Urban Visionary

Joan Vorderbruggen is the Director of Public Art and Placemaking for Hennepin Theatre Trust. An artist and organizer, Joan envisions possibilities for the most dejected spaces, connecting local and international artists with opportunities to activate Hennepin Avenue in the WeDo Cultural District.

In 2013, Joan developed and implemented Made Here, a project which pairs Minnesota-based artists work with vacant commercial storefronts. Made Here is the largest storefront initiative of its kind in the nation, now in its seventh iteration having featured work by nearly 400 artists in more than 250 vacant storefronts across 15 city blocks.

In the fall of 2015, Joan worked with internationally renowned Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra and his team to create a five-story mural of Bob Dylan in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. Joan has since led the creation of three additional large scale murals including a mosaic art vertical garden. She collaborated with the Walker Art Center, MCAD, and Mia to develop and implement a public art takeover of Hennepin Avenue by feminist protest artists, The Guerrilla Girls in 2016.

In spring of 2016, Joan pursued and was awarded a “Heart of the Community” grant from Southwest Airlines to work with Project for Public Spaces activating Hennepin Avenue between 5th and 10th streets with the project 5 to 10 on Hennepin. Since launching the project, Joan has led the development of a Community Collaboration pairing artists with educational, human, and social service agencies to participate in weekly programmed events in surface parking lots and sidewalks.

Joan is a founding member of the Placemaking Leadership Council, serves on the Board of Directors for Forecast Public Art and a 2017 National Arts Strategies Creative Community Fellow.

In 2017 Joan completed the Ethical Redevelopment Salon program led by Place Lab and the University of Chicago.

Joan continues to be a nationally recognized, visionary source of creative urban revitalization that connects and celebrates diverse cultural landscapes.

Artist Connector and Urban Innovator