Saturday, December 31, 2011

Help us turn BEFORE into AFTER

Doesn't everyone love before and after photos? Whether it's your newly organized closet, someone's extreme makeover, or the the transition of an auto body shop into a community art center... photos that tell the story of then and now and the journey in between are compelling.

Here are a few of ours. When our volunteer coordinator extraordinaire, Jasmine McAleavey, put them together, we were struck again by what a radical transformation has taken place at 3749 Chicago Avenue. The physical changes are striking, but beyond that, we are even more encouraged by the shifts taking place at our neighborhood intersection. Our doors are now open to welcome the community from nearby and farther away. Doors are open at other new businesses around us. We're pretty thrilled to be part of this "after" - and we couldn't have done it without a whole lot of support along the way.

We've still got a lot of "before" to turn into "after." New programs to launch, additional equipment to acquire, more opportunities to provide. If you're able to help us with a financial contribution today, the last day of CAFAC's first full year in operation, you'll be helping us stoke the fire for an even better new year. Thank you!

Our shop, then and now. One of the first things we did was tear down the old false ceiling and remove tons of crumbling plaster from the walls. There's still more work to be done in this end of our shop, including the construction of a grinding bay.

The mezzanine level is new construction. Tucked underneath it is our classroom, shop sink area, and tool crib. Above - and accessible by wheelchair lift - will be used for our future glass and jewelry programs.

It's one of the most visually striking components of the facility - the railing that surrounds the entire mezzanine level. Designed by a student of our instructor/board member Roger Karlson, the panels were plasma cut and then welded into place.


We were giddy the day our contractor called to say he'd uncovered the original subway tile behind the drywall in what had up until recently been the auto body shop's office. That subway tile had lined the lobby of the Nokomis Theater - the building's original use - and we had no idea it was still there.

And that's the tile floor of the Nokomis Theater's lobby - also a thrilling surprise when it was revealed under a layer of industrial tile flooring. We've taken care to preserve as many of the building's original elements as possible, and the former theater's lobby now serves as our inviting gallery and face to the street.

Above, the Nokomis Gallery, shortly before its grand opening in December 2010. Board members Ryan Knoke and Montana Scheff did miraculous work turning a former auto body shop office into a beautiful, welcoming art gallery. Below, the Nokomis Gallery today, featuring glass and metal work by local artists.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Winter Break Welding!

To teachers, students, anyone with a few weeks off in late December/early January: how about an intensive Oxy-Acetylene Found Object Sculpture class? Normally we run this class over the course of 10 weeks, but during winter break we fit it into three weeks, meeting five hours a day, twice per week. It's a great opportunity to immerse yourself quickly and walk away with a project (or two) just a few weeks later. Registration is open now - class starts on December 27, so sign up today!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Leave Your Mark: A Community Art-Making Event at CAFAC

We invite you to leave your mark on our community by helping us create of a piece of public art. Through a series of open house events over the winter, we would like to learn who you are, what ties bind you to this community, and how you feel about this place by answering one simple question:

What brought you here?

We'll have our forges fired up and you'll have the opportunity to swing a hammer and stamp your response into a piece of hot metal. Those pieces will eventually be assembled into a sculpture entitled "Pillar of Community," to be installed at our intersection, 38th & Chicago.

Please join us for our first Leave Your Mark event on Saturday, December 10th, from 2 to 5 p.m., at 3749 Chicago Avenue. Open to anyone with an interest!

Our Nokomis Gallery will also be open and CAFAC board members will be on hand to show you around and answer questions. Please stop by!

Keep it hot all winter long... take classes at CAFAC!

We've got our winter quarter classes open and ready for registration on our website. Fall classes filled quickly, so we recommend signing up early. In addition to our welding, blacksmithing, and precious metal clay classes, we've also got a new series of fire performance classes. Something for everyone - and in case you were wondering, we do have gift certificates good for classes or items in our Nokomis Gallery.