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Creative Placemaking in the South Loop

Creative Placemaking in the South Loop is a project of the City of Bloomington and Artistry. Creative Placemaking is an evolving field that works to build vibrant, distinctive, and sustainable communities through the arts. It engages the community, artists, and other stakeholders in building social fabric and local economies while making physical, place-based improvements, leveraging the distinctive character and creative and cultural resources of each place.

Goals for Creative Placemking in the South Loop include:

  • Urbanism: Ensure urban design excellence in transforming the built environment.
  • Animation: Animate public spaces and strengthen the social and cultural fabric.
  • Involvement: Involve and empower people who inhabit and care about the South Loop.
  • Identity: Elevate and project South Loop's identity.
  • Leadership: Build capacity to sustain leadership and champions.
  • Investment: Establish a resident creative sector.

PDF icon Plan for Creative Placemaking in the South Loop

PDF icon Appendices for Creative Placemaking in the South Loop

Learn more about the Creative Placemaking Commission.

View a South Loop map with permanent/long-term creative placemaking project locations.

Learn more about creative placemaking on Artistry's website.


South Loop - Creative Placemaking Projects

Illuminate South Loop

"Score" by Daily Tous Les Jours, (playfield rendering)
"Score" by Daily Tous Les Jours, (playfield rendering)

City of Bloomington and Artistry in partnership with Northern are proud to announce Illuminate South Loop, a free, three-day art event that will take place at Bloomington Central Station Park (8100 33rd Ave S) in South Loop from February 1 – February 3, 2018. The event will be a unique addition to the lineup of activities leading up to Super Bowl LII, showcasing a variety of participatory art installations and performances designed and produced by Minnesota and international artists. This outdoor evening experience will also include bonfires, and delectable eats and warm drinks from Urbana Craeft Kitchen, capturing the interest of locals and guests alike. More information:

Illuminate South Loop Artists include Minnesota-Based: Alyssa Baguss, Eric William Carroll and Wil Natzel, Coffee House Press, Ben Moren, Plus/And (Amanda Lovelee and Emily Stover), Robin Schwartzman, Pramila Vasudevan, Pedro Lander, Emily Gastineau, and DaNCEBUMS. As well as: Daily Tous Les Jours (Montreal), Marina Zurkow and Paul Paradiso (New York)


Wright's Lake Park Community Mural

Retaining wall, future mural site
Retaining wall, future Wright's Lake Park community mural site

The City of Bloomington will be commissioning a mural on the retaining wall that runs alongside State Highway 77/Cedar Avenue and faces Old Cedar Avenue and Wright’s Lake Park. This mural is part of the City’s neighborhood emphasis project in this area, and the City and our non-profit partner Artistry’s creative placemaking efforts. We will be working with  GoodSpace Murals to produce the mural, due to their artistic expertise, extensive experience, community engagement process, and bilingual staff. View a map of the mural location. Design and painting sessions will take place during the following times:

  • August 19, 8:00 AM - 1:00 PM: Saturday Farmers Market. Bloomington Civic Plaza, east end parking lot and lawn area. 1800 W. Old Shakopee Rd, Bloomington.
  • Saturday, October 14, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM. National Fire Prevention Week, Open House at Fire Station No. 3, 2050 East 86th Street, Bloomington.
  • February, 2018: Third design session at Valley View Middle School, open to students only.
  • March 19, 2018, 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM: Design presentation and review at Valley View Middle School.
  • May & June 2018: Seven painting sessions at local events and at Wright's Lake Park. Stay tuned for more information.
  • August: 2018: Installation of mural

Creative Engagement Activities

Springboard for the Arts sPARKit Ready Go tool, photo credit Bruce Silcox
Springboard for the Arts sPARKit Ready Go tool, photo credit Bruce Silcox

The City of Bloomington and Artistry are coordinating a series of fun, creative engagement activities as part of our creative placemaking efforts. We will working with Springboard for the Arts and their Ready Go mobile engagement tools facilitated by artists. We will also have a brief survey and an interactive poster with different creative placemaking project examples to understand what people are most excited to see in South Loop. Activities took place during these events:

  • Thursday, July 27, 6:30 - 8:30 PM: Thursday blockbuster: Latin Music Night, Normandale Lake Bandshell. 5901 W. 84th St, Bloomington.
  • August 19, 8:00 AM - 1:00 PM: Saturday Farmers Market. Bloomington Civic Plaza, east end parking lot and lawn area. 1800 W. Old Shakopee Rd, Bloomington.
  • Saturday, September 16, 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM:  Heritage Days Festival. Nativity of Mary Church, 9900 Lyndale Ave S., Bloomington.
  • Tuesday, September 26, 4:00 - 7:00 PM: Happy Hour Event to celebrate recent projects. Bloomington Central Station Park, 8100 33rd Ave S, Bloomington.
  • Saturday, October 14, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM. National Fire Prevention Week,  Open House at Fire Station No. 3, 2050 East 86th Street, Bloomington.
  • Saturday, October 28, 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM, Bat Week Celebration, MN Valley Wildlife Refuge - Visitor Center. 3815 American Blvd. East, Bloomington

Art Gate

Art Gate by Alexander Tylevich (installation), photo credit City of Bloomington
Installation of Art Gate by Alexander Tylevich

Art Gate, by sculptor Alexander Tylevich, is located on the property of TownePlace Suites at 2500 Lindau Lane, Bloomington MN, near the corner of 24th Avenue and Lindau Lane across from Mall of America. The six-foot tall, 20-foot long bronze and steel sculpture is an artistic interpretation of South Loop's important role as an international travel destination and represents the area’s wildlife, natural beauty and diversity. Art Gate will serve as a fully functional emergency gate and will create an interactive point of interest, making the area more walkable, inviting, and attractive.





Landform by Tom Henry, photo credit City of Bloomington
Landform by Tom Henry

Landform by Tom Henry is a creative landscaping and art installation on the medians between Country Inn & Suites and Killebrew Drive. Plants include native perennials and annuals which allow for seasonal changes. The layouts create whimsical views for pedestrians, as well as for viewers from above. The artist considered water runoff and drainage in his design, and how the medians will be of great benefit for foraging “Blu bees” from the Radisson Blu’s rooftop beehives. A stainless steel reflective globe was installed in the east median, representing a drop of water nourishing the field of beauty. These globes also make gardens healthier through electroculture. Electrolysis was used to achieve the vivid blue color, adding more color to the area year-round.


ART BOX Projects

Utility Box Art Project, cluter at Bloomington Central Station by Erik Sletten

Three local artists have transformed utility boxes into aesthetically pleasing ART BOXES in Bloomington’s South Loop. The artists played with the three-dimensional rectangular shape of the box, incorporated sculptural elements or extensions, responded to the specific location, or reflected the past, present or future of the South Loop District. As many other communities have discovered, transforming utility boxes into vehicles for artistic expression has produced several benefits: reducing graffiti, beautifying neighborhoods, and creating elements of surprise and delight.

ART BOX projects include: 2 boxes at Killebrew Drive & 22nd Avenue by artist Teresa Cox; 5 boxes at Lindau Lane & 30th Avenue by artist Erik Sletten; and 1 box at E. Old Shakopee Road & 28th Avenue by artist Jesse Golfis.


Science and Nature Mural

South Loop Mural by Erik Pearson

Erik Pearson, the artist who painted the Bloomington Civic Plaza mural, created a mural reflecting the connections of science, technology and nature at Cypress Semiconductor bordering the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge at the Bass Ponds parking lot.  The mural was unveiled August 27, 2015.

Watch videos showing the development of the mural on our Facebook page.


Convergence sculpture

Convergence Sculpture by James Brenner. Photo credit: Bruce Silcox

James Brenner designed and installed Convergence, a sculpture in the roundabout at the intersection of Lindau Lane and 28th Avenue near Mall of America. Brenner also designed the landscape surrounding the sculpture, which was unveiled August 20, 2015.

Brenner was featured in the January 3, 2016, episode of MN Original, tpt's weekly arts series celebrating Minnesota’s creative community. The last half of the video features the Convergence sculpture being planned, created and unveiled.


After the Birds Taught Me To Fly

Scene from After the Birds Taught Me To Fly
© 2015 Bruce Silcox

This one-­of‐a­‐kind production was staged on the grounds and walking-‐trails of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. The audience moved together from scene to scene in a style of mobile theater PlaceBase Productions has coined “Walking Theater.” The original production was performed during the Twin Cities Urban Bird Festival, June 5-­7, 2015, to celebrate the rich history, culture, and local talent of the area and to support the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge’s mission.


Little Box Sauna

Little Box Sauna
© 2015 Bruce Silcox

Little Box Sauna, by Molly Reichert and Andrea Johnson, is a mobile warming house that creates a visible, small-scale space for socializing. The sauna traveled through the South Loop in February and March of 2015. A new kind of "mobile hot spot," Little Box Sauna provided a one-of-a-kind opportunity for employees and visitors to socialize in a way that is new to the community, based on Finnish and other cultural traditions.

MinnPost article: Public urban saunas offer a double liberation from cramped Minnesota winters


South Loop Discovery Charrette

Creative Placemaking launched in June, 2014 at the Mall of America (MOA) and Bloomington Central Station with a community charrette that included walking tours, exploring the area’s history, identifying promising public art sites, idea-sharing, art-making and a competition for creative ideas for the district. More than 200 people attended the opening day events hosted by MOA. The day culminated in a launch party hosted by City of Bloomington Mayor Gene Winstead, Artistry Executive Director Andrea Specht and MOA’s Public Relations Director Dan Jasper.


Creative Placemaking in the news