Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a Talk-It Hennepin workshop in downtown Minneapolis. I believe I was supposed to be working as a volunteer (a facilitator, as they were introduced), but I soon found myself a participator instead. Everyone was split up into different groups that discussed the future of Hennepin Avenue-a cultural hub of Minneapolis. My group focused on movement.
I walked in the room with the rest of my group, filled mostly with people who were teenagers in the 1960s. I was definitely the outlier as far as age, but I was told that having me, a young person, there was helpful to widen their demographic and get more information from different types of people.
As my group danced around our room for a while, I could feel the awkwardness coming from everyone else. I made sure that I kept an open mind and thought to myself “I probably won’t see these people again, let’s just have fun and help further this project.” I found myself having fun, and once we were seated in a semi-circle around our “scribe,” we began to talk about our favorite experiences on Hennepin Ave.
I wondered about what I would share when my time came. Would I talk about the first time I ever rode the light rail without a parent and got coffee with a friend? How about when I walked down Hennepin to get to the IDS building after my very first date? Or the itme I joined in the Occupy Minnesota rally for 10 seconds? It was a tough decision, but I eventually decided on the time that I saw Billy Elliot. My friend and I walked around downtown to buy tickets, get food, and meet the actors. It was a hectic day and my feet were sore after, but in the end it was worth it.
Hennepin Ave has this energy about it that makes you feel like you’re part of something. Many different people walk it day to day, and walking down and experiencing the culture of Minneapolis. It’s this place with so much vibrancy that is so attractive to many different kinds of people.
Hearing other peoples’ favorite moments made me think back to how Hennepin must have been in the past, and how it might be in the future. Plan-it Hennepin is a year long initiative put forward to re-imagine how Hennepin avenue will be used and thought of in the future. There are more workshops coming up, and I seriously encourage anyone and everyone to attend. Check the hennepintheatertrust website for more information about when these workshops will be.