Minneapolis Artists Mural via Mplstv
You don’t have to live in Brooklyn or Los Angeles to find a community of makers. All around the country, pockets of creativity have burst onto the scene, with many makers moving back to their hometowns, revitalizing communities, and working together at innovation. In Minneapolis, Minnesota, creative entrepreneurs are delighted to cross-pollinate.
Megan Gonzalez launched MaeMae & Co., a stationery design and brand-building firm, when she lived in Los Angeles. “People have asked whether we lost business since I moved to Minneapolis. We’ve in fact expanded!”
Styled by MaeMae & Co.
When she first relocated from L.A., she announced it on social media. Right away, Minneapolis photographer Wing Ta reached out. “She said, ‘Here is a restaurant to try and here are people you should meet.’” This led to various team ups among MaeMae & Co., Ta’s Canary Grey, and the florist and stylist at Munster Rose. Gonzalez says she looks to creatives whose work she admires. “It helps ideas flow.” MaeMae & Co. recently created a home goods collection with Cait Courneya, an artist, designer, and illustrator. Their limited edition pillows and prints combine the two’s talents to form an entirely fresh aesthetic.
Minneapolis filmmaker Maribeth Romslo of Hello Sunshine Films shoots exquisite short films about the creative process of local makers. “I did a film for the designer at Wind & Willow Home. She does these gorgeous, hand dipped wooden bowls. Turns out they’re inspired by her small town Minnesotan childhood in the north woods.”
Romslo and her Minnesotan husband lived in Brooklyn for 6 years before settling in her husband’s home state. “It’s nice to be a fish in a not-so-big pond,” she says. There aren’t as many filmmakers in Minneapolis as there are in New York, so local businesses accommodate her shoots.
The Minneapolis makers hang out in the Northeast and North Loop. Warehouses-turned-studio-spaces abound here, along with post-production houses. The Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association sponsors Art-A-Whirl, the largest open studio tour in the country. It’s an opportunity to tour private artist studios and galleries, connect with the artists, and purchase original artwork. First Thursdays in the Arts District function as a mini Art-a-Whirl, with artists and galleries opening their doors to the public.
Photo from Art-a-Whirl via Happening Mag
Photo from Art-a-Whirl via Dan Marshall at nemaa.org
Many makers gather in the The COMN, a communal workspace located in the North Loop. Creatives in the design, photography, and fashion industry founded it with freelancers and small businesses in mind. The workspace boasts a large communal table, small photography studio, and conference room.
Minneapolis makers even celebrate collaboration on their websites. Just click and see how Bodega styles with architect and textile designer Martha W McQuade or check out the Makers Alongside link on the Hackwith Design House site.
The shops in Minneapolis value local innovation. i like you showcases the wares of hundreds of independent artists and crafters from the Minneapolis area. The Foundry Home Goods, a must-visit in the warehouse district, has a homey, neighborhood feel and a stunning curation of home goods, Minnesotan and otherwise. Forage Modern Workshop is all about Midwest modern design. Shop Mille hosts Makers Market, for guests to make things and meet makers. It also has a fantastic Instagram page. (Minneapolis makers love Instagram.)
Photo via Forage Modern Workshop
Photo of The Foundry Home Goods by Anna Hillegass & Christopher Drees
HAMMS, an acronym for Help A Minnesotan Maker Succeed, hosts a one-day shopping, crowd-funding market born out of the shop local and small business movement.
Then there’s Lab Minneapolis, creative workshops that provide an opportunity to learn a DIY skill and socialize. They offer calligraphy labs, cocktail labs, styling labs, Instragram labs. The Loft Literary Center provides classes in theater and writing. Restore Collaborative, a co-op work space, teaches classes that focus on everything a creative needs to build a healthy, money-generating business from their craft. Then there’s Nordeast Makers, a maker space in the heart of the Twin Cities, along with The Mill.
Locals have their theories on why the city is rife with collaborative innovation. ”You feel united with these people who can survive the weather,” laughs Gonzalez. “Minneapolis is an incubator for creativity.”
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