The NEMAA blog is a platform for us to share our members work and their stories, and a hub for information about the NEMAA community.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Arts in Ward Three: Council Member Jacob Frey

Third Ward City Council Member Jacob Frey is passionate about supporting and sustaining the Northeast Minneapolis arts community. Growing up in a family of artists, Frey brings a unique perspective to the City Council and understands the value and impact of the arts.

“The benefit of the creative class is tremendous in every way,” says Frey. “Artists boost the economy and provide a cool factor that is intangible and otherwise wouldn’t be there.”
As council member, Frey’s mission is two-fold: help and get out of the way. According to Frey, help often comes in the form of money, yet that is one of the hardest things for artists to come by. The state of Minnesota does provide some funding for the arts, but they are specific in what they will support. This narrows the framework on which artists are able to gain the financial resources they need, and the end result is “watered down,” franchise style art.
“We don’t want the status quo,” says Frey. “We want art that is challenging, groundbreaking, and will make you uncomfortable at times. We won’t get that if we’re sticking artists in a neat little box.”
Frey believes that help can also come from loosening regulations that make selling art more difficult and less profitable such as permits, sales taxes, etc. Further, he feels that subsidized housing and other supportive services will ensure that artists are able to continue living and working in Northeast.
Ultimately, Frey feels we need to sit back and simply let artists practice their trade. While he has ideas for establishing regular roundtable meetings to promote artists and bring people into Northeast, Frey wants to leave the artistic aspect to the artists.
“The creative process flourishes when you back off and let it happen,” says Frey. “When artists are allowed to paint outside the guidelines, they will do much better.”

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