July 29, 2015
By Kathy Mouacheupao, Twin Cities LISC
We celebrate the 1-year anniversary of the Green Line LRT’s operation, but plans for this train have been in the works for over 30 years. Decades ago, the Green Line was designed as an expressway from one downtown to the other. Today, through directed resources and intentionality, the Green Line is a connection between neighborhoods and communities.
This is an important distinction that the Central Corridor as Cultural Corridor (C4) program addresses through arts and culture. The Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation (TCLISC) launched the C4 program in 2013 in support of 6 community-based organizations that leverage arts and culture to highlight local diversity, bring communities closer together and boost neighborhood economies.
In 2014, C4 partners developed corridor-wide strategies, worked with over 350 artists, hundreds of businesses, entrepreneurs and residents and attracted nearly 10,000 people directly to the districts to participate in arts and cultural activities along the Green Line.
District-level successes include:
- West Bank Business Association (West Bank Station): Piloted the “Creative Connections” program to provide trainings and tools for artists and businesses to work together. This included the first “Arts Foundry”- a full day of workshops and resources for artists and businesses.
- Prospect Park 2020 (Prospect Park Station): In partnership with the Textile Center and Cornerstone Group, they held a community felting project where over 75 people kicked off their shoes and stomped on soapy wool to create a 9-foot felt banner together.
- Creative Enterprise Zone (Raymond Station): Coordinated Raymond retailers for sidewalk sales while 8 artist projects performed live. CEZ convened creative entrepreneurs, residents and supporters at regular Give & Take events.
- African Economic Development Solutions in Little Africa (Snelling Station): Little Africa’s first arts festival attracted people from 15 cities and 32 zip codes where artist Sara Endalew had her first public art exhibit and Janette Yiran reported that, “We often do not have many avenues where Africans and African-American residents intentionally interact to build the community with an added benefit of celebrating our common ancestry.”
- Aurora Saint Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation in the Rondo Arts Cultural Business Heritage District (Victoria Station): Developed a business plan to work with African American artists and businesses, creating opportunities for supporting, learning about and sharing one another's art and cultural work.
- Frogtown Neighborhood Association in Creative Frogtown (Victoria Station): The FNA worked closely with the Victoria Theater Arts Initiative to advocate for historic designation and the purchase of the Victoria Theater by the Twin Cities Community Land Bank.
- Asian Economic Development Association in Little Mekong (Western Station): Launched the Little Mekong Night Market and worked with 244 artists, hosted 33 projects, 92 performances and generated over $100,000 in revenue for micro-entrepreneurs.
The C4 partners welcome and invite you into their districts for new experiences along the Green Line.
In 2015, C4 partners are working even closer with one another on a number of collaborative projects. Events this summer include:
- August 1: Prospect Park & Textile Center’s Dye Garden at Prospect Park Station
- August 7-8: Little Mekong Night Markets at Western Station
- August 29: Midway Arts Festival brought to you by Midway Murals and Little Africa – Hamline Park on Snelling Avenue
Like us on Facebook to stay up-to-date on arts and cultural activities and events for the rest of the year at: www.facebook.com/C4wardarts.