Report on maintaining an affordable place for artists
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For years, Artspace, based in Minneapolis, has tried to address what it calls “the SoHo Effect”: Artists move into a dilapidated neighborhood, make it vibrant, and then get priced out as more affluent people arrive.
The phenomenon of artists “losing their toehold in the very neighborhood they had helped to create” unfolded in Minneapolis when artists helped turn a desolate warehouse district into “a hot destination to live, work, eat, and explore” and then had difficulty dealing with the rising rents, recalls Artspace President Kelley Lindquist.
As a result, in the late 1980s Artspace tried a new approach to creation of quarters for artists — it became a nonprofit developer. At the invitation of the City of St. Paul, Artspace redeveloped a six-story warehouse into 52 affordable live/work units for artists and their families, plus two floors of office, studio, and commercial space for arts organizations, commercial artists, and other tenants. That project, in a section of St. Paul known as Lowertown, became the model that Artspace has since implemented in cities across the US.
Now Artspace has released a report on its Lowertown experience: “Artspace’s Northern Warehouse: 1990-2041; a Case Study in Sustainable Creative Placemaking.” The eight-page report says the Northern