Lighting up the night with Love Vote Rise art installation

Love Vote Rise is a social justice, community-spread art installation that aims to encourage voting. It’s a one-two punch of posters, which I helped deliver two weeks ago. And a light installation. Big news! Monica Nilsson and I got our hands on a LVR projector last night and we got to run around town doing light installations. We started about 6pm, stopped for dinner but went until almost midnight. It was so much fun – and so cold and night is darker than you might remember.

The sad thing is being out on a Friday night and seeing no one around. The happy thing is having an excuse to run all around town in a COVID-friendly manner (masked and distanced) and promote the vote. I think we’re all very nervous about what’s happening with the vote. Most of us have voted – and darned good thing with all of the changes happening mid-play here. (For example, your ballot must be received by November 3. Worried? Get more info from the Secretary of State.) But there are people we can still reach and it feels good to do something!!

Here’s our itinerary – dreamt up mostly while we drove…

We started at Fort Snelling. Fort better or for worse, it’s a reminder of what can happen with the US Government and why we need to stay involved. Also it’s a place where you can see both downtown Minneapolis and St Paul. We couldn’t do as much with those skylines as I has imagined. The whole exercise was a learning experience.

From there we did a drive-by picture at the Hook and Ladder. No show happening at the time but it’s a nonprofit, community-forward venue next door to the (former) Minneapolis Police Third Precinct. It is nothing short of a miracle to see that place hosting shows (albeit very limited audience, mostly online shows) again. Turns out – strong people can recover!!


Next we stopped by a few classic downtown Minneapolis locations – the Bob Dylan mural on the corner of 5th and Hennepin, painted by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra, the Mary Tyler Moore Statute in front of old Dayton’s at Nicollet and 7th, the musical notes building and the mural at the Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Shelter. So we’re featuring a Nobel Prize winner, fictional representation of journalism we trust and people experiencing homelessness. Each of these people gets a vote – well not MTM as a fictional character but journalists do.  It’s the value of the vote – representation. But only for those to use it!

Of course we had to make a stop at First Avenue. I’ve been there for hundreds of shows – seeing so many amazing Minnesota (and other bands) but also there is see candidates, to protest and show off our community to visitors.

A quick pic at the Prince mural on 26th and Hennepin in Uptown. Painted by local artists, Rock “Cyfi” Martinez, painted to help Minneapolis get its mojo back after the death of Prince. Seems like we could use a few more murals now – or better yet, we could use some votes to effect change!

The Sculpture Garden was a great place for the Vote bat-signal. Last time we were there was for my birthday marathon in June. There are so many dramatic picture to be had here. And especially during COVID, the outdoor art has increased in importance. SO it was nice to celebrate it.

Another quick pic at the 511 Building. OK this landmark wouldn’t be on just everybody’s shortlist – but I used to work here and so I know historically this building has been a linchpin to internet access throughout Minnesota. It’s importance is over overlooked or underestimated by people who don’t understand – kind of like the privilege/right/responsibility of voting!

From downtown Minneapolis to the State Fair. We had some high hopes here but this is where we really learned that the night is dark. SO we took some pictures of our favorite things – like Sweet Martha’s Cookies but we realize that this didn’t turn out as well as we might have liked. (Just like sometimes the election doesn’t always go the way you want but that shouldn’t stop you from voting!) I was pleased we were able to get a good picture of Fairchild. I’ve included a picture of the bronze cow from St Paul Campus too – although again, not what we were hoping would happen.

Another quick pic at the Turf Club. The one thing I miss most in 2020 is the Turf Club. Enough said!

We stopped by the Capitol. Both Monica and I have spent our time here advocating for rural broadband, affordable housing, women’s rights, the environment – the list goes on. And we wouldn’t always be at the same demonstration but we both feel comfortable here – as should every Minnesota resident because at the chat goes … whose house? Our house!! And let’s vote to make sure we get the house keepers we want and need!

We stopped by Rice Park, I couldn’t resist a picture with the St Paul Public Library and then the Landmark Center was right there too – and I’ve included a picture of Monica with Marcie from The Peanuts cartoon – a nod to Minnesota’s most famous comic strip.

We were getting cold and tired – more in body than mind. So we headed home but on the way saw what needed to be out “last call” the Schmidt Brewing sign. Such a fun night; we were lucky to participate. In the same way we should feel lucky to vote – if that’s what gets us out to the polls. Voting is much easier than a night of art installation – and is so much more important.

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