Local Current Blog

The Artists’ Quarter will close at the end of 2013

Mike Lewis, Chris Morrissey, and Dave King at the Artists' Quarter in 2009 (Photo by Ben Clark)

Downtown St. Paul mainstay the Artists’ Quarter is shuttering its doors at the end of the year, the Star Tribune reported today, ending its three-decade-long run of supporting jazz music in the Twin Cities.

Since its inception the club has been a nerve center for the local jazz scene and hosted respected acts from around the world. The Artists’ Quarter first opened at a location on Nicollet Ave. S. and 26th St. in Minneapolis, and later moved to Lowertown St. Paul and then to its final location in the basement of the Hamm Building on W. 7th Place in 2002.

According to the Star Tribune’s Chris Riemenschneider, soaring rent prices are to blame for the club’s closure. Owner Kenny Horst told Riemenschneider that his rent has “literally doubled” in recent years, and that he has sacrificed much of his own salary in attempt to break even, but was ultimately forced to make this tough decision to close his beloved club.

The club will continue on until January 1, and Horst says he has “big blowouts” already in the works for the final weekend of December and New Year’s Eve. Read more about the Artists’ Quarter’s past and closure in the Star Tribune’s report.

This sudden and sad news has me remembering back to many of my own great memories from the Artists’ Quarter, from seeing Happy Apple for the first time in high school to watching Chris Morrissey (pictured above), the Atlantis Quartet, and Billy Holloman’s B3 organ nights.

I’m curious: What are your memories? Did you visit the Artists’ Quarter when it was in its previous locations? And will downtown St. Paul feel the same to you without it?