Stephanie Glaros is a teaching artist, author, and speaker based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has degrees in women’s studies and graphic design. She spent eight years as the art director for Utne Reader magazine where she received many industry accolades for her collaborations with illustrators. She now teaches graphic design at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.
Stephanie has created community engagement projects for the City of Minneapolis, Metro Meals on Wheels, and the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, but is best known for her blog and book, Humans of Minneapolis. She also gives talks and leads workshops that focus on empathy and connection. Her work has been featured in Star-Tribune, Minnesota Monthly, City Pages, and on MPR.
In 2010, I lived and worked in downtown Minneapolis. I encountered people from many backgrounds on my walk to the office every day, but we would usually ignore each other. I began to feel uncomfortable with that. I started using my camera as an excuse to interact with them. I asked people if I could take their picture, which often led to short conversations. I began making connections with people who I may not have otherwise. I called the series of portraits Minneapolis Strangers. That project eventually evolved into Humans of Minneapolis, inspired by Humans of New York.
My process involves making a connection with someone I don’t know, listening to their story, and documenting the interaction. I share the results on social media. With luck, my followers may also feel a connection to that person. They often respond with positive words of encouragement and even offer help. When my subjects discover these expressions of kindness, the circle becomes complete.
My practice allows me to utilize my gift for connecting with all types of people in order to reveal our struggles and the things we all share in common. My mission is to inspire others to connect with strangers and make the world a more welcoming place for everybody.