Lake Street art drop hopes to draw people back to commercial, cultural corridor

It may look like Lauren Walburg and Olivia Boerschinger are casually strolling through the Longfellow neighborhood, but they are really on the hunt for art.

"I think Lake Street is just near and dear to my heart. I grew up in Minneapolis. It's a nice community event," said Walburg.

The Lake Street Council worked with a local artist to hide 7 works of art, from recycled fanny packs to mini-painting, along a several-block stretch of East Lake Street for a free scavenger hunt called the Lake Street Art Drop.

Then organizers posted clues on Instagram every few minutes. 

If a hunter found one of the hidden items, they got to keep it for themselves.

"We really want to bring something playful to the corridor. We love bringing visitors here to the corridor to get out on foot and explore and maybe they'll discover something new as they are out walking and hunting," said Charise Canales with the Lake Street Council.

The council says businesses along Lake Street, many of which are BIPOC or Immigrant-owned, are still trying to get back on their feet after the pandemic and the unrest following the murder of George Floyd.

Organizers see the art drop as a way to attract people to the commercial and cultural corridor and maybe eat at a restaurant or shop at a store while they are there.

"It's been slow and sad to not have people out and about more and feeling safe. Feeling like they want to be in the neighborhood. Be a part of the neighborhood. So I hope that is changing and things like this can help," said Anna Wienke, a South Minneapolis-based artist, whose pieces of art were hidden for the art drop.

Organizers say this will be the first of several art drops with different artists along different sections of Lake Street, on the first Thursday of every month through the summer.

But Walburg says they shouldn't stop there.

"I feel like this is something they could do in the winter too and get people outside. Super fun," said Walburg.