Marcy-Holmes’ art history housed on new website

The neighborhood-themed art website was the result of a MHNA and University partnership.

Examples of some of the work featured on the Creative Spark website. Aldo Moroni created bronze sculptures of many historical structures and sites in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood, which stand near the Stone Arch Bridge on Sunday, Oct. 1.

Carter Blochwitz

Examples of some of the work featured on the Creative Spark website. Aldo Moroni created bronze sculptures of many historical structures and sites in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood, which stand near the Stone Arch Bridge on Sunday, Oct. 1.

Kelly Busche

The Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association is putting the area’s art history in focus.

MHNA debuted Creative Spark: Marcy-Holmes, a website dedicated to displaying historic and contemporary art of the neighborhood, on Sept. 23. More than 100 pieces are available for viewing on the new website. 

The Creative Spark gallery was the result of a partnership between MHNA and the University of Minnesota. Pieces on the website include paintings, songs, sculptures, photographs, sketches and more, with the oldest piece dating back to the mid-1800s. 

Chris Lautenschlager, executive director of the MHNA, said the project is a celebration of Minneapolis’ oldest neighborhood.

Creative Spark is a trademark project for “expressing our neighborhood’s unique character and history,” Lautenschlager said.

He said MHNA partnered with the University because it’s “an institution that’s always interested in forming partnerships with other organizations and reaching out to the neighborhoods.”

The University’s Liberal Arts Technologies and Innovation Services provided the website platform for MHNA’s art, Lautenschlager said.

Rebecca Moss, assistant director for enhancing learning at LATIS, said it was a “no-brainer” to collaborate with MHNA.

“[Creative Spark] benefits the community, but it also highlights the place that we live in,” Moss said.

LATIS also assisted the project because the University’s College of Liberal Arts is typically interested in community engagement efforts, she said. 

“Marcy-Holmes is one that had a very … compelling project,” Moss said.

Elevator, the cloud-storage software used to manage the pieces on the website, was developed by LATIS, she said. 

The project is ongoing, Lautenschlager said. With around 135 pieces online, MHNA hopes to add more. 

“Hopefully it will inspire [artists] to contribute … some of their own works because we don’t know everything that is out there,” Lautenschlager said.

Melissa Bean, former executive director of MHNA, said she gathered most of the artwork found on the Creative Spark website. 

While inside Marcy-Holmes houses, Bean said she noticed images of the Stone Arch Bridge and other neighborhood landmarks on display.

“A lot of people had such a big love of the Stone Arch Bridge,” she said.

Bean also served another role in the project — contributing artist.

“There’s lots of different ways to get people interested in the neighborhood and art is one of the ways,” she said.

The collection “differentiated [the] neighborhood,” Bean said. Marcy-Holmes is the only University neighborhood with an online art collection.

Lautenschlager said MHNA hopes University classes will eventually build a time-lapse map feature for Creative Spark. 

The map feature would show how Marcy-Holmes has changed over the years because “many of these buildings you would see in the collection are no longer there,” he said.

Creative Spark will serve as a record of the neighborhood for years to come, Bean said. 

“It [has] a lot of potential for more life after this,” she said.