City of Edina to Build New Art Center


Image courtesy of Dean Dovolis

The new Art Center and community spaces will be located near Highway 100 and Eden Avenue in the Grandview area.

Simone Vaillancourt, page editor

The City of Edina has always valued locally-made art. With this in mind, the City has sought, for ten years, to find a location for a new Edina Art Center; one which will replace the current Art Center that opened in 1976.

In an Oct. 17 proposal to the Edina City Council and Mayor, the Arts and Culture Commission introduced the feasibility of a new Art Center. Their purpose was to “identify and approve the design, funding, and construction of a new Edina Art Center, location to be determined.” Since then, the City has finalized their location plans, choosing a 3.3 acre Grandview site.

Plans to construct a new Art Center began following the identification of limitations in the current building. The Edina Art Center is “small and inflexible,” according to the proposal, and the building is “out of the way, not on or near public transit, and [is] relatively hard to find.” Furthermore, the Art Center is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, meaning that visitors and employees with disabilities would find it difficult to navigate the current space.  

According to the Arts and Culture Commission proposal, the 14 yearly exhibits offered by the Center attract about 5,000 people annually, making it a valuable community asset and popular local attraction. In order to accommodate the amount of visitors the Center welcomed each year, it was renovated once in 1990 and again in 1997. Three studies conducted in 2012, 2014, and 2016 found that overall “the Edina Art Center lacked sufficient size to meet its needs.” In order to avoid a third renovation, the Board passed the Arts and Culture Commission’s proposal for the new Center.

Architect Dean Dovolis has been hired to design a building to house the new Art Center, which will not only be able to accomodate all of the amenities of the old Art Center, but will serve as a mixed-use facility open to all community members. “We’re going to provide 28 affordable housing units, district parking for the Grandview area, and parking to support the Art Center” Dovolis said. “The Art Center itself is going to be combined with other civic functions like an adult activities center.”

Dovolis and the City plan to bring all of these community spaces together so that they can cross-support each other. In short, not only will the City of Edina be constructing a new Art Center, they will be constructing a new community hub.

Dovolis believes that the project will serve as a catalyst for Grandview-area development projects. “Bringing activity to an empty site will open the door for further economic and area development in Edina,” he said.

The City has yet to release the cost for the project, as well as any plans for the old Art Center. Even so, the construction of this new space will no doubt provide the community with a striking new space and an effortless way to come together.