Podcast #44 – Resurrecting Block E with Joan Vorderbruggen


Looking out at the Hennepin sidewalk from inside abandoned Block E.

The podcast this week is a conversation with Joan Vorderbruggen, a local artist and arts organizer who is organizing the “Made Here” campaign in downtown Minneapolis’ Block E.

For over a year now, Joan has been running a campaign called Artists in Storefronts along Nicollet Avenue in South Minneapolis’ Whitter neighborhood. Her project takes empty or under appreciated sidewalk-facing shop windows and teams them with artists to transform our city streets into an impromptu art gallery. Now she’s taking her project into downtown Minneapolis, trying to do the same thing in Block E, downtown’s notoriously 13-year old failed urban mall redevelopment.

We sat down a few weeks ago in the abandoned Border’s bookstore in Block E, right on Hennepin Avenue, to talk about the project and why focusing on shop windows can make a difference for cities.

The link to the audio is here. Window shop all the episodes on the feed.

Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.