Minot has been known as the “Magic City” since it first sprang up, seemingly overnight, in the late 1800s. Over the last decade, an oil boom has brought many new arrivals, generating a severe shortage of affordable housing. This shortage was compounded in June 2011 by a flood of the Souris River, the worst in Minot’s history, which damaged more than 4,000 homes, many beyond repair. The flood left approximately a third of Minot without homes.
Minot now faces the dual challenges of re-establishing its long-term residents while creating appropriate space for the influx of oil-related workers, and it aspires to do both while maintaining Minot’s unique identity and cultural integrity. Artspace Projects has been welcomed as a key partner in this process.
The new 34-unit artist live/work project at the corner of Central Avenue and Main Street in the heart of downtown Minot will also include about 5,400 square feet of commercial space, some of which is expected to be dedicated to a Native American museum and gift shop. The community has rallied behind the project: local businesses and individuals have contributed more than $400,000 to the planning effort. This, coupled with other critical support, including foundations such as ArtPlace, helps make these projects a reality.
ArtPlace asked Artspace Project Manager Becky Carlson St. Clair to speak about the project’s successes thus far.
ARTPLACE: What has been your best event or the most rewarding experience you have had during the course of your ArtPlace grant?
BECKY: We’re excited that the project is now under construction—and Artspace celebrated that milestone with a groundbreaking event in September 2012. One of the things that made it a significant event was that it was a tangible representation of more than seven years of hard work by the community and its partners. It was a time to publicly recognize the hard work of the local community in partnership with Artspace, and celebrate what that work will do for the city and its residents.
ARTPLACE: Describe how this came about and why it was special.
BECKY: At times there was some doubt in the broader community whether the project would go forward due to the length of time it took to put together the project financing but the local champions of the project have been engaged and passionate about the project through the entire process and it was rewarding to bring these people together.
ARTPLACE: What lesson did you learn from this success?
BECKY: This event solidified what we have learned from every one of Artspace’s projects—that in order for a project to be successful there needs to be strong community support. When the local community is invested in the project it keeps it moving during the development process and helps to create a project that supports the needs of the local community.