An Announcement for Textile Center Members & Friends, May 17, 2018

Textile Center is pleased to announce that it has entered into a purchase agreement with United Properties to acquire 3300 University Ave SE. Located at the foot of the Tower Hill Park along Clarence Ave SE, this property has a two-story, 31,000 square-foot building and a parking lot that can accommodate up to 40 vehicles. While the details of the agreement are confidential, Textile Center is currently conducting due diligence on the property. If all goes well, closing could be as early as this fall. Textile Center would operate out of its current location for the next few years during an intensive period of fundraising and planning, and eventually renovation. The equity in Textile Center’s current property would eventually be applied toward its investment at 3300 University.

Architectural Renderings: David Salmela, Salmela Architect

An Iconic New Home to Serve Minnesotans’ Passion for Fiber Art

Textile Center champions fiber art, and with our 25th anniversary less than a year away, we have a bold vision to create a dynamic new arts center dedicated to fiber art learning, design, and innovation, designed by the legendary Minnesota architect David Salmela.

The new center at 3300 University would include:

  • smart classrooms with digital technology
  • flexible spaces that address the needs of youth engagement, STEAM programming, and our guilds
  • exhibition spaces that meet museum standards
  • expanded state-of-the-art dye lab
  • enhanced library
  • auditorium for presentations and community events
  • larger artisan retail shop
  • ample social and gathering spaces

More space, more parking, and its location at the foot of the Tower Hill Park make 3300 University Ave SE an ideal location for a new home for fiber art in the Twin Cities.

“We will transform this building into a place that will become a magnet for fiber art,” says David Salmela. “Not only will it be a place where people can learn about and create fiber art, but it will also be a place where people will want to come together in community. I believe it will become a major cultural landmark for Prospect Park and the Twin Cities, fitting in beautifully with the historic Witch’s Hat Water Tower atop Tower Hill Park.”

This morning, Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, member of Textile Center’s National Artist Advisory Council, spoke at a breakfast event hosted by our Board of Directors, and she highlighted the value art centers bring to community: improving academic performance for youth, strengthening the local economy, driving tourism, promoting creativity and innovation, enhancing civic engagement, lowering poverty rates, and improving the health of everyone who gets involved with the arts.

“The arts enable us to express our values and build bridges across cultures, regardless of ethnic heritage, religion, or age,” Carolyn says, adding: “Textile Center is at the right place at the right time. Textile Center is a guiding light for textile arts in Minnesota and across the nation.”

Since 2001, Textile Center has called the Prospect Park neighborhood home. It is often said that real estate is all about “location, location, location,” and our founders made a wise choice to strategically place Textile Center in the center of the Twin Cities metro. The property investment they made in 2001 has more than tripled thanks to Metro Transit’s Green Line and an extraordinary building boom in Towerside, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Innovation District, which runs from the University of Minnesota to Hwy. 280. The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal in August 2016 called this area the Twin Cities’ “billion-dollar border.” More than 1,600 housing units are now in process for development within walking distance of Textile Center.

Now, 17 years later, the decision to acquire 3300 University Ave is also about “location, location, location.” Located just three blocks east of our current home, this property sits between the Metro Green Line’s Prospect Park and Westgate stations, as well as on the border of the Prospect Park Historic District and Towerside.

“When presented with the opportunity to purchase 3300 University Ave, our Board knew that this acquisition would be now or never,” says Margaret Anderson Kelliher, who served as Textile Center’s President during the negotiations for the purchase agreement. “Textile Center has always embraced a ‘can-do’ spirit throughout its history, and we will do the same moving forward.”

“We are entering into an exciting time of programmatic and space-use planning rooted in our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” says Executive Director Karl Reichert. “Fiber art is a universal form common to all Minnesota’s cultural communities. This purchase agreement for 3300 University is an absolutely necessary next step based on our 2015 strategic plan that engaged more than 700 artists, members, and community leaders. We are committed to creating a future for fiber art that Minnesota deserves.”

In Minnesota, Fiber Art is First

When it comes to artistic expression among Minnesota residents 18 years and older, fiber art is first, according to a recent study released by Minnesota Compass and led by Wilder Research. Today we celebrated this fact at a “Fiber is First” breakfast hosted by our Board of Directors at Textile Center, followed by lunch with leaders of our 30 member guilds.

According to this study, 18% of all Minnesota adult residents participate in some form of fiber art, including sewing, knitting, needlepoint, quilting, crocheting, and weaving – more than any other form of creative expression.

The interest in fiber art is also evident by growth at Textile Center. During the past three years, our contributed and earned revenue has increased by 24% overall, with individual giving up 48%, education up 36%, and special events up 35%. During this time Textile Center has invested in programs, including the development of year-round youth education programming, and expanding programs for older adults.

During the 2018 World’s Largest Textile Garage Sale in April, more than 2,900 people shopped for fabric, yarn, tools, notions, and more. Gross sales exceeded $99,000 for the three days, an all time high for participation and revenue. Yes, fiber art is thriving in Minnesota!

How Can You Get Involved?

Work on the actual planning of spaces for 3300 University will begin once Textile Center closes on the property. Textile Center’s current facility is 12,500 square feet. The building space at 3300 University is nearly triple – what we have currently, and the parking is more than double.

“With this exciting news comes a request,” says Textile Center Board President Ella Ramsey. “Will you consider offering your support to this exciting endeavor? This support can range from contributing to our capital campaign, hosting a house party to introduce Textile Center and its programs to more people in our community, serving on a planning committee, or participating in one of our upcoming community forums. We can all play a role as individuals and guilds in building the momentum we need to create an outstanding new arts center for fiber art and innovation.”

If you have questions, ideas or would like to engage in this process, please contact Executive Director Karl Reichert at kreichert@textilecentermn.org.