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An essential component of our quadruple bottom line foundation is culture. Our communities would be nothing without it and we hope to challenge future development that lacks a vibrant, diverse culture. Much of our involvement over the years has deep roots in the local arts community, be it assisting with Lowertown Lofts Artist Co-op (now helping out 20 years later with a refinance and capital improvements) or our most recent development, The Lyric, a gorgeous 170+ unit arts rental community along the Central Corridor line in St. Paul. Ben practically lives on top of The Walker, not to mention Colleen’s sustained support of the Minneapolis landmark.

We thought it might be a good idea to start focusing some more blog posts around arts and culture, and not just locally either. Through Ben’s involvement with The City of Tucson and The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), we have become good friends with Brooklyn-based artist, Janaina Tschape. Janaina is a mixed media artist currently living in the West Village, and works out of her studio in Brooklyn.

MOCA Executive Director, Anne-Marie Russell and Ben Hertz after the annual MOCA Gala

Ben Hertz with MOCA Executive Director, Anne-Marie Russell

Born in Munich, Germany and raised in her mother’s hometown Minas Gerias, Brazil. In 1992, she moved to Hamburg and received her degree in fine art. She has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions, many in New York including those at Sikkema Jenkins and The Guggenheim. She has lived in New York for over 10 years and, like us, become fond of many things, but most importantly, the overwhelming amount of public open space within such a small area. Open space is important in sustaining healthy community and incubating culture; and although it is a very broad scope, her work focuses on organic figure and natural beauty, much of which can be found right around many of the city’s neighborhoods. City parks also provide an environment where she can take her daughter, Mina to play with and make new neighborhood friends.

Janaina and daughter, Mina exploring the plant life on their new rooftop garden

Just like our other artist friends at Lowertown Lofts, ‘Jana’ understands that “living in a cooperative comes with a different level of social responsibility than a condominium or apartment would. Much of the shared, collective duties are also quite similar to those I practice in my professional life.” Over the years, her career has forced her to work well with a dynamic group of people and organizations, including for profit galleries, international businesspeople and the extremely compassionate non-profit arts organizations “that have taught me so many necessary skills.” At Rangda Productions, she employs a staff of roughly 10 young, talented individuals, and is in the process of installing her own rooftop gardens at the studio and at her new apartment in the city!

You can see all of her work on her website. Make sure to check the dates for her shows, they are certainly something you won’t want to miss (Solo Exhibition 9.11.10~Sikkema Jenkins).