Hennepin Theatre Trust, in partnership with UBS Wealth Management USA and Clear Channel Outdoor, today announces the six Minnesota artists whose photography will be featured in the 2021 season of It’s the People, a public art initiative that is inspired by the people whose experiences and stories create the unique vibrancy of Hennepin Avenue. Dahli Durley, Jaida Grey Eagle, Isabel Gloss, Kristine Heykants, Awa Mally and Andy Richter have been selected for their distinguished artistry in portrait photography as well as their leadership from various walks of life including BIPOC advancement, LGBTQIA awareness and homelessness advocacy.
It’s the People is an outdoor gallery of fine art portraits by renowned Minnesota artists capturing the heart and soul of the people who make Hennepin Avenue a unique and colorful place. Now in its third year, It’s the People joins existing murals and public art projects in the Hennepin Theatre District that will showcase captivating images of frontline healthcare providers, multicultural dance community, social justice and identity among youth, back-of-house Latine workforce, emergency shelter advocates and empowered immigrant African artists.
“Every year, we are excited about what It’s the People brings to the Hennepin Theatre District, which is one of Minneapolis’ most historic and vibrant neighborhoods,” says Mark Nerenhausen, president and CEO of Hennepin Theatre Trust. “As we look forward to reopening the District, we’re providing platforms to uplift talented Minnesota artists that are representational and inclusive of Minnesota’s diverse history. Storytelling through art transforms the places and spaces outside our historic theaters during such a transformative time.”
The portraits will be displayed downtown Minneapolis on Clear Channel Outdoor billboards and on large-scale banners on building sides at the following locations:
– Hennepin Theatre Trust, 900 Hennepin Ave.
– The Saloon, 830 Hennepin Ave.
– The FAIR School, 10 South Tenth St.
– City Center, 33 South Sixth St.
– The historic Pantages Theatre, 710 Hennepin Ave.
“We’re excited to again to bring It’s the People to life in downtown Minneapolis,” said Stephen Glynn, Managing Director and Minnesota-Northern Plains Market Head at UBS Wealth Management USA. “This public art initiative truly reflects our aim of provoking thought and discussion while being inspirational. We’re honored to play a role in establishing the Hennepin Theatre District as a Minnesota destination for arts and culture.”
UBS has a long history of supporting the arts as the global lead partner for Art Basel, which stages premier art shows for modern and contemporary art around the world. Their corporate art collection represents artists from more than 70 countries and is widely regarded as one of the most important of its kind.
Glynn said, “Due to the pandemic, this past year of isolation and uncertainty has heightened our awareness of the ways that art can inspire and connect us. We are excited about this year’s lineup of artists and the art that they will deliver in July as we begin the process of reconnecting with others in the community.”
“We’ve partnered with six amazing people whose portrait photography will capture the deeply moving stories of the people of Hennepin Avenue,” said Joan Vorderbruggen, Director of Hennepin Theatre District Engagement for the Trust. “These artists are helping to illuminate the historic Hennepin Theatre District with portraits inspired by lived experience. When we center human elements to urban environments, we can come together as a community to connect and inspire a pride of place.”
Meet the artists:
Dahli Durley is an Asian American portrait photographer focused on documenting “beautiful faces in wonderous places.” Her work chronicles the interdependence of a person in a place, with both entities playing off each other in telling their story. Though she’s based Minneapolis and lives downtown, her photographic repertoire spans across the U.S. and around the world. Both her work and process are based in holding “safe space” for subjects to be fully and honestly themselves. Her role is capturing a narrative of people through still imagery and allowing their being/essence to play out in front of the lens. Her command of illumination and shadows from natural light to strobe lighting defines a sense of place.
Jaida Grey Eagle is an Oglala Lakota artist located in St. Paul. Grey Eagle is a photojournalist, producer, beadwork artist and writer. She is also a Report for America Fellow with the Sahan Journal covering the immigrant and refugee stories of the Twin Cities and an ongoing former Curatorial Fellow for the Minneapolis Institute of Art researching Indigenous photography. She holds her Bachelor of Fine Arts emphasizing in Fine Art Photography from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Isabel Gloss, born in the Midwest but raised around the world, is a photographer and visual artist working in Minneapolis. Her interest in photography stems from the time her father, a scientist and artist, first showed her how to use a 35mm camera as a child. She sources her Mexican heritage, gender and sexuality to create her work focusing on social equality and justice. As a Chicana woman in her early 20s who has felt the effects of inequality and prejudice, her focus is on the importance of bringing marginalized people to the front and revising stereotypes. When photographing portraits, Isabel makes sure that her subjects are projected in a powerful and celebratory light. As a student at the Minneapolis college of Art and Design, she achieved many awards and grants, such as the Hearst Merit Scholarship, the MCAD Presidential Correspondence Award, and the Morrison Leadership Scholarship. Her work has been featured in Baltimore Magazine as well as several group exhibitions such as Endless Anagrams and You’ve Never Made a Real Piece of Art. Gloss specializes in digital, medium format and large format film photography.
Kristine Heykants will lead high school students from The FAIR School for the Arts in exploring identity and social justice through the lens of photography, creating banner images to be displayed publicly on the school building exterior and billboards. This work started last year just before lock-down for the pandemic, preventing them from completing their workshops. Heykants will pick up where they left off with many of the same students and some new as well. She is excited to build upon the themes of identity and social justice, bringing passion to inspire youth on their life journeys. She holds a Master’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communications and a BFA in Art and Design. She has received grants from the Jerome Foundation, McKnight Foundation, and the Minnesota State Arts Board and exhibits widely. Heykants also teaches photography at Minneapolis College.
Awa Mally is a Togolese photographer based in Minneapolis. Born in Togo she immigrated with her family to Minnesota in 2003. Always having an interest in arts and culture, she was involved in many youth programs growing up though not having much support. Taking her first art opportunity outside of school at 16 by joining the Walker Art Center’s teen arts program, she was inspired to take on her passion. In 2016 she began photographing for a social justice group she started with her peers and has been pursuing photography since. As a self-taught photographer, she’s accomplished many things such as working for local organizations like the Science Museum and the Walker Art Center. Mally has been featured in Vice Magazine and shot the single cover for global musician Afro B. Her ultimate goal in life is to create programs for youth and marginalized people to gain more access to arts and technology, and to build bridges between cultures and communities.
Andy Richter is a visual artist based in Minneapolis. His work has been exhibited internationally and he has received recognition from American Photography, Photolucida, the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and the International Photography Awards, among others. He is a multiple recipient of the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant. His first monograph, Serpent in the Wilderness, was published by Kehrer Verlag in 2018. Richter’s photographs have been featured in The New York Times, National Geographic Magazine, Leica Fotografie International, Time Magazine and GEO.
All production and installation will be in accordance with the guidelines outlined by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz for the health and safety of the community.
It’s the People is set to launch in July 2021 and is presented by Hennepin Theatre Trust with support from UBS Wealth Management USA and Clear Channel Outdoor.
To learn more about It’s the People, please visit HennepinTheatreTrust.org/ItsthePeople.