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The Anpetu Waste Cultural Arts Marketplace project in Minneapolis, MN represents a new approach to public space near transit in Minneapolis. The project will transform the Franklin Avenue median underneath the LRT station from an unused and unwelcoming space into a community gathering place. The project takes a critical look at public space near Twin Cities transit stations and re-envisions how that space can look and function. Artplace spoke with Andy Hestness, Interim President & CEO of the Native American Community Development Institute.

Artplace: Who outside your organization has been key to your ability to move your initiative forward?

Hestness: We have had many partners who have helped us move the project forward, but our strongest ally has been one of our local City Councilmembers, Robert Lilligren. He has been a champion for the project and our organization. Councilman Lilligren is the chair of the NACDI board, and he plays the dual role of someone who is working to advance the American Indian Cultural Corridor as an American Indian community member, as well as an elected official that represents the diverse neighborhood where the project is located. Robert has been an ally that understands the complexity of our project, as well as the governmental systems that we must work with to acomplish the project. His support has made a critical difference in connecting to the right people and institutions to keep the project moving forward with a tight timeline.

Artplace: Are there secrets to good partnerships?

Hestness: The secrect to good partnerships is building trust. You must have trust to understand and work with others. The trust-building process can be time consuming, but it allows both sides to understand what are the goals and interests of the other party. Without fully understanding your potential partner’s goals, partnerships will often be unsuccessful. Building trust is an important first step to being able to fully articulate your goals and developing strategies to work together.

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