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Arts + Rec Uptown hopes mini golf and art will bring the Uptown community together

Opening on Friday, the space features a black box theater, a speakeasy, a record store and a funky nine-hole mini golf course.

MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis-based entertainment venue Arts + Rec Uptown is gearing up for the second phase of its debut on Nov. 11. This comes after it closed its first phase, a seasonal rooftop bar that opened over the summer.

"The four of us [owners] got together and created a space that said 'Hey, we see local artists. We see the local creative community. How can we bring this space back to life through the lens of art?,'" said Arts + Rec Uptown curator Esther Callahan.

The 3001 Hennepin Ave location is in the Seven Points shopping center, formerly known as Calhoun Square, an area that has seen a flight of retailers including Kitchen Window in November of 2021 and more recently, CB2 last April.

"We want to be apart of the resurgence here in Uptown. We want to infuse more good art and more healing and make better fun," said Callahan.

People can play on a themed nine-hole mini golf course or enjoy Minnesota-themed cocktails (and mocktails) in the intimate and dimly-lit speakeasy. 

Credit: Jasmine Boykin/KARE11
One of the nine holes spins the player around on a replica record player, which located in the functional record store.
Credit: Jasmine Boykin/KARE11
On another hole, players will find an animated alien space ship try and take the golf ball in the hole.

Callahan hopes the variety of events and activities welcomes people from all over to enjoy the space.

"The response from the community has been great. We have had families with children three and up come in and play. We have had people that are in their 60s and 70s come through and have the same fun vibe," said Callahan.

And in the midst of all the fun, art from dozens of local artists is featured throughout the space.

"As the curator here, I am really trying to build relationships. I want to get to know [artists] and know how to best support [them]," said Callahan.

Credit: Jasmine Boykin/KARE11
Dubbed an "immersive dining space," Callahan hopes guests can identify with the bright and animated faces on the wall as they socialize, eat and "make better fun." Art by Don Porcella.

Not only is the art local, but Callahan says the food and drinks served at the speakeasy and restaurants will also be sourced locally.

"All art forward, all art friendly and all attempting to source as much local food and beverage as possible," Callahan added.

She hopes the venue will be a safe space for people to find community.

"If wearing a mask makes you feel comfortable, we want you to be able to do that and feel welcome here," Callahan says. "You are our community, and we invite you to be here.”

You can view all upcoming events on their Instagram page here.

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