When the Brainerd School District decided to replace Franklin Junior High School, a civic landmark since 1932, it formed a citizens’ committee to find the best new use for the building. The committee concluded that an arts center offered the most potential benefit for the community. Thus was conceived the Franklin Arts Center, now a mixed-use facility with 25 live/work apartments for artists and their families; 37,775 square feet of artist studios and space for arts organizations and creative businesses; and 36,247 square feet (two gymnasiums and an auditorium) operated as community space by the School District.
Could a city of 13,000 best known as the gateway to Minnesota’s Central Lakes District find enough arts-related uses to fill a large school? The answer was yes. The commercial wing of the project filled almost immediately, transforming the building into a lively community of artists, artisans, studios, arts organizations and arts-friendly businesses. Among the tenants is an arts-oriented church that uses the former library for its administrative office and the auditorium for its services.
With completion of the residential wing in late 2008, the Franklin formally entered its new life as an Arts Center and joined Artspace’s portfolio as its sixth live/work project in Minnesota.
Miller Dunwiddie Architecture
Brainerd Lakes Area Development CorporationBrainerd Public SchoolsCity of BrainerdCrow Wing CountyGreater Minnesota Housing FundMinnesota Department of Employment & Economic DevelopmentNational Equity FundNational Park Service / Minnesota State Historic Preservation OfﬁceU.S. Bancorp
Blandin FoundationBrainerd Lakes Area Community FoundationBremer Bank, BrainerdCrow Wing County Soil and Water Conservation DistrictInitiative Foundation Land O’Lakes, Inc. Mardag FoundationMid-Minnesota Credit UnionOtto Bremer Foundation
“Being at the Franklin Arts Center gives my work credibility and gives me permission to truly be an artist. I am now doing my dream.”
— Greg Rosenberg, Artist
Franklin Arts Center is a successful combination of a historic building used in a positive way. When you visit you will find music filling the school halls over the intercom and artists busy working in their studios. It’s a wonderful experience and the art displayed is an experience all in itself. The spectrum of artistic talants that occupies the space is large: there are photography studios, frame shops, a dance studio, a woodworking shop, and an interior design office, just to name a few.
The Franklin Arts Center is a mixed-use facility with 25 affordable live/work units for artists and their families.
Arts organizations, arts-friendly businesses and 25 artist studios occupy 74,022 square feet of commercial space.
For information about available live/work units, please contact the Onsite Property Manager.
For information about available commercial space, please contact the Artspace Asset Manager.
Artspace | 250 Third Avenue North, Suite 400 | Minneapolis, MN 55401 | 612.333.9012 ©2014 Artspace Projects, Inc.