Imagine MayDay 2020 & Beyond

This summer, you are invited into a community engagement process to envision the future for HOBT and MayDay.


HOBT’s 2019 MayDay celebration set records in almost every way, and fueled the organization with passion and resources to work with partners to determine what comes next for this annual event after 45 amazing years. HOBT believes 75,000 people attended the event on May 5. That number represents a 25% increase from 2018's record attendance, and a 50% increase from attendance records set three years ago. And for the first time in organizational memory, MayDay income surpassed expenses, leaving a surplus of $50,000 to invest in what comes next for the celebration. In addition to this outpouring of support from individual donors, a number of foundations have committed funding to a MayDay transformation including the McKnight Foundation, Minneapolis Foundation, Carolyn Foundation, HRK Foundation and Graves Foundation.

HOBT stands by our January announcement that 2019 is the last year the organization could produce a MayDay celebration on our own. Record attendance reinforces the notion that HOBT's MayDay has grown too large for HOBT to serve as the sole producing entity. Record numbers also indicate attendees are passionate about finding a way for the event to continue.


Co-Creating the Future of MayDay

In January, we also promised that you, our community, would be invited into an engagement process to envision the future for HOBT and MayDay. So far, we have taken advantage of record MayDay attendance to engage our community through in-person interviews and an online survey. We heard from more than 300 people about why they participate in MayDay, what they love about MayDay, and what they can imagine for MayDay’s future. For a full survey report, click here.

This summer, HOBT’s highest priority is investing in a robust community engagement process to listen deeply to the communities we work with, particularly past and present MayDay artists, artists who have felt left out of the MayDay process, Southside BIPOC artists, queer & nonbinary artists, neighborhood organizations in the Phillips and Powderhorn neighborhoods, and you, someone who cares about MayDay’s future.

This commitment is at the core of a set of goals for HOBT to build an Equity Framework, to decentralize MayDay and to build a more resilient structure for the organization. A summary of these goals is available here.

Partnering with Imagine Deliver

HOBT is thrilled to be working closely with Imagine Deliver to host a creative design process this summer to imagine and co-create what’s next for MayDay and HOBT. We appreciate the community-centered, collaborative values, and equity framework that Imagine Deliver brings to this work along with their contextual understanding of community-based art. Dameun Strange, Imagine Deliver Engagement and Creative Strategist, will be leading the community engagement process. More information on Dameun here:


Your Invitation

Over the summer you are invited to share your ideas and dreams with us in the following ways. We are particularly interested in hearing from past and present MayDay artists, artists who have felt left out of the MayDay process, Southside artists, BIPOC artists, queer & nonbinary artists, artists with disabilities, and neighborhood and community organizations in the Phillips and Powderhorn neighborhoods.

One-to-One Interviews

HOBT staff, board, and artists will be scheduling one-to-one meetings to hear directly from artists, neighbors, and partners what is most important to them and their work, and how we might work together to reimagine MayDay. You are welcome to contact Dameun Strange, [email protected], if you are interested in setting up an interview.

Artist Charrettes

Dameun Strange and Imagine Deliver will lead 3 hands-on art activities centering the voices of artists to map solutions and act as a launch pad for the creation of an Imagine MayDay Transition Team

  • Tuesday, July 9, 6:30-8pm: Pillsbury House Theatre
  • Sunday, July 14, 10:30am-12pm: HOBT
  • Wednesday, July 17, 2:30-4pm: Powderhorn Park

Please RSVP here. Artist participants will be compensated for their time and contributions with either 3 hours of free rehearsal or workshop space at HOBT, or a $40 gift card to either Welna Hardware or MayDay Cafe.

Transition Team Convening

Imagine Deliver & HOBT will convene partners interested in taking an active role in building the future of Mayday. This team will participate in sessions utilizing design thinking to co-create a strategic direction that solidifies and includes a draft articulation of mission, vision & values and strategic priorities. This team will be the producing partners for MayDay 2020, and the work of this team will be to build an equitable framework for shared ownership and decision making

Public Meeting

In the fall, we will convene a public meeting facilitated by the Imagine MayDay Transition Team to update the community on the summer’s work and ongoing opportunities for engagement in the formation of a new MayDay model.

HOBT’s Promise

In the Heart of the Beast promises the following to HOBT Associate Artists, past and present MayDay artists, neighborhood partners, community organizations, and the community at-large:

  • An Affirming & Inclusive Process. The community engagement process, Imagine MayDay Transition Team, and future MayDay process will be built on and affirm the experience of artists and neighborhood partners. We've specifically designed this process to be led by an artist/organizer of color, with an emphasis on hearing from folks who have felt left out of HOBT's work. This process will invite you to lead MayDay into a place that truly centers leaders and artists of color, responds to the community's voice, and is stronger - and more sustainable - as a result.
  • A Community and Artist Centered Approach. We pledge to deliver a learning process that elevates the solutions of a wide range of the communities present in the neighborhoods where we do our work: Midtown Phillips, East Phillips, and Powderhorn Park neighborhoods. HOBT will center our neighbors in all facets of the Imagine MayDay process including in the formation of the Imagine MayDay Transition Team.
  • A Commitment to Change. HOBT promises to take your advice, honor your experience, and embrace all possible futures for MayDay & HOBT, even the hard ones. We promise to incorporate the solutions generated during the artist charrettes to make a more equitable and accessible organization and workplace, and a truly community-owned MayDay; this will mean a significant change in who leads the work and who is represented at our table.
  • Transparent Sharing. At the beginning of this process, we chose to be as open with you as possible because MayDay has always been a gift from community to community, and you are an essential part of this work. We will continue to openly share our process, learning, data, and final plans with you.

Next Steps and Sharing

All information gathered across our in-person interviews, artist charrettes, and public meetings will culminate in action toward a re-imagined MayDay that it is innovative, accessible, and equitable.

We want everyone who would like to be heard to be able to shape MayDay. Please join us in imagining the future of MayDay and HOBT by filling out this survey: Interested in a one-on-one meeting with Imagine Deliver’s Engagement and Creative Strategist, Dameun Strange? Email [email protected] or call (612) 567-6790