Art aglow on the Midtown Greenway

Plus, Tiny Diner recognized again for sustainability

The Greenway Glow combines a free arts festival and major fundraiser for the Midtown Greenway Coalition into one night. Credit: Submitted image

The Midtown Greenway Coalition is busy planning its biggest night of the summer, the June 20 Greenway Glow.

Returning for its fourth year, the Greenway Glow is a free arts festival and major fundraiser for the nonprofit all bundled into one evening. The coalition, whose mission is to protect and enhance the 5.5-mile-long bicycle and pedestrian corridor, aims to raise $30,000 in pledges leading up to the Greenway Glow Night Bike Ride.

Fundraisers will be rewarded with a bunch of freebies during the Greenway Glow, but the arts festival — running 6 p.m.–midnight and featuring more than 20 performances and exhibits — is free and open to all. That includes some returning crowd favorites, like a trebuchet used to lob LED-lit water balloons.

“All along the way, there’s going to be different artists, different kinds of experiences for people to see the Greenway in a new way,” Soren Jensen, the coalition’s executive director, said.

The two main anchors for the event are Soo Visual Arts Center in Uptown and Vine Arts Center in Longfellow. In addition to its regularly scheduled gallery exhibitions and a performance by Latin music group Rumba Eterna, SooVAC will have food from Prairie Dogs and a bar staffed by Bryant-Lake Bowl bartenders. There will also be food and beverage sales at the Midtown Bike Center.

New this year is the Family Glow at the Soo Line Community Garden on the Uptown end of the Greenway. Stop by before 9 p.m. for kid-friendly art projects, including luminary making and ceramics.

The Greenway Glow Night Bike Ride runs 8 p.m.–11 p.m., kicking off at Elan Uptown Apartments. Those riders are also invited to end their night at the Greenway Glow after-party that starts at midnight at SooVAC.

Participants in the fundraiser ride are eligible for prizes awarded to the best-decorated bike, the most funds raised and the largest team in the ride. There are 5-, 7- and 10-mile options for the ride, which starts and ends at the Uptown end of the Greenway.

Entry in the ride is $65. Cyclists can also register through June 4 for an early-bird fee of just $25 but must also raise $40 in pledges. (The fee goes up by $5 after June 4.)

Riders under 18 years of age get into the Night Bike Ride with just the $25 entry fee.

Jensen said some riders go way beyond the fundraising goal, gathering $500 or more in pledges.

“People really love the Greenway, so it isn’t really difficult to ask them to support it,” he said.

For more information on the Greenway Glow, or to register for the Night Bike Ride, go to


Tiny Diner recognized again for sustainability

Mayor Betsy Hodges and Tiny Diner owner Kim Bartmann on the restaurant’s patio. File photo

The collaborations that made restaurateur Kim Bartmann’s Tiny Diner a model of sustainable design have garnered the South Minneapolis restaurant another award.

This time it’s a win in the “Sustainable Business” category at the annual Environmental Initiative Awards that took place May 21. Environmental Initiative, a Minneapolis-based non-profit organization, established the awards program in 1994 to recognize partnerships that produce big wins for the environment.

In the case of Tiny Diner, those partnerships included working with Sundial Solar of Minneapolis and tenKsolar of Bloomington to design and install the restaurant’s 16-kilowatt solar array. The 84-panel array doubles as a roof for the outdoor patio.

The award also recognized Tiny Diner’s efforts to capture and reuse rainwater on-site. The restaurant’s rain garden and rain catchment systems were developed in partnership with Minneapolis permaculture design company Ecological Gardens, Terrapin Landscape and Minnehaha Creek Watershed District.

The watershed district also got a piece of different award handed out that same evening. The Master Water Stewards program it launched in 2012 in partnership with Freshwater Society won in the “Environmental Education” category.

Last fall, Tiny Diner was named one of Minnehaha Creek Watershed District’s Watershed Heroes. That award came in the “Excellence in Development” category.