To our community of artists, patrons, volunteers, neighbors, and friends,

The past year has been a tumultuous one for The Soap Factory. We began 2016 with a bleak financial picture, looming liabilities associated with our building, and many different answers to the questions: “What is The Soap Factory, why is it important, and to whom?” Our Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and staff--along with countless others--have worked tirelessly to analyze, question, synthesize, and test the many facets of the creative energy that is unquestionably The Soap Factory. As is so often proven by creative, passionate people, in the face of adversity there is enormous opportunity.

The result of this extraordinary effort of self-analysis and critique has led the Board to endorse a strategy for The Soap Factory’s future about which we are extremely excited. The Soap Factory has always provided opportunities for artists to imagine and develop projects without boundaries, to test new techniques, and to experiment in a unique physical space found nowhere else. The Soap Factory is also much more: it is a supportive, collegial community in which artists give and receive feedback, find new audiences and critical exposure, and nurture relationships that positively influence their artistic practices and careers. We are also intentional members of our community, who, through our varied programming and partnerships with a wide variety of organizations and individuals, encouraged dialogue, mutual understanding, and free exchange.

The Soap Factory 2.0 will triple the amount of space dedicated to these robust artistic experiences. Renovating our 130-year-old building to put 35,000 square feet of currently unused space into service, The Soap Factory will provide:

  • affordable working studios for visual artists,

  • improved main-floor gallery space for our major exhibition programs, and

  • new residency programming in dedicated studio/gallery space.  

To be sure, this is an ambitious program. However, opportunities to realize these objectives are disappearing rapidly in the face of the unrelenting rise in the cost of space throughout the Twin Cities. At once a liability and an asset, the building that the The Soap Factory owns has the unique opportunity to house these activities and weather these challenges successfully.  

We are humbled by the incredible amount of support and encouragement shown by our supporters in 2016. Thank you! 2017 will be a year of equally intense work as we develop our programs, send our first residents abroad to partner programs, and manage the redevelopment of our building. We are asking each of you for help, support (both monetary and otherwise), and continued advocacy. We wish you a very prosperous, safe, and creative 2017!

Bill Mague

Executive Director

  ' Japonisme IV' by Caitlin Brutger 2014
Curated by Mackenzie Catton and Jessi Goodell
Exhibition runs from January 14th through February 12th in galleries 1,2, and 3
Opening reception is January 14th from 7-11pm  
We are accustomed to following rules and procedures, and these provide us with the solace of a programmatic rhythm. What we tend to notice are the inevitable jags in our routine. Suddenly, we are forced to engage with our bodies and environments, the visceral reality of our being. A disruption. An alteration to the routine.

For the volunteers at the Soap Factory, engaging with our building becomes an interruption in their lives. To celebrate these engagements, The Soap Factory Presents ‘Disruption,’ our 2017 Volunteer Biennial, curated by Soap Factory interns, Mackenzie Catton and Jessi Goodell. 

This exhibition features the work of 14 of the Soap Factory’s hardworking volunteers who dedicate their time to a gallery that is often an incongruous presence in the neighborhood. The artists of this exhibition enact contemporary disruptions in tandem with the historic structure that they have come to know.

Artist, Paige Carlson will be performing her piece for the public during the following dates and times:
January 14th 5-8pm  (opening reception)
January 28th, 10am-12pm
February 12th, 11pm-1pm

Participating artists:

Flag by Artist, Alexa Horochowski, 2016
Organized by Alexa Horochowski and Crystal Quinn
Exhibition runs from January 14th through January 21st in gallery 4
Opening reception is January 14th from 7-11pm
Performance by Gay Henry at 9 pm

Birthed by post-election funk, BLEED&BURN is a catalytic flag-making exhibition/action. This exhibition is a response to the crass misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and other base instincts that got expressed during the election, and are now exemplified in the president-elect and his cabinet of horrors.

Thirteen artists will create twelve, standard-size flags that will be exhibited in the basement gallery of The Soap Factory from January 14th through the 21st. Each flag will in turn be burned independently by each artist at a location of their choosing (post-exhibition). The flags and documentation of each burning will be made into a book published at Beyond Repair, a book shop and publishing site located in the Midtown Global market, 920 E Lake St, Minneapolis.

A flag-making workshop will take place at Beyond Repair, January 15, 2017, 12-4 pm. Burning a flag is considered “symbolic speech” and protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Citizens are invited to make their own, small flags with personalized statements, to be burned independently in protest and ritual invocation

Participating Artists:

Katy CollierKatinka Galanos, Sam GouldGeoffrey Hamerlinck, Guy Henry, Alexa HorochowskiCrystal QuinnChanny Leaneagh, Janet Lobberecht, Gudrun LockSarah PetersenEunice Pitts, Stephen Rife

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 The  Soap Factory  
  514 2nd St. SE
Minneapolis MN 55414