Introducing the Made Here Newbies
Made Here is a unique artist-driven program. At the heart of Made Here, artists from all walks of life make the WeDo™ MPLS Cultural District a walkable destination for everyone to enjoy.
For many of the artists involved, this is their first experience showing their work in a public space and, for others, it’s the first art venture they’ve ever had.
Here are some thoughts from some of the Made Here ”newcomers,” feeling their way through the program for the first time.
Were you excited by the theme? Had you heard of Made Here before?
The theme seemed to resonate well with my work. For many, there is always the motivation of wanting to win. A champion needs not only a great attitude and perseverance but the confident spirit to go above and beyond winning. That spirit can make this year's “Unchosen Ones” (the name of my project) perhaps Grand Champions next year. Setbacks have an upside, as they fuel new dreams. The kids I connected with on my project I do hope to help them create a positive spirit for their efforts and keep doing their best. – R.J. Kern (R.J.K)*
"The Unchosen Ones" by R.J. Kern
I only had a few days before the deadline, so I was really excited to see the theme this time was "Spirit" because I felt my work dovetailed nicely into that. This is a theme I feel very connected to, so it made applying an easy choice for me. I was also relieved that there wasn't an artist statement or resume requirement to apply. – Anna Karena (AK)
I saw art in windows downtown before I actually heard about the project — I was totally impressed! Then I heard that a friend of mine (and a super talented artist) was involved. I found out more about Made Here when I became an artist for the 5 to 10 on Hennepin project. When I heard the topic "Spirit," I became really intrigued. As I worked on my 5 to 10 art, I kept thinking, "I want to do a window too!" –Starri Hedges (SH)
How did you feel being chosen for Spirit: Made Here?
I was excited and honored. I had seen previous editions of the Made Here themes. When I saw this theme, I felt it was meant to be. – R.J.K
I was thrilled to be one of the accepted artists, as this will be my first time showing my paintings beyond my social media friends. – AK
I'm so honored to be a part of this! It is truly wonderful to be acknowledged as an artist and supported by the larger arts community. The Made Here window, building the “Mama Shrine,” is my personal project but has been greatly influenced by my involvement with Hennepin Theatre Trust's 5 to 10 on Hennepin project —and my work with Gaia Democratic School (GDS). Questions like "How can art make spaces safer?" and "Can art help stop rape and other violence?" are so challenging and important. Conversations with GDS youth were insightful and deeply thought provoking. – SH
What was it like to have your site visit in a vacant storefront? Any other thoughts?
I'm not sure if the organizers knew my history with this building when they assigned me a window at 730 Hennepin… I worked there in the mid-1980s at Zantigos Mexican Restaurant, where everything was 99 cents or less. I was a punk teenager during that classic, Reagan-ruled Block E era. – SH
Previous works by Starri Hedges
I would like to add how impressed I am with how organized this show is and how smooth the process seems to be. Everyone I've met so far is very helpful and encouraging, and I've already received the stipend, which was shocking. It's really a well-oiled machine, and I'm proud to be a part of it. – AK
The vacant storefront seemed a bit how an “Unchosen One” might feel: lonely, unconfident and uncertain. Hopefully, the artwork will raise interest and the profile, making the venue appear attractive for future opportunities. – R.J.K
Spirit: Made Here artists are currently in the thick of creating their installations. In just a few short weeks, the Public Art and Placemaking team at Hennepin Theatre Trust will be in full swing, utilizing the skills of the best installers the Twin Cities has to offer.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, December 8 from 5 - 8 p.m. – the launch of Spirit: Made Here! Stay tuned for information on the Spirit: Made Here launch event, updates on installations (as they pop up) and the artists that make them possible.
* R. J. Kern is a fiscal year 2016 recipient of an artist initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriate from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
Made Here, a project of Hennepin Theatre Trust, is a walkable urban art experience that connects people to local art and artists in the West Downtown Minneapolis Cultural District.