The Artists' Quarter is closing

Categories: Venue Spotlight
Photo by Andrea Canter
Jeremy Pelt at the Artists' Quarter
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.

See Also: Station 4 staying closed for rest of 2013, will reopen as two smaller venues

"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.

"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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Very, very sad day for the Twin Cities! The Artists Quarter is far and away the BEST music venue for more than 100 miles - bar none! Worse, Jazz is losing one of the last best places to be heard. Jazz is struggling to keep real and AQ is the only place I can (could) count on to keep Jazz alive.

Very, very sad day


I loved the AQ, such a bummer. And they're making a new blues club at the old Station 4, we have enough blues bars already.


What is the opposite of "pleased and flipped" my lords and ladies? Hopefully there is a way to keep the AQ alive.

Dov Moen
Dov Moen

Really sad to hear about this. There have been so many great shows there.

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