Art + Design in Public Space Series: Essence of Art

The Heart of the City design team is pleased to invite you to join a panel discussion and conversation on the roles art and design play in creating vibrant public spaces.

This month’s topic will address how art in the public realm creates new dialogues around the essence of art beyond the form of art itself. Chicago-based artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle and Heart of the City curator Hesse McGraw will lead the discussion.

Early in the conceptual development of Heart of the City, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle said, “I want to put sculpture to work.” His work exemplifies the civic-scale ambition and impact of art being commissioned for Peace Plaza. During this conversation, he and McGraw will discuss his expansive view of sculpture for the public realm and the essential artistic qualities that carry through complex public projects.

During his 30-year career, Manglano-Ovalle has been internationally hailed for technologically advanced works that crystalize our most confounding political and cultural narratives into iconic, beautiful form—a thundercloud, an iceberg, Mies van der Rohe’s architecture, or a simple town well. Manglano-Ovalle’s numerous awards include a United States Artists Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a MacArthur Foundation Award. He is noted in Rochester for his landmark 2006 survey exhibition at Rochester Art Center. See more here.

To reserve your space, register here. This event is free and open to everyone; however, space is limited.

Google to Open Rochester Office and Partner with Mayo Clinic to Accelerate Health Care Innovation

Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network

Mayo Clinic and Google have announced a 10-year strategic partnership that will redefine how health care is delivered and accelerate the pace of health care innovation through digital technologies.

Mayo Clinic selected Google Cloud to be the cornerstone of its digital transformation. Mayo will use advanced cloud computing, data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to redefine health care delivery, bringing together global providers and consumers to make health care better.

“Data-driven medical innovation is growing exponentially, and our partnership with Google will help us lead the digital transformation in health care,” says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., president and CEO of Mayo Clinic. “It will empower us to solve some of the most complex medical problems; better anticipate the needs of people we serve; and meet them when, where and how they need us. We will share our knowledge and expertise globally while caring for people locally and always do it with a human touch.”

DMC Annual Meeting and Discovery Square Events to Highlight Growth in Rochester

On Thursday, September 19, several events will highlight Destination Medical Center’s progress in the community and its role as a catalyst for growth in Rochester. These events will all take place in the Discovery Square sub-district.

Yam Haus, Photo by Michael Becker

From 4-6 p.m., the community is invited to the grand opening of One Discovery Square, a 90,000 square foot healthcare innovation campus. A short presentation with remarks from community leaders will take place at 4:15 p.m. followed by a group photo. During the open house-style event, several One Discovery Square tenants, including Mayo Clinic, University of Minnesota Rochester, Epic, Boston Scientific, and others will feature science on display through interactive demonstrations. Attendees can take a self-guided tour through the building and enjoy food and beverages from Café Steam and Flapdoodles. Minneapolis pop group Yam Haus will perform live music.

At the same time as the One Discovery Square celebration, the Discovery Walk Interactive Experience will provide the public an opportunity to begin visualizing the future of Discovery Walk, a linear parkway along 2nd Avenue SW that will connect the Heart of the City to Soldiers Field Park. Several interactive activities and prototypes will line Second Avenue NW between 4th and 5th Streets. For example, local artists will install a series of engaging art arches along the street, while a chalk artist will draw a 3D representation of what Discovery Walk may be like. These temporary installations will show the public what Discovery Walk could look like in the future as planning for the project continues.

University of Minnesota Rochester Students Prepare to Learn Alongside Health Care Giants

Fall classes have just begun at the University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR), and this semester, hundreds of students are taking a new route to class. They’ll be walking right by the offices of Mayo Clinic, Epic, Boston Scientific, and other industry-leading researchers.

UMR is joining these groups as an anchor tenant at One Discovery Square, a 90,000 square foot health care innovation campus in the Destination Medical Center (DMC) Discovery Square sub-district.

On the first floor, the university has a new common area for students, faculty, and staff centered around collaboration and flexibility.

“Those are the two words that really drove the way we designed the spaces,” said Dr. Jeffrey Ratliff-Crain, Vice Chancellor at UMR. “This building gives us that.”

Moveable couches, chairs, and tables lend themselves to group work and discussion. Dry erase boards cover most of the walls, allowing students and faculty to work through course material together.

UMR also has space on the third floor, including a classroom and a laboratory. Ratliff-Crain says this lab and its state-of-the-art equipment parallel much of Mayo Clinic’s professional lab space in the building. The third-floor classroom can be turned into another laboratory if more space is needed.

This kind of coexistence between students and industry professionals is exactly what DMC leaders have in mind for the Discovery Square subdistrict.

Ryan Companies Heart of the City Project Kicks into High Gear

Rendering of Wells Fargo Building project While the renovation of the Chateau Theatre has rightly earned headlines for its potential to transform downtown Rochester’s Heart of the City sub-district, another less publicized renovation project is happening in tandem that will likely have significant impact on the Destination Medical Center plans.

The 1981-built Wells Fargo Building at 21 First Street SW admittedly is not a local cultural icon like the historic theater – in fact, its presence has been rather utilitarian with its walled-off architecture and forbidding façade of dark, reflective glass. Thus, it’s understandable why the ongoing $26 million reimagining hasn’t excited the same level of public interest as the Chateau.

But it probably should. The Wells Fargo Building has three key features which, under the new ownership of Minneapolis-based Ryan Companies, will address important Heart of the City goals. It’s one of the few downtown structures with access to the subway, skyway and ground levels; its location on First Street SW lies on a key downtown block; and its access to the Peace Plaza provides a unique chance to “activate” an underused existing public space.

The Ryan Companies Heart of the City project is a prime example of how private development initiatives arising organically and independently of the DMC effort can be woven into the fabric of the larger picture, said Patrick Seeb, director of economic development and placemaking for the DMC Economic Development Agency.

“Ryan Companies have been an incredible partner on this project, exactly the right kind of people to come in and take on this very important project,” he said. “They showed flexibility. They came in with a pre-existing vision for the building but quickly responded to the chance to expand and enhance that opportunity.”

That collaborative process, which included a relatively modest amount of DMC funding, will result in a much more inviting and “porous” building featuring copious amounts of clear glass. It will also fill in a vital new piece of the puzzle in making downtown more walkable by introducing an easy-to-navigate pedestrian link between the city’s skyway, street and subway levels.

Historic Chateau Theatre Enters a New Era

Amy Noble Seitz at Chateau TheatreIt won’t be long until Rochester, Minnesota’s historic Chateau Theatre is once again full of life. On August 19, Rochester City Council approved a contract with Exhibits Development Group (EDG) as the operator and manager of the venue. The very next morning, Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC EDA), the City of Rochester and community leaders were on hand to welcome EDG to its new home.

EDG plans to bring international touring exhibits as well as regional and local art experiences to the space. There are also plans for a café and retail space in the building.

Renovated Chateau Theatre

“Chateau Theatre is renowned in this region and it has long been my dream to bring it back to its former glory,” said Amy Noble Seitz, founder and CEO of EDG. “Rochester is known around the world as a Destination Medical Center. Chateau is a key part of the arts ecosystem in this area and we believe it can be the catalyst to continue to build the Rochester region as a destination for arts and culture lovers.”

Ridership Grows in Rochester’s Bike Share Program

Bike outside Rochester Public LibraryRidership in Rochester’s Bike Share program is at an all-time high. So far this year, bikes have been checked out more than 360 times, and organizers are already planning exciting changes for next year. The program allows anyone to borrow a bike, free of charge, from May to mid-October. This year, there are about 30 bikes available at three locations in downtown Rochester. Organizers also added a new electric-assist cargo bike to the fleet this year, available to borrow at the Rochester Public Library.

“We are extremely pleased at the response we’ve had to the bike program,” said Keri Ostby, Head of Technical Services at Rochester Public Library and We Bike Rochester Board Member. “Though the bikes are used for recreation purposes by residents and visitors, they are often used as transportation for getting to work and shopping. The electric-assist Radpower Cargo bike is in high demand with the most common uses for the e-bike being errands, work travel, and appointments.”

Beyond heavy usage from community members, visitors from states like North Carolina, Michigan, and Washington, and from countries, including Pakistan, Mexico, and India have made use of the program.

Art + Design in Public Space Series: Art, Public Realm and Wellness

The Heart of the City design team is pleased to invite you to join panel discussions and conversations on the role of art and design in creating vibrant public spaces.

The August 22 topic will be discussing how art in the public realm creates new dialogues around wellness and the vitality of communities with Rochester-based artist Eric Anderson, Dr. Steve Ommen, Mayo Clinic, and curator Hesse McGraw, el dorado.  

Anderson will provide an overview of his artistic practice and the evolution of The Artery, which he is developing for Heart of the City. Dr. Ommen played a vital role in the Artery’s activation as a prototype and continues to oversee its connection with Mayo Clinic. McGraw will share precedents of unexpected artist-driven works in the public realm that communicate wellness and the vitality of communities. As curator for Heart of the City artist integration, McGraw will also share artists’ works currently in development for Rochester. 

To reserve your space, register here. This event is free and open to everyone, space is limited.

The Art + Design in Public Space Series kicked off earlier this summer with topics ranging from how universal design and access is a key to social equity, to how art and design can reflect local context and values and how to create meaningful interaction and spectacle. 

Upcoming Art + Design in Public Space series will be presented by artists Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Ann Hamilton, and Nicole and Seth Nfonoyim-Hara. Future event details to be announced. 

Panelist Biographies:

Eric Anderson is a writer and artist living in Rochester, MN. His interactive installations have been commissioned by or featured in collaboration with the Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity at the University of Paris, France, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the National Institutes of Health’s National Human Genome Research Institute, Mayo Clinic, the Open Source Pharma Foundation, Destination Medical Center and the Rochester Art Center. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, his writing has appeared in Granta, American Letters & Commentary, Columbia Poetry Review, and elsewhere. He has taught for the University of Iowa, the University of Minnesota-Rochester and the Mayo Clinic Center for Humanities in Medicine. For more, please visit:

Steve R. Ommen, M.D.

Dr. Steve R. Ommen is a Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Consultant in the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine.  He serves as the Director of the Mayo Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Clinic, the largest and longest-standing dedicated HCM Center in the world.  Mayo’s HCM clinic is recognized as a leader in clinical outcomes, research, and patient education. Dr. Ommen is also Co-director of the Structural Heart Disease program, Medical Director for AskMayoExpert, Associate Dean of the Center for Connected Care, and Medical Director(i), Mayo Global Business Solutions

Dr. Ommen has earned many awards throughout his career including the Outstanding Achievement Award in Clinical Cardiology, the Mayo Award of Individual Excellence, the Mayo Award for Team Excellence, the Excellence in Teaching Recognition for Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, and the Outstanding Course Director Award from the Mayo School of Continuing Medical Education.  He has been recognized as one of the top 15 Digital Healthcare Executives.

Hesse McGraw

Hesse McGraw is a partner and curator at el dorado inc, a unique cross-disciplinary practice founded in 1996 in Kansas City, Missouri that moves fluidly between architecture, urban design, curatorial and fabrication projects. Hesse is a curator and writer, and most recently served as Vice President for Exhibitions and Public Programs at San Francisco Art Institute. His curatorial practice and arts organization leadership are acclaimed for shifting organizations and places into springboards that expand the agency of artists beyond the gallery.

His noted long-term projects include commissioning Jill Magid’s work The Proposal (2014 – ongoing), which offers the gift of architect Luis Barragán’s body in the form of a two-carat diamond engagement ring in exchange for the return of his body of work to Mexico; Michael Jones McKean’s public artwork The Rainbow (2012 – ongoing), which generates actual prismatic rainbows at civic scale from recycled water; and Theaster Gates’ Carver Bank (2012 – 2016) in Nebraska, which convened a space of urban ecstasy that supported artists living and working in North Omaha. Through these collaborations, more than 75 curated exhibitions, and extensive public and educational programs, Hesse has powerfully shared the instrumental role of artists in igniting public imagination and animating our largest problems.


City of Rochester and Destination Medical Center Seek Community Feedback on Transit Circulator Route and Mode

The Hop Streetcar in Milwaukee, WI

The City of Rochester and Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC EDA) are seeking community feedback on the proposed transit circulator route and mode – either bus rapid transit or modern streetcar.  The full presentation provided to the City Council on August 5, 2019, can be found here.

Teammates from the City of Rochester and DMC EDA will be staffing a booth at Thursdays Downtown on August 22 and 29, 2019, to share more information about the potential routes, modes, funding sources and timeline.

The booth is located near the Peace Plaza.

Community members can also provide feedback through the City’s online survey tool, Polco.

A Line BRT in Saint Paul, MN

The purpose of the transit circulator is to provide high quality and reliable downtown public transportation service for residents, commuters, businesses, patients, students, and visitors that will support the City of Rochester and DMC district transportation, economic development, and livability goals and substantially increase public transportation use downtown Rochester.

Mortenson Plans a Sequel to One Discovery Square

Artist’s rendering of the proposed Two Discovery Square (left) with One Discovery Square (right).

Mortenson has submitted plans with the City of Rochester for a new development – Two Discovery Square – adjacent to its One Discovery Square life science building in downtown Rochester, MN. This news comes as global tenants continue to be announced in One Discovery Square, including most recently, Philips and Boston Scientific.

The proposed five-story, 124,000 square foot building furthers Mortenson’s bioscience, research and collaboration vision within the Destination Medical Center (DMC) Discovery Square subdistrict.

“One Discovery Square, highlighted by a number of recently communicated tenant announcements, has been a terrific success,” said Brent Webb, Mortenson Development Manager. “For that reason, we remain bullish on the future of the Discovery Square subdistrict. The Site Development Plan we submitted is evidence of that optimism and confidence, and it will be a positive step toward advancing the project once approved.”

“One Discovery Square is a great example of the DMC plan playing out in a very successful way – as a catalyst and economic generator to attract new businesses and jobs,” said Lisa Clarke, DMC Economic Development Agency executive director.  “This success compels new developments in the Discovery Square subdistrict. We look forward to these discussions as Discovery Square continues to grow.”

Mortenson will share its vision for Two Discovery Square with the DMC Corporation board of directors at its September 26 meeting.