|Group Hopes NoTo Will Mirror SoHo|
Topeka, KAN. (WIBW)—The Heartland Visioning team has set their sights on improving another Topeka area. We've heard a lot about efforts in the downtown area south of the Kansas River, but now they're looking into north of the river.
Kansas Avenue in North Topeka boasts a few quaint shops with plenty of empty spaces up top. Heartland Visioning wants to transform those spaces into studios with the hope of attracting artists like 23-year-old Karl Fundenberger.
"I could definitely see myself coming out here to work on my art," said Fundenberger.
He's a member of Chords and Oil, a progressive group of young Topekans dedicated to creating more opportunities for local artists. And he thinks NoTo, the nickname for the redevelopment, could be his muse.
"I walked through earlier and I saw the craftsmanship and the windows, walking through the spaces, I got inspired to create art."
A group of about 40 gathered outside Bradley's Corner Cafe Friday afternoon promoting plans for a new North Topeka. Its Heartland Visioning's latest project aimed at repopulating and revitalizing Kansas Avenue between Gordon and Norris Street. They say local artists are part of the picture
"This will give us an opportunity to invigorate our cultural aspects of the city while also invigorating the economic activity through this art," said Washburn University president, Jerry Farley.
The plan focuses on two phases. First, they hope to attract local artists and entertainers to take up studios for living spaces and work. Then, developing the business created by the arts.
"If we get studios and galleries down here, more will come, more will come," Fundenberger proclaimed.