The Musicant Group has been a labor of love—of placemaking and urban planning, of community and connection, of change, of Minneapolis. It’s been years in the making and even now there are daily tweaks, large and small. Here’s a brief history of how The Musicant Group got to where it is today.
Musicant Story: I was first introduced to the wonders and frustrations of placemaking when studying Urban Studies as an undergraduate student. Wonders because…(insert people, places, etc. that inspire), frustrations because I tried getting into the field, but all the careers and positions I looked at were not proactive and holistic.
I sensed that I might want to make my life’s work in Minneapolis, but through the frustrations of the job search, I wasn’t sure how to combine my love between the interactions of the public and private. I didn’t just want to make plans that other people would create, I also wanted to work with others to put plans into actions but the jobs either focused only on the people or only on the space, never both. So, with my options exhausted in Minneapolis, I moved to New York City and got a job in the vibrant cultural borough of Queens.
I loved the position and the area. I got to create pocket plazas and put on events. I created a greeting program like Minneapolis’s DID. I helped raise $10 million to revitalize a bridge underpass to include community-driven amenities like shops (and what else?). I worked with life-changing people. And after a few years, I was ready to go back to school for Urban Planning. And one of those life-changing people talked me out of it. He encouraged me to go to business school instead (expand on this?). And long-story, short, I did.
During my time at business school I knew I would move back to Minneapolis, especially since no one was still not doing the collaborative and holistic work that had been so successful and beneficial in NYC.
So, the same story played out except in reverse: I graduated and moved west, back home.
How The Musicant Group got Started: I decided to take a risk and start a group that would build on a collective vision with the Minneapolis community. Like any most new businesses, it was in some ways a rough start. There were few projects but nothing that indicated that The Musicant Group would be a long-term effort. Then I received the bid for the Piazza on the Mall; that’s when I knew that Minneapolis saw the vision and need for innovative placemaking.
But in order to keep the energy going, I needed a team. I had worked with amazing contractors and community builders, and continue to do so, but the time was right for dedicated visionaries that would help realize [the vision]. Now, it is not just my vision, and not just my company, it is The Musicant Group’s.
Minneapolis will continue to shift and reflect the changing humans and cultures that occupy and surround it. The future of The Musicant Group will incorporate and celebrate this relationship. But our generative work will also build off the demonstrable vice versa: that place makes people just as much as people make place.