Artists Wanted To Boost Lake Street Economic Development

The Lake Street Council (l-r) Matt Kazinka, ZoeAna Martinez, Theresa Swaney, Allison Sharkey and Abdiwali Ali

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The Lake Street Council announced a call for artist-driven initiatives to showcase the cultural assets of the area and attract visitors to shop the diverse businesses and organizations along Lake Street.

Using a Request for Proposals (RFP) process, the council is seeking artist submissions for a one-year creative placemaking project. “We’re looking for 12 artists,” said Lake Street Council Executive Director Allison Sharkey. “We’re looking for a few projects with a budget of $1,000, a couple with a budget of $2,500 and a couple with a budget of $5,000.

“In addition to that, we have two larger public art projects with a total budget of $35,000 that will be coming up next year in 2018.” Artists have until September 30 to apply.

Goodspace Murals, a Minneapolis-based organization that promotes community development through public art, workshops and projects, will facilitate the as-yet-untitled initiative, in collaboration with the Lake Street Council.

Of particular interest to the council, according to press materials, are projects that garner support for diverse, small businesses, “particularly those negatively impacted by changes in the current political environment and immigration policies.”

The mission of Lake Street Council, a 501(c)(3), is to promote “the vitality and prosperity of the commercial corridor” and to highlight the diversity of the area. Lake Street, particularly east of 35W, is home to an abundance of  “Latino businesses and has become the epicenter of the Latino Community” according to the City of Minneapolis. There is also an abundance of East African businesses and organizations.

Why art

Dancers at Hi-LakeThe Lake Street Council

Dancers at Hi-Lake

“Lake Street has this real richness in arts and culture,” said Sharkey. “We want to highlight that and remind people about what they love about Lake Street — remind people how exciting Lake Street is [and] how independent and unique the businesses are.”

Sharkey also noted that Minnesota has a thriving creative economy to tap into. “The arts are a big part of our economy in Minnesota and generate a lot of economic activity. So, we’re really fortunate — thanks to the support of our funders — to be able to pay artists directly up to $5,000 for their work.” The public art project is funded in part by the McKnight Foundation and Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).

She added, “Bringing in artists with all that creativity can help [in] retelling the story of Lake Street, which can encourage more people to spend their dollars here rather than other places,” she said.

Artists would need to work with Lake Street businesses to find creative ways to attract and engage community members. Sharkey explains, “We’re not looking for art projects that exist in a vacuum. We’re looking for artists who really know how to engage community members and work together with residents and with businesses in a way that will increase the loyalty that people in our neighborhood feel towards Lake Street.”

The artist call is open to artists who work in all genres, including visual artists, musicians, performance artists and dancers, “but the project should really have some creativity around engaging people,” emphasized Sharkey.

Lanterns at Heart Of The Beast TheaterThe Lake Street Council

Lanterns at Heart Of The Beast Theater

Special consideration will be placed on artists who live and/or work in the Lake Street community. Projects may be a one-time event or may happen multiple times within the project window, but must include:

  • A Lake Street theme or
  • A location along Lake Street between the boundaries of Hiawatha Avenue and Grand Avenue. This includes within or on a business/es, or in the public space.

The art proposals will be selected by a committee made up of members of Lake Street businesses and the nonprofit community. Community members interested in serving on the committee should contact: arts@lakestreetcouncil.org.

To submit an art proposal or obtain more information, visit http://visitlakestreet.com/get-involved/creative-placemaking.

Paige Elliott welcomes readers’ responses to pelliott@spokesman-recorder.com.

Paige Elliott

Paige is one of The UpTake’s Fall 2015 Conflict Sensitive Video Journalism Fellows. The fellowship is dedicated to enhancing local journalists’ ability to report on the political, social, economic, and cultural conflict that impacts the civic well being of their communities through the unique power of video journalism.

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