Central Corridor: All aboard the art train

St. Paul Pioneer Press

Knight Foundation currently supports efforts to strengthen St. Paul's role in the regional economy and to make the neighborhoods adjacent to its Central Corridor light-rail transit line better places to live, work and access opportunity. It's the reason the foundation is a founding member of the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative and why Polly Talen, program director/St. Paul at Knight Foundation serves as its co-chair.  In 2011, the foundation was also one of several partners who helped establish ArtPlace, a new nationwide initiative of the NEA. ArtPlace invests in art and culture projects across the country and awarded $800,000 in St. Paul to Springboard for the Arts as one of its first-round grant recipients for a project also focused on the Central Corridor. The project, Irrigate, is an artist-led creative placemaking initiative. Talen also currently serves on its advisory committee. The following article, from TwinCities.com, features this project and others and their respective roles in shaping community development in the neighborhoods along the Central Corridor.

When a developer decided to turn the seven-story Chittenden-Eastman building into market-rate lofts, dozens of St. Paul artists were forced to leave long-established studios.

Some saw that 2010 exodus at Raymond and University avenues as a sign of things to come.

Trains on the 11-mile Central Corridor light-rail transit line won't begin rolling on University Avenue until 2014, but artists up and down the corridor fear they will be priced out as landlords raise rents or redevelop.

Others say those fears are overblown and premature. City leaders are counting on the $957 million project to boost development along an urban stretch that, in many places, could use some help. In fact, the rail line could actually benefit artists

by bringing more customers to their doorsteps.

A number of venues along the Central Corridor offer art that ranges from the hard-to-spot to the hard-to-miss, and organizations such as Springboard for the Arts, Public Art St. Paul, and the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative have promised to do their best to keep the corridor's arts scene hopping.

Kathy Grubbs plans to decorate the outside of the Catholic Charities building near University and Hamline avenues with a mural that reflects the social service values and mission of the employees inside.


Read more at TwinCities.com


About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.