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Photographer Huie named McKnight distinguished artist

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Photographer Wing Young Huie told a story.
Photographer Wing Young Huie used his work as he told a story on the theme of identity at his gallery The Third Place which was the final stop on the Spinning Stories group ride in Minneapolis, October 3, 2015.
Courtney Perry for MPR News 2015

The McKnight Foundation has named photographer Wing Young Huie as its 2018 distinguished artist.

The award is given each year to a Minnesotan who has made a significant contribution to the state's cultural life.

Wing Young Huie, a Duluth native, uses his photography to start conversations within communities about identity and belonging.

In one of his most high-profile projects, he turned a 6-mile stretch of Lake Street in Minneapolis into an art exhibition, displaying photographs in storefronts and on the sides of buildings. Ten years later he did a similar project on University Avenue in St. Paul.

Eleanor Savage, a member of the selection committee, said Huie has made a career out of documenting Minnesota's growing diversity.

"He uses his photography as ... both a mirror and a window into different people in the community," she said. "Showing us who's here that we're maybe not seeing, but also letting us see deeper into people we think we may know."

The McKnight Award is accompanied by a $50,000 cash prize.