Creative City Challenge Overview

The Minneapolis Convention Center and The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy of the City of Minneapolis in collaboration with Northern Lights.mn and Meet Minneapolis announce the third annual Creative City Challenge. 

The Creative City Challenge is a competition for Minnesota-resident architects, landscape architects, urban designers, planners, engineers, scientists, artists, students and individuals of all backgrounds to create and install at the Minneapolis Convention Center Plaza an artwork, which is an innovative use of the space and acts as a sociable and participatory platform for scheduled and impromptu onsite programs throughout the summer.

This year the competition is challenging teams to engage the broader community to participate in a meaningful way in the design, creation and/or ongoing use of the artwork. We are open to what participation means. Some examples of participatory design projects are included at the end of this call, but they are by no means exhaustive or intended to be prescriptive. We want your ideas about how to engage the public in your work, the Convention Center Plaza, and, ultimately, the City.

The commission fee for the selected project is $75,000, inclusive of all artist fees, permits, installation and de-installation costs. The winning design will be unveiled at the opening of Northern Spark, June 13, 2015. 

Initial responses are due by 4:30 pm CDT Monday, December 1, 2014.


Email creativecitychallenge@northern.lights.mn with questions. A complete request for the proposal document can be downloaded here.

If this material is needed in an alternative format please call Lance Knuckles at (612) 673-2919 or email Lance.Knuckles@Minneapolismn.gov. Deaf and hard of hearing persons may use a relay service to call 311 agents at (612) 673-3000. TTY users may call (612) 673-2157 or (612) 6730-2626

Background: The Minneapolis Convention Center Plaza


The Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC) is the largest indoor, contiguous, convention center in the Upper Midwest with over 1.5 million visitors annually, including 250,000 during the summer months. The MCC is more than a meeting place.  It’s more than a show space. It’s a building all about building something else…relationships. The MCC has a goal of connecting with its community as an activity center while also acting as a gateway to Minneapolis for Convention Center visitors. 

The City of Minneapolis is committed to environmental health and prides itself in being a leader in supporting and developing ecologically sustainable practices. Minneapolis is nationally known as a city infused with creative energy. From internationally recognized theatre, world-class museums and music venues to community art projects that transform neighborhoods, the arts are a critical element of what makes Minneapolis a city on the cutting-edge of creativity. 

The designated site for the Creative City Challenge installation is the Minneapolis Convention Center Plaza, a hidden gem in the heart of downtown Minneapolis.

Background: Creative City Challenge


The Creative City Challenge is an annual public art competition on the Convention Center Plaza. This year, for the first time, there will be an additional, separate call for curated programming on the Convention Center Plaza throughout the summer, once the centerpiece project has been selected. The Creative City Challenge winner can submit a proposal for programming, but it is not required, and their proposal will not receive special consideration. This is the third iteration of the Creative City Challenge. More information about past winners and past event programming can be found here:

The Opportunity


The Creative City Challenge is a unique opportunity to create a destination artwork that animates the Convention Center Plaza the entire summer. The winning work will be launched at the annual Northern Spark festival, June 13, 2015, and there will be programmed activities throughout the summer. 

The goal of this year’s Creative City Challenge is to create an artwork that is an innovative use of space foregrounding the public’s ability to participate in the design, creation, or summer-long use – any or all – of the project. The CCC project should be able to be used in conjunction with everyday and special event use by conventioneers and city residents. The piece should reflect the unique character, personality, culture, nature, and ethos of the City of Minneapolis.

There will be a separate call for curated programming of the Convention Center plaza, which is different from public participation with the project itself. CCC winners will have the opportunity to submit a programming proposal for their project, but it is not required or expected, and the winner’s programming proposal will not receive special consideration.

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