Emily Cox '10 worked with noted Twin Cities photographer Wing Young Huie on a public art project in St. Paul.
Six miles of University Avenue, lined with photos. That’s the ambitious art project Emily Cox ’10 (Kansas City) took part in for her Macalester internship. The Humanities, Media and Cultural Studies major set up the internship herself by contacting noted Twin Cities photographer Wing Young Huie, known for his large-scale urban photo projects.
Huie needed help, since he was in the midst of putting together a bigger-than-ever concept. Called The University Avenue Project, it involved transforming six miles of St. Paul’s University Avenue into a public gallery “revealing the everyday realities of the neighborhoods connected by this urban thoroughfare,” as the website puts it. Huie’s partner in the project is the nonprofit Public Art St. Paul.
Cox became so valuable a team member that she has been asked to stay on as a paid staffer to the project
After meeting with Cox, Huie signed her on as an intern, and before long she was accompanying him on shoots, helping him design the project’s Minnesota Historical Society Press book, contacting dozens of University Avenue businesses to arrange photo installations, and more. She ended up investing far more than the 10 hours per week typical of most internships—happily so.
“Often we’d be working in his studio, and he’d ask my opinion on something,” says Cox. “He's been really supportive of my ideas and my learning, and I’ve been able to give a lot of input that has affected the project.” For example, a mural series idea of hers, inspired by a paper she was writing on a Parisian street artist, ended up being funded by 3M: The first of the murals can be seen on the side of St. Paul’s Rondo Library.
Indeed, Cox became so valuable a team member that she has been asked to stay on as a paid staffer to the project, which opened May 1 and runs through October. “The most exciting part for me is being able to play such a large role in such an amazing project,” she says. “Every time I leave the studio I’m buzzing with excitement about what I’m doing.”