Artists, innovators, musicians, inventors… can all reach their maximum potential under the right set of environmental circumstances. A community of support, inspiration, and a culture of perpetual growth and ingenuity. So what makes Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota so special?
- Hungry Audience:
Maybe it’s the annual re-visitation of the ice age each winter? Perhaps it’s the geographical location of this urban oasis between the vast northern plains and the upper Midwest. Whatever the reason, the people here have a hunger for imaginative adventure.
The Twins cities are flooded with active patrons that seek out all things unique, weird, and that challenge the way we perceive the world. This higher expectation for unconventional delivery forces artists to reach deeper into their creativity.
Above all, there is an overwhelming support for artists and innovators.
During an interview with a Los Angeles based band, I asked, “What cities do you most look forward to when touring?” He replied, “I love coming north man. The crowds just get more into it and the kids buy out our merch.”
- Supportive Community:
No matter your trade or craft, the Twins Cities has a plethora of available resources. On any given day throughout the year, you can find a number of workshops, meet-ups, training seminars, and creative networking events for nearly any industry. Best of all, most of these are free!
From improve theaters to tech development clubs, there is not only a broad range of supportive groups available, they are also very welcoming.
- Close to Nature:
Minnesota in general has a great reverence for nature. One of the most ecologically focused metro-areas has found a way to sustain and coexist with its wildlife areas. Nicknamed The City of Lakes, Minneapolis is continuously voted #1 in the nation for public parks. And who is #2? St. Paul!
Together, they are the most walk and bicycle friendly in North America and top 10 in the world.
Having close ties to the natural world has always been an important part of innovation. The progress of technology is paved with attributes to biomimicry (design modeled on biological processes).
Theodor Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, and many other vanguards of history found meditative balance and inspiration in the natural world.
- Land of Appreciation:
If you look at the architecture of the Juxtapose Cities, from expansive bridges to eccentric stadiums and even down to lowly parking garages, design aesthetic is definitely not an afterthought. There is a beautiful contrast of historical preservation and futuristic structures. Intriguing design isn’t just icing-on-the-cake, for us it’s an essential part of existing.
Compared to much larger cities known for unique landmarks, the Twin Cities still boast an impressive assortment of museums and cultural centers. We value all forms of expression from primitive to modern.
A number of festivals electrify the air throughout the year that celebrate, honor, and unveil new and traditional forms of artwork and technology. There is something for everyone. Film makers and animators can share their latest work. Programmers and developers show off new creations. Sub-freezing temperatures? No problem. We’ll build a festival out of ice. And of course, local vendors and musicians are in abundance to provide an opportunity to see, hear, or taste something different each time.
- Creative Opportunities:
Minnesota has 17 Fortune 500 companies spanning across a wide range of industries. Many of which are very involved and supportive of local programs and education. A strong economy in tech and science provides an opportunity to invest more efforts in creative development and innovation.
Many organizations place a higher value on quality design and creative branding. This cultivates the unique and experimental looks that are a defining characteristic of the Twin Cities.
The University of Minnesota has one of the highest rated Robotics Programs in the country. It has a large Artificial Intelligence research lab with passionate students and instructors. It will be interesting to see how Minneapolis progresses as a leader in future technologies.
5 ½ What’s Next?:
I added a 5 ½ because I’m sure that as I write this, another great reason is brewing up somewhere as you read this blog entry.
In short, the Twins Cities are a very competitive, forward thinking spot on the map that still makes the time to, proverbially—or literally, stop and smell the Cypripedium Reginae (State flower).
Admittedly, I am not from Minnesota and have only lived here for three years. However, as a designer, artist, cyclist, lover of nature, and avid consumer of marshmallow cereals, I’m proud to call this patch of spinning rock my home.