African Development Center opens new art exhibit

The African Development Center (ADC) opened a new art exhibition in its gallery December 17, showing a variety of contemporary African artists.The ADC, an organization focused on business and home ownership and financial literacy for African immigrants, first started in April of 2004.  According to its website, in 2010 it was named “the number one business lender in Minneapolis.”In 2009 the ADC bought the former North Country Co-op building on South 5th Street in Minneapolis and, after much renovation, ADC opened the doors of its new home in October.  The art gallery, curated by Oreoluwa Adedeji, a Nigerian-Minnesotan, is a collection of contemporary African pieces from about nine different countries, including artists from Nigeria, Somalia, Ghana and Brazil. Its regular hours are 9-5, Monday through Friday.”Art and culture offer a way for ADC to connect with the local community, and embrace its spirit,” Hussein Samatar, the executive director of ADC, said in another interview. He hopes to offer new exhibitions about three times a year.Oreoluwa wanted to focus on contemporary African art instead of traditional African works to show a fresh perspective.  Often people think of African art as one style but of course it varies as much as art varies in any other continent.”I didn’t see much modern African art being promoted, so I want to promote it,” she said.Oreoluwa even included three sizable pieces from her private collection.The exhibition opening was accompanied by African drummers providing an appropriate soundtrack to the dramatic art works. Continue Reading

Businesses along University Avenue organize to prepare for Central Corridor

“Build right, not on the backs of small businesses,” is a motto of the University Avenue Business Association (UABA), according to director Linda Winsor. On October 28, UABA and the Asian Economic Development Association (AEDA) brought small businesses together for a resource workshop offering free services such as business consulting, legal services, marketing assistance.  “We are neither pro or anti Light Rail-we realize it’s coming,” Linda Winsor, the executive director of UABA said. “We just want to make sure small businesses along the avenue get the help needed to survive construction.”University Avenue business owners came at different times throughout the day to have consultations about concerns or legal questions they had.Rob Routhieaux, an associate professor at Hamline University and a working member of UABA, gave two short presentations throughout the day.Routhieaux said about 60 people showed up for the presentation, which he characterized as “a great turn-out.””We didn’t have enough chairs, it was standing room only,” said Linda Winsor, the executive director of UABA.The services provided by UABA are an on-going collaborative effort by concerned business owners as well as professors and students who give their time to help University Avenue businesses the information they need.UABA’s Business Information Center is made up by university associates and their M.B.A. students from Hamline University School of Business and Macalester College to give private consultations with business owners to help strategize surviving the construction.Though the start of construction is a year or more off for some businesses, there is a lot of preparation to do. Stories such as Lessons learned from Lower Town in St. Continue Reading