The Artists' Quarter is closing
Jeremy Pelt at the Artists' Quarter
Photo by Andrea Canter
Longtime St. Paul jazz institution the Artists' Quarter is shutting its doors at the end of the year. According to a Star Tribune report, the club was forced to end a three-decade run after its rent doubled in recent years.
The basement venue -- named City Pages' Best Jazz Club this year -- has been located in the Hamm Building near Rice Park since 2002, and prior to that it had stints in Lowertown and the Eat Street area of Minneapolis.
"I cut my salary to where there's nothing left, and I still can't make the numbers work," owner Kenny Horst told Star Tribune. "I still have great nights here, but one great night a week doesn't cut it. People say, 'The place was packed when I was there.' The problem is everyone is there on the same night."
For the most seasoned and respected jazz players in the local scene -- Happy Apple, the Bad Plus, and Chris Bates among them -- this establishment was a home for countless residencies and release parties. A huge trove of online footage is here.
What remains will be the rest of the 2013 schedule until January 1, including a final weekend of "blowout" shows featuring players who gave the club such a rich history.
Update: "I don't care what you read in the papers," St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman said during a press conference in late October. "We're going to make sure the Artists' Quarter stays open." Gimme Noise reached out to the mayor's office and received confirmation that Coleman "has made a commitment" to doing what he can to keep it open, but no other information was provided. Stay tuned.
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