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Open Streets Brings Open Expression To Franklin Avenue

Another sunny Sunday afternoon in Minneapolis and another chance to get out and explore the neighboorhood, thanks to Open Streets Minneapolis.

This go-round, I was walking Franklin Ave, seeing the sights, and chatting with participants of the event to find out what they were all about.

One would expect since the Minnesota State Fair is now officially open, Franklin Ave would have been pretty quiet. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that wasn’t the case.

Stepping on to the street, the first stand I saw was pretty hard to miss.

Driscoll's Berries at Open Streets Franklin
Driscoll’s Berries at Open Streets Franklin- Photo by Jake Cobb

Driscoll’s Berrys had set up their display, which included their berry-covered food truck, games, and a photo wall for people to enjoy.

You could play a game and win yourself a token for a berry treat, which made Driscoll’s a popular stop on the walk of Franklin AVE.

Up the street from Driscoll’s berry truck was the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee, (MIRAC).

MIRAC Open Streets Franklin
MIRAC Open Streets Franklin- Photo by Jake Cobb

MIRAC was out to engage with the community, to help gain support to help abolish ICE, and educate people on their rights if they get stopped.

They were also asking people to sign their petition to demand that the Minnesota State Board of Investments (SBI) divest over 1 million dollars in Elbit Systems, the arms dealer that makes their money in border militarization on the U.S.-Mexico border and in Israel.

You may remember from my last Open Streets article that the Anti-War Committee was also working on the same petition. MIRAC and the Anti-War Committee were in front of the SBI this month to plead their case.

Franklin Library Open Streets Franklin
Franklin Library Open Streets Franklin- Photo by Jake Cobb

The Franklin Library had their display right in front of their building and were offering books to check out, popcorn, and information about local history.

Have you ever wanted to see what highschoolers were dressing like in 1970? Well now you can, the Franklin Library, as part of the Hennepin County Library system, has added yearbooks to its massive archive.

Down the street from the library was the Veterans For Peace organization.

Veterans for peace Open Streets Franklin
Veterans for peace Open Streets Franklin- Photo by Jake Cobb

This international organization of military veterans, families, and allies was out on the streets of Franklin Ave talking with people about how military spending is killing us.

They were also talking with people about some of the organization’s main goals, which include ending the arms race and reducing, and eventually eliminating, nuclear weapons.

MIA at Open Streets Franklin
MIA at Open Streets Franklin- Photo by Jake Cobb

The Minneapolis Institue of Art was also in attendance for Open Streets. They have a huge community mural in progress and were gathering responses from people as to what the design made them think about.

They also had a table set up so you could write down your ideas or grab a piece of chalk and do your own drawing on the sidewalk.

Parks and Recreation at Open Streets Franklin
Parks and Recreation Department at Open Streets Franklin- Photo by Jake Cobb

As you may have guessed, the parks and recreation department had a booth set up for themselves at the event. They were busy passing out information about upcoming park events and answering questions.

They also had a screen printing stand set up where you could create a design and screenprint it yourself.

Open Streets wouldn’t be the same without local artists and Open Streets Franklin was no different.

I was able to talk a moment with Robert, The Gentleman Artist, as he painted. Robert had been busy at work out on the streets creating new paintings as people came by.

The Gentleman Artist Open Streets Franklin
The Gentleman Artist Open Streets Franklin- Photo by Jake Cobb

He had created three paintings by the time I found him and was in progress on a fourth as we chatted. Robert is only two years into painting but you wouldn’t know that by looking.

He focuses on expression, letting the paint flow and creating with both hands. He is not one for the idea that you can’t do something just because you haven’t spent years studying it.

He wanted to paint, so he started painting. I found that pretty inspiring.

As I was making my way back up Franklin I stopped to talk with the folks at the Move To Amend booth.

Move to Amend Open Streets Franklin
Move to Amend Open Streets Franklin- Photo by Jake Cobb

Move to amend is an organization that is working to, you guessed it, amend the U.S. Constitution.

As they state in their literature, they reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United and other related cases, and move to amend the Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.”

I had fun getting to chat with them for a moment about such a complex topic that affects all of us.

Open streets was once again a great opportunity to explore the neighboorhood and see people and groups who otherwise might not get much attention.

Keep your eyes out for the next open streets event near you and go explore your city for yourself!

Written by Jake Cobb

My Name's Jake, I am the owner of Workhorse Photography based in Minneapolis Minnesota. When I am not shooting and writing for Music In Minnesota I am working on my business where I specialize in Fine Art Boudoir, Portraiture and Documentary photography.

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