Next summer, a new marketplace will open on Franklin Avenue and will bring art, food, and music to a very unlikely location – the median between Cedar Avenue and S. 17th Avenue.
The project is the result of a $435,000 ArtPlace grant and the work of the Native American Community Development Institute. NACDI Vice President Andy Hestness explained at a recent project unveiling that the Anpetu Was’te Cultural Arts Market is designed to bring the Ventura Village and Seward neighborhoods together and create a pedestrian-friendly roadway, something that the presence of a light rail station has not been able to do on its own. He commented, “People originally thought that plopping the light rail here would create a new paradigm. We’ve been waiting for years for this to happen, and it never did. We finally decided that we were going to do it ourselves, since no one was going to do it for us.”
Jay Bad Heart Bull, NACDI president, explained that for the light rail to be strong and successful, there needs to be a strong pedestrian presence. He noted, “[The Marketplace] will bring life to the street. It’s really going to change the face of the avenue and bring life to the station.”
The Marketplace will feature a stage for performances and theater and a space for vendor tents and food trucks.
Throughout the Market, the work of Native American artists and writers will be represented, and, as local poet Jim Oliver Smith said, “It will bring the Native presence to the street.”
Poetry by four local writers and four nationally-known writers will be featured throughout the space. The work of artist Francis Yellow will welcome visitors from Seward as they go under the underpass. Yellow explained at the project unveiling that his artwork for this project was heavily influenced by his ancestry. He said, “The Lakota welcomed the Ojibwe to this land. My inspiration is the generosity of my ancestors, the friendly people.” One of his pieces depicts trading in keel boats. Another piece shares a Lakota saying, “Welcome all to the land of the friendly people.”
Construction has begun on the median in preparation for the Marketplace, and NACDI is planning on opening the space in mid-July. However, this open date is dependent on the ability to complete construction this spring.
More information on the project is available in a previous article, New Cultural Arts Market Planned for Franklin (http://www.my-broadsheet.com/2013/06/03/nacdi-cultural-arts-market/).
Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Funders Collaborative. Reporting for this article also supported in part by Bush Foundation.