It’s not that the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board created a Mississippi Riverfront design competition. It’s not that they partnered with the Walker Art Center and the University of Minnesota’s College of Design to elevate creative considerations. It’s not that competition finalists will present their designs in a public meeting. No, I love this place because the presentation tickets are sold out.
Yes, that’s correct. It’s a sell-out. For a design competition presentation.
I suggest that we approach this development with each parts incredulity and enthusiasm. Public interest in riverfront design seems to run counter to mainstream cultural interests. No quarterback, earning $15 million per year, is involved. There’s no Fox Broadcasting talk show ranting. And, as far as I know, no tortured-soul vampires and/or werewolves are involved. Or, even flavor-of-the-moment pop singers. Consequently, it’s a little surprising that, when the Vikings struggle to avoid a television broadcast blackout, a design competition presentation sells out the Walker Art Center’s auditorium.
Isn’t that great? It suggests what Minnesotans have known for years. We’re interested in place. We care about our communities and our state. We recognize that public resources are assets requiring investment and care; that those same assets immeasurably contribute to community prosperity.
While I certainly care about the Minneapolis riverfront’s proposed design, public interest in the competition already represents a victory. Sure, maybe it’s a little geeky and uncool, but then so am I and so are most Minnesotans.