City Council approves Creative City Road Map

The plan outlines goals to develop the creative sector of Minneapolis.

The City Creative Road Map’s core planning team includes, from left to right, Rachel Engh, Keegan Xavi, Chrys Carroll, Gülgün Kayim, Shá Cage, E.G. Bailey and Carrie Christensen. Photo courtesy of the City of Minneapolis

The City Council on Aug. 19 approved the Creative City Road Map, a 10-year strategic vision for informing city planning and developing the creative economy of Minneapolis.

Road map planning staff will now integrate it into housing, land use and other sections of the city’s Comprehensive Plan, which will guide future development in Minneapolis.

“This is where the rubber hits the road in a way,” said Gülgün Kayim, the city’s director of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy. “It’s not just about arts and culture. It’s about how arts and culture meet housing policy and how arts and culture meet economic policy.”

City arts and culture staff pieced together the new vision, replacing the city’s previous 10-year plan, the Minneapolis Plan for Arts and Culture, which ended last year. Over 18 months of community engagement, Kayim and two committees crafted the plan along with city leaders, members of the Minneapolis Arts Commission and local arts organizations.

Kayim said where the last plan focused on constructing new buildings for arts institutions and the need for capital investment, the road map’s main takeaways are the potential for creative sector growth through racial equity and artists’ need for affordable housing and workspaces.

According to the city’s own Minneapolis Creative Index report, people of color are significantly underrepresented in creative professions. Only 9 percent of the city’s creative sector workforce is made up of people of color. That’s compared to 17 percent of creative economy nationally.

Based on a survey of local creatives, the plan identifies the need, especially among artists of color, for more resources, including business training, professional development and arts and design education.

The roadmap also identifies affordable housing and workspaces as a key resource for artists. The report’s survey showed that about half of the artists who responded work from home. People of color were more likely to work from home and less likely to work in a studio, with more than 60 percent of respondents reporting they do creative work from the home.

“When we say artist housing, we’re really talking about affordable housing issues because we know from the data that we’ve gathered that artists aren’t earning median wage,” Kayim said.

Local arts organizations have already brought the plan into their own work, Kayim said. For example, representatives from Lyn-Lake-based Pangea World Theater received a federal grant to partner with the city and implement some of the road map vision, such as training and skill building with artists of color, into their own work.

“This is where the government is aligned with the community and we can work together to get something done,” Kayim said.

Council Member Cam Gordon (Ward 2) said at a Committee of the Whole meeting that the plan could keep Minneapolis competitive in garnering resources for the arts.

“Something like this could really help us get funding and more resources to the city, because we can demonstrate to people we are prepared, we’re organized, we have a plan. And I think that’s going to attract some funders,” he said.

Kayim said the report does put the city ahead of others around the country that are still exploring questions around racial equity in the arts. Minneapolis is now in line with national arts advocate organization Americans for the Arts, which released a similar equity statement, she added.

For more information on the City Creative Road Map visit creativeminneapolis.com.