Hopkins looks to enhance artsy downtown, considers work/live community for budding artists

An artist at work in an Artspace live/work apartment unit. Large windows are incorporated into the design to maximize natural light.

Artspace, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit developer for affordable housing for artists, will launch an survey to determine arts market demand and what the creative community would like in a project in downtown Hopkins.

The survey opens Thursday, June 7. A link will be shared then. It is not limited to Hopkins residents; anyone within a 50-mile radius who might be interested in relocating to this development if it were to be built in Hopkins is encouraged to take the survey.

A launch event will take place from 5-6 p.m. that day in Room 203 at Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Mainstreet.

The organization recently spent months conducting a feasibility study and focus groups, which ultimately revealed interest in a building with a few floors of housing, community gathering space and private studio space.

Seven potential sites, all of which are located on or adjacent to Mainstreet, were toured during the preliminary feasibility visit. The tour focused on sites that were within a half mile of the three anticipated light rail stations and within walking distance from Hopkins Center for the Arts. Most sites would allow for four to six stories.

The top three sites were the Katherine Curren school, the "Raspberry sculpture site" (26-30 Eighth Ave. N.) and the Downtown Park parking lot/900 building. These sites will be prioritized as conversation progresses.

A site would be selected in part based on market demand and survey input, according to Aneesha Marwah, the organization’s consulting and strategic partnerships manager.

Marwah said there is a demand for studio space in the west metro: “Artists say they have to drive to northeast Minneapolis for studios. They don’t want to traverse the cities for space.”

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I am a reporter for the Sun Sailor, covering Minnetonka, Excelsior, Shorewood, Tonka Bay, Deephaven, Greenwood, Woodland and the Hopkins School District.

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