For the final travel date of my book tour, I visited Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Magers & Quinn Booksellers invited me to introduce Left Bank of the Hudson to the literary and creative communities of the Twin Cities on November 2, 2017.
I stayed with an old college friend, and he was determined to introduce me to the best of the region before my event. He did not disappoint.
When I entered Magers & Quinn, New Wave music filled the aisles. Titles on nearly every subject and by any author enchanted readers. Friendly staff eagerly discussed writers and books with customers. An amazing bookstore.
Teri Deaver, Artspace Projects, joined me for a conversation on artists, cities, and gentrification. Ms. Deaver informed me that the Minnesota state constitution mandates set funding for the arts. These public monies reach arts organizations throughout Minnesota. This might help explain the high-quality and array of arts organizations in the Twin Cities.
An enthusiastic and well-informed crowd jumped right into the conversation and kept it moving throughout the evening. People expressed pride in the Minneapolis arts community and wished to keep it vibrant. No one hesitated in sharing their thoughts and opinions. A great night.
Minneapolis appears to be a city doing many things right. Despite the chilly temperatures, residents were taking full advantage of the abundant open space, bike paths, and parks. Public transit and smart growth dominate local development projects and planning. Arts and culture receive robust public funding and resources. Fine museums, libraries, and theaters offer evidence of this investment.
Do Minneapolis and Minnesota provide a model for arts funding (and urban living) for America? The crowd at Magers & Quinn believed that they do. A thought worth exploring.