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The Native American Community Development Institute is building the Anpetu Was’te Cultural Arts Marketplace in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This plaza will be a community gathering place and arts market serving south Minneapolis at the Franklin Avenue light rail transit station. The project will connect two neighborhoods that have been separated by years of decisions that constructed barriers between the communities.

ArtPlace spoke with Andy Hestness, Interim President & CEO of the Native American Community Development Institute about the project.

ArtPlace: Is there a new challenge that engaging in creative placemaking presents for you, your organization and the artists who work with you? Are there new skills required?

Hestness: Our organization has established a strong reputation in community development and organizing. We have years of experience doing organizing and engagement in the American Indian community to develop a vision for the future of the community and the American Indian Cultural Corridor. We have more recently begun work in the arts, taking on All My Relations Gallery in 2011. We have desired to bring the arts and engagement closer together in our community and economic development work. The Anpetu Was’te Cultural Arts Marketplace is pushing us much further in the combination of these two elements. This project needs strong engagement and involvement in the development of the project from everyone in the community and the project must also support and strengthen the arts and involve artists in the design and development of the plaza. We see this as a compelling opportunity to bring creative and artistic processes into our engagement work. As practitioners of community development, we are developing and refining skills that allow us to bring arts and engagement together and build new approaches to our work.

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