Piazza on the Mall spices up life on Nicollet

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June 12, 2014
By: Bjorn Saterbak
The Katy Vernon Band performs at Piazza on the Mall on June 4, as part of its Wednesday concert series.
Submitted photo
Bjorn Saterbak

Bringing together the community through free entertainment—that’s the goal of Piazza on the Mall, an urban space located at 1221 Nicollet Mall.

Since its beginning in spring 2013, Max Musicant, founder of the Musicant Group, said the project has evolved and improved to fit the downtown community’s interests.

To give Piazza on the Mall the green light, Westminster Presbyterian Church bought the space, which went through renovations last summer. 

“I think we’ve transformed what was, for decades, a mostly vacant and unused office plaza into the most active public space in the downtown court,” Musicant said.

Monthly events include “social jam sessions,” during which the public is invited to join members of the Twin Cities Drum Circle to make music together, and a free yoga class provided by Yess Yoga on the second Monday of every month from 5:30 until 6:30 p.m.

Each Wednesday night, Piazza on the Mall features a musical act as part of its weekly concert series.

The St. Paul Ballet will perform “Footsteps,” an interactive ballet set to live drumming, Saturday evening, with four performances from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m.

“(We) really want it to be a venue where local arts and emerging groups can use as a highly visible, low-cost space to do interesting work that they may not be able to do in other parts of the city,” Musicant said.

With the MLB All-Star Game in Minneapolis this summer, Musicant said he is excited for the Red Carpet Parade to start in front of the Piazza and to introduce the space to visitors who are coming to Minneapolis for the first time.

While the project appeals to downtown Minneapolis residents, Musicant said he has met people from across the world at Piazza on the Mall events.

“They just love the space,” Musicant said. “I’ve met people from Turkey and Argentina and closer — Chicago, New York, L.A.” 

Musicant said the response to the activities has been great, and he continues to witness a diverse community represented.

“It’s just wonderful (to see) people of all different ages, hair colors, races, some folks with physical disabilities, all different income levels. It’s just great,” Musicant said. “The city together — that’s city living at its best.”