New art venues in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District

Meet the people behind three of the newest art spaces in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District

TOA Presents

Rob Sherer credits the pandemic with spurring him to do what he’d dreamed of for a while, opening a space at 655 19th Ave. NE where gallerists from other cities can expose the artists they represent, to the Twin Cities buying audience. People weren’t travelling, and there’s a hunger to see things in person.

Rob Sherer talks with friends Gabrielle Grier and Roger Cummings from Juxtaposition Arts.

Northeast is the area that’s most directly associated as an arts area, he said, and felt lucky to find this space on his first trip to the area.

His business names The Orange Advisory and TOA Presents are nods to the orange tree in Sherer’s back yard in California. Sherer lived in many places before Minneapolis, at first for a job in fundraising at the Walker Art Center, then staying upon marrying his wife who is part of a deep-rooted family business here. After leaving Walker, Sherer formed The Orange Advisory and began advising clients on acquiring art.

TOA Presents recently hosted a public opening for a group show for nine artists represented by Phillip Martin Gallery. The gallery space is in the back of the former Carter-Day building where an event center, The Whim, is getting ready to open. Art prices ranged from $4,000 to $15,000 for small to mid-sized works, and several had sold already.

But you wouldn’t know any of this from red dots or wall tags — there aren’t any, and that’s deliberate, he explained in a spirited discussion. Sherer plans to announce some rolling public hours soon, probably Thursday through Saturday, a couple of hours each evening.

Phillip Martin, gallerist from Los Angeles, said there’s so much going on in the Twin Cities culturally and in visual arts, “a rising tide floats all boats.” This is a great opportunity to see work in-person, and form relationships organically between the two cities’ artists, he added.


Nearby, 1237 4th St. NE, DREAMSONG is a multidisciplinary arts venue and commercial gallery situated on a small compound comprised of a storefront gallery, cinema, connecting courtyards, and an artist’s residence. DREAMSONG is a flexible and adaptable home for contemporary art. Owners/founders Rebecca Heidenberg and Gregory Smith say on their website, “We intend to foster dialogue between the local Minnesota arts scene and the broader contemporary artworld by facilitating collaborations and building connections between artists, filmmakers, curators, and scholars.”

Gregory Smith and Rebecca Heidenberg with Lee Noble’s work.

At a performance event by Lee Noble, whose exhibit closed this past weekend, and Will Fraser, Heidenberg said they are loving the space.

Fraser told the audience of about 30 people (masked and vaccine-proven) that he was having trouble interacting because it’s been so long …

Night view outside the cinema in the DREAMSONG compound.

Coincidentally, DREAMSONG’s next exhibition will be “In Search of Lost Time,” with opening reception October 15, 5-8 p.m. Artists respond to how the COVID-19 pandemic has reordered our collective sense of time, leaving us stranded in a present steeped in temporal paradox and uncertainty. Works by Leslie Barlow, Regan Golden, David Goldes, Alexa Horchowski, Nathan Hylden, Shana Kaplow, Jovan C. Speller, and Panos Tsagaris.


The Q.armalita story started in 1989 when Jono Query rented a space at 1224 Quincy St. NE while an undergrad studying architecture at the U of M. Forecasting how development would challenge the warehouse district art scene, “We bought the building 18 years ago … and began the slow conversion to a studio arts building,” Query said. “We named it Q.arma Building for the self-evident notion of building good karma but it’s also an acronym for Quincy street Artists Renegades and Madmen’s/Madwomen’s Association.”

Rendering courtesy of III AD.

“In 2019 Kat Amjadi and I built Q.armalita, Q.arma’s little sister, housing the design studio for III AD, our architecture and construction company, and our collaborative creative studio.” A tiny “pocket” gallery at the front gives a visible presence to creative community. There are two makers spaces. Courtyard and parking space between buildings can be used for community events, outdoor art sales and performance space. It’s even served as a stage set for filming a commercial needing a motorcycle mechanic’s shop.

Story and photos by Margo Ashmore