small businesses and organizations looking for new ways to connect with and inspire their audience through storytelling, contenty strategy, design, social media, and more.
Want to participate in a one-day Good Workshop? Contact us today to set it up! We’re here to help you do good work.
A couple of months ago we posted about a super-exciting project, A Public Thing, an open space for public conversations in-person, in print, and online. It’s on ongoing community-engagement and publication project Good Work Group is helping to organize with the folks at Works Progress, Sarah Peters, Sam Gould from Red76, Molly Balcom Raleigh, and a growing group of artists, designers, and writers.
A Public Thing is looking to gather again this spring, this time centered around the concept of financial fitness. We’ve signed up to be part of GOOD Magazine’s “Good Maker” project, which will help us carve out new ideas, solutions, and resources for a collectively authored newspaper that will be distributed after the event.
You can help us be a Good Maker by voting for our project as part of GOOD’s 30-day challenge to get Financially Fit.
By voting for A Public Thing, you will help us create 2,000 copies of our next newspaper, focused on financial fitness, engagement, and ideas that have the potential to change the way we think, work, and live.
Thanks for voting!
We’re a little late on this, but we just yesterday discovered via Twitter RovernightNetwork, an online community of dog owners willing to watch one another’s pets during overnight trips.
RovernightNetwork has communities in Chicago and here in the Twin Cities. From their website:
Rovernight Network provides members access to fellow dog owners and the opportunity to connect with other members who may be available to provide overnight dog care in their homes. Members can search for other members using a variety of search criteria, and can view their rating and feedback history provided by other members.
This is a fantastic example of an entirely user-based online community. First of all, joining is free. The goal here is to build community, not profit.
And the creators have built a online community based on real needs: Where can I send my dog when I’m away overnight that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg (er…a paw)? How can I find people near me for dog play dates? I want to rescue a dog, but I am afraid I won’t be able to find people to help when I need it. Where can I find like-minded people?
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Rovernight Network doesn’t have opportunities to profit from their community building. There are advertising opportunities, of course, and also possible premium membership opportunities.
But at the heart of RovernightNetwork is simply a desire to solve a problem that so many dog owners face, and an innovative way of building a trustworthy, connected community around that need.
We’re excited about lots of new changes in 2012: We’re working on a new web site for Good Work Group; starting our Good Workshops for small businesses and organizations; meeting with fantastic new clients about proposals and ideas for content strategy, social engagement, and outreach; and planning days filled with co-working at new collaborative creative spaces with some of our favorite people in the Twin Cities.
For starters, one day a week we’ll be at CoCo Minneapolis in the Grain Exchange. There, our “co-workers” will include a number of tech companies, start-ups, and creative entrepreneurs, as well as our friends in the Citizens League.
We’re also going to be co-officing with our friends at Works Progress, in the Roberts Shoes building on Lake and Chicago. This Twin Cities creative collaborative is led by artists Shanai Matteson and Colin Kloecker, who are responsible for some of the most innovative and exciting programs and events around, including Give and Take; Solutions Twin Cities; and Salon Saloon.
I wrote about Kloecker and Matteson for The Line Media in 2010 and had this to say about them:
They connect people and ideas like puzzle pieces. They’re like masterful city planners, if a city were built on human links instead of crumbled highways. And they turn fostering new connections, building community, and promoting future-forward ideas into an art form.
Since Good Work Group is also about fostering new connections, telling the stories that matter, connecting Good organizations and businesses to their audience, and helping to support creativity and “good” in the Twin Cities, we’re incredibly excited to share work and brain space with Twin Cities innovators who are leading the charge.
Come by CoCo Minneapolis on Mondays or Tuesdays to say “hello!” And look for creative Friday happy hours to start happening at the Works Progress space soon.
Happy New Year!