NACDI_NOV

The Anpetu Was’te Cultural Arts Marketplace is a unique project located in the median of Franklin Avenue directly underneath a Light Rail Transit station in Minneapolis, MN. This project is redesigning the publicly-owned median into a community space. Artplace spoke with Andy Hestness, Interim President & CEO of the Native American Community Development Institute.

Artplace: Have you gained any political traction with your efforts?  If so, with whom and how did you do it?

Hestness: Yes, our project has indeed gained political traction. Through the entire process of concept development through implementation, it has been critical to build political support. Our approach has centered on building a coalition of supporters that understand the project and are willing to help move it forward. For the past year we have met with numerous local elected representatives as well as staff at both the city and county levels. Our project represents a different approach to designing and using public space in Minneapolis. As our project is being implemented on public land, we must work together with the city and county to create a project that both meets our goals and meets the safety and maintenance requirements city and county staffs are tasked to implement. It is very important to build the relationships with staff and elected officials that will allow us to strike the balance needed for the project to proceed.

Artplace: What kind of working relationships are you building with government staffs to implement the project?

Hestness: We have created a taskforce with key staff at both the city and county level. This group is beginning to meet regularly to implement the project. There are a variety of complicated issues to resolve with the project. We now have a core group that can identify and address project challenges. This taskforce can also help to identify where additional contacts will need to be developed as we move from building the physical infrastructure into how we make the operations of the plaza work.

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