Cross-sector group represents downtown businesses, nonprofits, government entities, residents, and entrepreneurs

SAINT PAUL, MN – Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and Securian Financial Group Chairman and CEO Chris Hilger today announced that Joe Spencer, former director of arts and culture for the City of Saint Paul, has been named the Saint Paul Downtown Alliance president. Launched in February, the Downtown Alliance is a nonprofit organization representing all downtown stakeholders with the goal of supporting a strong and vibrant Saint Paul.

“In his work bolstering Saint Paul’s nationally renowned arts and culture scene, Joe Spencer has built cross-sector relationships and leveraged diverse economic opportunities for the benefit of our entire city,” said Mayor Carter.  “His forward-looking, inclusive vision is exactly what we need to reimagine how downtown Saint Paul can create jobs and opportunities for all of us.”

Since 2006, Spencer served as director of arts and culture under former Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and continues to serve as a principal project manager for the City’s Planning and Economic Development department. Spencer played an instrumental role in 10 major capital projects downtown that were financed through grants and other innovative fundraising, including the Ordway Concert Hall, Palace Theatre, and the Minnesota Children’s Museum. He also helped launch a diverse array of new music festivals that attract more than 100,000 visitors to downtown each year, including five major festivals and 12 weekly showcases. Additionally, he recruited dozens of new bars, restaurants, venues, and creative businesses to downtown Saint Paul.

“The continued growth and vitality of downtown is critical to the health of our entire city, and Joe is uniquely qualified to help us partner with our neighbors, advocate for downtown, and position us to compete in a global economy,” said Hilger.

Spencer will report to the Downtown Alliance’s 16-member board and will convene an even broader group of government, business and resident stakeholders through the board’s committees. Spencer will start on June 18.

“Downtown Saint Paul is home to an incredible variety of assets – from large companies and independent tech entrepreneurs, to world class entertainment venues and life-saving social institutions, and I am honored to be able to continue working with them on a shared vision,” said Spencer. “I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work showcasing the incredible Saint Paul that we all know and love in a way that benefits everyone.”

A photo of Spencer is available for download.

About the Saint Paul Downtown Alliance

The Saint Paul Downtown Alliance is a nonprofit organization that represents downtown businesses, nonprofits, government entities, residents, and entrepreneurs to build a strong and vibrant downtown and create a positive downtown experience. The group aims to benefit the entire city and region by recruiting new employers, attracting new investments, advocating for downtown, and creating a positive experience for visitors, residents and workers alike. For more information about the Downtown Alliance, visit