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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.

Creative Placemaking in the South Loop goals 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: Attract new development and foster the creative sector.

View a South Loop map with permanent creative placemaking project locations.


Creative Placemaking Projects

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 is 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 and a final design concept sketch of the mural. Design visioning sessions, a design presentation, and painting parties took place during the following times:

  • Design visioning session: Saturday,August 19, 2017, 8:00 AM - 1:00 PM: Saturday Farmers Market. Bloomington Civic Plaza, 1800 W. Old Shakopee Rd, Bloomington.
  • Design visioning session: October 14, 2017 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM. National Fire Prevention Week, Open House at Fire Station No. 3, 2050 E 86th Street, Bloomington.
  • Design visioning session: February, 2018 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, (cafeteria), 8900 Portland Ave S, Bloomington.
  • May & June 2018: Painting Parties - Come help us paint the mural! The mural will be painted onto large sheets of canvas, which will later be adhered to the wall by artists during installation. At some events, we will also offer chalk for sidewalk art, bubbles, and snacks.
    • ¡Unidos Fest!: Parks and Trails Legacy Celebration, Friday, May 11, Muralists on site 4:00 – 7:00 PM
      Normandale Lake Park Bandshell, 5901 W. 84th St, Bloomington
    • Valley View Middle School painting party, May (open to students only)
    • Neighborhood Mini-Party – Saturday, May 26, 1:00 – 3:00 PM
      Wright’s Lake Park, 8501 17th Avenue South, Bloomington
    • Arts in the Park, Continental Ballet Performance – Tuesday, June 12, Muralists on site 6:00 - 8:30 PM
      Normandale Lake Park Bandshell, 5901 W. 84th St, Bloomington.
    • Wright’s Lake Park Celebration – Saturday, June 23, Muralists on site 5:00 – 8:00 PM
      Wright’s Lake Park, 8501 17th Avenue South, Bloomington
    • Neighborhood Mini-Party – Monday, June 25, 1:00 – 3:00 PM
      Wright’s Lake Park, 8501 17th Avenue South, Bloomington (Activities from the Works Museum, a Welcome Meal and Children of Immigrant Art Exhibit will also take place here at this time.)
    • Bloomington Farmers Market – Saturday, June 30, Muralists on site 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
      Bloomington Civic Plaza, East Lot, 1800 W. Old Shakopee Rd, Bloomington (Call Arts in the Park weather line for updates: 952-563-8787.) 
  • August - September, 2018: Installation of mural
  • Monday, October 15, 11 AM - 12 NOON - Official 'unveiling' celebration of mural at Wright's Lake Park. Join us for free lunch! More information.

Fire Station #3 Project

Let's Imagine Together logo

The City of Bloomington’s Creative Placemaking Commission in partnership with Artistry is planning a creative placemaking project on the property next to the future new Fire Station #3. Learn more about the fire station timeline and process here.

Let's Imagine Together, Saturday, October 6, 9 AM - 11 AM. We would like to hear from you – what would you like to see here? Ideas range from a community garden to a firefighter memorial to creative seating to native landscaping and more. Join us at the future site for free coffee and donuts from The Grind Coffee & Creamery, and share your vision with us! We will be meeting at the future site, 2255 E Old Shakopee Rd Bloomington, MN 55425. More information.  

Let's Imagine Together, onsite meeting location map

Let's Imagine Together, onsite meeting location map

Creative Spark Application

Creative Placemaking South Loop Projects and Activities

Creative Placemaking South Loop Projects and Activities

The City of Bloomington’s Creative Placemaking Commission in partnership with Artistry seeks Creative Spark Project proposals by creative people of all kinds (artists, architects, planners, engineers, event organizers, South Loop residents, performers, etc.) who are interested and excited about activating the South Loop. 

A Creative Spark Projects review panel will be looking for projects that engage South Loop residents, workers, and visitors in creative ways that may be temporary, experiential, semi-permanent, or permanent. Ideas may include (but are not limited to) performances, interactive art projects, temporary art installations, special events and much more.

  • The City of Bloomington will support projects with stipends from $500 - $5,000.
  • Must take place in one or more of the four identified sites in South Loop.
  • Four Creative Spark Project proposals will be selected.
  • Projects must take place or be installed in 2019.
  • Two information sessions – one July 10 and one August 4.
  • Proposals Due: August 17, 2018.

We are no longer accepting submissions for this program. Stay tuned for an announcement of selected projects. Finalists will be announced by September 7, all applicants will be notified. The seven finalists will present to the panel on Tuesday, September 25 from 4-8 PM at Civic Plaza in the Haeg conference room on the second floor. Four selected proposals will be selected by October 15, 2018.

Creative Sparks Guidelines and Application:

We will also be at the MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge Bat Week event. Come stop by to make some bat-themed activities and grab an application!

ARTBOX Projects

2016 ARTBOX deisgn by Jesse Golfis
2016 ARTBOX deisgn by Jesse Golfis

Bloomington’s Creative Placemaking Commission in partnership with Artistry are working with local artists to transform common utility boxes in South Loop into ARTBOXES - creative, exciting, and appealing objects of art that enhance the district’s character and vitality. 

Artists play with the three-dimensional rectangular shape of the box, respond to the specific location, or reflect the past, present or future of the South Loop District. Some boxes also incorporate sculptural elements or extensions. 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.

Past ARTBOX 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.

2018 CALL FOR ARTBOX DESIGNS! We are looking for designs to wrap two boxes. Each selected applicant will receive a $1,000 honorarium. Design proposals due August 31, 2018. We are no longer accepting applications for this cycle. Stay tuned for the announcement of the selected designs.

Creative Happy Hour

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

Join us for a fun, free, creative experience in South Loop!

Creative Happy Hour

Wednesday, September 26, 5 - 7 PM

Bloomington Central Station Park, 8100 33rd Ave S, Bloomington, MN 55425

Learn more here!

  • Live salsa music, & dance instruction from Malamanya
  • Food trucks, cash bar, free hot chocolate and dessert table (while supplies last)
  • Free make-and-take activities, table tennis and games
  • Pre-register for a free mini-art-workshop, and create a ceramic beer stein!
  • Interactive 3D Mural by Bloomington resident, artist Rock "Cyfi" Martinez
  • Learn more about Annicha Arts “Parking Ramp Project” featuring over 30 performers. Public performance takes place Saturday, September 29 and Sunday, September 30 from 6:30 - 9:30 PM.

Activities subject to change. Event will be canceled if there is lightning or severe weather. Stay posted on this website and our Facebook event page for updates.

Thank you to all who attended! View photos of the 3D mural here!  

Making it Public Workshop


Making it Public

Making it Public is a free, 2 day intensive workshop designed for artists of any discipline who are interested in exploring how to make their artwork public. Eligible applicants are individual artists new to working in public art. Limited to 20 participants, preference will be given to Bloomington and Southwest metro artists. Workshops will cover topics including site analysis, community engagement, funding, project management, best practices, and project ideation. Facilitated by Jen Krava from Forecast, with guest speakers.The workshop is a product of and facilitated by Forecast Public Art with generous support from the City of Bloomington and Artistry, and is offered at no cost to the participants.

Application closed on April 23, 2018 at 5pm.

Illuminate South Loop

Score! by Daily tous les jours
Score! by Daily tous les jours

City of Bloomington and Artistry in partnership with Northern are proud to present Illuminate South Loop, a free, three-day art event at Bloomington Central Station Park (8100 33rd Ave S) in South Loop from February 1 – February 3, 2018. The event was 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 also included 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 included 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)

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

In 2017, City of Bloomington and Artistry coordinated a series of fun, creative engagement activities as part of our creative placemaking efforts. We worked with Springboard for the Arts and their Ready Go mobile engagement tools facilitated by artists. We also offered 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 events throughout Bloomington, such as the Farmer's Market, Normandale Band Shell Arts in the Park, Heritage Days, Bat Week Celebration at the MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, a Creative Happy Hour Event and bus tour at Bloomington Central Park, and Fire Station #3 open house.

We heard from over 300 people. The creative projects people were most excited to see in South Loop included: festivals, music, gathering places, amphitheater, sculpture park, and creative benches.

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 of the sphere, adding more color to the area year-round.

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