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.

Meet the New 4th Street in Downtown Rochester

4th Street SW in Rochester nears completionPedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers will have an improved experience on 4th Street SW in the Discovery Square subdistrict in downtown Rochester as a major reconstruction project nears completion. Crews have been working to update the stretch of road between 1st Avenue and 6th Avenue over the past year.

The $5.3 million project, which includes Destination Medical Center (DMC) funding, features several improvements, including repaving the road, replacing a water main more than a century old, and upgrading the downtown area’s sanitary sewer capacity.

Pedestrians will experience wider sidewalks, shortened crosswalks and raised medians at intersections. A “curbless” intersection is being installed at 4th Street SW and 2nd Avenue SW, which is also where the future Discovery Walk, a linear parkway connecting Soldiers Field Park to the Heart of the City, will cross.

The addition of buffered bicycle lanes will increase the distance between bikes and vehicles by adding a barrier in between the road and bike lanes. The intersection at 1st Avenue SW will also have the city’s first “bike box.” This is a special marking on the pavement that directs bicyclists to pull in front of vehicles while stopped at a traffic light for greater visibility. Meanwhile, drivers will have access to more on-street parking spots.

The community is invited to “Meet the New 4th Street” at an open-house style event on August 29 from 3-7 p.m. The eastbound lanes of 4th Street SW between 1st Avenue SW and 2nd Avenue SW will be closed to vehicular traffic during that time to allow people to more comfortably explore the area and see the changes firsthand.

Representatives from DMC Economic Development Agency, the City of Rochester, We Bike Rochester, Olmsted County Public Health, Arrive Rochester, and Lime Scooter will be on hand to demonstrate the new features. “Nice Ride” bikes and helmets will be available for people to test out the new buffered bicycle lanes and bike box. Several organizations will be offering prizes and giveaways, including a drawing for a commuter bike from We Bike Rochester.

Destination Medical Center’s Annual Meeting

Register Today for Destination Medical Center’s Annual Meeting

Thursday, September 19, 2019, 5:30 – 8:00 PM
Discovery Square
202 4th Street SW, Rochester, MN 55902

5:30 – 6:30 PM

Registration and Reception

6:30 – 8:00 PM
Dinner and Program (Outdoor Event)
$40 per person
Advanced ticket purchase required

Featuring remarks by:
DMCC Board Chair R.T. Rybak
DMC EDA Board Chair Jeff Bolton
DMC EDA Executive Director Lisa Clarke

Discovery Walk Interactive Experience and One Discovery Square Community Celebration 

Be sure to join in the Discovery Walk Interactive Experience and One Discovery Square Community Celebration from 4:00 – 6:00 PM prior to the DMC Annual Meeting. This is a free, non-ticketed activity.


Thank you to our sponsors:

Help the Heart of the City Team Make Downtown Rochester Alleys Fun and Inviting at Thursdays Downtown on August 15

The Heart of the City team is inviting the public to help bring downtown Rochester alleys and streets alive through artistic expression. Alleys are becoming a unique part of America’s cities – going beyond their basic function in ways that are fun, inviting and active. 

Throughout the country, formerly unused or neglected alleys have become spaces where people can gather, attend events, enjoy art and sidewalk cafes and for economic development activities.

Part of the design for Heart of the City is converting the alley between 2nd Street and Center Street from simple passageway to a thoroughfare of community inspiration. The team is taking inspiration from The Cove, where Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA), Cafe Steam and Canvas & Chardonnay have been working on repurposing the third street alley by integrating art and design installations into the space. You can learn more about the project here.

At Thursdays Downtown on August 15, the public is invited to help the Heart of the City team come up with ideas for murals and patterns for the streets in the downtown area. You’ll have the chance to mock up murals using duct tape and create paving patterns, which will be used by the team to inspire the final designs. 

This is an all-ages, all-abilities event – so come as you are, grab a friend, the whole family or just bring yourself. For those interested in creating murals and paving patterns, come to the facades at the 1st Street Alley by Chateau Theatre, from 3 PM to 6 PM and show your community your creative ideas. 

Duct tape and chalk will be available for you to create your paving and mural ideas. All ideas will be documented through photography and used by the design team and client group to inspire the design of the Heart of the City alley. 

For inspiration, see how other cities have used murals and paving patterns to showcase their town’s unique personality: 


Big Fish//Upfest Festival Berlin 

Tape Graffiti by Artist Gustavo Fuentes

Mary Carter Taub Los Muertos FPG Bilingüe School Chapel Hill, NC

Mary Carter Taub Floored! ArtsCenter Carrboro, NC 

Paving patterns:

Crosswalk Art in Cultural District Destination Lancaster, CA

Art Crosswalk Downtown San Jose, CA

Polk Streetscape Project Fern Valley San Francisco, CA

We hope to see you on August 15 during Thursdays Downtown.

Rochester Startup Phraze Advances to Semifinal Round of Minnesota Cup

Rochester, Minnesota healthcare startup Phraze aims to improve the lives of physicians, and patients, with its artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Phraze’s product is an AI-driven medical scribe aimed at reducing the effort needed for medical documentation. 

Co-founded by Brandon McCutcheon, MD, a Neurosurgery Resident at Mayo Clinic and Logan Marcus, MD, a former Radiation Oncology Resident at Stanford Health Care, the Phraze software platform passively listens to the conversation between patient and healthcare provider and creates the first draft of medical charting. While the provider must still read through these AI-scribe generated notes to verify accuracy, the Phraze tool helps to drive down documentation time, which is the number one driver of physician burnout.

Lime Scooters Come to Rochester August 1

The Rochester City Council has approved a Memorandum of Understanding to support a pilot program of Lime scooters in Rochester from August 1 through November 30, 2019.  The scooters provide another option for shorter downtown trips, which is a part of the Destination Medical Center (DMC) Integrated Transit strategy.    

“This pilot reflects the City’s commitment to continue to explore transportation alternatives that help provide a wide selection of options for our community,” said Deputy City Administrator Aaron Parrish.  “We hope to utilize this opportunity with Lime to better understand the use of scooters and how it would work best in our community.” 

Current City ordinances do not prevent any scooter company from coming to Rochester and offering electric scooters.  Lime expressed its interest in working with the City and DMC to identify how the City would benefit most from scooters, and what problems may occur with them.  The pilot allows the City to require Lime to decrease the number of scooters at any time and gives the City and its partners access to a dashboard that includes ridership data. 

“Scooters, like walking or biking, will assist our community in reaching its sustainability goals while providing another affordable and equitable transportation option.  The pilot will allow Rochester to consider the longer-term implementation of such a solution and how it might complement other mobility options,” said Kevin Bright, DMC Director of Energy and Sustainability.

Scooters are treated like a bicycle; they must travel in a bike lane or traffic lane and are not allowed to be operated on sidewalks.  The scooters would be checked out through a variety of means and are expected to be parked on the sidewalks out of the path of travel when not in use.  Every scooter will be labeled with an email and phone number, and Lime will have local representatives available to respond to inquiries.

Growing Minnesota’s Startup Ecosystem with Launch Minnesota

An exciting outcome of the 2019 Legislative session was the creation of a new program through the Department of Employment & Economic Development (DEED) called Launch Minnesota. Designed to nurture technology startups and entrepreneurs across the state, Launch Minnesota will work with private industry to create financial incentives and programming to demonstrate that Minnesota is committed to fostering an innovation ecosystem that draws global attention.

The program concept grew out of a collaboration between DEED and the Minnesota Legislature – with legislators on both sides of the aisle making meaningful contributions. It is a joint initiative with private businesses and nonprofit organizations statewide.

“Entrepreneurs are the future of Minnesota’s innovation economy,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “We need to play an active role in helping make this state a great place to foster new technologies and ideas so that maybe the next Google or Apple could come from Minnesota.”

Launch Minnesota will provide financial incentives, training, and grants to people starting companies in technology sectors such as aerospace, agricultural processing, nanotechnology, and medical devices. The program has an annual budget of $2.5 million.

A key goal of Launch Minnesota is to make the risks related to leaving a steady job to start a high technology company a little more manageable for entrepreneurs through:

  • Grants to assist in attracting federal research and development funding
  • Business liquidity grants to help entrepreneurs with capital constraints
  • Childcare and housing assistance
  • Training in areas such as understanding equity capital, building toward scalability, and pitching venture capitalists

Launch Minnesota is set up to provide special consideration and social capital connectivity for startups and small businesses in Greater Minnesota as well as businesses started by women, veterans, and people of color.

Commissioner Grove recently spent some time in Rochester, Minnesota to meet with the startup and entrepreneurial community. Grove’s visit highlights the growing interest in Rochester and Destination Medical Center as a success story in economic development and as a major technology hub within the state. 

Register Now for the Investor & Innovator Forum

The Investor & Innovator Forum returns to Rochester, MN on August 1. Launched by Destination Medical Center and Mayo Clinic, the Investor & Innovator Forum seeks to foster conversation and collaboration between emerging and experienced entrepreneurs and the investors who support their growth. Participating investors and advisors include Brightstone Ventures, capita3, Medtronic and more. 

“During the Forum, there will be a private speed networking session between innovative companies and investors, during which companies will have the opportunity to talk with investors and advisors on a one-on-one basis for input and insights,” said Christopher Melsha, co-chair of the Life Sciences Group at Fredrikson & Byron, a co-presenter of the Forum. 

“The Investor & Innovator Forum is an important opportunity for founders and investors to get connected. We are excited to use this opportunity to showcase the growing startup ecosystem that is anchored in Destination Medical Center’s Discovery Square,” said Chris Schad, director of business development, DMC Discovery Square.

Here is an overview of the day on August 1:

  • The Forum will include a lively panel discussion featuring innovations in the use of data in key industries, including healthcare, medical device, insurance and financial services; 
  • Perspectives from a range of investors, including individual/angel investors, a venture capital fund and strategic investors; 
  • Lessons and insights from battle-tested innovators, sharing details on how to go from idea to company; 
  • and best practices and lessons learned from Mayo Clinic and nference, a company committed to synthesizing information to make better healthcare decisions, on their several ongoing data-focused projects.

The forum is co-presented by:

The registration cost for the Investor & Innovator Forum is $35 and takes place at the Rochester Civic Theatre. Register here.