This blog documents the process of developing “What Grows Here?”, a storytelling project along Chicago Avenue in South Minneapolis that’s part of the Arts On Chicago Initiative. (More on that below)

What Grows Here?” was conceived by Dylan Fresco, a theater artist, storyteller and educator originally from New York City who’s been working in the neighborhood since 2000 with Pillsbury House Theater and Upstream Arts. He is joined in the project by Michelle Barnes, a poet, visual artist and educator who grew up in the neighborhood and currently helps run the youth programming at Pillsbury House and Theater.

Together,  Dylan and Michelle are spending the winter of 2013 speaking with people who live,work, and go to school along Chicago Avenue from 32nd to 38th St.  They’re gathering stories of “What Grows Here?” – from children to families to businesses to trees.

When it’s warm again, they’ll lead “storywalks” along the avenue inviting members of the neighborhood (and interested theater goers from the Twin Cities at large) to join them, as they share the stories of the neighborhood as they’ve heard them.

Arts on Chicago will implement TWENTY art projects in ONE YEAR to knit together existing creative assets in the Central, Powderhorn, Bancroft, Bryant communities along Chicago Avenue from 32nd Street to 42nd Street, using the process to build a framework for the ongoing support of a vibrant arts and cultural district.  It is being run by Pillsbury House Theater and a number of community partners, including  the Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association, Professor Natasha Pestich, Upstream Arts, and with support from the Ward 8 Council Office of Elizabeth Glidden, “What Grows Here?” was selected to be one of those projects.

Arts On Chicago was one of 47 initiatives across the country to receive funding  from Artplace, a collaboration of twelve of the nation’s leading foundations, eight government agencies including the National Endowment for the Arts, and six financial institutions across the U.S

Got a story to share? Want to learn more?

Contact Dylan at whatgrowshere (at) gmail (dot) com

leave a comment,

Or, write through our “Contact Us” form

Thanks so much, and see you on Chicago Avenue!


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