How you can help with Art on the Avenue

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Art on the Avenue is by any definition a grassroots event. While the West Side Community Organization, particularly executive director Christine Shyne, does the heavy lifting of organizing, we depend on community volunteers to make the event happen.

We’re expecting this year’s event to be even bigger than last year, and we need your help! Please consider signing up to volunteer – there are tasks big and small, commitments from less than an hour to all day if you want.

Below are a list of opportunities. Please contact Christine at Christine@wsco.org or 651-293-1708 if you’re interested.

The event is Saturday, August 9 from noon to about 10 p.m. Either way, we hope to see you there!

Host site packet delivery
Help deliver artist signs, programs, etc. to host sites, check with host sites on needs/artists installation.  Times, flexible during the week of August 4-9th.

Sign distribution
Help us get the word out by putting out Art on the Avenue lawn signs at the host sites – time-flexible, date: August 8th.

Set up at BankCherokee lot
Saturday 10am-12pm, help set up tables, signs etc.

Set up at Mile Long Book
Saturday 11:45am-12:45pm, help to hold a section of the book as we walk it across the High Bridge. Children under 10 should be with an adult but otherwise child friendly.

Host Site greeter
Some hosts sites don’t have regular business hours or staff and want a volunteer to be there to greet guests and to answer basic questions about the art (info provided by artists), keep track of numbers of visitors, provide feedback about event to planning committee. Shifts are 2-3 hours in length between 12-6pm.
•BankCherokee Site Help: Help with children’s activity, set up and take down, watch for cleanliness, keep track of visitors provide programs and maps to visitors<
• WSCO site help: Help staff the WSCO booth at Rascher Plumbing. Keep track of visitors, answer questions about the event and WSCO, provide programs and maps, help answer questions about art exhibit (provided by artist)

Photographer/Videographer
Help take pictures and/or video of events and people.
shifts are flexible. (need to have own camera)

In-kind donation
Water, tents, chairs etc. If you can’t help during the day or have some of the items listed that you would like to loan out or donate for our volunteers it would be much appreciated!

Take down
Help us clean up and take down the lawn signs so we can use them the next year.

Help create a Mile Long Book at this year’s Art on the Avenue

Sarah Stengle shows off the first stages of the Mile Long Book.

Sarah Stengle shows off the first stages of the Mile Long Book.

One of the highlights of this year’s Art on the Avenue will be an opportunity to help create a Mile Long Book. The project, by artist and neighborhood resident Sarah Stengle, is a folding book that, when extended, will be literally one mile long once it is completed.

Stengle estimates the book will be completed by 2015. Meanwhile, participants of all ages at this year’s Art on the Avenue can help contribute by adding to the 64,000 pages it will take to complete the project.

“Participants can contribute to the book by folding, gluing, writing or drawing, as they prefer,” says Stengle.

Stengle’s plan is to ultimately unfold the entire book along the High Bridge, weather permitting.

“If it rips or tears in the process it can be mended,” she says. “I want this book to be the opposite of a precious artifact. I hope that a very hands-on collective process and a carefree attitude about mistakes, will make people comfortable in engage directly with the art of the book.”

The Mile Long Book project will be at Stengle’s studio near Smith and Stevens on St. Paul’s West Side. Other events, including art exhibits, music and children’s activities, will take place Saturday August 9 starting at noon along Smith Avenue from the south end of the High Bridge to Dodd Road in West St. Paul.

Watch for more posts highlighting Art on the Avenue events in the coming weeks…

Mohawk Theater still up for grabs

The Mohawk Theater on Smith Avenue failed to sell at a Ramsey County property auction this morning. Despite a standing-room-only crowd, no one bid at the $340,000 starting price for the property.

This means that the theater will remain for sale through Ramsey County, starting Tuesday morning, at $340,000.

As I understand it, the price remains firm unless the county decides to re-offer it at a future auction, at which point they’ll re-assess its market value.

But for now, the “for sale” signs will stay up, as the future of the historic building remains unclear.

West St. Paul Days parade on Saturday: What you need to know

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Click here for a closer look at the map.

On Saturday, the Celebrate West St. Paul Days parade moves to Smith Avenue. Here are the details:

What time does the parade start? 1 p.m.

What time do the streets close? From roughly 12:30 to about 3 p.m., according to West St. Paul police. This includes the parade route, staging and breakdown areas, and side streets one block on either side. No parking will be allowed on the parade route starting Saturday morning. Signs will be posted as appropriate.

OMG, I live on the parade route, and I need to get to work! What do I do? Police will be flexible and allow people in and out as needed (you won’t be able to drive on Smith during the parade, though). If you *absolutely* need to get to your car during the parade, the smart thing to do would be to move it to a side street ahead of time.

I need to get to the store! What do I do? Police will be somewhat flexible allowing cars through on Dodd/Bernard to access the Doddway shopping center. But maybe get those errands done in the morning or save them for later.

What about the bus? The Route 67 bus will detour to Delaware Avenue, as shown in green on the map. Rider alerts will be posted at affected stops. This will be a good detour if you’re driving, too.

My family wants to ride our bikes to the parade, where can we park? There is only one bike rack in the area, on the south end of Doddway shopping center. Otherwise bring a cable lock and hope for an open signpost somewhere.

Speaking of parking: Please don’t park in business lots unless you’re shopping there. There’s ample street parking in the neighborhood.

Will there be food? Drinks? Yes! Stop by Amore Coffee, the Cherokee Tavern, Gallaghers or Los Arcos for sit-down dining/refreshments. Taste of Love will also have lots of treats, and Jim’s Market is also right on the parade route.

What else is there to do? West St. Paul Antiques, Simply Vintage, Eclectic 887 and other shops are also located on the parade route near Smith and Annapolis.

I heard the Cherokee is having a street dance on Friday. Will Smith Avenue be closed? No. There will be no street closures for the street dance, which will be held in the parking lot of Cherokee Dental on Annapolis.

Smith Avenue should do this sort of thing more often! Well, we are planning to hold Art on the Avenue again this year, on August 9th. We need volunteers to distribute flyers, email stubbornlylocal [at] gmail [dot] com if you’re interested in helping out. Thanks!

What about the other West St. Paul Days events? Full schedule can be found here.

Who wants to buy the Mohawk Theater?

(via Google streetview)

(via Google streetview)

The next chapter in the long saga of Smith Avenue’s most prominent architectural landmark is about to begin.

The long-vacant property at 627 Smith Ave. is up for auction on May 23.

The theater, which most recently was a rental hall for wedding receptions and other events, was forfeited to Ramsey County last year for back taxes.

As noted in an earlier post, the building has long since been remodeled from its original theater layout to a two-story facility. There’s a commercial kitchen on the lower floor and a performance space on the top floor.

It’s one of those places that everyone has an idea for, but no one has the capital to buy it. The most recent listing price for the theater was $400,000 (not including the more than $70,000 in back taxes owed at the time).

If you’ve never been inside, the county will hold open houses at the theater on Thursday, May 8 from 2-4 and Wednesday, May 14 from 10 a.m.-noon.

Help us plan this year’s Art on the Avenue

Our last meeting of the minds, back in March.

Hard to believe this was a year ago already.

Join the organizers of Art on the Avenue for an artist/business/community mixer on Monday, April 21 from 6-8 p.m.

This is an informal gathering where you can share ideas and volunteer to help build on the success of last year’s event.

The mixer will be held at Highbridge Tattoo, 608 Smith Avenue. Please don’t be intimidated by the idea of hanging out at a tattoo shop – it’s a gorgeous and welcoming space.

There will probably be refreshments of some sort but we haven’t gotten that far yet. More information will be posted later, but for now, mark those calendars!

 

 

The new thrift shop in town

thrift store doorIt looks pretty official that the St. Paul Classic Cookie Company won’t be opening up at Smith and Curtice after all – a new tenant has moved into the space and opened its doors to the public.

The 3T’s Thrift Store is now open at 779 Smith. The location was previously home Affordable Coffins and Artery, which left over a year ago for a bigger space in the Midway neighborhood. The cookie shop held a lease on the space for the past year, but unfortunately never got off the ground.

I stopped by on Sunday and spoke briefly with Trinidad, one of the owners of 3T’s. He’s excited about the space and the traffic he sees going by on Smith, but is also well aware that a similar store was in the space a few years ago and went out of business in a short amount of time.

He said the store will be getting more merchandise over time, possibly even appliances at some point. Most of the items he’s currently selling were donated from friends, recovered from storage units, etc.

thrift store

If you need a blender, an overhead projector and a wicker basket to take it all home in, this is your place.

The pickings are a little thin at the moment – it’s basically garage-sale merchandise, but also at garage-sale prices. Like all good thrift stores, the selection is eclectic, functional and useful to the right person. Most smaller items were in the $1-$3 range, a kid’s bike emblazoned with Minnesota Vikings logos was for sale for $35. Trinidad says he’s willing to negotiate on prices.

It’s hard to tell based on first impressions how successful this store will be. Trinidad, who lives nearby, says he’s putting “everything he has” into the business. The hours, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, are ambitious and will mean an “open” sign during times when most other shops in the area are closed (for instance, I Dream of Heels, next door, is only open on Saturdays).

At any rate – it’s good to see some activity inside a space that’s been dormant for far too long. Stop in and say hello if you get a chance.