Krista Anderson-Larson, the director of Minneapolis’ CIRCA Gallery, had two options after she discovered her gallery’s next-door neighbor was expanding into (and buying) the brick-and-mortar space they called home for the last 10 years. She could participate in a bidding war to keep the Twin Cities gallery in its North Loop neighborhood, or embrace an opportunity to start fresh somewhere different. Somewhere new. Somewhere that could be uniquely her own.
“We figured it was a good time to grow and move on,” says Anderson-Larson, who is rounding out her second year with the company. “We just had to find the perfect space.”
And they did, but it required nine long months of searching to find the perfect place. CIRCA’s new location can be found on Buchanan Street in Minneapolis’ renowned arts district—sitting only blocks away from millennial havens like Spyhouse Coffee, 612Brew, and CorePower Yoga.
But why Northeast? The area has a distinct, separate vibe from the rest of Minneapolis, Anderson-Larson says, and she knows the people who live there sense it, too. “We wanted to honor that,” she says. “It’s the arts district because artists are working and living here. We want to welcome ourselves [into the neighborhood] by welcoming the community into our space.”
But before you even reach the entrance, you’ll notice a secluded outdoor space (for socializing or maybe a sculpture garden, Anderson-Larson notes), lush foliage, and a white brick exterior. It’s a major switch-up from what you’ll find inside, though, because exposed ceilings, bright lights, a black-and-white color palette, and an industrial-yet-modern feel all define the interior. Taking advantage of the blank slate, Anderson-Larson and her team decided to undertake the renovations themselves—nixing the four traditional white walls to ensure CIRCA didn’t give off a strong “gallery” type of vibe. (That’s why she chose black artistic elements—a lot of art actually pops against a black backdrop, she says.)
Enjoy that same art at NORTH//EAST, the gallery’s first juried exhibition in its new location. The exhibition (July 20–Aug. 24) will feature 22 established and emerging artists (many who call Northeast home) with art that surpasses the boundaries of what CIRCA is expected to present: painting and sculpture. Instead, Anderson-Larson will break out and diversify the artwork—simultaneously defining the next iteration of the gallery. “There will be photography, installations, different styles of painting, and more,” she says. “We didn’t want to keep it restricted to what we usually show.”
To support and celebrate CIRCA’s fourth location in its 30-year history, stop by its grand opening this weekend from 4-8 p.m. on Saturday, July 20 at 1125 Buchanan St. NE, Minneapolis.