Art Connects Us A public art project from Hennepin Theatre Trust

Bill and Beverly Cottman - "Four Women's LOVE"

LOVE – expressed in bold colors and simple geometric shapes are juxtaposed in such a way as to suggest a joyful dance. We evoke the personalities of four women who represent love, optimism, vitality and empathy. They signal to the world that hope for a better tomorrow is always the best option. The strength garnered from traditions like patchwork quilting and storytelling provide the catalyst for creating the techniques needed to heal a broken world.

Bill Cottman

Photographer, Writer, Projectionist. Currently creating visualizations for meditation on the lives of four women.

Beverly Cottman

Storyteller, Interdisciplinary Artist. Blending visual, literary, and performance art to create dynamic narratives from stories, folktales, and fables of the African Diaspora.

Ebrima Sarge

Visual Artist, Musician. Using music and drawing to express and deepen my understanding of heritage and culture.

To learn more about Bill, visit www.billcottman.com. More information about Beverly can be found at BeverlyCottman.com.

Wing Young Huie - "Photographs"

My idea was to search through my archive for photos that would bring a smile to people’s faces. The black and white photo on the left, never exhibited or published, was taken sometime late last century, while the one on the right was taken in 2007 for my University Avenue Project.

Wing Young Huie

Having a camera around my neck gets me out of my personal, cultural and technological bubble. Of course we take photographs of each other everyday in our minds, but how much of what we see is shaped by images from mass culture rather than by personal experiences? What do you see?

To learn more about Wing Young Huie, visit WingYoungHuie.com.

Steven Lang - "Wall Friends - Lauderdale, Minnesota"

This photograph was taken in Lauderdale, Minnesota, where I live – technically a small town but located directly adjacent to both Minneapolis and Saint Paul. While out walking I happened upon these two older boys, young men really, who were enjoying the sunset and view of Minneapolis from atop a freeway wall. The stark contrast and silhouettes drew me in, but there seemed to be something timeless about the way the boys were looking in wonder at the horizon, as if trying to catch a glimpse of their own futures. I can only imagine what they might have been thinking at the time, but at this moment in history I believe we are all looking to the future, perhaps with some degree of trepidation, but also with gratitude and a sense of hope.

Steven Lang

I am interested in states of limbo – buildings, houses, tracts of land, cars, trees, systems, and even people – that appear to be in stasis but are in fact showing signs of impending change. I also try to capture the human desire for this kind of limbo, which is often at odds with the equally human desire for change.

To learn more about Steven Lang, visit StevenLang.net.

Reggie LeFlore - "Essential Workers Tribute"

This project contains a series of digital and traditional paintings that aim to honor our active essential workers — many of which are tasked with both ensuring the health and well-being of our citizens, as well as those who are helping in sustaining our economic structures.

Reggie LeFlore

Reggie LeFlore is a visual artist whose work style is influenced by street art and illustration. He creates portrait based paintings that utilize aerosol and graphic design techniques to take on both commercial and concept driven works, which range from studio based projects to large scale mural and public art works.

To learn more about Reggie LeFlore, visit Ral86.com.

Kathy McTavish - "Thinking of You"

These past months, as this virus spread, I have been thinking about love, grief, courage, the ways we support each other and the ways we fail each other. I thought about the everyday heroes — nurses, doctors, janitors, small farmers, field workers, truck drivers, grocery clerks, stockers, delivery drivers, day-care workers, teachers, first responders — I am thankful for this opportunity to express love and gratitude to my community.

Kathy McTavish

As a media composer and installation artist, I create chance-infused, open systems. I use generative methods to build networked, multichannel video and sound environments — cross-sensory, polyphonic landscapes which flow through the digital web (the sky, the cloud) into physical spaces.

To learn more about Kathy McTavish, visit McTavish.io.

Marlena Myles - "One's Heart is Good"

To get through tough times, Dakota people believe in the philosophy ​mitakuye owasin ​(we are all related) and that means not just being good relatives to each other as people, but also to the land, waters, and fellow animals, to the future generations. The stay-at-home orders have shown all over the world how the earth is healing through our reduced uses of fossil fuels, how communities are coming together to care for one another as human beings, awakening in ourselves the ability to be better relatives to all life. Even in times of crisis, there’s much hope for a better future as we work together for it.

Marlena Myles

Marlena Myles is a self-taught Native American (Spirit Lake Dakota/Mohegan/Muscogee) artist located in St Paul, Minnesota. Growing up on her traditional Dakota homelands in the Twin Cities, she brings modernity to the history, languages and oral traditions of her people through digital art, fabric patterns, animations and illustrations.

To learn more about Marlena Myles, visit MarlenaMyl.es.

Dana Sikkila - "Companionship"

This work is meant to inspire happiness to those who find themselves outside during this time. The image of the puppy and the bee represent the idea of teamwork and companionship. No matter what brings you worry, there is always strength from friendships. Support from each other means the world. Be the support others need.

Dana Sikkila

Sikkila is a printmaker, found of Project Bike and executive director of Mankato’s 410 Project.

To learn more about Dana Sikkila, visit DanaSikkila.com.

Kao Lee Thao - "Hope"

My piece represents the many faces of hope who have risen to the challenges our world has faced due to this global pandemic. Hope is essential to our survival; we have to thank those who risk their lives every day to save humanity.

Kao Lee Thao

Allow me to tap into your subconscious and release your inner swirl. I’m Kao Lee Thao a visual artist, I create to unlock inspiration and transport viewers to a fantasy world. Reminding us not to forget what imagination can accomplish in life, I challenge you to let go and explore.

To learn more about Kao Lee Thao, visit InnerSwirl.com.

Lizardman - "Pay and protect essential workers"

While we celebrate the bravery of essential workers carrying on during the pandemic, we shouldn’t forget that these roles were essential all along, and will continue to be after this crisis passes. These workers have always deserved healthcare and economic protections that our society has largely failed to deliver. This image is a call to acknowledge but more importantly support these workers, not just this month but for the foreseeable future.


Lizardman is an artist, illustrator, muralist and co-founder of Rogue Citizen artist collective.

To learn more about Lizardman, visit LizardmanArt.com.

Edwin Yang

Our cities, country and the world aren’t whole or complete right now. Dreams, realities and lives have been shattered into pieces. Everything is messed up all over. While many stay inside working on puzzles, essential employees are dealing with similar but more important struggles. Picking up the pieces and making order out of chaos. Working together towards a common vision. Solving problems one at a time. Maintaining focus when the the task at hand seems daunting and difficult. For we are learning it isn’t our industries, sports teams, politicians, man made or natural attractions that make our cities great. It’s the people — the heart, backbone and soul of a city — which will determine its future fate.

Edwin Yang

I like to examine the dualities of the world. Exploring the borders of opposing forces and how they confront and complement each other.

To learn more about Edwin Yang, visit EdwinYang.com.