Meet Jamie Schumacher

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A California transplant, Jamie Schumacher is now firmly rooted in Northeast. As executive director of the Northeast CDC, she is involved in projects ranging from the Northeast Calendar to bike trails and housing for artists.

The first ever-Northeast Calendar has just been published and it already is a success. The calendar features the 13 neighborhoods of Northeast Minneapolis and was published by the Northeast Community Development Corporation (Northeast CDC).

Artwork for the calendar was submitted by local artists and determined by an open, public vote. They received over 100 submissions this year. The calendar was designed by award winning comic artist and Northeast resident, Kevin Cannon.

The person who put the project together is Jamie Schumacher, executive director of the Northeast CDC. Schumacher is all about community and her enthusiasm has been an asset to the organization. The Northeast CDC acts as an arm helping facilitate projects in the 13 neighborhoods.  Although its mission is  “to drive and nurture the economic and residential development in Northeast Minneapolis, “ Schumacher said it is much much more. She has the vision and confidence to carry out the ideas and values reflected in her Northeast Minneapolis neighborhood.

Schumacher moved to Minnesota eight years ago after growing up in California and has been a resident in the Bottineau neighborhood for the past seven. She loves the combination of arts, and community here and that everything is really accessible.

“It is a perfect blend for me,” she said.

Coming from sunny California, people warned Schumacher about the winters here but she pointed out,  “No one warned me about the humidity and mosquitoes.”  This seems to bother her a bit more than the cold weather, as she added, “You can always put layers on“ in the winter.

As executive director of the CDC for almost two years, Schumacher has been able to put her expertise in organizational development, fundraising, and web development to work as she meets with small businesses and organizations like the Farmers’ Market. She holds a masters degree from the University of Minnesota specializing in innovation in nonprofit management and uses her organizational skills to make projects grow into fruition.

“We try to help organizations do the best they can,” she said.

Jackson Flats is one project that has Schumacher smiling.  The city of Minneapolis recently approved site plans and the project is moving forward. Jackson Flats will offer artists opportunities to live in affordable space, collaborate with other artists along with providing a working gallery space.

Another project, the Northeast Ride, is planned for June 2 and Schumacher is cautiously optimistic about this one, too.  The ride will take cyclists on a tour of the neighborhoods of Northeast Minneapolis, stopping at neighborhoods parks and major destinations. According to Schumacher, all 13 neighborhoods have their own park so plans are in the works for an activity at each one. Anything from bocce ball to a Northeast time capsule has been suggested. The ride will also take participants through the arts district, touring past Northeast creative buildings and historical landmarks like the Grain Belt Brewery, while using some of the new bike trails.

She said that it would be a great way for people to get to know Northeast and to also get on their bikes.

Schumacher will know by the end of the year if it will be a reality but is receiving positive support from the community and their sponsors.

“People are working together to make this happen,” she said.

Another reason Schumacher loves Northeast is the cooperative model that is at work here in organizations.  

“Even when there is competition it is friendly,” she said. “Non-profits are all competing against each other for grants but they are very excited when their partners are getting funding.  It is very positive. They like seeing other projects doing well.”

Long before becoming executive director of the CDC, Schumacher founded Altered Esthetics, a volunteer-driven nonprofit community art gallery and arts advocacy organization. The gallery located on 1224 Quincy St. has a specific mission in mind.

When she lived in California, Schumacher had not been impressed with how some galleries required a following to display work. She often saw art become a commodity for rich merchants.  Schumacher however, saw art in a different way. It was less about the sale and more about what the artist wanted to say. She opened up Altered Esthetics for artists for arts sake. She believes that,   “artists have a language without words. “ and wanted to give artists the opportunity to create what was important to them and to share it.

Soon after opening the gallery, Schumacher realized that she wanted to create something more sustainable and went to a non-profit model, applying and receiving 501(c)(3) status.  It also meant that Schumacher went from doing everything herself to a board of 20 people operating the gallery.

This allowed more people to be involved. Altered Esthetics is entirely volunteer-driven. Their board is made up a wide variety of people: young, old, artists, musicians, students, and others who hold full time or part time jobs elsewhere, The model seems to be working.  Last year, dedicated volunteers and board members contributed 4000 hours to the gallery. 

The gallery holds openings every first Friday of the month. Past shows have included the Art of War, Day of the Dead and Children’s Art.  The gallery is free and open to the public. Their current exhibit is Animal Art III: Rescue Me.

Altered Esthetics is eight years old now and Schumacher attributes its success to the dedication to the mission.  “”We’re bridging a gap.  Creating a resource for the community,” she said.

An artist herself, Schumacher works as a prosthetic makeup artist. But often her art takes a back seat to other projects. As she puts it, “There’s an art of running an organization.”

All the while, she recognizes the great groups of talented people she is able to work with in Northeast.

“There’s caring people here,” she said.

 

 

If you would like to receive a Northeast calendar you can contact Jamie directly at jamie@northeastcdc.org.