Amber Waves will feed the hungry
Nearly eight months ago, 365 Days of Thanks featured local artist Tom Henry’s Sunflowers of Summer project. He planted 365 days of sunflowers, each with a little marker so people could find their birthdayflower. Tom then harvested the flowers and took them to Sun Street Breads for roasting and then to Second Harvest Heartland for distribution to local food shelves.
Amber Waves of Grain is Tom Henry’s art installation for 2012 and it’s equally creative. He planted three 800 foot rows of wheat in a whimsical S-shape to mimic the river’s flow along the MIssissippi River banks at Bohemian Flats. The spot has been known most recently as a dumping ground for debris and materials after the 35-W bridge collapse and re-building. This summer, drivers and walkers have something much more inspiring to view, as Tom’s wheat plants struggle with the elements and mostly win. The wheat was a bit shorter than hoped, but the threshing day is here and the wheat will be put to excellent use, according to Henry, thanks to creative partnerships.
Great River Milling will turn the wheat into more than 200 pounds of flour - donating their equipment and time. Then six local bakeries have signed up to bake bread that can be donated to food shelves and serving centers like Loaves and Fishes. Tom hopes the bread can be eaten fresh from the oven by those who need it. He plans delivery runs himself.
The wheat is coming down, but you could still offer to help with food deliveries or just check out what local bakeries are involved.
The Return of Patio Season
Day 173 - The Minneapolis/St. Paul area has seen a recent increase is the number of restaurants offering outdoor seating. We’re grateful for the return of patio season. Here’s some of our favorite restaurants with great outdoor spaces and great food:
A New Approach to Special Education
Day 172 - Today’s post comes from Jim Rettew and SocialInnovationMN - one of our new favorite sources of inspiration. The Bush Foundation along with Public Strategies Group have put together recommendations for how to better approach special education in Minnesota’s Public School.
Lower the price of mis-identifying youth as needing special education instruction by initiating a “Response to Intervention (RtI)” prevention model has demonstrated up to a 43% reduction in students classified as “learning disabled” in a few innovative Minnesota districts.
Current Minnesota law provides options for districts in terms of the processes used to identify special education students. Ironically, most continue to use out-dated and expensive models which require that “students fail” before they can be helped. Providing a financial incentive for districts to utilize the “RtI” model would be better for student learning and also saves a significant amount of professional staff time doing evaluations, attending meetings and preparing “paperwork” for which special education is famous.
Read more about this innovative solution in the full report from PSG and the Bush Foundation “Beyond the Bottom Line”
Let us know what you think!
Community Art Micro Grants
Day 135 - There’s a big difference between graffiti art and graffiti vandalism. Now with the the help of Innovative Graffiti Prevention Micro Grants through the City of Minneapolis, local artists are able to share their work while helping to cover-up or prevent offensive and vulgar graffiti. Thanks to all who worked to make this possible. Read more about the micro grants in this article from the March issue of Metro Magazine.
Northern Spark partners with Midtown Greenway
Day 125 - Northern Spark is an urban arts festival which will be holding its second annual event on June 9, 2012. This year the festival is partnering with the Midtown Greenway Coaltion to encourage biking as the primary mode of transportation to the festival. The festivals organizers would like your ideas on how they can best accommodate cyclists at the festival. To give your opinion join them for an informal happy hour hosted by Northern Spark and the Midtown Greenway Coalition on Thursday March 29. Thank you to both Northern Spark and the Midtown Greenway Coalition for helping to make Minneapolis/St. Paul bike friendly and art friendly.
For more information visit northernspark.org.
Minnesota FoodShare Month
Day 104 - March is Minnesota FoodShare Month. The demand at food shelves across Minnesota continues to grow, but you can help. The fire departments of Minneapolis and St. Paul are accepting donations at all fire stations during the entire month of March. The two departments are competing to see which city can collect the most food. Hopefully a little friendly competition will help encourage people to give where they live!
For more information, visit mnfoodshare.gmcc.org.
A Friendly and Clean Downtown
Day 98 - Walk around downtown and you’ll notice some friendly men and women in neon green ready to give you directions, give suggestions or just say hi. These are DID Ambassadors, part of the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District: a non-profit entity that maintains a higher standard of care and behavior throughout downtown. We’re thankful for the DID Ambassadors for their friendly faces, for keeping our downtown practically litter free and watering our green spaces.
The Healing Power of Art
Day 97 - Spectrum ArtWorks is a non-profit visual art program in the heart of Minneapolis that provides studio space and community for artists living with a mental illness. In addition to producing amazing art Spectrum ArtWorks Artists work to educate the public and break down stigma associated with mental illness. The program provides not only work space but more importantly a sense of community for artists living with mental illness.
To learn more about Spectrum Artworks, visit www.artworksatspectrum.org.
Fight For Air Climb
Day 94 - Do you feel winded after going up a flight of stairs? We hope not, but many of those affected by lung disease probably would. The American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb takes place on Saturday, February 25, 2012 at the Accenture Tower in downtown Minneapolis. Participants, individuals or teams, climb 660 stairs to fight lung disease. The average climb time is under 15 minutes, and all ages and abilities are welcome. After you finish your climb, relax and enjoy breakfast and refreshments at the After Party Celebration. Climbing to the top is only the start; you are making a difference and fighting lung disease!
See some stories of “Why I Climb” here: http://www.lung.org/pledge-events/mn/minneapolis-climb-fy12/about/why.html