Creative City Road Map July e-update


The Creative City Road Map planning process is helping us think strategically about how the city’s arts and creative assets can contribute to the local and regional economy and improve Minneapolis’ quality of life. Find the planning process mission here.

What’s going on in July? Well…we’re drafting the plan …

This is the time to remind you about the plan’s mission. In short, we set out to surface the creative identity of Minneapolis and vision a future where all Minneapolitans can access and benefit from the creative economy.

Shapes matter…

Remember those triangles from June? In drafting the Creative City Road Map, we’re practicing data triangulation to write about the creative identity of Minneapolis and contextualize the Road Map within the current conditions of the Minneapolis creative economy. We have a couple new additions to our jargon chart below:

So the puzzle pieces are coming together…!

By looking at the data and other research, we’ve arrived at some themes to help us think about the creative identity of Minneapolis  — in addition to being an incubator for artistic activity (no really!), Minneapolis is a place where symbiotic relationships really, really matter. These two words – incubator, symbiotic – are helping us communicate the identity of an arts economy that, while an ecosystem of producers and consumers of art in itself, is also part of a much larger and vibrant regional economy that has made stakeholders out of the multitude of Fortune 500 companies and nonprofit organizations.

There’s no “I” in “ECOSYSTEM”…

As we started digging into how we can articulate the current conditions of our creative community, the story of the region’s publishing and professional writing industry gained traction. It’s a story of creating and sustaining a pipeline of professional writers that have opportunities to flourish.

• Opportunities abound to gain writing skills

Take a class at Loft Literary Center, receive support from the Givens Foundation for African American Literature or the Playwrights’ Center, attend the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications and grab the daily edition of the Minnesota Daily (the largest school newspaper in the country!). In short we LOVE the power of words!


A class at the Loft Literary Center (above) and a student at the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications (below)

• People with these skills have many opportunities to work, share and advance their work

Minneapolis boasts a high number of authors and writers. These writers work in a variety of industries including advertising and book publishing, holding jobs with the large businesses in town, such as Target, Best Buy, and General Mills. Don’t forget about the niche publishing houses, like Milkweed Editions, Coffee House Press, and Greywolf, that have flourished in the Midwest, far away from the publishing giants of New York.

• The local publishing industry then supports other types of creative activities

The printing and publishing industry in Minneapolis offers over 15,000 jobs in Minneapolis, with a variety of creative workers, such as graphic designers, photographers, public relations specialists, and of course writers and authors, calling this industry home.

• Then there are the consumers

Minneapolis was named the most literate city in 2015 in a USA Today study (incorporating data on local bookstores, library resources, newspaper circulation and education levels). Indeed, there are so many ways to consume the written word in Minneapolis. Interested in hearing works in progress by playwrights? Attend a reading at the Playwrights’ Center. Want to be surrounded by the work of indigenous authors and authors of color? Visit Birchbark Books and Native Arts or Ancestry Books. Want to take a writing class or even making book making workshop? Head to the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. And those are just some of the the ways you can get involved with writing and publishing in this community.


Readings at the Playwrights’ Center (above) and Ancestry Books (below)

In sum…

The publishing industry and professional writing demonstrate that our creative economy is in many ways a “bubble” within which symbiotic relationships have formed between different industries, different kinds of art, and different, ever-Minnesotan, ways of sustaining creativity. Yes, and our geography does influence how we do things. We’re a bit of an island here so we do things completely and in our own way.

As we move forward, thinking in the broader context of how different players who have formed symbiotic relationships with one another can help us understand where the Minneapolis arts economy currently stands and also where it’s headed.

Coming up next

Join us

August 14, Coffee Talk with Gulgun Kayim, 9-10:30 a.m., Café Southside, 3405 Chicago Ave. S.: Join Gulgun Kayim, Director of the Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy program, for her community office hours every third Friday of the month at Café Southside.

 Mark your calendars – we’ll be sharing the Creative City Road Map draft! Public Open House  September 17th 3-5 p.m. at Public Functionary. Here you’ll have the chance to see and weigh in on the draft Creative City Road Map.


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