Organization Building Low-Income Housing For Artists Wants More Government Money


Since 2007 the City of Minot has already “donated” $112,500 to a project called Artspace which is an $8.4 million project in the downtown part of the city to provide housing for 34 impoverished artists. The project hopes to attract “visiting artists” for stays of three months on up to a year.

The city doled out the money already put into the project in 2007 and 2008. Now in 2012 the project still isn’t done, and the organizers want another $100,000 from the city.

Oh, and it seems demolition and construction costs are already spiraling beyond what organizers had anticipated.

Artspace already has begun excavation work at the site. Parts of an old hotel that once stood on the site must be removed, and because asbestos was found in the material, it had to be abated and hauled to an appropriate waste site. The city landfill doesn’t take asbestos.

Artspace representatives previously indicated the excavation raised costs by about $300,000. Hemphill said Artspace also is finding building costs to be higher than their estimates.

According to the website for the project, the organizers claim they’ve received $400,000 in contributions from the community (I’m assuming that includes the tax payer dollars from the city). Yet, they still can’t get this thing off the ground.

I know this project hits a trifecta for inspiring the enthusiasm of local government – it’s artistic, it’s low-income housing and it’s downtown – but it boggles the mind as to why the city would be “donating” money to a project like this. This is ludicrous.

Minot, between the impact of the oil boom and the loss of housing in last summer’s flooding, has got to be one of the hottest housing markets in the country. Demand for housing in Minot is huge, yet this project can’t seem to get off the ground.

That ought to be a warning for city leaders. Cut your losses and pull out of this boondoggle as soon as you can.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Roy_Bean

    I thought artists were supposed to struggle and suffer and cut off their ears and stuff. Won’t this destroy the whole concept?

    • kevindf

      I can make my own art for no cost.

  • awfulorv

    Once you’ve seen one urine immersed Crucifix, you’ve seen all you want to…

  • OldConserv

    Hey, Minot is booming, the state is booming, the “oil companies” are dropping millions of dollars in our laps. Let’s spend it as fast as we can on the stupidest projects we can think of. That’s the mentality of the majority of our elected officials (on either side of the aisle), But us complaining about it here on Rob’s site won’t do a bit of good. The only weapon we have is te telephone. Pick up your phone, call your city alderman and tell him how you feel about projects like these. Ask him to tell you what he intends to do about it. And if he gives you the typical politician answer about outting together a blue ribbon committee to “study” the issue, tell him that that isn’t acceptable and then tell him that you’ll not be voting for his reelection and that you’ll become an activist who will search for a candidate who will take appropriate action. AND THEN, KEEP YOUR WORD AND DO EXACTLY THAT…GET INVOLVED.
    Until we all do that, politicians will continue to waste our taxdollars on every lame project that comes along. It’s time we take our country back, starting right here at home.
    Sound like I’m pissed off? I am! And you should be too!

  • John Wayne- American

    If your art is any good, wouldn’t people buy it? If not, the world needs ditch diggers too!

  • Haggar

    $247,000 per occupant? ($8.4 M project–34 artists…) uhhhh, I am thinking this is more than just LIH for artists. Why did you tear down a hotel? Couldn’t that have been housing? Most artist I know, could have repaired an existing hotel into what they wanted.