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A New Angle: Arts Development in the Suburbs


Whether we live in rural towns, big cities, or growing suburbs, the arts matter to all of us.

That conviction inspires McKnight's giving, and drives us to find ways to highlight the arts and the nourishment they provide. A New Angle: Arts Development in the Suburbs is one such effort — an exploration of a growing commitment to the arts in Twin Cities suburbs, and of the history, status, and direction of suburban arts activity.Today's suburban cultural life reflects general regional patterns that have evolved over decades: Our metropolitan area is in constant motion and the vast majority of the region's 2 million residents live outside the core cities. Although the arts help create a sense of place and build connections among suburban communities, their contributions to suburban livability are seldom acknowledged as openly as those of housing, transportation, retail development, and other facets of suburban development.

A New Angle reveals the surprising extent of artistic expression that has emerged in recent years in the Twin Cities suburbs. Carolyn Bye, executive director of the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, wrote the body of the report, which includes introductions by McKnight's president, Rip Rapson, and arts program director, Neal Cuthbert. The report raises tough questions about how the emerging trend will impact communities and arts organizations around the state. Relevant issues include audience development, resource distribution, and types and locations of artistic activities in the region.

Released May 12, 2002, the report tries to gauge the extent of suburban arts development, and to raise its profile with artists, arts administrators, arts patrons, funders, and public officials. Key questions include:

  • How are the arts developing in the suburbs?
  • Why is suburban arts development happening now?
  • Why does this trend matter?

To begin exploring these and related issues, please follow the links below.

Download the report (PDF)