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IDA Awards Top Industry Honor to Mpls Downtown Improvement District

10/18/2021, 2:30pm CDT

The International Downtown Association (IDA) has recognized the Mpls Downtown Improvement District with the Downtown Achievement Pinnacle Award for its work and initiatives related to its Street Show Artists Unite for Justice Initiative.

The International Downtown Association (IDA) has recognized the Mpls Downtown Improvement District with the Downtown Achievement Pinnacle Award for its work and initiatives related to its Street Show Artists Unite for Justice Initiative.

Each year, IDA recognizes outstanding projects as winners of the Downtown Achievement Awards which identify advances to urban centers by organizations world-wide. The industry’s highest recognition, the Pinnacle Award, represents the most inspiring innovations in urban place management. This year’s projects were awarded by a jury of IDA members in the following categories: leadership development; organizational management; economic development; marketing, communications and events; planning, design and infrastructure; policy and advocacy; and public space management and operations. Street Show Artists Unite for Justice won in the category of marketing, communications and events. This is the second time in the past three years that the Mpls DID’s has been recognized with the top award; the first time for their efforts to reactivate the newly redesigned Nicollet Mall.

”Digital programming in the time of COVID-19 was obvious. But when you have a world-wide social justice movement erupt in your own back yard, you must go beyond performative allyship,” said Lisa Middag, Mpls Downtown Improvement District Director of Nicollet Activation. “We had the opportunity to provide artists the platforms they have earned, and their resilience and radical joy is helping to heal our city.”

Beginning as a virtual expansion of the Street Show performance program (, Street Show Artists Unite for Justice produced live streaming shows from the regular slate of street performers as curated by Minneapolis-based non-profit performance presenter the Warming House. Specially recorded and edited “Street Show Gems” were later taped at quintessential locations throughout downtown Minneapolis. Payments to performers were matched 1:1 with donations to local social justice organizations selected by the artists. Street Show virtual programs featured 56 unique performances and performers that streamed on Facebook Live and YouTube from May through December 2020 gaining more than 26,000 views.

The program highlighted eight premier locations from across downtown Minneapolis. Venues were thrilled to see positive activity downtown and their unique places featured, including several rooftops, U.S. Bank Stadium and Target Field, IDS Center Crystal Court, Brit’s Pub and more. The program reached 12,000,000 viewers through these and other social media platforms, including a promotional partnership with Hennepin Theatre Trust. Viewers and artists alike learned more about the Street Show program and the artist selected social justice organizations.

In 2021, Street Show Artists Unite for Justice continued matching tips that Street Show performers received during dozens of in-person performances along Nicollet in the downtown core, aligning with activations like the Nicollet Farmers Market and Makers Market. The Street Show Artist Unite for Justice initiative has allowed artists to direct investment to the organizations they felt were most productively advancing the cause, and even though many artists were facing extraordinary economic hardships already due to the pandemic, they had the opportunity to support important social change efforts in the city. More than $16,000 has been donated to these social justice organizations to date in 2020 and 2021. From 2017 through 2021—not including digital performances in 2020—Street Show has provided more than 2,000 hours of performances on Hennepin and Nicollet.

“Street Show Artists Unite for Justice helps ensure the promise of an inclusive downtown is not an empty one, and showcases our vibrant artist communities, the resiliency of our people and places, and all of our efforts toward equity,” said Middag.

“Mpls Downtown Improvement District’s innovative project received the IDA Pinnacle Award for setting the new standard for improving cities around the world,” said David Downey, IDA President and CEO. “The Street Show Artists Unite for Justice initiative has made an impact on its community and the people who live, work and play there, and is evidence of the continued commitment to champion livable, vital and thriving urban centers.”

Washington, DC-based IDA is the premier organization for urban place professionals who are shaping and activating dynamic city center districts. Mpls Downtown Improvement District is the urban place management organization representing the interests of property owners in Minneapolis.

IDA will convene this October for a three-day conference themed Modern Momentum to discuss topics facing downtowns and city centers. The Mpls DID will be recognized for their award-winning project during the Downtown Achievement Awards ceremony at the 67th Annual Conference & Marketplace, October 20-22, 2021. For more information about the session and conference, please visit the event webpage. IDA’s Annual Conference & Marketplace is the premier gathering for professional placemakers and urban champions creating vibrant and healthy cities around the world. The conference features educational sessions, Master Talks (short keynotes from industry leaders), marketplace exhibitors and networking opportunities.

IDA’s members have a proven track record of creating collaborative public-private partnerships to tackle weighty issues. More than 2,500 downtown management districts exist in cities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Place management organizations affect significant change in every major metropolitan area throughout North America in an industry that is growing rapidly around the globe. Place management work touches every discipline of city building, including economic development, leadership, marketing, events, public space management, policy, planning and infrastructure.

Additional information on the Pinnacle award winners can be found online at


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