Thursday, September 30, 2010

Exterior Restoration: One small step for man, one giant leap for CAFAC



We’ve just made a giant leap towards completing the restoration of the exterior of the historic Nokomis Theatre.

A few months back, the first floor windows and doors made a return (complete with historically appropriate mullion transoms) after years of the front being bricked in.

Next came the unearthing of the gorgeous original encaustic tiles in the second floor parapet (they’d long been hidden under layers of paint). We had once only hoped that remnants of these tiles might still exist, but in our wildest dreams we never imagined that they’d all still be there--and be in such amazing condition!

Then, board member Scott made historically-appropriate wood storm windows to protect our soon-to-arrive replicas of the original (but long-ago removed) Prairie-style stained glass windows, courtesy of the amazing talent and generosity of stained glass artist (and neighborhood resident) Lonny McLaughlin.

But the latest icing on this nearly completed cake is the just-finished exterior paint job, thanks to a generous grant from the Pohlad Foundation! We originally hoped to have the facade (which had been painted for decades) stripped down to the original bare brick, but we soon discovered that there were countless barriers to this approach: aside from a hefty price tag, experts warned that due to the nature of the highly porous brick we would run the risk of not getting the brick clean enough to look good. So, after much deliberation, we decided to investigate the option of painting, and after board member Montana came up with this stunning color scheme (inspired by the historic colors in the original encaustic tiles), we were sold on the idea…and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the results! (Now we just need to get our marquee restored…that will be the cherry on top! Time to do some more fundraising…)

And so, the CAFAC Board is pleased (downright giddy, in fact) to present the beautiful new face of the former historic Nokomis Theatre to the world. Drum roll please…

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lend a hand at CAFAC

As we get closer to the start of our first round of classes, we've got many small projects to complete and would love your help. If you've got a few hours and some elbow grease to spare, please join us on Wednesday, September 29, at 6 p.m. We'll be working on prepping cabinets and shelving units for painting, removing the old linoleum tile from the gallery floor, and a few other projects. We'll have additional work dates in the coming weeks. Thanks so much for your help - we couldn't do this without your support!

Fall classes update

We've filled our Tuesday night Blacksmithing Basics class and our Thursday night Oxy-Acetylene Found Object Sculpture class! Yahoo - we're thrilled! We've added a second Oxy-Acetylene class on Wednesday nights (Oct 13 - Dec 15) and have started a waiting list for Blacksmithing. The Build Your Own Propane Forge class currently has one spot left. Give us a call at 612.294.0400 or email fireartscenter@gmail.com if you'd like to register for any remaining spots.

All classes will begin the week of October 11. 

Let the Painting Begin!

Our painting crew has just gotten started, and we couldn't be more excited! The Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center paint job is happening compliments of a marvelous program created by the Pohlad Family Foundation and operated by Stuart Morgan, Calvin Littlejohn, and Jeff Wieber of Tri-Construction. The program was initiated over the summer as a means to employ teenagers looking for summer work, and we're absolutely delighted that they were willing to take on our project! The Star Tribune ran a great article about how the program got started, which you can read here.

The teens work with a professional painters and gain valuable job skills while earning a good wage. Here you can see the team getting started on masking and cleaning the surfaces in the gallery prior to paint.



They'll be in the building for the next week or so, and, weather permitting, will be working on the facade as well, so please say "hello" if you see them while walking by!

Thanks guys, and welcome to CAFAC!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010