A new show at MN Museum of American Art puts individual faces and stories to life on the Green Line

Wing Young Huie, “Ashley Hanson in Bus Stop Theater, from Creative CityMaking,” 2013, digital print.

There’s been so much focus on the new Twin Cities light rail Green Line, itself, since its launch earlier this summer, it’s welcome to see close attention paid to the individual neighborhoods and residents who live and work along its path. In June, MinnPost’s Andy Sturdevant devoted two delightful pieces (with interactive infographics) for his column, “The Stroll,” to highlight the character and attractions of some of the various pockets of the city along the Line. In July, Minnesota Public Radio mapped some of the interesting restaurants along the new light rail line (more interactive info-graphics!). There have been similar feature articles in Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, Minnesota Monthly, City Pages and other local publications.

Xavier Tavera, "Plia Vang," 2014, archival pigment print, 35 x 35 inches.

Xavier Tavera, “Plia Vang,” 2014, archival pigment print, 35 x 35 inches.

And this week, Minnesota Museum of American Art (a Knight Arts grantee) is opening an exhibition devoted to illuminating the people who “live, work and play” along the Central Corridor. Specifically, “From There to Here” focuses on “the ways that public transportation intersects with community and connects people to places and the opportunities they offer.” Featuring newly commissioned work by several area artists – photographers Katherine Turczan, Xavier Tavera and Wing Young Huie in collaboration with theater artists Ashley Hanson and Jessica Huang – the exhibition aims to “consider the neighborhoods that light rail users move through but never visit, the temporary community formed by people waiting at the same stop and riding the same train, and the glimpses of them seen through the window of a passing train.” (The Pioneer Press has a terrific interview with MMAA’s Christina Chang about the show, if you’re interested in reading more.)

Katherine Turczan, "Line" (detail), 2014, archival pigment prints, dimensions variable.

Katherine Turczan, “Line” (detail), 2014, archival pigment prints, dimensions variable.

Check back here next week for a post reviewing the art on view in the soon-to-open exhibition at MMAA. For now, I’ll point you to the show’s opening night’s activities – in particular, the interactive storytelling exercises. In conjunction with the show, photographer Wing Young Huie is partnering with PlaceBase Productions’ theater artist Ashley Hanson and playwright Jessica Huang to form the Green Line Theater. Their team plans to mount a new play whose script will be informed by the individual experiences of day-to-day life in the various Central Corridor neighborhoods, as shared by residents in several upcoming community “story swaps” (presented in partnership with Center for Hmong Arts and Talent, Springboard for the Arts, and the African Development Center), interactive theater exercises and one-on-one interviews. The resulting, community-driven play will be performed publicly at light rail stations along the Green Line for the exhibition’s closing weekend, October 18 and 19. The exhibition opening will include the first of these public storytelling sessions – it’s a good time to go, see the new work and be part of this crowdsourced theater experiment by sharing your own reflections about what it’s like to live on the Line.

“From There to Here” opens with a public reception and interactive storytelling exercises led by the Green Line Theater team on Thursday, August 21 at 7 p.m. For more information about the exhibition and its participating artists, visit the MMAA website.