Summer Camp Fieldtrips

Ahh, the bygone days of summer. Sleeping in, staying out late, walks by the lake, games being played. The days of summer in my childhood looked like that. As did the last two weeks. I went to summer camp. I could call it a vacation, because I was relieved of most of duties as wife and mother, it really was more like summer camp.

I sped off to Minneapolis after our last event in Vernal, Utah. Rich had plans to go to Jeepers Jamboree, and as I’ve tried to explain to my friends, I camp for a living, going someplace with no shower and no access to the world for four days doesn’t hold the same appeal to me as to most. But the city…that’s something I haven’t done in a long time.

I’m a big fan of Minneapolis, not just because I have kids there, but because it is a destination city, they’ve made it vibrant and accessible. If you go to Minneapolis, you intend to go there, it’s not really on the way to anywhere. The streets are safe at all hours, the people are Minnesota nice and I love the art. Minneapolis is a maker’s city. There are crafts people everywhere, galleries and exhibits and festivals galore. We discovered a secret there, quite by accident, that I am thankful for, because like all good summer camps, this one had field trips.

We ventured out to the Textile Center on a Friday afternoon. The Textile Center is a home for all guilds related to the fiber arts. We saw examples of weaving, dying, needle felting, rug hooking and all points in between. The staff was awesome and shared with us that they were part of five centers of maker’s guilds in the city. That gave us an objective, so we set out to see them all.
Next up was Open Book. The main floor studios and subfloors are the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, it includes print presses, papermaking and all letter arts studios. The second floor is devoted to literary arts, with a publisher on the uppermost floor. We arrived on a day they were setting up for a party, so displays of work were everywhere. I was in awe.
The Northern Clay Center was a short bus ride away on Franklin. We stumbled upon a studio artist there who gave us an extensive tour of the building. From the library to the potter’s room (over 40 wheels available) to the hand slab room to the kilns. Beautiful brick kilns meant to hold hundreds of pieces at a time, two devoted to Soda Ash, plus all of the various electric kilns available. The center hosts a gallery and studio space for forty professional artists in addition to classroom space for all the amateurs.
The final public center was the Highpoint Center for Printmaking in Uptown, a dedicated space for those who do printing of all kinds, this wasn’t letter art printing like you’d find at the Book Arts Center, but art itself. Woodcuts, monotype, lithographs, intaglio, all available here to the pros. Classes were offered here as well.
The final center in the five is the IFP Media Arts studio, designed to help those in the visual arts field, filmmaking, photography and such.
What a great resource for artists, crafters, and makers in a great city. Does your city have a secret like this?  Look around, the education available may be astounding to you.