Downtown Hennepin Avenue

The vision for this project is to a develop a dynamic public art piece that is reflective and expressive of the cultural and artistic history of downtown Hennepin Avenue.

Project details

Partner: Hennepin Theatre Trust

Budget: $300,000

Status: Design and Community Engagement Underway

Provide input

  • Public Listening Session was held with artist Rory Wakemup on Tuesday, December 7, 2021

By prioritizing Indigenous history and the relationship between Hennepin Avenue and social justice movements, this public art project will result in a piece of art that encourages local residents and visitors to engage, share their experience, and express greater appreciation for diversity, equity and inclusion.

The City of Minneapolis is reconstructing and redesigning Hennepin Avenue between Washington Avenue and 12th Street. Hennepin Avenue is one of the city’s most celebrated cultural corridors attracting than 50,000 trips per day.

Downtown Hennepin has one of the City’s most interesting streetscapes and a very rich history. At the core of this portion of Hennepin is the Hennepin Theater District, which has a rich history and includes four historic theaters, the Hennepin Center for the Arts, the Minneapolis Central Library and the Lumber Exchange Building. This portion of Hennepin was a stretch of an old Dakota trail linking the Mississippi River and Saint Anthony Falls to Bde Maka Ska. Hennepin has inspired artists for years. The celebration of the opening of the Hennepin Center for the Arts in the early 1980’s culminated in a record-setting number of tap dancers performing in the street. In the late 1980’s it was the site of the Minneapolis Arts Commission’s first public art project, a competition for artist-designed benches. Patrick Scully’s 1990 performance, Too Soon Lost, alternated between stories of friends lost to the AIDS epidemic and stories and dramatic film footage of the demolition of Block E on Hennepin. In recent years, the Theater District has also become known for its vibrant public art and murals, the Made Here project and, currently the It’s the People Project.

Hennepin was last rebuilt in 1986. After more than 30 years, the pavement is worn out and needs to be replaced. The current corridor also does not reflect current demand for a more balanced roadway that makes the corridor safer and more inviting for pedestrians, bicyclists, buses and cars.

The reconstructed Hennepin Avenue will continue to accommodate all modes of travel, with:

  • A sidewalk area to support pedestrian activities with space for planting and furnishing zones.
  • One-way bikeways behind the curb.
  • Space for enhanced transit stops compatible with future Arterial Bus Rapid Transit service.
  • A two-way street with four vehicle lanes.

Public Art locations and project have not been identified yet.

Contact us

Public Arts Administration

Community Planning & Economic Development




Public Service Building
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 320
Minneapolis, MN 55415