West Broadway District Arts Initiative




July 13, 2015


$250,000 Grant Will Fund West Broadway District Arts Initiative in North Minneapolis

Minneapolis, MN – The West Broadway Business and Area Coalition announced today that it is among 38 recipients of ArtPlace America’s 2015 National Grants Program.  ArtPlace, one of the nation’s largest philanthropies dedicated to creative placemaking, is investing $250,000 in North Minneapolis to further integrate arts and culture into the field of community planning and development. The West Broadway Business and Area Coalition will employ community artists to create public infrastructure improvements including benches, planters, and parklets. Artist-led programming will activate these public spaces, inviting the community to use and take ownership of these new amenities. ArtPlace selected the WBC from a pool of nearly 1,300 applicants.

“We are delighted to share this exciting news with our community.  While we know first-hand that deploying the arts can transform communities, having our work recognized by a grant from a national philanthropic initiative further supports and validates our efforts,” said Tara Watson, Chair of the WBC Board of Directors.

WBC Executive Director Matthew Ides shared, “We are excited to be one of only two grantees in Minnesota receiving this support from ArtPlace. The West Broadway Business and Area Coalition continues to create change on West Broadway, from designing street banners to implementing façade Improvements to hosting the West Broadway Farmers Market. The common thread throughout all of this work is the incorporation of art and artist-led work. We are especially thrilled that ArtPlace’s announcement comes the week before we celebrate the 10th Anniversary FLOW Northside Arts Crawl.”

This past January, following a year-long process, the WBC began operations of the West Broadway Business Improvement District (BID), one of only two self-managed Business Improvement Districts in Minneapolis. ArtPlace’s investment will have significant impact on the work of the community-based West Broadway BID to create a more vibrant, unique, clean, green, safe and welcoming corridor for North Minneapolis residents and visitors.  In the coming weeks, the WBC’s first step will be to assemble a Placemaking Advisory Committee made up of  businesses, artists, residents, and youth that will meet regularly to provide direction, review artist proposals and evaluate progress.

“From the Spoonbridge and Cherry at the Walker Sculpture Garden to Juxtaposition Art’s hip-hop inspired bike racks, Minneapolis has always taken pride in its creativity,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges. “Congratulations to the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition for being one of the recipients of the ArtPlace America grant , I look forward to seeing the identity of North Minneapolis reflected in the work they have proposed.”

“Investing in and supporting the arts have a profound impact on the social, physical, and economic futures of communities,” said ArtPlace Executive Director Jamie L. Bennett. “Projects like these demonstrate how imaginative and committed people are when it comes to enhancing their communities with creative interventions and thoughtful practices.”

“The National Grants Program is actively building a portfolio that touches each of the sectors and stakeholders that make up the community development field,” said ArtPlace’s Director of National Grantmaking F. Javier Torres.  “Last year, ArtPlace developed a Community Development Matrix to help us better evaluate our success on this front.  So, we’re thrilled that this year’s 38 grantees represent a dynamic spectrum of creative approaches and partnerships in community development that expand the dimensions of our portfolio.”

This year’s ArtPlace America grantees were selected from nearly 1,300 applicants across 48 states and the District of Columbia.  Grants range from $50,000 to $500,000 with an average of $265,000.

“Each one of these grants supports a geographic community: a collection of people who live, work, and play within a defined circle on a map,” continued Torres.  “In each case, a community development challenge or opportunity was identified by local stakeholders; and these 38 grantees are serving as conduits for their community’s desires by leading arts-based solutions through their projects.”

To view the complete list of 2015 ArtPlace grantees, go to www.artplaceamerica.org.


About West Broadway Business and Area Coalition
The WBC’s mission is to create an inviting, distinctive, and vital West Broadway corridor and to transform North Minneapolis into a thriving economic community. Since 2007, WBC has been building the capacity of businesses and entrepreneurs, highlighting the positive business and cultural assets of North Minneapolis, and engaging the resident and business community in the transformation of the West Broadway commercial corridor. www.westbroadway.org

About ArtPlace America
ArtPlace America (ArtPlace) is a ten-year collaboration of foundations, banks, and federal agencies that exists to position art and culture as a core sector of comprehensive community planning and development in order to help strengthen the social, physical, and economic fabric of communities. Visit www.artplaceamerica.org for more information.

Rob Hanson
612-353-5178 (o)

More about the West Broadway Business District Arts Initiative

These artist-designed, laser-cut metal banners will adorn 132 light poles as part of the West Broadway Improvement District.

These artist-designed, laser-cut metal banners will adorn 132 light poles as part of the West Broadway Improvement District.

West Broadway, the 2.2-mile main commercial corridor in North Minneapolis, MN, is a majority African American, racially diverse community with a high concentration of poverty. West Broadway is home to a visual and performing arts scene and institutions, innovative social enterprises and minority-owned small businesses.

Challenges to community vitality on West Broadway include historic disinvestment in physical infrastructure and a lack of designated public space. To create a structure for addressing these challenges, in 2014, business and property owners elected to assess themselves a tax to pay for public realm services and infrastructure above and beyond what the city offers; the self-managed West Broadway Business Improvement District (BID) began operations in 2015.

Arts Intervention: The West Broadway BID will employ community artists to create public realm infrastructure: benches, planters, bridge mending, bike racks, seasonal displays as well as new plaza/s and parklets. In addition, artist-led programming will activate the new infrastructure and public space, inviting the existing community to take ownership, participate in dialogue and inspire greater belonging.
Success: Utilizing art, a great source of pride, and investing in local artists, the West Broadway BID will increase the sense of ownership of public space by existing residents and businesses, decrease perception of crime, normalize use of public space, and improve corridor aesthetics.

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