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During Art Works Eagan’s grand opening Oct. 15, organizers welcomed more than 250 visitors to its new facility.

Non-profit collaborative studio/gallery draws a crowd

After an exhausting year of planning, negotiations and fundraising, now it’s time to create.

The collaborative art studio/gallery Art Works Eagan officially opened its doors Oct. 15.

About 250 people came to tour the studio spaces, gallery and performance space during the open house at 3795 Pilot Knob Road.

Jerri Neddermeyer, AWE president, said they were expecting about 150 people, so it was a real surprise.

“It was a blessing that people wanted to spend their time with us,” Neddermeyer said.

Before Art Works Eagan opened, many nearby residential neighbors were concerned about people parking. Per Art Works Eagan’s conditional use permit, the city campus across the street was to be used for overflow parking.

Neddermeyer said it worked well.

“If you can have 250 guests park where they’re supposed to, it shows that the system can work the way we planned it,” Neddermeyer said.

Attendees were able to meet the five artists represented in the art exhibit including quilter Brenda Lyseng and Felix Guadalahara, who does wood turning. Both are from Eagan.

Other artists included Sunfish Lake’s Kristin Hoelscher-Schacker, Minneapolis’ Thomas Schrunk and Minneapolis’ Becka Rahn.

It’s been hundreds of hours of work to put the facility together since purchasing the old fire station late last summer.

They’re still working with the city on permits in order to fully open up.

The ceramic studio planned for the garage is still in development. Once that’s complete, they’ll focus on the maker space in the basement.

“We’ve been pleased with how art works in this space,” Neddermeyer said. “We built these movable walls that have really helped display the art.”

She said there’s been more than 500 volunteer hours logged so far, not counting the efforts of the board members, since purchasing the property.

“Without that kind of huge labor force, there’s no way something like this will succeed,” Neddermeyer said.

It’s been a whirlwind year for the organization between negotiating with the city for the property and raising funds to purchase the building.

“All of our planning has been done with lightning speed, and we’re good at that, but it’s been exhausting,” Neddermeyer said.

Organizers are preparing for an exhibition of artwork for the Eagan Artist Connect group, which “inspired the desire for us to be in this space,” sometime in December.

In January, AWE is going to plan out the 2018 calendar.

The space is also available for events and meetings for “other companies to have small training or breakout groups,” Neddermeyer said.

“To be in a different space created by artists can give them a creative place to work and think,” Neddermeyer said.

Art Works Eagan is also offering studio memberships for private and common studio spaces.

They are looking for community minded artists such as those who work with ceramics, painting, mixed media and writing.

Email studios@artworkseagan.org for a tour and go to the website www.artworkseagan.org for more information.

Business hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

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