DEMO will turn Lyn-Lake's White Castle into a local music archive

A few weeks ago, City Pages reported that south Minneapolis’s historic White Castle was available to rent. The hot property found a new tenant in a matter of days, as it was announced today that local nonprofit Diverse Emerging Music Organization (DEMO) is set to move in this fall.

The organization, once known as Diverse Arts and Music Foundation (DAMF), was formed in 1999 by Steve McClellan, and was part of First Avenue’s nonprofit wing until it rechristened itself DEMO and struck out on its own in 2005.

Over the years, DEMO has promoted acts such as Patti Smith, K’naan, and the Hold Steady, organized concert series, and hosted music-related film screenings. The group’s Minnesota Music Archive Project kind of works like a music-focused Minnesota Historical Society, with a mission to “archive and preserve every independent and small commercial recording released by Minnesota musicians.”

Now the noble project will have a headquarters in a former White Castle.

“The Minnesota Music Archive Project is our largest project to date,” says board chair Ted Martin. “We’re truly excited to relocate our headquarters into one of Minneapolis’s most iconic buildings, and to have it as a hub for the project.”

And so begins the next era of the Twin Cities’ historic White Castle. The prefabricated building was constructed in 1936, and originally did business on Washington Avenue before moving to Central Avenue Southeast in the ’50s. The structure finally made its way to Lyndale and 32nd in 1983, when it earned its place on the National Register of Historic Places.

Many recall that for years that White Castle had been an accordion lesson/repair shop and jewelry store. Its current tenant, Xcentric Goods, sells an interesting mix of antiques, oddities, and, on occasion, boxes of vinyl. 

When DEMO moves into the space this October, it will become headquarters for artists looking to submit work to their archives. For more details about the project, visit