Highpoint Center for Printmaking gets a new home

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Highpoint Center for Printmaking’s new gallery space.

It’s hard not to think of Highpoint Center for Printmaking as the Twin Cities’ golden child amongst non-profit arts organizations.

Founders Cole Rogers and Carla McGrath opened the center in its original location (on Lyndale avenue in Minneapolis) eight years ago, in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Despite the resulting economic crash the center thrived, providing classes on a variety of printing techniques and offering co-op memberships (and access to high quality equipment) to local artists. Highpoint gained a following with schools that brought their kids in for simple printing activities. It didn’t take long before the center was buzzing, and eventually, too big for its britches.

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Husband and wife team Cole Rogers and Carla McGrath.

Now, less than a decade later, Rogers and McGrath are putting the finishing touches on their new home (just a few blocks away from their old digs, on Lake street). Designed by architect Jim Dayton (the man behind the MacPhail Center for Music), the new HP is a simultaneously spare and expansive space. It takes advantage of natural light from both windows and large skylights in the ceiling. It’s not showy; it’s elegant and effective. And it’s simply a lot bigger than what Rogers and McGrath used to have.

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The new building has ample storage where co-op members can keep their work, and where Highpoint can archive the prints it’s helped create. There’s a private studio for visiting artists, a dark room and even a library for resource materials. Potentially most precious of all in this Minneapolis neighborhood, Highpoint can boast to have its own parking. McGrath says “it’s like getting the house you always dreamed of.”

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Kids learn the basics of printing in the new Highpoint classroom. Photo courtesy of Highpoint Center for Printmaking, 2009.

Of course as many homeowners know, your dream house can come with a hefty mortgage. Rogers and McGrath were able to defray some costs with sweat equity and the help of friends and supporters. The new Highpoint Center eventually came in with a $3.5 million price tag, of which McGrath and Rogers still have $853,777 to raise. Their goal is to complete fundraising by the end of this year. But just as with their first home, their big opening comes at a rather grim financial time.

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Senior Printmaker Zac Adams-Bliss adds paint to his roller as he works on an edition of a print by artist Lisa Nankivil.

Now that they’ve moved in, the printmakers are learning the quirks and idiosyncracies of the space. A print can be affected by so many subtle factors – the building’s water quality, for one. So the next several weeks will be spent getting to know the nuances of their new home, and preparing for the artists and classes who will come once the center celebrates its grand opening on October 3.

  • Mike

    Interesting. Good. Welcome.

    Why non-profit? Why not for-profit with the same offerings and the same costs?

    What about salaries and benefits?

    The little bit of balance I’m trying to add with my questions is due to tension I feel when a choice is made, in this case, non-profit rather than for-profit, as if choosing non-profit implies for- profit is not good.

    Thanks, Marianne, for State of the Arts, for this story and for the link to Highpoint Center for Printmaking.

    .