Arts & CultureBusinessFeatureNeighborhood News

Schmidt Artists realizing many dreams

Having Schmidt Artist Lofts in the neighborhood is just beginning to have the kind of impact many predicted when it was opened. Years of moving in, getting settled, establishing their studios and learning and creating have brought many artists to special moments in their evolution.

                Brad Menninga was selected for the 2020 McKnight Artist Fellowship through the Northern Clay Center, an honor that another Schmidt artist, Guillermo Guardia, earned last year. A profile of Brad is in the works. The artists of the Schmidt clay studio have now earned two McKnights, two Minnesota Artist Initiative Grants (Guillermo and Brad), two Jerome emerging artist awards (Mitch Iburg and Zoe Powell). The four artists also hosted seven shows at the Schmidt for the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) conference in 2019.

                Heather Friedli embarked on a journey to complete the entirety of the Huron River in Michigan. She says, “We are paddling all 104 navigable miles of the Huron River to raise awareness about this beautiful and important natural resource. Through our trip, we hope to tell the river’s story, promote the newly-formed Huron River Water Trail, and support an incredible organization that helps protect our beloved river.” We can expect inspiration for new art from Heather after this adventure. If you can offer a small donation to help, please contact

                Kelly Ludeking is opening his metal and welding studio — KRL Metals Studio. He will teach welding, and casting in bronze, aluminum and iron. See Kelly’s full profile in this issue.

                Maggie Thompson (, whose work in textile arts and design was profiled in 2015, has been working on the “ribbon mask project,” which has been picked up and promoted by the Minnesota Historical Society, American Craft Council, Critical Craft Forum, the San Diego Art Institute, and others. The photo shows Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan wearing one of Maggie’s ribbon masks. The Ribbon Mask Project is a response to the widespread need for protective masks, and a way to keep this effort sustainable. For every Ribbon Mask sold, Maggie will be donating two CDC compliant cotton masks approved by Allina to individuals and partnering organizations.

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