Creative City Challenge Overview

The Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC) and the Culture and Creative Economy Program of the City of Minneapolis in collaboration with Northern and Meet Minneapolis announce the second 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 a temporary, destination artwork, which acts as a sociable and participatory platform for summer-long onsite programing and encourages a sense of connectedness to the city as a whole and its rich cultural and natural offerings.

Initial responses are due by 4:30 pm CDT Monday, November 18, 2013.

A professional jury will select 3 finalists to develop their proposals. The public will then vote on the finalist proposals. The commission fee for the selected project is $75,000, inclusive of all artist fees, installation and de-installation costs.

Email 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 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

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MCC Plaza Background  |  Challenge Background  |  Required Services
Site  |  Eligibility

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.

Minneapolis is the perfect blend of natural beauty and urban sophistication. "City by Nature" is the official tagline for Minneapolis as a destination for leisure travel and conventions. This tagline means we're a city that is really made from nature. The City has twenty lakes and wetlands, the Mississippi River, creeks and waterfalls connected by parkways, the Chain of Lakes and Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. The many neighborhood farmer's markets support interest in sustainable living, local food and the expanding interest in homegrown and urban farming. Minneapolis mirrors this natural setting with the dynamic vibe of a thriving city that contains America's fifth highest concentration of fortune five hundred companies

The City of Minneapolis is committed to environmental health and prides itself in being a leader in supporting and developing ecologically sustainable practices. Green isn't just a concept in Minneapolis; it's a way of life. Minneapolis ranked first in Bike Score's best cities for biking and as one of MSN's "World's Cleanest Cities," the City strives to make every aspect of daily living uphold this belief. Minneapolis has set eco-focused goals for green investment, clean energy, clean lakes and locally grown food. The City recently issued its first ever Climate Action Plan in 2013 with targets to increase local transit ridership; infrastructure for bike commuting, pedestrian walkability, and energy generated from local and renewable sources and decrease fossil fuel energy use and emissions.

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 numbers show that Minneapolis is home to a thriving and dynamic arts community. Our performing arts venues report per capita revenues at fourteen times above the national average and our non-profit community scores thirteen times above the national average for both revenue size and the number of arts organizations. The City's quality of life is greatly improved as a result of cultural offerings and these creative enterprises also contribute to a vibrant local creative economy. The 2013 Minneapolis Creative Index shows that our City's ' creative vitality is roughly 5 times above the national average and the Twin Cities metropolitan area ranks sixth in the nation for creative spending, jobs and organizational revenue.

The designated site for the Creative City Challenge installation is the Minneapolis Convention Center Plaza, a magnificent opportunity to contribute to the vitality of Minneapolis through creative placemaking.

Background: Creative City Challenge

In 2013 the Minneapolis Convention Center, Meet Minneapolis Convention and Visitors Association, and the City of Minneapolis sponsored a competition for a temporary architectural installation on the Convention Center Plaza. The 2014 Creative City Challenge is an expansion and refinement of the 2013 program. More information about the 2013 program:

Note that the CCC application and selection process has changed significantly from 2013.

Summary of Required Services

The Creative City Challenge scope of services is for a temporary structure on the MCC Plaza, which is a compelling destination project that reflects the city's commitment to sound ecological practices and serves as a platform for social and participatory interactions, planned and informal, throughout the summer. It is intended as a conceptual and physical portal for residents and visitors to the MCC and the City of Minneapolis.

Respondents to this call are requested to provide a project concept for a jury, which will select 3 proposals for further development. The initial response should include:

  • Statement of interest and conceptual approach to project (2 page max)
  • Proposal idea (3 page max)
  • Supporting materials (max. 6 images and 1 2-min video)
  • Past projects (max. 3 projects with max 1 page description each)
  • Team member bios (max 1 page each)
    • Include information about permanent residency for each team member. Note that the lead member(s) of the team and at least 50% of the core team must be permanent residents of Minnesota

The goals of the Creative City Challenge at the Minneapolis Convention Center are to:

  • Draw residents of the city to the MCC as a vital gathering space for the surrounding area;
  • Provide a compelling "gathering" site for the MCC's thousands of visitors spring through fall.

These goals are directly related to the goals and strategic directions for the City of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Convention Center, the Office of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy and Meet Minneapolis:

  • To add character to the city through a site-specific commission, which enhances the health and enriches the lives of Minneapolis residents;
  • Through an eco-focused theme for the competition, to further identify Minneapolis as an internationally recognized leader for a healthy environment and sustainable future;
  • To recognize Minneapolis as a regional center for excellence in architecture, urban design and the arts;
  • To enhance community identity and a sense of place in the MCC plaza;
  • To contribute to community vitality;
  • To deliver a consistently excellent pedestrian experience that inspires people to explore Downtown block after block;
  • To position Minneapolis as a national and international center for creativity and design.


The Convention Center Plaza is an 87,000 sq ft (~2 acres) area bounded by the Convention Center, Marquette Ave and 12th St. South in downtown Minneapolis. It is the green roof over an underground parking lot, which means that there are weight restrictions—no more than 60 lbs per square foot--and no significant staking into the ground is possible. All proposals will be reviewed by MCC and CCC staff. Electricity is limited. The sprinkler system will have to be adjusted to accommodate the installation. The installation cannot prevent events from taking place. For an example of a large-scale event layout see here.

Any part of the plaza, excluding the area noted in the map below, but including the walkways, is available for a project as long as it does not preclude normal uses of the plaza, is physically feasible, meets all code and regulatory requirements, and is an asset for the local neighborhood. The plaza must be able to be returned to its original state at the end of the project.

Creative City Challenge Location

Convention Center Plaza Map

Convention Center Plaza - Power and Water

Convention Center Plaza - Example Event Layout

Convention Center Plaza - Engineering Diagrams


The Creative City Challenge at the Minneapolis Convention Center is open to Minnesota-resident architects, landscape architects, urban designers, planners, engineers, scientists, artists, students and individuals of all backgrounds. If submitting as a team, which is encouraged, the lead member(s) of the team and at least 50% of the core team must be permanent residents of Minnesota.

Family members and employees of MCC, The Office of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy of the City of Minneapolis, Northern or the jury are not eligible as finalists for the Challenge.

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