The Lower Sioux Indian Community recently celebrated the groundbreaking for the Lower Sioux Intergenerational Cultural Incubator.

The new 15,950-square-foot expansion to the tribe’s existing recreation center will open in 2020 and will feature a commercial kitchen and teaching kitchen, intergenerational gathering spaces for youth, adults and elders, shared art studio spaces (pottery studio, quilting studio and mixed media art studio), rental studio space for individual artists and entrepreneurs, computer lab and digital media lab, classrooms, offices and a multi-purpose cultural gathering space.

The purpose of the Lower Sioux Intergenerational Cultural Incubator is to expand art and cultural awareness, skills and support business development through intergenerational learning, production and transmission at Lower Sioux.

The incubator will foster both traditional arts, such as pottery, quilting, quilling, beading, regalia making, traditional foods, dance and singing, as well as contemporary, technology-based art forms, including videography and graphic design.

By leveraging its artistic traditions and skilled membership, the incubator will help strengthen the economic health of the Lower Sioux Community and the region. By 2030, the incubator will train more than 1,200 members and launch more than 140 entrepreneurs. In 2016, the Lower Sioux Community completed a community-wide comprehensive strategic plan. 

From the strategic plan, the community developed its vision: “a happy, safe and healthy community – grounded and guided by Dakota culture, traditions and language – where every person contributes to a diversified social and economic life. The people grow, adapt and innovate together, through opportunities that span the generations and seek continuous success.”

In 2017-19, tribal leadership adopted three strategic priority focus areas:culture; economic development and space (infrastructure).

The incubator was designed and created as an answer to the call for more cultural learning opportunities, economic development opportunities,and increased space and infrastructure.

The integrated design team included tribal council and community members along with BNIM, Pyatt Studio and Sweetgrass Consulting.

The incubator is made possible by the generosity of the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, the Blandin Foundation, the Otto Bremer Trust, the Southwest Initiative Foundation and the Mardag Foundation.