Artspace, the Twin Cities-based organization, has pioneered what sounds like the ultimate niche idea: It’s a nonprofit real estate developer for artists. Its flagship project, the Northern Warehouse in the Lowertown district of St. Paul, Minnesota, has been housing artists for more than 20 years in the heart of a neighborhood that’s undergone vast transformation.
This is a promising subject, but the article is very disappointing. Check out the ending. Is it possible to load more caveats into something posing a conclusion? I guess it might be.
One mighthope that its permanent presence might keep some of the neighborhood’s character intact, regardless of whatever else happens. If that’s the case, the Northern Warehouse model suggests that it’s possible to break the SoHo effect but still leverage the urban pioneering instinct of artists. Artspace doesn’t prove that artists can power the economy of whole cities. Its success— born out of an intricate model that emphasizes the long-term stability of an arts community — hardly translates to a blanket endorsement of the equation that artists = urban prosperity. But it seems to be doing something pretty effective in the Twin Cities.
Uh huh. Or on the other hand: MAYBE NOT!