ANPETU_JULY

The Anpetu Was’te Cultural Arts Marketplace project will transform the area around the Franklin Light Rail Transit Station in Minneapolis into an exciting destination. The project will develop a pedestrian plaza and marketplace that will be a space for artist vendors, public art, food trucks, performances, and space for people to gather. The marketplace will create a gateway to the American Indian Cultural Corridor on Franklin Avenue. The surrounding area is the urban neighborhood with the densest concentration of American Indian people nationwide. Franklin Avenue has existing native businesses and institutions such as the Minneapolis American Indian Center, Northland Visions gift shop, All My Relations Gallery, and many more. The project aims to connect these destinations to the light rail station and create activity in an area that is currently empty.

Andy Hestness, Interim President & CEO of the Native American Community Development Institute in Minneapolis, MN, talked to ArtPlace about the project:

ARTPLACE: Tell us, what is your elevator pitch when you describe your project to people?

HESTNESS: We tell people that the project will create community space to connect two neighborhoods that have been separated by a “no-man’s land” and develop a place for entrepreneurs to get started with low overhead. The project will create business activity at the transit station with relatively little up-front investment, and create energy and activity where there currently is none. The project will create an identifiable destination in the city and catalyze future real estate development at the station.

ARTPLACE: How do you expect to increase vibrancy in the place you are working?

HESTNESS: We expect that the project will create vibrancy in a number of ways. Right now, the location of our project is one of the least vibrant places in the entire Twin Cities metro. As you can see in the photo of the existing space, the area is currently a bleak landscape with no activity and no people. Our project creates a place for people to meet, enjoy a performance, or purchase food or art. We are creating a place for people to be, not to avoid.

The image of the completed Marketplace shows a place where people have come together to interact, to purchase goods, and to experience art. These elements create vibrancy in a place.
At a much larger scale, we see this project contributing to economic vibrancy in the neighborhood and metro. The project creates a location for entrepreneurs to get started and sell their products. This creates new jobs and economic activity in the region. The neighborhood surrounding the project has little existing retail activity; there are few shops or restaurants. Our work on the American Indian Cultural Corridor includes creating places for people who live in the area to build skills to start businesses and develop locations where these entrepreneurs can be successful. When a small business owner succeeds, he or she purchases more goods and services in the local economy, employs local people, and provides other benefits to the region. This creates regional vibrancy and connects local activity into the broader economy.

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