Inside CEZ’s pop-up park

Arts / Article

By Jack Becker, Forecast Public Art 

After months of planning with dozens of artists and creative business leaders in the neighborhood surrounding Forecast Public Art, the Creative Enterprise Zone (CEZ) was transformed on June 14 into a one-day pop-up cultural park to celebrate the launch of the new Green Line light rail connecting Minneapolis and St. Paul. Our “park” featured mural making by artist Erik Pearson, a demo zone with some of the great talent in the area, terrific live music, a video screening room in the back of a U-Haul truck, food trucks, the stilt-walking Chicks on Sticks, and a lemonade social with art cars! Check out the slideshow here.

While the wind and rain wreaked havoc with the event, our pop-up park was still an amazing success, thanks to the many hard-working leaders and volunteers who made it all happen and the funders who provided support.

On a related note, Forecast wants to give a special shout out to artist Alec Soth, whose photograph graces a billboard in the area. An event earlier in June with Soth, the media, and a collection of local leaders marked a coming out moment for the CEZ and the creative placemaking happening in this exciting neighborhood. As an active partner in the CEZ, Forecast plans to help turn the art here inside out, making the invisible visible.

More than two years in the making, the CEZ is a grassroots initiative to declare our neighborhood in the middle of the Twin Cities a special zone worthy of recognition, protection and support as light rail brings both opportunity and the threat of gentrification.

We’re determined to pursue innovative and non-traditional ways to work collaboratively to prove that new development and creative enterprises can coexist. Putting the CEZ on the map and into people’s consciousness was our first important goal. I’m happy to report that our community is putting a big CHECK next to that item on our to-do list.​