Home News & Events 10 Artist-Led Projects Support Community Healing in Minneapolis

10 Artist-Led Projects Support Community Healing in Minneapolis

Arts Midwest is partnering with the Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy of the City of Minneapolis to help disburse grant funds for 10 projects that will support urgently needed artist-led creative healing in the wake of the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police and the subsequent community uprisings.

Mural created by Creatives After Curfew

Repurposing grant resources provided by the Kresge Foundation to the Creative CityMaking program, these grants aim to mobilize the unique and specialized skills of artists and designers to engage with and expand the impact of healing and community support. These grant dollars also recognize the unpaid labor of artists and designers as they respond to multiple health and racism emergencies to support community needs. Priority was given to Black artists working with communities who have historically experienced the stress and trauma of racial discrimination.

Funded projects range in nature from pop-up healing and beauty stations, filmed performances projected onto damaged and destroyed spaces, painted murals that share native medicinal knowledge of healing herbs, community healing through art-making, and engagement events that involve storytelling and deep dialogue. Artists will work in teams to execute their projects before the end of the year.

Learn more about the Creative Response Fund here. For more information on Creative City Making, visit the Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy website.


Meet the Artists

Sam Ero Phillips, Haircuts for Change

About Haircuts for Change: Artists will focus on healing and beauty practices in the South Minneapolis Black community by providing opportunities for haircuts and self-care in pop up locations along Lake St and Chicago Ave in collaboration with Barebones Puppet Theatre for their fall performance: PASSAGES: Mourning The Fires of Lake Street. The funding will support Black healing, Black beauty, and Black community building. Artists will create an intentional, educational, and beautiful space that’s adaptive and supportive of everyone Black- Families, elders, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ folks, children, women and men, from every walk of life so they can process grief. Setting the stage for this to happen in a COVID- sensitive format (outside) yields the opportunity to rebuild communities through micro-interactions, makes practices of beauty and self-care accessible, and empowers people to leave with a little more self-love, inspiration, and peace.

About Sam: Sam is an artist, designer and educator who has worked in the Twin Cities, Chicago and Lagos, Nigeria. He holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture and studio arts from the University of Minnesota, a master’s in architecture from the University of Illinois and won a Fulbright fellowship to Nigeria. Sam has worked in the Community Design Studio at Juxtaposition Arts since 2012, currently works at LSE Architects and has participated in the Twin Cities art community for years. He lives in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood with his wife and 2 kids. Sam was a Creative CityMaking artist in 2013-2014.



Mankwe Ndosi and Griffen Jeffries, Communities’ Wisdom, Imagination and Connection (CWIC)

About Communities’ Wisdom, Imagination and Connection: CWIC 2020 will include a series of 6 community events in the Fall of 2020 engaging residents of Phillips, Central, Powderhorn, Bryant, Bancroft, Corcoran, and Standish neighborhoods in South Minneapolis. Artists will provide spaces that support neighbors to examine critical public issues through processes developed from creative practice and trauma healing frameworks, drawing out the wisdom, opinions, and experiences of participants. Events will happen outdoors in areas affected by the uprisings and sanctuaries of unhoused residents in the focus neighborhoods (online gatherings will be a backup option in case of bad weather, or for subjects that need privacy). At CWIC 2020 gatherings, community members will have the opportunity to pull apart questions of justice, safety, accountability, and culture-shifting that open up renewed imagination about how we care for each other as we create the future of Minneapolis.

About Mankwe: Mankwe Ndosi a Culture Worker using creative practice to nurture community, ancestor and the earth. She is a connector, a listener, a synthesizer, and an improviser. She is part of a field of artists embedding creative practice into transformative relational work for our generations of relations to come. Her efforts have included regional, national and international performance, arts-rooted community engagement gatherings, serious play for racial equity workshops, and group healing events to support personal transformation from the inside out. Ms. Ndosi has been a participant/leader in creativity, healing, and organizing in the Twin Cities for 25 years.

About Griffen: Griffen Jeffries is a white queer and trans person who works with individuals and groups around shifting patterns of oppression, domination, colonization, and trauma. His focus is on facilitating and supporting transformational processes and healing through body-based practices. South Minneapolis has been a home for Griffen since 2007 and he has been part of various community projects including being a co-owner and practitioner at People’s Movement Center, and participating in and facilitating with Hope Community’s SPEAC community organizer training program. He loves big lakes, chocolate, and creative play that supports re/connection with ourselves, each other, ancestors, spirit, and the land.



Sha Cage, AT THE CORNER OF ________

About AT THE CORNER OF ________ A series of three site specific videos based on interviews and reflections with Black and brown community members, AT THE CORNER OF meets community members where they are in their daily lives – at the intersections of work and community – and gives them an opportunity to express into the camera what they are holding in this moment. This project aims to share creatively and/or speak truth about their truths and the realities of those around them. Videos will be shared via online platforms and social media.

About Sha: Sha Cage is a cultural worker, writer, performer, director and activist who has been called a Change-maker, one of the leading artists of her generation and a mover and maker. She has been seen as a leading lady on major stages including Penumbra and the Guthrie, a producer of feature films, a director and writer of plays, and a recipient of career achievement awards. But her proudest work is community healing and transformation through art. Insta: shacagempls. Sha was a CCM artist from 2016-2016.



Witt Siasoco and Carry on Homes team (Aki Shibata, Zoe Cinel, Preston Drum, Peng Wu, and Shun Jie Yong), Carry on Homes Northeast

About CarryOn Homes Northeast Artist team Carry On Homes (Aki Shibata, Zoe Cinel, Preston Drum, Peng Wu, and Shun Jie Yong) and Witt Siasoco have created an installation to celebrate immigrant communities’ contributions to Northeast Minneapolis. The purpose of the installation is to use arts as an engagement so that local immigrants participate in the 2020 Census. Creative Response funds will be used to extend programming over a period of six weeks through a series of four events that will serve to both heal through artmaking and inform residents about the Census process. At each event, artists will encourage neighborhood participants to contribute to a large installation of flags with messages of the importance of immigrants and immigration to Northeast Minneapolis.

About CarryOn Homes: CarryOn Homes is a team of five artists from five countries: Zoe Cinel (Italy), Preston Drum (USA), Aki Shibata (Japan), Peng Wu (China) and Shun Jie Yong (Malaysia). CarryOn Homes is dedicated to telling the stories of immigrants and refugees in the USA through art. By engaging the public with cross-cultural dialogue, we create spaces for immigrants and marginalized communities to feel a sense of belonging and empowerment.carryonhomes.com. Carry On Homes were 2018 winners of the Creative City Challenge, Peng Wu is a CCM designer since 2018.

About Witt Siasoco: Witt Siasoco: For over 20 years artist Witt Siasoco has been actively engaged in the intersection of the arts and civic processes through a variety of roles – as an artist, graphic designer, and arts educator. wittsiasoco.com. Witt was a 2013-2014 Creative CityMaking artist.



Sayge Carroll and Keegan Xavi Harvest Feast

About Harvest Feast Artists Sayge Carroll and Keegan Xavi will partner to connect arts and healing activities through food, artmaking and acts of collective nurturing in their respective Northside and Southside neighborhoods. This joint community project connects two Minneapolis neighborhoods with 2 hosted events tailored to each location. The project includes artist hosted neighborhood gatherings around food, music and performance and the distribution of arts activity kits and artist made dinnerware. The artists will also host “Tiny Art” workshops with YO MAMMA’S HOUSE and will distribute “Tiny Art Kits”.

About Sayge: Sayge Carroll— potter, maker, sound artist. I am the bloom of my ancestors long ago laid to rest. My roots drink in and carry the stories and the lessons of the past, both theirs and mine. My life is a dream from long ago existing in this present moment, and I don’t want to waste any of it. When I found clay, I knew I was home. I work with clay to create a world I want to live in, a world I co-create with other artists, ancestors, storytellers. I create to bring us together, I use my skills to build what is needed, working in different mediums to create the healing mix. I make for one reason – I work to find my people. This is one offering.

About Keegan: Keegan Xavi is a visual artist, passionate about Art History with an insatiable desire for research and learning. Her personal work addresses the emotionally brutal realities of American History and its impact on the present and future – with a recurring, broader theme about the human intersection between nature and technology. Art is a vital tool for connection and resiliency and she uses her strengths as an Arts Educator to produce community events that unite Northside neighbors through creative action.



E.G Bailey, New Neighbors Building Community Through Film

About New Neighbors Building Community Through Film A series of screenings of “New Neighbors” by E.G Bailey, an award winning film selected for the Sundance Film Festival and screened in over 115 film festivals across the globe. New Neighbors is about race, culture, housing, belonging, safety and policing of Black people. For the first time E.G. Bailey will hold a series of local screenings in Minneapolis in parks, backyards, outdoor spaces and other socially distanced locations. Each film screening will also include performances and will be followed by community conversations discussing the issues raised in the film, in addition to the issues facing communities in the aftermath of the protests.

About E.G : E.G. Bailey, recently named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film, and a McKnight Media Artist Fellow, is an Ivey award-winning artist, filmmaker, director and producer. He was an editor for the film, Petting Zoo, which debuted at the 65th International Berlin Film Festival. His latest work includes the co-curation of America Now!, a film program screened at the in Finland (Tampere Film Festival), Latvia and others; and his film, New Neighbors, premiered at the 2017 Sundance film festival, and has been won numerous awards and screened at over 100 festivals worldwide.



D.A Bullock, excited delirium

About excited delirium: A projection series including five different projections of Black artists and performers to be projected onto damaged or destroyed spaces in North Minneapolis and the Bryant Central Neighborhood. These projection experiences will take place like an exhibition over one week in different locations. The exhibition will be documented and delivered through a written journal and photos of the experience by the artist. The five films will be combined and delivered into a complete edited video.

Artist Statement: The junk pseudoscience that has been continually proffered by law enforcement as an excuse for their treatment of the Black population, everything from police murder to the forced injections of ketamine to the justification of their fear of the Black body and any furtive movement. We want to reinterpret that term to speak for an excited liminal state of creation and creativity that leads to euphoria, and healing and heightened connection.

About D.A.: D.A. Bullock is an award-winning filmmaker and social practice artist in the field of story-based activism. His films have been featured at national and international festivals including Toronto International Film Festival & Chicago International Film Festival. Winner of best feature film 2003 Urbanworld Film Festival in New York.



Caroline Karanja, Wasima Farah, and Abla Elmi, East African Collective

About East African Collective: This project will explore the impact of the last two months on the mental health and well-being of East African Women and Immigrants through digital telling and sharing. The collective will share their stories and the stories of the broader community on social media platforms. These stories will then be integrated and re-imagined as illustration and audio clips in a creative digital storybook which people can comment on and provide feedback and insight.

About Caroline: Caroline Karanja is a technology leader with a passion for increasing inclusion and equity. She develops digital products, technology solutions and consulting services to increase equity and inclusion within organizations as a path for retention, growth, and innovation. She is the founder and CEO of 26 Letters, and leads Hack the Gap, a community-driven initiative focused on getting and keeping more women in tech. Caroline is passionate about using technology to drive creative initiatives. She is an international author of a children’s series called Code Play. She is also active in the local entrepreneurial and technology ecosystem and is on the board of Minne*.

About Wasima: Wasima Farah is a Somali digital artist based in Minnesota. Her works varies from vibrant illustrations centering women of color, graphic designs and videography. She is inspired by women empowerment and uses primary colors to express a bold and confident message. Her goal is to create art that others can relate to, feel the message and be motivated from.

About Abla: Abla Elmi is a native Minnesotan that works to use art + storytelling to help create positive social, change. And throughout her experience working in the media & humanitarian industries, she has found there is a problem with how the stories of people from marginalized and vulnerable communities are told. The first being that, people from these communities often had no ownership over their own stories. Nor did they have much say in how the stories told about them were put together. So last year, after finishing up her Masters courses in London, England, Abla came back to Minnesota to found ‘Elmi House Productions’, a storytelling company that creates work based on an inclusive storytelling method that she created, which aims to answer the question: What would stories look like, if the people whose stories are being told, were included in the storytelling process?



Candida Gonzalez and Creatives After Curfew, Art for Nervous Systems

About Art for Nervous Systems Artists will create a series of four instructive healing murals aimed at making simple herbal/energetic medicine knowledge public and accessible. The murals will share medicine that is necessary to help our communities in this time of change and healing. Potential mural design subjects may be how to identify and use plantain weed to cure bug bites, common plants that grow in Minneapolis and the benefits of using them for tea, a simple meditation exercise, an energy clearing exercise. The project will both provide useful information and also affirm the existence of non-monetized indigenous healing knowledge.

About Creatives After Curfew: Creatives After Curfew is an evolving collaboration between Minneapolis artists co-creating art to soothe, remember, build and imagine a future rooted in justice + liberation. Creatives after Curfew is a decentralized collective of BIPOC/Queer artists and allies who mobilized during the Minneapolis uprisings in June 2020 to share resources, skills and knowledge as a contribution to the movement.



Roxanne Anderson and Anna Meyer, Rising From The Ashes

About Rising From The Ashes Roxanne Anderson and Anna Meyer are engaging in creative healing and support with communities directly impacted and affected by the escalation of trauma, stress and violence as a result of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. Their project supports local queer, trans, black, indigenous and artists of color who have been creating art during the uprising in Minneapolis. They will engage in a short series of group sessions of online facilitated healing support and community dialogue with those QTBIPOC artists to support their own healing and creativity and curate an online art exhibit featuring work created by the artists during the uprising.

About Roxanne and Anna: Community artists, Meyer and Anderson were selected from a panel to work alongside the City’s Neighborhood and Community Relations Department on the WeCount Minneapolis Census 2020 project. Both artists have dedicated their lives to mobilizing, healing, and training communities. Anderson has won countless awards for their work including University of Minnesota’s Community Excellence Award, BIPOC LGBTQI2S Media Beautiful Humans Award, and a 2018 Bush Fellowship recipient. While Meyer has years of experience working for local and national LGBTQ and BIPOC communities including two decades with youth and families experiencing homelessness in the Twin Cities and Washington DC. Meyer and Anderson manage and create platforms through their work with RARE productions, and were owners of the beloved Cafe Southside. Anderson is now the Director of the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition, and Meyer works for healing justice and is a Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist.

Creative CityMaking is a program of The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy at the City of Minneapolis. Funding is provided by The Kresge Foundation. Arts Midwest will act as fiscal agent for the disbursal of grant funds.

The language and descriptions on this page have been approved by Creative CityMaking artists and do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Arts Midwest.