What’s New:

St. Paul, Minn. – Nov. 8, 2016 – The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced more than $642,500 in new funding for 9 projects that will create new incentives for talented people to live and stay in the city, advance economic growth and encourage residents to participate more in civic life.

From transforming vacant spaces in the city’s downtown core into vibrant spots for meeting and community collision to creating a hub for entrepreneurship and civic conversations, the projects focus on building a more vibrant, inclusive St. Paul, while leveraging some of the city’s greatest strengths: talent, green spaces and a burgeoning creative scene. Led by community development and public sector organizations, the projects reflect a growing recognition that a thriving city is defined and led by its community.

Funding was announced today at a welcome gathering for Jai Winston, new Knight Foundation program director in St. Paul, held at the James J. Hill Center in St. Paul.

“The creative energy and appetite for positive change in St. Paul is palpable,” said Jai Winston, Knight Foundation program director for St. Paul. “These projects aim to tap into this momentum, engaging the community in innovative projects that aim to connect diverse residents and seek their input into programs that will make the city an even better place to live and work.”

The organizations receiving support include:

Creative Enterprise Zone, via MAP for Nonprofits ($63,002) – Helping to keep innovators and entrepreneurs in St. Paul’s Creative Enterprise Zone and attract new ones with a marketing campaign and online networking service that will build excitement around its offerings, and help to propel economic development in the area while maintaining its unique character.

Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities ($50,000) – Sharing information and lessons from other funders focused on cities and urban improvement by supporting the 2017 Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities annual conference in St. Paul.

James J. Hill Center ($60,000) – Promoting entrepreneurship and civic conversation by increasing the James J. Hill Center’s role as a civic hub for St. Paul through the creation of a director of programming position to curate activities that engage entrepreneurs and civic groups around community needs and opportunities.

Make It. MSP. ($75,000): Supporting MSP Hello, an initiative to connect new residents to local events and programming through an online interactive forum, events and guides that will include a list of resources and practical information on navigating life in the city.

Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation ($75,000): Creating an even more vibrant and successful downtown St. Paul by establishing the Downtown Development Framework, a common vision for future downtown investments shaped by local civic, business and community leaders.

St. Paul Chamber of Commerce Foundation Inc. ($75,000) – Connecting people from diverse backgrounds and enhancing the city’s vibrancy by transforming the vacant Central Station lot and adjacent skyway into a temporary plaza. Other project partners include: Building Owners and Managers Association, The City of St. Paul, The Metro Transit, Musicant Group.

Springboard for the Arts ($75,000) – Increasing community vibrancy in St. Paul’s Creative Enterprise Zone by supporting Can Can Wonderland, a unique artist-designed mini golf course and weekly programs that connect diverse residents.

Transit for Livable Communities’ Friendly Streets Initiative, with Rondo Avenue Inc. ($99,500): Promoting the vibrancy and economic growth of St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood by launching “ReConnectRondo,” a new organization that will work with the community to create a bridge over Interstate 94 to reconnect the neighborhood.

The Trust for Public Land ($70,000) – Advancing a community engagement process to develop “The Park at Griggs Street” to build a shared vision for the park among diverse residents and students, and supporting temporary activities in the space before construction.

Funding for these projects forms part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to attract and keep talented people in St. Paul, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of engagement. Knight has provided more than $64 million in support to the St. Paul community since 1977.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit knightfoundation.org.


Contact: Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2646, media@knightfoundation.org

BalconyMap_FINALExperience the vision of a vibrant River Balcony first-hand as sidewalks, plazas, parks and pathways are filled with public art, live music, great food, tasty brews and scenic views during the first-ever River Balcony Prototyping Festival on September 9 and 10, 2016.

Hosted in partnership with Music in Mears and Rhythm in Rice Production Team, the festival will kick-off with a pre-party on September 9 from 5:00-10:00 p.m. at the Kellogg Craft Beer Overlook located at Kellogg Mall Park with food trucks and special performances by The Wibesman, Maria Isa, Ryan’s Liestman’s Reggae Revival, and Ipso Facto.

On Saturday, September 10 from 2:00-6:00 p.m., the areas surrounding the Science Museum of Minnesota, Kellogg Mall Park and Union Depot will feature 11 installations by 10 local artists, food trucks, multiple stages, and the Kellogg Craft Beer Overlook with special performances by Grape Whales, Alex Rossi, Communist Daughter and more.

The Prototyping Festival is a winning idea submitted by Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation to the Knight Green Line Challenge, an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Prototyping is the use of art, design, and social engagement to envision what a space can become and how it can serve a different role in our community. The artists were selected through an open call to demonstrate the types of activities that a River Balcony could support and include:

  • Water Source by ThreeSeven
  • Sunspot by Alyssa Baguss and Aaron Dysart
  • Dakhóta Wordscapes on the River by Dakhóta Iápi Okhódakičhiye, Healing Place Collaborative, Hamilton Ink Spot and Public Art Saint Paul
  • River Song by Trygve Nordberg, Karen Pollard and Wendie Owens
  • Cultural Exchange Market by Emily Stover
  • River Soundings by Suzanne, Tesia, and Josef Kosmalski
  • River of Birds by Kimley-Horn Landscape Architecture: Jenny Krantz, Katie Leise, Mitch Workmon, & Jacob Oswald
  • Water Bar | Healing Place by Works Progress Studio
  • Portals by Ramsey County Historical Society
  • River Rock! by Gary Johnson
  • Wrapped in Anticipation by Kimley-Horn Landscape Architecture: Jenny Krantz, Katie Leise, Mitch Workmon, and Jacob Oswald

“The community expressed a desire for a stronger connection to the Mississippi River in the Great River Passage master plan”, said Darlene Walser, executive director of Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation. “The festival is a way to begin to experience the possibilities for the future of the riverfront in Saint Paul.”

All activities are free and open to the public, and no registration is required. Attendees will be invite to share feedback through the hashtags #RiverBalconyFest on Facebook and Twitter.

The festival is hosted in partnership with the City of Saint Paul, Capitol River Council, and Public Art Saint Paul along with generous support from the Knight Foundation, Pioneer Press, Knutson Construction, Exeter Group, Mairs & Power Investment Counsel, Ramsey County, Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority, Saint Paul EcoDistrict, Science Museum of Minnesota and Golden’s Lowertown.

For more information on the River Balcony Prototyping Festival, click here. To learn more about the River Balcony, visit StPaul.gov/RiverBalcony. To learn more about the Great River Passage Plan, visit greatriverpassage.org.




Picture1How much do the developers, the policy makers, the non-profits, the media, the artists, and the people in the place, drive the definition of that place? What exactly is equity? In the historically marginalized neighborhoods that intersect Chicago Avenue and 38th Street in south Minneapolis, as it undergoes significant transformation, these questions are now more important than ever.

Join us for an open discussion with perspectives shared by Council Member Elizabeth Glidden of Ward 8, who in 2004 collaborated with residents to create a small area revitalization plan with arts as a major component, now being realized; artist Mike Hoyt, the Creative Community Liaison for Pillsbury House + Theatre and steward of Dreamsland, a vacant lot he purchased and turned into a free outdoor space where all neighbors are welcome to engage in creative exchange; and photographic public artist, Wing Young Huie, proprietor of the Third Place Gallery, opened five years ago in a building that had sat empty for 47 years, where monthly events are held featuring artists and thinkers from an array of disciplines who engage in a salon-style discussion with the audience, followed by ping-pong and karaoke.

Wednesday, April 13
5:30 – 7:30 pm
Third Place Gallery
3730 Chicago Avenue South, Studio B
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Email Wing


Hosted in conjunction with the 5th Annual Placemaking Residency produced by Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation and with generous support from the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.

RBPF logo

The city’s grand vision to better connect people to Saint Paul’s 26 miles of Mississippi River Shoreline is becoming reality. From March 1 until April 1, 2016, local and national citizens and organizations are invited to submit innovative ideas to turn the River Balcony into a more engaging place for people to connect to the river and with one another.

The River Balcony is a 1.5-mile public pathway planned for the downtown Saint Paul river bluff edge from the Science Museum to Union Depot. First envisioned in Saint Paul’s Great River Passage plan, the River Balcony will form a public promenade linking key downtown development sites with restaurants, offices, shops, and open spaces that will overlook the river, and will accommodate walking, outdoors seating, gathering, and public activities.

The Prototyping Festival is hosted by Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation, the City of Saint Paul, Public Art Saint Paul, and the CapitolRiver Council, with support from the Knight Green Line Challenge, an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The festival aims to create a more engaging and vibrant riverfront experience and connect people to the Green Line. Prototyping is the use of art, design, and social engagement to envision what a space can become and how it can serve a different role in our community.

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 9.30.17 PM$25,000 is available for ideas to create installations and programming, or “prototypes.” Winning ideas will demonstrate and strengthen the relationship between the City and the Mississippi River through themes of history, culture or the environment. Submissions are open to the public and will be accepted from March 1 through April 1, 2016. Ideas can be submitted by individuals and teams. Learn more and download the RFP.

Winning ideas will be announced as part of an open house in mid-April, when the public will have the opportunity to learn more and provide feedback on ideas as part of the larger River Balcony Master Plan.

The River Balcony will then come alive during the Prototyping Festival on Saturday, September 10 from 2:00-6:00 pm. Sidewalks, plazas, parks and pathway will be filled with temporary installations for the public to experience and enjoy.

For more information on the River Balcony Prototyping Festival, visit the website or contact Tim Griffin via email or 651-293-6860. To learn more about the River Balcony, visit StPaul.gov/RiverBalcony.



The nation’s wild places – from national and state parks to national forests, preserves, and wilderness areas – belong to all Americans. But not all of us use these resources equally. Minority populations are much less likely to seek recreation, adventure, and solace in our wilderness spaces. It’s a difference that African American author James Mills addresses in his book, The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors and the documentary film “An American Ascent“.

In partnership with the City of Saint Paul’s 8-80 Vitality Fellow and with support from BlueCross Blue Shield of Minnesota – Center for Prevention, please join us for the first gathering in our Design for Equity Residency series, as we explore creating more diverse, equitable and inclusive outdoor spaces for everyone to explore and enjoy.

Wednesday, March 2
Science Museum of Minnesota, Discovery Hall
An evening with James Edward Mills, along with Will Shafroth, CEO, National Park Foundation, and Anthony Taylor, Loppet Foundation & Major Taylor Bicycling Club (Twin Cities)

5-5:30 p.m. Reception
5:30-6:30 p.m. Presentation and Panel
6:30 p.m. Screening of “An American Ascent”