CEZ’s ‘We Make It Here’ project spotlights the area’s creators

During the first four months of 2016, the Creative Enterprise Zone: We Make It Here project has celebrated and promoted creative businesses throughout the Creative Enterprise Zone (CEZ), St. Paul’s center of creativity and enterprise. We Make It Here is building connections between creative businesses and increasing their visibility throughout the CEZ and the Twin Cities.

This summer and fall, the project will highlight businesses such as Studio on Fire on Carleton Street, complete with letterpress printing by a steamroller, and the highly anticipated Can Can Wonderland, an indoor artist-designed mini golf course set to open on Prior Avenue.

Funded by the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, We Make It Here has showcased the talents of several businesses this year through feature articles, public art projects on the street coordinated by Forecast Public Art, and community happy hours to present and celebrate their work and get to know other creative entrepreneurs from the neighborhood.

Businesses that have been featured are the Midway Commercial Building’s textile businesses and artisans at 2500 W. University Ave. (Collective Spaces, Tulip Design, Scoundrel’s Keep, Gina Sekelsky Studio and KMK Designs), Alchemy Architects at 856 Raymond Ave. and the Mid- Continent Oceanographic Institute at 2388 W. University Ave. People from all around the community have come to happy hour events to learn about their work and make creative connections.

Upcoming We Make It Here happy hours, held from 6-8 p.m., include:

Thursday, June 30Smallest Museum in St. Paul, hosted by WORKHORSE Coffee Bar, 2399 W. University Ave.: a celebration of the first anniversary of SMSP: a vintage fire-hose cabinet converted into a 2-by-3-foot micro-museum. The celebration will feature photographs by Angela Dimler of all 12 Smallest Museum exhibits.

Friday, July 29Studio on Fire, 825 Carleton St.: A letterpress printer focused on making premium print work. The event will be an afternoon block party featuring letterpress printing using a steamroller! Watch a video at vimeo.com/106604769.

Thursday, Aug. 25IFP Minnesota, 550 Vandalia St., #120: Independent Filmmaker Project MN advances a diverse community of independent film and media artists through networking, education, funding and opportunities to showcase their work.

Artist Coal Dorius will create bold, visual artworks to convey the mission of IFP and the Improve Group for their respective events.

Thursday, Sept. 22The Improve Group, 661 Lasalle St., Suite 300: A group that helps mission-driven organizations make the most of information, navigate complexity, and ensure their investments of time and money lead to meaningful, sustained impact.

October (date to be determined)Can Can Wonderland, 755 N. Prior Ave.: Indoor artist-designed mini golf, Coney Island-style boardwalk of amusements, black box theater, and concessions. Artist Wes Winship will create outdoor artworks on the street to draw people into the golf course.

You can find out more at creativeenterprisezone.org.

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