Creative Enterprise Zone

Creatives in the Hood; Creative Enterprise Zone logo with silhouettes of area iconic structures: KSTP radio tower, Seal Hi-Rise & Vandalia water tower; Creator Traingle Park Creative

The Creative Enterprise Zone or CEZ…

is an idea, a place, and people. The neighborhood near Hampden Park Co-op is home to a wide variety of creative activity – from artists to architects, entrepreneurs and small businesses to nonprofits. So what’s the CEZ all about?

The idea – To keep, attract, and connect people who make a living by their creative capacities.
The place – The area around the Raymond-University hub in St. Paul, extending east to Prior Avenue and west to the Minneapolis city line.
The people – Artists and artisans, makers and manufacturers, creative entrepreneurs, and so many more.

What is the vision? To be a livable, mixed-use neighborhood, recognized and sustained as a center of enterprise and creativity. We believe that creative work is both necessary and satisfying. That proximity to other creative people enhances productivity and innovation. And that the Zone will become an even more desirable place to live and work because of our vibrant mix of people and ideas.

What do we do? The CEZ is a nonprofit coalition with these goals:
• Stabilize conditions in which creative enterprises, industries, artists, nonprofits, and residents flourish.
• Connect these creative individuals and groups.
• Collaborate, cross-pollinate ideas, and share common interests.
• Build the physical spaces and places that support our vision.
• Promote an identity that expresses the unique nature of the district.
• Encourage others to collaborate with us in achieving our goals.

Now meet just some of the creative neighbors within a quarter-mile of the co-op:

Bang Brewing: dramatic black & white night photo of silo buidling brew pub

Bang Brewing • Small is beautiful – and sustainable! Bang lives the environmental ethic, from its building design, to its organic beers and zero-waste brewing and operation goals. Just north of the co-op, the brewery-taproom is housed in a grain bin, an ingenious collaboration with nearby Alchemy Architects, with a mini-pavilion, rain gardens, and fire pit. You could call the Bang folks CEZ pioneers: since “The Bin” launched five years ago, five more breweries have come to the neighborhood. Stop by and ask about the perennial grain kernza, also known as the ancient grain of the future. Open Thursday–Saturday. 2320 Capp Road •

Clothier Design Souce: 8 exuberant staff members holding signs in front of American flag

Clothier Design Source • “You think it… We make it.” If you’re an aspiring fashion designer ready to get serious, Clothier Design Source is for you. From its workshop, CDS can see your clothing line from idea to completion. Design, prototype, tech design, and manufacturing: they do it all, and it’s made in the USA. Or they can consult on specific steps in the process. CDS also manufactures athletic gear for next-door neighbor Podiumwear, and offers Apparel Academies in person and online. 2408 W Territorial Rd. Ste. B •

Deneen Pottery: Yellow pottery handled mug with Deneen emblem

Deneen Pottery • With its handmade logo-customized stoneware mugs, Deneen Pottery has found a highly successful niche. The family-run company employs 80 people in its workshop just north of the co-op on Endicott Street, and has customers worldwide. That’s a feat in itself, but Deneen does it with a low carbon footprint, too. Half of their power comes from rooftop solar, their packaging is low waste, and many materials are locally sourced. The pottery workshop isn’t open to the public, so visit their website. Warning: you’ll be tempted by the mugs, with or without the Deneen logo!

Forecast Public Art: Cover of Public Art Review magazine, Issue 58, artist Kara Walker against graphic black & white piece

Forecast Public Art • For 40 years, Forecast has improved the quality of life in communities throughout Minnesota and around the world. Forecast offers a unique combination of responsive public art consulting services, direct support and training for public artists, and abundant resources, including Public Art Review, the world’s leading public art magazine. As one of the country’s first nonprofits dedicated to advancing the field of public art, Forecast has been based in the CEZ since 1992. Visit their offices (a 10-minute walk south of the co-op) and enjoy their constantly growing and always inspiring art resource library. 2300 Myrtle Ave. •

Midwest Floating Island: little bog-like mass in a creek in front of storm drain runoff pipe

Midwest Floating Island • The “manmade wetlands” produced on Hampden Ave. are floating ecosystems that improve water quality and offer habitat for pollinators, wildlife, and fish in waters throughout the Midwest. Covered with plants that grow roots below the surface, the islands can be anchored to adjust to changing water levels, making them ideal for stormwater ponds. It’s an impressive example of upcycling: Midwest Floating Island uses materials like BPA-free plastic bottles in the patented process. Family-owned and operated, MFI is part of textile recycler Bro-Tex, Inc. Explore their website – they are a fascinating neighbor!

Mizna: Graphic black & white logo designed by the Morcos Key design duo

Mizna • A nonprofit with international reach, Mizna gives voice to Arab Americans through art and literature, winning a 2018 Sally Award for Social Impact. Its annual Arab Film Festival attracts crowds, and this year Mizna toured the most popular films to outstate Minnesota. For 20 years it has published an award-winning biannual journal of Arab American prose, poetry, and art, and now it also brings those pages into high-school classrooms. The latest issue, Mizna: The Playing Field, focuses on sport through the lens of culture and politics. Check out their Arabic language and drumming classes. 2446 University Ave. •

NewStudio Architecture: Woman walking up striking staircase in open, industrial space with dramatic modern ceiling light fixture

NewStudio Architecture • Visitors here enjoy seeing the firm’s art gallery – and the beautiful workspace they pass through on the way. Just last summer, NewStudio moved from White Bear Lake to a century-old building with an historic, creative vibe; in fact, it’s the same vintage as 928 Raymond. NewStudio’s nationwide clients include residential, workplace, and retail – Anthropologie, for example. Visit Monday–Friday, 10:00–4:00; check website for gallery exhibit details. 2303 Wycliff St. •

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Find even more creatives at

This article also appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of our newsletter, the 928 News. Read the entire issue here.

Contributed by Mindy Keskinen & Julie Ann James from Creative Enterprise Zone.
Photos courtesy of the companies & organizations above. CEZ logo created by Triangle Park Creative.
Posted by Christine DeMars • January 2019