Artspace broke ceremonial ground on a housing and retail complex in downtown Minot Tuesday.
Artspace of Minneapolis is investing $9.3 million in the project, which is expected to be open next fall.
Tina Hjelmstad, vice president of the Minot Area Council for the Arts, is one artist who looks forward to the opening. Hjelmstad spoke at the ground-breaking ceremony about the lack of time and work space that kept her from her art for a time.
Jill Schramm/MDN • Shovels decorated by various artists were on hand Tuesday for the ground-breaking ceremony for Minot Artspace Lots.
Jill Schramm/MDN • Dancers with Rinat Mouzafarov’s Institute of Dance & Ballet Theatre perform the ski dance at the ground-breaking ceremony for Minot Artspace Lofts Tuesday.
Jill Schramm/MDN • Orlin Backes, chairman of the local Artspace committee, Heidi Kurtze and Kelley Lindquist with Artspace and Dean Frantsvog of the Minot City Council participate in the ground-breaking ceremony for Minot Artspace Lofts Tuesday in downtown Minot.
"There's been many difficulties along the way," said Hjelmstad, whose home also was impacted by the flood. Now, she said, she will have an opportunity to live in a place that promotes doing what she loves.
Minot Artspace Lots will have 34 units of affordable live/work housing and 3,200 square feet of space for arts and cultural activities on the ground floor. It will be located in a former parking lot at the corner of Central Avenue and Main Street.
Artspace, established in 1979 to advocate for artists' space needs, has evolved into the nation's leading developer for the arts, said president Kelley Lindquist. Minot Artspace Lofts is the organization's 38th project. Artspace has 1,000 units in operation in 13 states with more than a million square feet of commercial space.
"All of them contribute to the economic vitality of their surrounding neighborhoods and enhance the quality of life in the cities in which they are located," Lindquist said
"It's very clear that they are a top developer," Paul Lucy, director of economic development with the North Dakota Department of Commerce, said of Artspace. "The atmosphere of the neighborhoods around their projects is wonderful and they will bring that to Minot as well."
Other speakers included Heidi Kurtze, project manager with Artspace; Orlin Backes, chairman of the local Artspace project committee; Alderman Dean Frantsvog, representing the Minot City Council; Sylvia Burgess, housing development officer with the state Housing finance Agency; Terri Aldrich, executive director of the Minot Area Council for the Arts; and Maria Effertz Hanson with the Minot office of Congressman Rick Berg.
The celebration featured entertainment by guitarist Gene Putnam and the ski fantasy dancers from the Institute of Dance and Ballet Theatre. Sweet & Flour Patisserie and Big Time Bistro, both downtown, provided food.
Funding for Minot Artspace Lots included assistance from the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency, North Dakota Department of Commerce and City of Minot. Additional financing comes from the National Equity Fund and Wells Fargo. The project received grants from the Ford Foundation and Bremer Foundation and was selected from about 3,700 applicants for a national grant from Art Place, a collaboration of federal agencies, arts groups and banks.