City of Minneapolis and MPR launch new public art audio project

MPR and the City of Minneapolis are working together to raise the profile of public art in the city. “Sound Point” is a new interactive audio tour that allows visitors to use their mobile devices to access stories about works of public art in Minneapolis.

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Signs like this one next to select works of public art in Minneapolis direct passers-by to learn more about the work and listen to interviews with the artists.

My colleague Jeff Jones conceived of the project, and partnered with Mary Altman at the City of Minneapolis to realize it.

“I wanted to take what we know about audio and storytelling to the streets,” said Jones. “Minneapolis has great public art and this project allows people to hear from the artists who created it.”

Say you’re at the “Blossoms of Hope” bus stop in North Minneapolis, and you’re admiring the huge colorful blooms over the shelter. A few feet away a sign invites you to call or text a number, or visit a website using your smart phone, and hear artist Marjorie Pitz talk about the project.

At the end of her talk, you have the option of leaving a message, telling the city and MPR what you think of the shelter. Raves and rants are equally welcome.

“Whether we look closely or not, great art in public spaces improves our quality of life in Minneapolis every day,” said Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. “I’m pleased that MPR has created the ‘Sound Point’ tour of our beautiful public artwork. It’s a terrific tool for people to pause, look and learn more about our city, our art and our many great artists.”

Currently there are 13 “sound points” in Minneapolis, with plans to expand to 25 in the near future.

The City has published a map of these locations to assist viewers in conducting their own self-guided tour of these artworks.

Note: There are lots of QR scanning apps to choose from for both iPhone and Android, and all behave a little differently. For Sound Point, MPR recommends a simple one called “Scan” for iPhone.

In the coming weeks, check State of the Arts for profiles of the individual sound points, starting Monday with a closer look at the “Blossoms of Hope” bus shelter.

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