Hennepin Theatre Trust transforms the places and spaces in the Hennepin Theatre District to be more vibrant, welcoming and inclusive. Our public art and engagement activities connect people to unexpected arts and cultural experiences, from the iconic Bob Dylan mural to 5 to 10 on Hennepin live concerts co-produced with Kulture Klub Collaborative to the “It’s the People” large-scale banners depicting the heart and soul of Minneapolis. Our free programming, created with key partners, helps to increase public safety and benefits youth and adults experiencing homelessness in the Theatre District. Our public art program is the largest in the Midwest and creates unique opportunities and platforms for artists, especially emerging artists and artists of color.

Request for qualifications for "It's the People 2021" pubic art project


Hennepin Theatre Trust’s District Arts Engagement department is seeking qualifications from Minnesota based artists to leverage portrait photography celebrating the people who make the Hennepin Theatre District between 5th and 10th streets along Hennepin Avenue such a richly special place. One portrait from each participating artist will be selected and transposed onto digital and static billboards, street pole banners, artistic mailers several thousand people, and supportive programming with a gallery exhibit, storefront display on Hennepin as well as artist talks and other marketing and communications and promotions. The work will be made public in July of 2021 and remain on display for approximately 12 months. 


Inspired by the people whose experiences and stories create the unique vibrancy of Hennepin Avenue, It’s the People  is a major outdoor public art project that captures the heart and soul of Minneapolis’ most famous street through portrait photography of individuals whose work and passion uniquely defines this historic artery in our downtown.

Now in its third year, these large-scale portraits join existing murals and public art projects in the District showcasing themes including youth identity and empowerment, trans equity, violence prevention, and social justice for missing and murdered indigenous women. All work will feature individuals whose contributions to the area show exemplary leadership and representation of our diverse community.

RFQ selection criteria:

  • Artistic excellence and prior experience creating digital designs or the ability to create work that can translate to digital.
  • Demonstration of unique design capabilities for high visual impact through portrait photography. 
  • Previous experience or an interest in creating work for a broad reaching public display via the billboard opportunity as well as supportive promotions and programming.
  • Must be able to identify a connection to an individual or individuals who may be interested in participating as subjects whose connection to the Hennepin Theatre District is meaningful and compelling. 
  • Prior work demonstrates an ability to create content appropriate for a general audience.

Artist eligibility:

  • Must be a Minnesota-based artist
  • We seek artwork from diverse communities and encourage applications from artists of color, of various abilities, ages, geographic locations and other life experiences that reflect the full diversity of Minnesota.
  • Willing and able to work directly with Hennepin Theatre Trust district engagement team to fulfill design requirements and a final design.
  • Willing and able to work with the Trust’s communications and marketing teams to promote the project through various digital platforms.
  • Able to participate in one artist and/or panel talk in person or virtually depending on the circumstances of the pandemic later in the year, timeline tbd. 
  • Able to utilize the Hennepin Theatre District as a backdrop to your final portrait in any creative way that prioritizes safety considerations for the pandemic.


  • January 25, 2021 Issue RFQ
  • February 24, 2021 Online Information Session 
  • March 15, 2021 RFQ application deadline
  • March 19, 2020 Ten artists will receive $250 to advance a full RFP 
  • March 31, 2021 RFP's are due  
  • April 7, 2021 Five artists will be selected and notified 
  • April 12, 2021 Signed contracts, W9 and communications intake deadline for selected artists participation, work may begin
  • May 26, 2021 Final designs and all deliverables are due at 11:59 pm and will be pending final approval
  • July 12, 2021 Project launches with new digital billboards, street pole banners, photo mailer, website and social media promotions
  • July 19, 2021 Artist and/or panel talk in-person and/or virtual session work begins
  • September 2021 - May 2022 work remains up and ongoing promotions, gallery exhibit, storefront exhibits created with timeline TBD
  • June 2022 work is archived

RFQ submission questions and attachments:

  1. Affirm statement of legal Minnesota residency for applicant.
  2. Statement of Interest (250 words): Briefly describe why you wish to participate and how you would approach this project, the methods you will employ to make your work, and the message you might want to communicate to the community through your final image. 
  3. Jpg images or links to previous work samples (up to 5).
  4. Image list (titles, mediums)
  5. List any additional artist team members if this is a collaboration and contact info for any collaborators
  6. Submit how you identify (optional)


Q: Do I have to create a design to apply for the opportunity?

A: No, we simply want to know a little about you and your idea, how you will approach the work and finally see some examples of work you have done in the past. 10 artists will be selected based on eligibility and criteria and those artists will then be contracted to create the deliverables for the project.

Q: Do I have to know who my subjects are before I am accepted? 

A: No, if selected you will have the opportunity to confirm your subjects in your final RFP. It is helpful, however, to give a sense of how you might connect with community for the project in your statement of interest? Are you already working in a meaningful way with a community group or individuals who would be well suited to participate in this project, tell their story? While it's not required in the RFP it's helpful to know a little about your practice to consider if this would be a good fit.

Q: Is the work ongoing or will I simply be submitting a final portrait? 

A: While the project is centered on the final images that the artists produce initially, there are many opportunities that are ongoing for the life of the project that will be more clearly defined in the RFP process. In addition to the final design being used in the public art opportunity; digital and static billboards and street pole banners, HTT staff will also use the image for mailers, a dedicated page on our website, and promotion on various digital platforms. We will also host artist and panel talks, create a fine art exhibit in our Event Center, and a storefront display for this years show. 

Q: What does the opportunity pay?

A: Each selected participating artist will receive an artist stipend of $2500 distributed in two payments. Each participating subject will receive a $250 stipend to sit for the portrait and $250 to participate in the artist/panel talks. 

Q: Is there a limit to how many subjects we will be allowed to include in the final design?

A: Yes, your portrait may include between 1-5 subjects.

Hennepin Theatre Trust