Ashley Hanson, Artist

Ashley Hanson received her Master of Arts degree in Applied Theatre at the University of Manchester, UK, where she focused on the role of theatre in the sustainable development of communities. For the past ten years, she has facilitated, written and directed theater and arts-based programs with many different communities and organizations. Ashley’s work is focused on uniting individuals through exploring collective narratives in accessible performances. Her most recent project, Granite Falls: A Meandering River Walk, explored the complicated and symbiotic relationship the town has with the Minnesota River (one of the most polluted in the state) and was performed by local actors and musicians. Ashley’s place- and issue-based work strives to reconnect individuals with their shared values, and in turn, inspire stewardship of their community. Her projects show shared knowledge paired with collective action can move a community from “where they are” to “where they want to be.” She recently worked as the Program Director for Public Art Saint Paul, where she managed multiple public arts programs; most notably, Wing Young Huie’s The University Avenue Project, one of the largest public art exhibitions in the nation for 2010. She is accustomed to serving as a liaison among artists, city departments and the community. She calls herself an “Arts Enabler,” working with artists and organizations on the “unsexy” part of the arts – administration and organization – to bring abstract visions into concrete productions. Ashley has received fellowships from the Creative Community Leadership Institute and the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture. She is also a founding member of the Yes!Lets Collective of Twin-Cities artists, musicians and community enthusiasts, and she plays ukulele and sings in three folk/Americana bands.