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Talk-It Hennepin: Creative Urban Interventions—A Dialogue with Candy Chang

Candy Chang, artist, designer, urban planner and co-founder of the New Orleans-based studio Civic Center, likes to make cities more comfortable for people. Many of her projects combine street art with urban planning and social activism, sparking conversations among strangers in public places and providing people with easy and innovative ways to have a voice. She will draw on many of these concepts in her Talk-It Hennepin conversation. With Before I Die, she transformed an abandoned house in New Orleans into an interactive wall where residents could share their dreams; The Atlantic called it “one of the most creative community projects ever.” She created fill-in-the-blank I Wish This Was stickers for people to express what they want in vacant storefronts. She’s worked with communities around the world—New York, Johannesburg, South Africa; Finland, Nairobi, Kenya; Vancouver, Canada; Querétaro, Mexico and Almaty, Kazakhstan—to address issues ranging from tree-planting to street vendors’ rights. Chang is a TED Senior Fellow and an Urban Innovation Fellow. She was named a “Live Your Best Life” Local Hero by Oprah Magazine. This Talk-It Hennepin conversation is presented by Forecast Public Art, Walker Art Center, and Hennepin Theatre Trust.

Hennepin Theatre Trust recently announced the launch of Talk-It Hennepin, a free, four-part series of public conversations and workshops bringing together today’s foremost thinkers and professionals in city planning and urban design with Hennepin Avenue stakeholders. Running from March 8 into June 2012, the Talk-It series is part of the broader Plan-It Hennepin, a year-long initiative led by partners Hennepin Theatre Trust, Walker Art Center, Artspace and the City of Minneapolis. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the plan will re-imagine a stretch of this storied avenue as a revitalized cultural corridor from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden to the Mississippi River.

The Talk-It conversations will range from the history of Hennepin Avenue to emerging cultural districts and global trends in urban planning, transit and public space. They will be paired with follow-up, interdisciplinary workshops conducted by Twin Cities’ artists to help define values, vision and achieve goals. Honoring History: The Avenue through the Ages, the first Talk-It event, is set for 7–9 p.m., Thursday, March 8 at the Minneapolis Central Library, tracing the Avenue’s evolution from a Native American footpath to a modern thoroughfare. The correlating workshop will be held Saturday, March 10 from 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., also at the Library. The second Talk-It Hennepin event is Creative Urban Interventions—A Dialogue with Candy Chang, scheduled for 7–9 p.m., Thursday, April 26, at Walker Art Center. Chang is an artist, designer and urban planner who often combines street art with social activism. Details about the final two Talk-It Hennepin conversation/workshops, scheduled for May and June, will be announced soon. For more information about Plan-It and Talk-It Hennepin visit http://hennepintheatretrust.org/plan-it.

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