Monday, July 27, 2009

CAFAC @ Community Events

CAFAC will be taking its show on the road for a few community events coming up in the next couple months. We'll be bringing our mobile welding unit (which we've not been able to give a better name than the MWU - got any ideas?) and creating improvisational metal sculptures (you pick a piece from our pile of metal scrap, tell us where to attach it, and we'll weld it on). We'll have some CAFAC schwag too - buttons, bookmarks, and the latest edition of our popular "speaking flame" t-shirt. Come visit us at:

*Bancroft Midsummer Festival: Wednesday, July 29, 5 to 9 p.m., Bancroft Meadows (42nd and Bloomington). This event's also got free ice cream! Here's more info.

*Powderhorn Art Fair: Saturday & Sunday, August 8 & 9, Powderhorn Park. It's art fair weekend in Mpls, and CAFAC is excited to take part in its first Powderhorn Art Fair! We'll have a variety of pieces by local artists representing the range of art-making activities that will take place at CAFAC. Stop by and say hi!

*Art+Fire Project: Saturday, September 26, Stockholm, WI. We're really thrilled to be taking part in this event put on by the Lake Pepin Art & Design Center, in which a large community-built wooden sculpture is lit and burned to the ground. Find more details about the all the activities leading up to the Art+Fire event right here.

We'd love to see you at one of these fantastic events!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

History, Architecture, and Tours...Oh My!

I'm very happy to share that mine and Montana's second annual Historic Park Avenue Walking Tour ("From Queen Annes to Classical Revivals: Stories of Park Avenue and Its People") once again broke attendance records for any previous Mpls Heritage Preservation Commission-sponsored summer walking tour. Despite early morning downpours, 110 people came out on a very overcast Saturday morning on June 27 to walk five blocks (from the corner of 31st and Park to a gorgeous 1898 Victorian on the 3600 block of Park) over the course of two hours to learn about the prominent architects, builders, and original owners of the street's fine residences. Along the route, we passed a lovely structure at 3550-52 Park: a gorgeous Spanish/Mediterranean-style brick apartment building designed by prominent Architect Carleton W. Farnham in 1928.

How does any of this relate to the Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center? Well, Carleton W. Farnham also designed the lovely two-story, 1925 Arts & Crafts-style brick building at 3740 Chicago Avenue South, directly across the street from the future home of CAFAC! And, for those of you who don't already know, the future home of CAFAC (at 3749 Chicago) was once the home of the historic Nokomis Theater, which was originally built in 1915 as a silent moving picture theater, but underwent a major expansion in 1928-1929 under Architect Joseph Nason.

Therefore...with so much amazing historic architecture just two blocks away on Park Avenue, and two known important structures at the intersection of 38th and Chicago, one can only imagine how many other gems exist at this once (and soon to be again!) bustling business node. (I guess I have some more research to do!) And, since there is obviously so much public interest in the history and architecture of this immediate area of south Minneapolis (as evidenced in record-breaking attendance two years in a row for the Park Avenue walking tours), once my 38th and Chicago research is may be time to host a historic architectural walking tour of 38th and Chicago, too! Ending, of course, with a special tour of the restored Nokomis Theater building (CAFAC)!

You can learn more about the history of the Nokomis Theater/CAFAC's future home—and plans for the restoration—at


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Where to start?

Hard to know where to start with an update that's so overdue! Suffice it to say that a lot has been happening, and continues to happen every day. To anyone in the neighborhood who has driven by our building, coming soon signs went up a couple of months ago. It was so great to finally see some signs of life on the outside of the building (see photo).We heard from many folks in the immediate area that it was reassuring to see these go up...proof that it's actually happening. Right now we are in the middle of making a ton of tiny decisions about the interior of the space; from light fixtures to location of outlets, and from paint colors to bathroom fixtures. It's a wonderful, stressful, fun, and exhilarating time for not only CAFAC, but for our little corner of South Minneapolis. And for the first time, CAFAC will have a presence at the Powderhorn Art Festival. Come and meet some of our instructors and take part in some heat spark, or flame with live demonstrations.