Could 'WeDo' catch on as new name for west downtown Minneapolis?


"Hey, we're heading to WeDo to catch a show, want to come?"

"WeDo" – it's the new phrase that a collection of city, theater, and arts representatives want to use when talking about Minneapolis's "West Downtown" area.

A rebranding of that swath of downtown, encompassing a stretch from the West River Parkway in the northeast to the Walker Art Center largely covering First Avenue, Hennepin Avenue, and Nicollet Mall, was launched this week.

Pronounced "Wee-Doo," the Star Tribune reports it is designed to give the west downtown area an identity as the city's arts and cultural district, with venues such as the Walker Arts Center, the Orpheum Theater, Target Center and several top restaurants and galleries falling within the 1.7-mile stretch.

The campaign, led by representatives from the City of Minneapolis, the Hennepin Theatre Trust, the Walker Art Center and Artspace, has its own website and a day of activities is being held on Wednesday to get the name out there.

Whether the branding will catch on though, say, in the same way "the North Loop" is now synonymous with the northern Warehouse district, is up for debate.

CityPages describes it as a "goofy-sounding" term that "doesn't exactly roll off the tongue," although it concedes that at the very least the rebranding is "well-intentioned."

Getting residents and tourists to start using the phrases, however, will be its "biggest hurdle."

According to its website, the idea was formed after the Hennepin Theatre Trust won an "Our Town" grant in 2011 from the National Endowment for the Arts for its plan to "reimagine Hennepin Avenue as a year-round cultural destination."

If you're out in the "WeDo" area on Wednesday, you'll notice volunteers wearing WeDo attire giving out free coffee, merchandise and gift cards to pedestrians, with historic tours also running starting from Eighth Street and Hennepin Avenue.

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