Community members maintain plantings on Franklin Avenue

Community members maintain plantings on Franklin Avenue

The Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) is developing the Anpetu Was’te Cultural Arts Marketplace as a gateway to the emerging American Indian Cultural Corridor on Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This project will create new opportunities for artist-entrepreneurs in the community, as well as change negative perceptions about the community by taking ownership and improving the physical environment near the Franklin Light Rail Transit Station. ArtPlace spoke with Andy Hestness, Vice President of NACDI.

ArtPlace: You are now a year into your project. What advice would you give new creative placemaking initiatives?

Hestness: That’s a big question. As an organization we have learned a lot about how to implement a creative placemaking project. Our advice would start with engagement at the earliest stages of the project. Get our and talk with community members. What do they love about their community? What should be highlighted? How can artists, spaces, and places be supported? Though our ArtPlace-funded project has been going for a year, the development of the project began many years prior through visioning sessions with the community and relationship-building with community members and organizations. It is our partnership with the community that is creating a successful project.

ArtPlace: Considering the years of planning NACDI has put into your project, do you think a creative placemaking project can be implemented in a year’s time or less?

Hestness: Absolutely. Different types of projects take different amounts of time. In many instances projects that can be conceptualized and implemented quickly can have great impact. Projects of this sort rapidly change perceptions of an area in a short amount of time. For our project, the reality of working with the city and county was going to be a longer process. Considering the wide variety of creative placemaking projects there is going to be a range of timelines for successful projects.

ArtPlace: How would you advise new ArtPlace grantees to best leverage their ArtPlace grants for maximum effect?

Hestness: Grantees should think about the connections they can build within their projects that will leave a lasting effect on the community. For instance, our project is investigating opportunities to bring community-based groups in to help with the ongoing landscaping and maintenance of the space. This will build long-term connections between the project and residents of the surrounding community and give residents a greater stake in the appearance of their community. We are also building relationships with entrepreneurial training organizations to train people in the community to take advantage of the opportunity to open a business in the Arts Marketplace. If we merely built the plaza and opened it up to vendors, it might not actually provide much benefit to the surrounding community. By connecting the physical space to ongoing training opportunities we ensure that the Arts Marketplace can have an ongoing impact.

Community members maintain plantings on Franklin Avenue

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