Anpetu Was’te Cultural Arts MarketMinneapolis, MN
The Native American Community Development Institute is planning and implementing the Anpetu Was’te Cultural Arts Marketplace at the Franklin LRT station area in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This project anchors the burgeoning American Indian Cultural Corridor along Franklin Avenue and is a major connector between the Cultural Corridor and the transit station. ArtPlace spoke with Andy Hestness, Interim President & CEO of the Native American Community Development Institute.
ArtPlace: What has been the thorniest issue you’ve faced to date? How have you dealt with it?
Hestness: Our project is located in a unique space. Franklin Avenue is a County road within the City of Minneapolis. The road is maintained by the City under an agreement with the County. The project is adjacent to and underneath the Hiawatha Light Rail Transit line and near the maintenance facility for the entire light rail system both run by the Metropolitan Council. This has created many challenges as we work with multiple levels of government. It has been challenging to identify who is the final decision-making entity for the project. To address this ambiguity we have engaged with elected officials as well as staff at both the City and County levels. We have developed a task-force with representatives from both the City and County and are identifying the issues related to the project so we can collectively identify the solutions.
ArtPlace: How has engagement with the public supported the development of your project?
Hestness: Community engagement is a key element of our project. We were able to leverage the ArtPlace grant to secure a grant from the Twin Cities regional government in a program called Corridors of Opportunity to support a deep community engagement process. This has allowed us to hold a series of visioning sessions with members of the American Indian Community, the adjacent neighborhoods, and the broader public to dream a new future for Franklin Avenue. The sessions have both validated our initial concept and brought many new ideas forward that will guide the development of the Arts Marketplace. These visioning sessions are building awareness and support for the project. The images above show some of the conversation and vision of community members in this process.
ArtPlace: Has your engagement work helped to move your initiative forward in light of the challenges you have experienced?
Hestness: Absolutely. When you engage the public and bring them into the process it builds interest and momentum in the broader community. Every new person we engage can be a spokesperson for the project. This is helping us move the planning and implementation process forward.