August 2018
Welcome to In the District: news from the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. 
We want to thank all of you who participated in responding to the 2040 Comp Plan. We have seen a very high response and share rate of our suggestions to improve the plan. 
Part of our mission is Political Effectiveness. Having so many of artists and community members engage in the process is very important to ensuring the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District can reach its potential and flourish in the coming decades. 
 The Arts District board since has received numerous positive responses from city council members, neighborhood groups and organizations to partner with us, asking artists to present at their meetings and be involved at many levels. A third of the battle is showing up. The next third is participating, and the last third is following through. Please keep up your engagement.  It is having an effect to make the Arts District strong and relevant to the whole city and one day the state and eventually the country. 

Grain Belt Redevelopment Proposal Selected for Further Negotiation

Ward 3 Council Member Steve Fletcher

Last fall, the Department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Grain Belt Riverfront Redevelopment Area, which is in between Marshall Ave. NE and the river between 13th & 14th Aves. NE. CPED received three proposals, one later dropped out, and in March I hosted an open house to get more community input and feedback on this project.
Grain Belt aerial view
City staff evaluated the remaining two proposals in a group that included my staff and a representative from Sheridan Neighborhood Organization, and concluded their work in May.
The proposal by Lander Group, Landon Group, and Newport was selected for further negotiation with that development team, and staff hope to reach an agreed-upon term sheet by the end of the year.
Between now and then, I want to hear your input and feedback about their proposal! The final project design will undoubtedly be different from this, and there are a lot of competing priorities on this site -- affordable housing, working artist space, parking, and more.  Please share your thoughts with me here or email me at

Karen Gustafson Machine-Embroidered Drawings of Plants

By Margo Ashmore

Karen Gustafson's machine-embroidered drawings of plants inspired by a 2,000+ year old botanical text book are more than they appear. The translucence of the organza fabric allows the shadow of the images to become part of the display.

Rosemary Thread _ Organza14.25 x 10.52017
Rosemary Thread Organza 14.25" x 10.5" 2017

Twenty-five of them appeared in an exhibit at the Landscape Arboretum focused on common edibles, called "Foraging for Sustenance."She's chosen some of the plants to stitch for their healing properties. Gustafson noted how subsequent versions and translations of the original textbook changed the way the images were categorized, reflecting societal changes over the centuries."At one point after the "Foraging for Sustenance" exhibit I thought of stopping, and then realized it was important especially now, to keep going. The project is about the importance of diversity in a healthy eco systems" and all systems. 
Bearded IrisThread _ Organza 14_ x 10.5_ 2016
Bearded Iris Thread Organza 14" x 10.5" 2016

 Gustafson does not want to sell any of the finished work now ("I do want to realize my larger vision, an exhibit where the viewer is surrounded by the plants.") but is taking names and numbers. She continues to exhibit the work while working towards that goal. Three of her pieces are currently in the exhibit, "The Art of Labor" at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles in California. To represent the entire book, at the rate she can sew (about one image a week, given that she is teaching full-time) it would take about six or seven years. She's two years in and chooses subjects "for their animated qualities," those plants that have the appearance of movement in the placement of their leaves and root systems. 

Wooly Blackberry, photo credit
Petronella Ytsma. Karen Gustafson,

Hatch- A Creative Art Center Update

 HATCH needs your input!  Do you think the Northeast Arts District needs an art center?  What do you think are the greatest needs in Northeast? Please take a few minutes to fill out our ten question survey: 

The next Pecha Kucha will be held  September 30th at 6pm at the   Rogue Buddha Gallery and will showcase the work of ten local artists who's work can be incorporated into architecture. In addition to the general public we will invite developers, introducing them to the NE arts community. 

Artists are speaking up for environment, bio-diversity

by Margo Ashmore

"I remember hearing stories of when the Mississippi was on fire," Linda Snouffer said. In the 1960s there were chemicals on the surface, "and all that water went south" to small towns that drew their drinking supply from the river.
Linda Snouffer and Deborah Foutch, both artists in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District, will be part of a show at the Red Wing Art Center that illuminates the science of healthy water, soil and plant systems. It's sponsored by the Pepin Legacy Alliance which is concerned that Lake Pepin is disappearing as silt washes in from poorly managed land.

Roots Dancing Deborah Foutch
Roots Dancing Deborah Foutch "19" x 18" 

We talked recently about their work and the voice that artists are giving to environmental concerns. Snouffer, working with the Nature Conservancy which has let her pick fresh grasses for print-making, said only a small percentage of the species diversity will be able to be replicated in the land that they're turning back to natural.
"Awareness is the place to take it," Foutch said, "and that's where artists have to step up, and do it in a way that's not dry. Then the subject is awake." They agreed that "the politics have demanded that we speak up. It had to go to the extreme, to get people [off their butts]. Artists challenge many things. It's one of the tools available."

I wondered if all artists make political and environmental statements? Are artists activists in other ways? Snouffer said she gets about 60 emails a day, 57 of which are re-
quests for action or money, she is interested in so many causes. Though Foutch has been a block club leader and is contemplating having a get-out-the-vote party at her house, she said the statements her art makes are how she's involved.
"There are the 'meeting' people and the telling the story people." Foutch currently is working on two bodies of work.
One is about soil and water. She is using layers of materials
and a combination of fiber, painting, and printing techniques to express the living world we stand on. She de-
scribed two reactions to this work, as confirming the work is effectively telling a story. When one of the first soil horizon pieces was hung at the state fair fine arts show she witnessed a discussion by a viewer of "living soil" and the fact that it needs to be conserved and protected. The other incident was having a soil science teacher look at one of her rooted pieces and say "I could teach with that. "Art that starts a conversation that
needs to happen, while showing beautiful and true systems, lets me carry on lessons from childhood. My father was a soil conservationist, he succeeded best with farmers when he engaged them with an entertaining story tied to facts. I get to carry that forward in my own way with my visual language." She has traveled and done shows, and had her work in far-flung galleries, finding that people from all over relate to the Mississippi River. Learning to talk about her art work and listen to the response can deepen or change a story.

Grass Lake _Linda Snouffer
Grass Lake _Linda Snouffer

Her other current body of work about the building of the parks system in Minneapolis "Nature in the City" came from a conversation with a with some one who was related to one of the corps of people who achieved the park system. It led her to research the political struggle to accomplish our parks. Her work are fiber "views" from the parks of the city they inhabit. She hopes the work will start a conversation. The two artists looked at their work as examples of how artists evolve. Snouffer said when they met a few years ago, she "was more into process and now more into content" once she mastered those processes.
"What does this mean and what do I want it to mean?" Foutch spent years as a dollmaker, traveling and selling that work at
craft fairs. She describes that work as personal. In those years she was a mother of a young child running a business that traveled. There was a piece that depicted a mother among suitcases "taking a rest" and another pulling a canoe full of burdens, a message that perhaps some things should be let go. Much more introspective than her current work. "Art becomes another language of expression," says Foutch who currently mentors artists. When thinking about
those artists "a little more than half of artists I'm working with are stepping out into the world to express  things [like environmental or social conscience]. The others, it's about
what's internal, or about shape and light. As skill level increases, you find your voice."

Art4Good  Benefit raises funds for Arts Action Plan 2 
by Herman Milligan

Art 4 Good Opening
Art4Good, hosted an art sale to benefit the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District for the Arts Action Plan 2. Thank you to all participating artists on July 27th.
The event  was well-attended. We sold work and the show was beautifully hung by Art4Good artists Paul Gill and Katayoun Amjadi.
Special thanks to Jonathan Query for donating the space and to Nan Bailly for the wine donation. Also, we would like to acknowledge
Art4Good artist Virginia Pierrepont for referring  Mercedes Llanos to Art4Good. They met each other at the Vermont Studio Center.
We very much appreciate all that all of you do to contribute to the creative vitality of the Twin Cities. 
Herman Milligan

Three Main Goals 
of  Arts District Planning

1. Continue to discuss who we are as a community. 
2. Continue to define the v ision of the next 10 to 15 years, in order to drive the decision making.
3. Start a framework on how we can finance the goals of the district. This goal is only possible to discuss if the other two goals can be met.
Recent studies to consider reading: 

Poets wanted
Send your submissions to us
Issue: 76
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Neighborhoods Need You!

Artists are a big part of NE. Most of us have lots of opinions about what we want the community to aspire to buy to make those ideas come to fruition we need to be more involved with the neighborhood groups. Neighborhood groups have been some of the most supportive organizations of artists since the beginning of the artists moving to NE. Please take a moment to consider attending their meetings and joining their boards or committees. Below are the contacts for each neighborhood.

The Northeast Minneapolis Arts District & the Arts District Committee is an outcome
of the Arts Action Plan.

"The Northeast Minneapolis Arts District Committee is comprised of interested volunteer community members, and is fiscally managed by the Northeast Community Development Corporation (NECDC). Additional support has been provided by Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (NEMAA), Clay Squared to Infinity, Northeaster News, 
Want to get involved? Contact us