As a survivor of the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis in 2007, Lindsay Walz, a youth worker, turned to art for healing.
“I found myself through the artistic process and creativity. I could tell my story to myself in a different way,” she says.
That experience led her to open courageous heARTS,
an arts-focused youth center at 4164 Cedar Ave. S. in Minneapolis. As a part of a soft launch this summer, the center has special drop-in hours for open studio use. The center is also helping plan community art projects in conjunction with the Standish Ericsson Neighborhood Association (SENA)
Walz, who has long wanted to open a youth center of her own, says courageous heARTS is a “space that’s safe, where youth can express themselves and get the gunk out,” adding, “It’s better if those feelings come out on paper or with words, whatever the case may be.”
The center is a place to explore those possibilities. “Maybe someone is an untapped writer or a dancer or a musician,” she says. “It’s not about being good at it, just doing it.”
Also, youth can learn from each other. “They don’t have to separate themselves,” and they can develop leadership skills through the youth advisory board and other opportunities, she says.
The space, formerly a convenience store that had sat vacant for some time, is an ideal location, according to Walz. She wanted to find a space in the neighborhood, where she lives, “so it would be community-based in the true sense of it,” she says. Plus, the neighborhood doesn’t have a lot of youth programming. “It was about making art and space accessible."
The center will probably occupy the 1,800-square-foot space for a couple of years and then move to another location, since the landlord has other plans for the building in the longer term. “I felt like it would be a good window to get the center off the ground,” Walz says.
At this time, she’s still looking for partners and volunteers to help make the place a success, while an Aug. 1 fundraiser includes a screening of the documentary “Inocente” at the Riverview Theatre.
“Anyone that’s interested we’d love to hear from,” whether that has to do with art or office work or another skill, she says. “We need a lot of helping hands to get off the ground. We want to be around for a long time. That’s the goal.”
Source: Lindsay Walz, courageous heARTS
Writer: Anna Pratt