Sheer Art Attack: APT Provides A Creative Space For Local Artists

by on Mar 14, 2017


The sheer amount of passionate artists and talent in this community is enough to fill hundreds of pages, and we can only wish we had enough to showcase them all. We talked to a handful of visual artists and those deeply involved with local organizations and galleries to highlight their unique roles in the growing art scene, and to find out why the arts are so important for our community.

Photos by Paul Flessland

APT: An Arts Incubator

The Arts Partnership and Kilbourne Group have recently come together to highlight the arts and their role in the community, and by doing so they have created APT–an arts incubator with a mission to provide a creative, collaborative and safe place for artists to create and for the community to get involved. And even if you’re not an artist, you’ll quickly find out that many types of individuals can benefit from this multi-use space. The Arts Partnership’s executive director Dayna Del Val has all of the details when it comes to how this new incubator space works, why it’s important to the community and it’s success so far.

APT an arts incubator

Before diving into the details about APT, it’s important to understand The Arts Partnership’s role in the community. The Arts Partnership is a collective of over 150 artists, arts-related businesses and nonprofit organizations in the FargoMoorhead-West Fargo area. Its mission is to cultivate the arts in the community, and Del Val explained that they do that in four pretty distinct ways.

  • “We communicate about the arts through social media and lots of print media or radio, that sort of thing. We also have a really robust newsletter.”
  • “We advocate for the arts both formally with elected people at the state and three city levels, and also informally with things like service clubs and professional groups.”
  • “We create networking opportunities, and that’s where I think APT is really going to come into play for us, because it gives us this space to host networking opportunities whether its artist to artist or artist to business.”
  • “We give out grants. City Arts Partnership grants are city dollars that come to us and we re-grant those out to nonprofits making art. We also privately fundraise for some additional grants to nonprofits and some grants to artists. We also have a funding relationship with Jade Presents to fund musicians of all types.”

So why are the arts important for a community? There are plenty of answers to this question, but The Arts Partnership truly puts those answers into action. “At the end of the day, we really are here to amplify the arts and make sure that we’re talking about why they matter in every sense of the word–that they matter to the economic vitality of the community, your ability to attract and retain employees and business or your ability to problem-solve. Also, to sort of improve the overall culture and health of a community. You know that when your arts are supported, the overall sense of your community is healthy,” said Del Val.

An Arts Incubator

In a January 2017 column about APT in Fargo INC! magazine, Kilbourne Group General Manager Mike Allmendinger said, “Kilbourne Group is about creating great spaces and unique experiences in Downtown Fargo, developed in smart, sustainable ways that benefit the whole city. That often means developing the highest utilization of a space to get more value out of it, combining resources to make projects happening and finding beauty in the in-between spaces. What if there was a space where artists could test the same concepts?”

APT an arts incubator

“For artists or makers or anybody who doesn’t have their craft as their full time job, it’s hard to find affordable space to work. Even as a collective large or small, it’s hard to find that in town. But here, the energy around it is really great. You see other people working and making so you stay a little longer and you find yourself really getting inspired by those around you. It creates an entirely different environment versus having a solo studio space.”
-Tenant and ceramic artist Tara Fermoyle in her APT space, Fermie Studios.

Essentially, that’s exactly what APT came to be when it officially launched in December 2016. APT is a creative incubator that includes studio spaces, galleries, rental areas and spaces for arts workshops, classes, rehearsals, performances, events and more. It’s located at 224 4th Ave. N, which is a building scheduled for redevelopment by the Kilbourne Group in 2018, so Del Val explained that those who are renting spaces are in a six-month contract for renewal as they please over the two-year period.

APT an arts incubator

“It’s a creative incubator and kind of this practice space to see if this community is ready to have this be a long term and permanent thing. Is the arts community ready to be in a collective and is the larger community ready to support it?” said Del Val. “I would say that we weren’t necessarily looking to take on a building, but when Kilbourne Group presented it to us we felt like we really couldn’t say no. The temporariness of it was really attractive to me, because if it works out really well it will motivate us to find a permanent space. If it doesn’t work, then at least we tried something for two years.”

APT an arts incubator

So far, the space has been coming together quickly and seeing a wide variety of tenants utilizing the different rooms for their craft. Anywhere from music producers, painters and ceramic artists to musicians, metal artists, jewelry makers, writers and even an improv group are making themselves at home in their APT workspaces when it comes to practicing, creating or collaborating. Tenants can rent rooms for themselves or share with others, and have 24-hour access to their space to use as they see fit.

APT For All

One of the most important things to know about APT is that isn’t not just for those working full-time in the arts or in need of studio space. The space can be used for all types of creative individuals and community events. Day passes are available for those who just want to utilize the space to do casual creative work or hold any sort of workshop without committing to a full lease agreement. Del Val said that yoga and writing workshops have already been held at the space, and that they’re really looking to grow similar types of creative bookings.

APT an arts incubator

Additionally, the space can be used for much more than just the arts. Many times, when artists come to the table, they can give you a new way of thinking about something that you didn’t anticipate. That’s why APT is beneficial for a wide range of individuals and organizations.

“We really want the business community to think about using this space as an off-site event or team building space or a work meeting space with a creative component. We want to work with the business community to make this space work for them as well, because the ultimate purpose of this is twofold. One is to bolster artists by having a shared space and two is to help with attraction and retention of employees,” said Del Val.

Moving Forward

The APT project came together quicker than expected, but the response to it so far has been thrilling. Even though 28 current tenants was an unexpected surprise at such a young state, Del Val can’t help but think about what the next phase looks like as far as what they really want for their tenants in a potential permanent space–things like lots of windows, a space with varying sizes to accommodate all types of budgets and a place that can still maintain an intimate and creative nature.

APT an arts incubator

“The upside to this happening so fast is that people still bit and we’re going forward with it all. The downside is that we didn’t really have anything in place and we didn’t budget or prepare for it. We’re just really trying to do it as it comes,” said Del Val. “I would not have expected us to be as full as we are now yet, so I’m thrilled. And I’m thrilled with the diversity.”


APT: An Arts Incubator

Dayna Del Val
APT: 224 4th Ave. N, Fargo
The Arts Partnership: 1104 2nd Ave. S.
Suite 315, Fargo

Kilbourne Group
210 Broadway N, Fargo