We Are Still Here Cohort

About the Cohort

We Are Still Here is a multiyear collaborative partnership between the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) and Hennepin Theatre Trust to bring large-scale, high-profile public artworks to the Hennepin Theatre District and the American Indian Culture Corridor. This ongoing and evolving initiative seeks to match emerging Native artists with established Native arts mentors in an extending fellowship that creates a variety of public art works which promote Native and Indigenous storytelling in the community along Hennepin Avenue and throughout the greater Twin Cities metro area.

WASH cohort member Racquel Banaszak explains the meaning behind the artists' mural artwork to the visitors at the "We Are Still Here" opening reception. Photo by Nathan Meyer, Hennepin Theatre Trust.

Artist and Mentor Collaboration

Each cohort works closely with their mentor, Hennepin Theatre Trust and NACDI over the course of several months to create a learning experience tailored to their individual styles, goals and needs as artists. The artists and their mentor will work and learn together, creating in an artistic medium individual to each cohort; this year the artists will be creating murals, but past cohorts have designed digital artwork, animations and projections.

The cohort experience culminates in a final capstone project of their own choosing, allowing the artists to take the skills and resources they have gained and move their work to the next level. Aside from the technical aspects of developing public art, We Are Still Here is meant to equip the artists to generate opportunities for community engagement beyond the artists themselves. Each capstone project reflects the unique nature of the artist’s exploration of Native Truth-Telling as it intersects with their intended location, supplying a platform which allows them to create engaging and though-provoking public art that boldly reimagines and restores historical and contemporary narratives which have been subjugated or otherwise minimized and negated.

We Are Still Here is a catalyst that weaves Native and Indigenous culture back into Hennepin Avenue, connecting the district’s community to arts and cultural experience to its past in unexpected and profound ways.

“We’re proud to partner with NACDI for the second We Are Still Here artist cohort. After the success of our two-year digital art pilot cohort, I’m excited to see the murals the artists create this year as we continue to weave Native and Indigenous culture back into Hennepin Avenue and the American Indian Cultural Corridor, connecting the district to its past through Native and Indigenous truth-telling and celebrating the vibrant tapestry of our community.”


Racquel Banaszak

Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe

Summer Sky Cohen

Lac du flambeau Band of Ojibwe


Thomasina Topbear

Oglala Lakota & Santee Dakota Nations

Partner: Hennepin Theatre Trust

Hennepin Theatre Trust drives cultural and economic vitality in Minnesota through leadership of the dynamic Hennepin Theatre District in downtown Minneapolis and educational programming that reaches every area of the state. Its historic theatres — Orpheum, State and Pantages — and event center at 900 Hennepin Avenue light up Hennepin Avenue with top-tier entertainment, including the best of Broadway and a wide variety of arts programming. Hennepin Theatre Trust is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Learn more at HennepinTheatreTrust.org.

This activity is made possible by voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

We Are Still Here: Call for Artists

Call for Artists: “We Are Still Here” 2023/24 Cohort

All My Relations Arts and Hennepin Theatre Trust are now taking submissions to be part of the 2023/24 "We Are Still Here" cohort. The creation of the We Are Still Here Artist Cohort amplifies the voices and presence of Native people of Minnesota in the life, culture, art, and activation of Hennepin Avenue & the American Indian Cultural Corridor through the following objectives highlighting Native visibility.

Submission Deadline: 09/24/2023

Learn More