In sociology, the third place refers to the social surroundings that are separate from the two usual social environments, which are home and work. Common third space churches, libraries, gyms, front porches, cafes, and bookstores. Any place where we meet and hold other social interactions. Third places are where we commune and hopefully create the social ties that unite a community. I spend a lot of time observing life around me. It’s a substantial part of my introverted nature. A few pretty significant observations that most of us as adults feel profoundly about is how much harder it is to make and keep friends and the time and energy (also moneconnect with other adults meaningfully. We also seem to hold onto wanting to have a reliable community of people to rely on. There is this saying regarding parenthood about how it takes a village, but often we no longer feel like the village exists for us. Those villages and friendships of the past were built in third spaces.
In Minneapolis, there is a surprising amount of third spaces that are pretty underutilized for helping people hold onto those connections. We have an abundance of churches, and our excellent library staff putting together ways to connect people in the community. With the Farm, we have a place to meet and enjoy coffee or a brew while we spend time with friends or attend one of their many events. This weekend we hosted the Arts Council for open studio time, and the group met to cut and sew the banners that are painted and displayed downtown. Sitting back and observing how we as a community can come together and laugh, share, cry, and connect was almost indescribable. It’s a feeling of community and support. I think that is something that so many people are missing.
The feeling of the village. That village is created by the community’s people coming together and getting to know each other, helping each other. Having the ability to reach out because they know the people around them. I’m not from Minneapolis, and it has been a challenge to find a place in a community of people who many have been here for generations. I now have children who I want to know what it feels like to grow up in a village, looking at how they can contribute to their communities and have their community create a place for them. I want that for all of us that live here. For us to grow and connect. To be a place that people want to both visit and come back to. Where we can know our neighbors and share a community, that is why our third spaces are so important. They allow us to get to know each other and connect within our communities.
Upcoming plans for events. Some are solid and waiting on deciding dates, and some are things I’m still looking into how to implement. I am always looking for ideas from people with what they would like to see.
A blessing box and community fridge
Meditation classes and regular events
Monthly game night
Cultural speakers and events (music/arts)
Creating a barter and odd job board area
Expansion can be uncomfortable, but it should never be unwelcome.
This last month has had a lot of expansion for me. At first, it felt uncomfortable. Mid-December, we all got covid. I’m at high risk for side effects, and up until then, we all managed to avoid it. Inevitably we did eventually get it, and I have been struggling with the symptoms of long covid. This experience has had a tremendous impact on daily life, as it has for anyone who struggled with the many issues of covid. Getting sick has a way of giving pause and reflection on where you are in life. I had to pause and slow down. I was angry at not being able to finish my renovation goals as planned. I was upset at how exhausted I was. I did use those places between naps to make some decisions on what I wanted this new year to look like. I decided that I, in fact, could not do it all and needed to figure out what was the most important for me to focus on. That is solidly placed on my family and creating a community in Astoria. I came up with two very big decisions. The first is to leave my daytime job as a barista at Ad Astra books and coffee house. I will always value my time there. I adored my job. Coffee is an immense love of mine, and that isn’t going anywhere. The community of people I met through my years there are some of the most valuable I have found since I moved to Kansas. But it was time to say goodbye and move on to the next phase of life. My second big decision was to take on schooling to learn to be a meditation and mindfulness coach. Years ago, I was a hypnotherapist, and life with tiny babies put that on hold. I have missed those practices and want to be able to add wellness practices to the things Astoria offers. There are many ways to build community, and better self-awareness is a significant step. I really want to spend my time building Astoria to be the space I envision and I can’t make that happen if I am overbooked and not able to dedicate my personal resources to it.
Happy Days Ahead,
It’s the time of year that never fails to sneak up on everyone and as we get older seems to happen so much faster than in the past. We made it through the holidays and are looking forward to the new upcoming year. For some, it feels pretty ambivalent and downright scary, and for others, a time for hope. For us, this year is full of hope and promise. The last year has seen so much progress in getting Astoria renovated into a usable space. We have dedicated more personal hours than I even tried to count. In the upcoming months, we are planning on opening the doors to really pulling people together and starting to have classes, events, opportunities, and much more.
Something very dear to my heart and plan for Astoria is the ability to help others achieve their dreams of starting or building their businesses. This goal started a long time ago when my first baby was just a baby. I began a journey to becoming a hypnotherapist. It was a challenge to be a new mom and start a practice. I had a high-need baby and needed to start small to grow. I couldn’t find a space to allow me to have the office I needed for a few hours a month. I decided that I would wait until the timing was better. So now here I am, and I have a goal to help others who want to start their businesses and need a space that they can work in for the time they need without worrying about leases and making rent. The ability to start small and work on a schedule that works for growing families and growing businesses. It’s not an easy to market concept. It doesn’t fit into a simple two-line ad, but I hope to spread the word to the people who want to change their lives.
I hope to provide opportunities to everyone from teachers who want to run their own classes(yoga, arts, dance, crafts), influencers or people on social media platforms who wish to have an easy place to set up and film, people in the healing or helping arts. There are endless possibilities.
This project feels so all over the place. In some ways, things feel like they are moving much faster than I was anticipating, and in others, they feel like they are at a snail’s pace. This last weekend we got started on the drywall. After years of looking at the timbers in the wall, seeing drywall looks unfamiliar. Tomorrow will bring putting more drywall up and hopefully getting the walls of the central part of the building completely covered. It will be such a massive jump in the project and the space. Then will come the snail’s pace part of the project. Next week will see minimal movement. I will be busy finalizing everything with the Art in the Park. There are just not enough hours in the day to make everything happen. I’m looking forward to the process of mudding the walls. There is something soothing about mudding drywall; cathartic to see it go from just a screwed-on piece of stuff to a complete wall. I’ve found a portion of the floor that needed some extra love, so what I thought was finished still needs some work. I feel like these things are probably the never-ending process of owning a 100+-year-old building. I’m looking forward to our tiny bits of forward motion and excited about next weekend’s Art in the Park event.
This project started in 2018. I was seeking a community and a space to gather. When 214 W 2nd came up for sale, I just got excited. I wanted this place. It was gutted and rough, but as they say, “it had good bones.” The east brick wall sold me. I loved the timber built into the brick and how there were still old square nails stuck in random places. I had some extensive and lofty plans for the business, but sometimes life kicks you around a bit, and you have just to let life happen, accept the changes, and move forward. With those unexpected life happenings, it’s taken some time to pull everything together, get it all fixed up and ready to go. This space is the first root of my own I’ve ever really put down in a place, and I wanted to go about it with mindfulness of things that are important to me. We aimed to source as much of our materials through recycling and reconditioning. Many details in the space look used and worn because the materials are recycled from various sources. The pieces have all come together to create the space that we can be proud of to open and share with our community. Through renovating this space, Justin and I have learned so much. We gained a lot of skills through the power of youtube and connecting with tradespeople who shared their knowledge when needed. Our relationship grew as we learned to build and do renovation projects together. Some things came easy, and some just had to be fought with. This building and this business are a labor of love, and I can’t express how much I appreciate the help and support we have received to create this. I hope when we are fully operational, we can host a massive thank you dinner for everyone who has come together on this project.