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Many of you know that we have had APT, our creative incubator, in a building owned by the Kilbourne Group in downtown Fargo for nearly three years. We have had all kinds of amazing successes and met so many great artists, organizations and people who want to be part of the #supportlocalart movement. But we always knew that space would be temporary, so we have been on the hunt for a new space for about a year now.
The Arts Partnership is pleased to announce a new collaboration with West Acres: Aptitude, the next iteration of APT. The new home for creative studios will be a 6,000 square foot space located in part of the building that was formerly Sears, between Best Buy and Essentia Health.
With 19 individual studio spaces as well as a kiln room, Aptitude will continue the work of APT by providing affordable studios, a safe and collaborative environment for artists to work and an opportunity for the community to collide with artists.
“When we created APT with the Kilbourne Group nearly three years ago, we believed that a dedicated incubator space would bring members of the arts community together in a creative environment that would also engage the larger public in the arts. APT more than exceeded our original projections, but we also always knew that it was a temporary space, so we’ve been actively looking for the next home for about a year now. We are beyond thrilled at the prospect of reaching the immense audience of Metro residents and tourists who are already coming to the mall as well as to have access to the considerable marketing arm and collaborative opportunities from West Acres,” said Dayna Del Val, President & CEO at The Arts Partnership.
West Acres Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development Alissa Adams adds, “We see tremendous value in partnering with The Arts Partnership on this project. The arts and artists of our area enrich our community, and we see it as our duty to support and promote them. The addition of Aptitude at West Acres will create more moments of art and culture for our customers as well as provide the opportunity for the artists to engage with the public in a new capacity, creating vibrant possibilities across art, business and the entire community.”
After the redevelopment of the former Sears building into Best Buy and The District at West Acres, the mall had approximately 6,000 square feet of space remaining. Lacking a traditional storefront, the space was not ideal for retail; however the structure of it was perfect for working studio space.
“Aptitude will not have a typical storefront; rather it will have a corridor that connects the studio spaces to the mall. This will provide the perfect mix of privacy plus public access for the artists. The space features 19 foot ceilings, and we will be adding skylights to bring-in natural light,” states Adams.
Construction on the space will begin soon, with the studios anticipated to open this summer.
The Arts Partnership and West Acres are hosting two open houses inside the space that will become Aptitude on Tuesday, April 30 at 8:45am and 5:15pm, each session lasting around 30 minutes. The sessions will provide information for those interested in studio space. The space is located on the Southern side of West Acres, near the MAT bus stop. Currently, Aptitude is only accessible by a door on the outside of the mall, which will be marked and open for the open houses (look for the big green ART letters). Artists of all types are invited to come and learn more about the space.