12×12 is a place-based project. We begin by acknowledging that we live and gather on the unceded land of the Dakota People.
Join us at the intersection of art and community as Mixed Blood partners with 12 artists—from ice skaters and poets to chefs and theater makers—working in and with 12 Twin Cities neighborhoods to create short performances that reflect each community. Partnering with individuals and organizations, the artistic reflections will highlight the stories and diversity of our communities. Each piece is performed twice: once in the community where it is created and again at Mixed Blood, when all twelve communities will come together in a performance festival.
Community performances: March 18-August 18, 2023
Performance Festival: August 19-20, 2023
12×12 responds to the unique circumstances of our moment.
- With a new Artistic Director and new staff, the program allows us to meet, listen, and learn from the community, as we enter the Twin Cities with curiosity and humility.
- As we emerge from the pandemic shut down, we want to meet people where they are and where they are comfortable going: their own neighborhoods
- We want to create new partnerships and perform in more places, for more people
- We want to re-introduce Mixed Blood to folks we haven’t connected with in a while and introduce ourselves to a whole new audience
- We want to expand our own definitions of theater and performance, working with artists across genres, disciplines, and practices
- We want to celebrate the diversity of the Twin Cities. 12 communities making up 1 beautiful region
COMMUNITIES AND ARTISTS
Located on the West side of the Mississippi River, Brooklyn Center is a first-ring suburb north of Minneapolis and is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the State of Minnesota. This is a home for many immigrant populations, including East Asian (Hmong), East African, and Latine communities.
A trained chef, Yia Vang worked at many top restaurants in the Twin Cities before starting Union Hmong Kitchen, and has been featured in the New York Times, Nat Geographic, and Bon Appetit, as well as showcased on PBS, CNN, and more. His new restaurant concept, Vinai, which is named after the refugee camp in Thailand where he was born, is to create a home for his Hmong food that celebrates his parents’ legacy and tells his family’s story through food. (Vinai is slated to open in Minneapolis)
Performance Date: June 24, 2023
Community Partners: The Center at Brooklyn Center, MN Zej Zog, Brookdale Library, Cross of Glory, ACER, Organization of Liberians in Minnesota, CEAP
Tucked along the West Bank of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Cedar-Riverside is not only home to Mixed Blood, but to 5,000 people living in just one square block and speaking over 90 different languages.
Ifrah Mansour is a Somali, refugee, Muslim, multimedia artist, and an educator based in Minnesota. Her artwork explores trauma through the eyes of children to uncover the resiliencies of blacks, Muslims, and refugees. She interweaves poetry, puppetry, films, and installations. Her critically-acclaimed works include, How to Have Fun in a Civil War play, Can I touch it installation, Halima the puppet installation, I am a Refugee poem, and My aqal series. She’s been featured in Middle East Eye, BBC, Vice, OkayAfrica, Star Tribune, and City Pages
Performance Date: TBD
Community Partners: Abdirizak Bihi, Brian Coyle Center, West Bank Business Association, The Cedar Cultural Center, Abdurrahman Mahmud, Jamie Schumacher, Our Streets Minneapolis
Disabilities (performed in Powderhorn)
A collaboration with and about folks with varying disabilities from across the Metro Area, it is estimated that at least 12% of the state’s population experience disability. 32 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, this community immerses itself in the values of the Disability Rights and Disability Justice movements—embracing the rallying cry of, “Nothing About Us Without Us.”
The Powderhorn Park neighborhood is known for the 66-acre park for which it is named, as well as events like the Powderhorn Art Fair and the May Day Festival & Parade. Although it has the dubious distinction of being where George Perry Floyd, Jr. was heinously murdered; it is one of four neighborhoods that abut George Floyd Square. Powderhorn activists, artivists, organizers, and organizations strive to ensure that George Floyd Square is resourced and cared for in a manner that meets the local and global calls for justice in all forms.
Alison Bergblom Johnson
Alison Bergblom Johnson is an artist whose work crosses media and genre, exploring disability, identity, and joy. She collaborates with community care and art organizations from small grassroots endeavors (some examples: Fresh Eye Gallery, Strike Theater) to very large, established institutions, (for example: the Wilder Foundation, Springboard for the Arts, the Walker Art Center). Her genres and media include essays, collage, and storytelling. She is an artist, a writer, a performer, an artist organizer, a consultant, and a teaching artist.
Performance Date: March 18, 2023
Community Partners: Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association, Powderhorn Park Recreation Center, Fresh Eye GalleryUpstream Arts, Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center, Kerry Daigs, Southside Pride, Springboard for the Arts
Photo by Mark Smeby
A business and cultural district located between MacKubin and Marion streets along University Avenue, Little Mekong took shape in the 1970’s. Named after the Mekong River that connects the cultures of Southeast Asia, this hub for Southeast Asian and Hmong communities is stewarded by the Asian Economic Development Association and others.
Katie Ka Vang
Katie Ka Vang is a Hmong American Playwright and theater maker. Her work magnifies the nuances of communities + cultures and explores diaspora and disease. Her work is grounded in the heart and aims for systems change.
Performance Date: July 1, 2023
Community Partners: Asian Economic Development Association, Hmong Cultural Center, Vietnamese Social Services of Minnesota, Springboard for the Arts, Jamie Schumacher
North of downtown and just across the river, Northeast Minneapolis is sometimes referred to as “Nordeast”, reflecting the history of northern and eastern European immigrants and their language influence. Northeast was the first business and industrial district in Minneapolis and is presently home to over 1200 working artists.
Reinaldo Moya is a graduate of Venezuela’s El Sistema music education system. He is the recipient of the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letter, the McKnight Composers Fellowship, the Van Lier Fellowship, and the Aaron Copland Award. He was the winner of the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation Composer Award, leading to the commissioning of his Piano Concerto for Joyce Yang and the Bangor Symphony Orchestra. As the Composer-In-Residence at The Schubert Club 2017-19, he wrote Tienda: a chamber opera praised by The Star Tribune for its “proud individuality.” His opera Memory Boy, with a libretto by Mark Campbell, was commissioned by the Minnesota Opera and premiered in 2016. His works have been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony, the Juilliard Orchestra, the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, the New Jersey Symphony. Other performers include the Jasper and Attacca String Quartets, the Oberlin Conservatory Orchestra, the Da Capo Chamber Players, the Lysander Piano Trio, among others. He is a graduate of The Juilliard School with masters and doctorate degrees, studying with Samuel Adler and Robert Beaser. Mr. Moya has taught at St. Olaf College, the Interlochen Arts Camp, and is currently Associate Professor of Composition at Augsburg University in Minneapolis.
Performance Date: May 20, 2023 at Art-A-Whirl
Community Partners: Northeast Minneapolis Arts District, Billy Menz, Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, Bottineau Neighborhood Association, Logan Park Neighborhood Association, Northeast Recreation Center, Edison High School
North Minneapolis is comprised of a group of neighborhoods just north of Highway 55 and west of I-94. Beginning early in the 20th century, the Northside became home to primarily Jewish and African American residents and businesses, due to racial covenants and discriminatory redlining policies throughout the Twin Cities. Today, North Minneapolis is a bustling hub of Black culture and advocacy.
Joe Davis is an award-winning, internationally-touring artist who uses poetry to power possibility. He is a student and practitioner of Radical Joy, a deep-rooted wellspring of well-being that he cultivates in community through songwriting, healing justice work, and multi-media storytelling. To learn ways to collaborate, visit JoeDavisPoetry.com.
Community Partners: The Capri, PCYC, Our Streets Minneapolis
Maplewood is tucked between NE St. Paul and Woodbury. Primarily residential, it holds the headquarters of 3M. In a region famous for another mall, the Maplewood Mall has long been a community staple, and recently began leasing space to small businesses as an incubator for local entrepreneurs.
Rebecca Noon is a community arts organizer, deviser, and administrator. She has created original live performance with her ensemble Strange Attractor in Providence, RI, Philadelphia, PA, and Juneau, AK since 2010 such as She Died for Our Convenience, a 50-person choral haunting dedicated to the female textile workers in a vacated Providence textile mill; The Sea Pageant, a 100-person, all-ages, all-abilities unison performance for the ocean during the solar eclipse in Newport, RI; and Back to the Work, an actor-less journey through a historic house museum that asked audience members to become personal historians. In 2019, Rebecca was named the Director of Community Engagement at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN where she builds mutually-beneficial relationships across the Twin Cities and in greater Minnesota through art-making, responsive events, and co-conspiratorial relationships surrounding the Guthrie’s mainstage season.
Performance Date: April 29, 2023
Community Partners: Maplewood Mall, Ramsey County Library
South/East of 35W and North of Lake Street in Minneapolis, the Phillips neighborhood gave birth to the American Indian Movement (AIM) in 1968. It comprises four smaller neighborhoods: Ventura Village, Phillips West, East Phillips, and Midtown Phillips.
The Subversive Sirens are a Minnesota-based synchronized swimming team committed to Black Liberation, Equity in Swimming, Radical Body Acceptance and Queer Visibility. Originally formed to compete at the 2018 Gay Games, the Subversive Sirens have been engaging communities & spreading their love of water for the past 6 years. Their competition hardware includes two gold & two silver medals, and they were awarded the Breaking Barriers Award from Minnesota National Girls & Women in Sports Day in 2020. Current members are Tana Hargest, Zoe Hollomon, Signe V. Harriday, Suzy Messerole, Ana Mendoza Packham & Roxanne Prichard.
Performance Date: TBD
Community Partners: Phillips Aquatic Center
Photo by Ackerman + Gruber
The Historic Rondo Neighborhood was the center of social and economic independence of black residents in St. Paul in the late 1800s. When I-94 was built to connect the Twin Cities in the 1950s, 700 homes and 300 businesses in this historic community were destroyed and the people were forced out. A restorative movement is underway to support equitable opportunities for African Americans and the Rondo community.
Hawona Sullivan Janzen
Hawona Sullivan Janzen is a St. Paul based poet and performance artist whose work explores the complex nature of grief, loss, love and hope. She is the co-founder of Witness Writing, a free community-based writing workshop in North Minneapolis. Her work has been read on National Public Radio, featured in 10-foot-tall broadsides on the side of buildings for the Poetry of Resistance and Change Project, imprinted on coffee sleeves by Coffee House Press and performed as a jazz opera at the Soap Factory Gallery. Her recent works include: “Hydro’s Phobia” a one act play performed at the Pillsbury House Theatre, “Dream Sequences” a public art project currently on view at East Lake Street and 36th Avenue South in Minneapolis and two public art projects in Rondo Neighborhood of St. Paul: the Dale Street Bridge Project over I-94 and the Rondo Family Reunion, a public art lawn sign project and performance featuring poetry and photos of life in Rondo.
Performance Date: TBD
Community Partners: Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, ReConnect Rondo, YWCA St. Paul, Our Streets Minneapolis
Trans/Non-binary (performed in Loring Park)
A collaboration with Trans and Non-Binary community members from across the Metro Area. In 1975, Minneapolis became the first U.S. city to ban discrimination against transgender people with the state following suit in 1993. In 2017, Andrea Jenkins was elected to the Minneapolis City Council, becoming the first Black openly trans woman to hold office in the United States.
An urban park on the West side of downtown Minneapolis, Loring Park is dubbed lovingly as “the gayborhood” by residents; home to annual festivals – from Pride to Holidazzle.
Bryce Burton is an artist that works in the twin cities, they work through digital illustration, tattooing and one on one talking to create deeply personal works of art. They are an avid worker of body positivity, body and identity reclamation and trauma informed communication. Their illustration work often deals with themes of magic, resonance, body horror, surrealism and queerness.
Performance Date: May 27, 2023
Community Partners: Directly collaborating with trans and non-binary individuals across the Twin Cities.
Right across the river from Downtown St. Paul, West Side has long been a landing place for immigrants. In the 60s, the city demolished many Mexican-American homes and businesses to build infrastructure. Still, the West Side remains a vibrant hub of Latine culture and home to Somali, Hmong, and other Black and brown populations.
Ernest Briggs (White Earth Nation) is Artistic Director of Turtle Theater Collective and a proud Native American professional actor from the Twin Cities who has worked in Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles and Florida doing film, TV, stage and commercial work for over 15 years. He received his M.F.A. in Acting from the University of Florida and attended The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles. He also studied improv at Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis and Upright Citizens Brigade in Los Angeles. When Briggs isn’t acting, writing, directing and producing, he spends time with his family, including his 3 1/2-year-old daughter and 1-year old son.
Performance Date: May 6, 2023
Community Partners:West Side Community Organization, Becky Dale, Wabasha Street Caves, Esperanza United
Located East of St. Paul, Woodbury ranks as the second fastest-growing city in Minnesota and contains 45 parks and about 100 miles of trails. Woodbury is often rated one of the best places to live in Minnesota.
Grounded in African Diasporic perspectives, Brownbody’s mission is to build artistic experiences that disrupt biased narratives and prompts audiences to engage as active participants in the journey. Brownbody accomplishes this through a blend of modern dance, theatre, social justice, and figure skating.
Performance Date: August 18, 2023
Community Partners: Woodbury Community Foundation, City of Woodbury Parks and Recreation, Jodi Ritacca Carlini, SoWashCo CARES, Open Cupboard, SoWashCo Schools Cultural Liaisons, Kevin and Emily Gilboe
Photo by Ray Ewing