Water Bar & Public Studio is a bar that serves free local tap water. It's also an art space and incubator of collaborative projects on water, place, and environment. Led by artists Shanai Matteson and Colin Kloecker of Works Progress Studio, and artist Jennifer Arave, Water Bar works with a diverse network of partners, including other artists, science researchers, environmental advocates, and our neighbors in Northeast Minneapolis and across the state of Minnesota.
In addition to our storefront taproom and public studio, we bring our pop-up Water Bar to other places and communities, working with local organizations to create projects that build relationships with and in place.
Water Bar & Public Studio is an artist-led Public Benefit Corporation
We sustain our storefront space and community programs by providing creative services and products to other businesses and organizations, through strategic partnerships with nonprofit organizations and government agencies, and through social impact investment from others who value what we're building together.
To connect with us email hello [at] water-bar [dot] org
Shanai is a writer, artist and arts organizer who leads and supports collaborative public art and design projects. She's interested in work at the margins of established fields and practices, and believes that edges and intersections provide fertile ground for artists and designers to learn and create, with and in community.
Colin is an artist, designer and filmmaker who believes we can create more resilient, playful, and supportive communities by daylighting and nourishing knowledge and creativity where it already exists. He loves projects that invite participation, inspire new connections, encourage self-reflection, and enable collaborative meaning-making.
Jeff Broberg is a Senior Environmental Risk Manager and Licensed Professional Geologist working for WSB Associates, Inc. in Rochester, MN. Jeff is a Citizen Commissioner on the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources and splits his free time between trout fishing, canoeing, government affairs and non-profit work related to natural resources, water, trout and renewable energy.
Ashley Fairbanks is an Anishinaabe woman and citizen of the White Earth Nation, and the Director of Narrative & Network Building at Voices for Racial Justice. Ashley is also a public artist and interdisciplinary designer. Working with a cohort of artists that do racial justice education and organizing, Ashley seeks ways to creatively innovate social-change work. She attended the University of Minnesota to study American Indian studies and Political Science, and has completed Intermedia Arts Creative Community Leadership Institute, NACDI’s Native Organizing and Leadership Institute, and The Humphrey School’s Roy Wilkins Community Policy Fellowship.
Jessica Hellmann is the director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. As director, she provides overall strategic leadership for the Institute, an internationally recognized organization working to solve grand environmental challenges, while promoting interdisciplinary research, teaching and leadership across the university and engaging external partners and stakeholders. Learn more about her research on global change ecology and climate change adaptation at her laboratory website.
Dr. Carrie Jennings is the Research and Policy Director at Freshwater Society. She applies her understanding of regional geology, hydrogeology and landscape evolution to the policy that they promote in the areas of non-point source pollution and groundwater sustainability. Jennings has mapped the surficial geology of half of the state during a 24-year field geologist career (with the MN Geological Survey and the DNR).
I’m an educator, grandmother, spiritual elder, and artist. Curious about self: an aging African American woman, the natural world, and the Sacred, I use art/writing to refine myself and hold a position of wellness in an America sick with inequalities and inequities. I do YO MAMA & The Art of Mothering Workshops.
Linda Lim is the Associate Director of Global Marketing Communications at Dow Water & Process Solutions. Dow Water & Process Solutions develops sustainable technologies for meeting the world's growing water and energy requirements. Linda partners with business leaders, using her skills, insights, and experience to create and implement strategies that deliver business impact. Linda graduated with an honors degree in English language and a bachelor's degree in English language and sociology from the National University of Singapore.
Dr. Herman Milligan is a Managing Partner with The Fulton Group, LLC, an independent consultant firm specializing in marketing research, competitive intelligence, non-profit organizational development, and culturally-specific initiatives. He retired in 2010 as a Vice-President of Marketing Research/Competitive Intelligence for Wells Fargo and Company.
Roopali Phadke is a Professor of Environmental Studies at Macalester College. Professor Phadke's research and teaching is at the nexus of environmental studies, international development and science and technology studies. Her interests lie in the democratization of science and technology decision-making and the hybridization of technical expertise and local knowledge. Her current research focuses on private and public development of water and energy resources.
Kevin Reich is the City of Minneapolis First Ward Council Member, as well as chair of the City’s Transportation & Public Works Committee and Board Chair for the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization. He has been a key partner in the development of the Northeast Green Campus, a multi-jurisdictional initiative that combines the installation of cutting-edge stormwater management infrastructure with student and community outreach and sustainability education.
Mona Smith, Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota, multimedia artist, educator. She is trying to figure out how to navigate in this new world. She stands with Standing Rock. She goes to too many meetings and is trying to get back to doing some art.
Jacob Virden is an writer, rhymer, performer and practitioner of popular education. Born and raised in a working class family in NE Minneapolis, Jacob is dedicated to cultivating solidarity in the multi-racial working class and facilitating healing from the lies, violence and deceit of White Supremacy. Check out his music.
Water Bar & Public Studio is a project of Works Progress Studio and a network of creative and community partners. We work with these partners to develop and present artistic and design projects, popular education programs, exhibitions, skill-sharing workshops, internships and college classes, scientific research, and place-based advocacy projects on water and environmental justice.
Currently, we're developing partnerships and projects with the Holland Neighborhood Improvement Association, Healing Place Collaborative, Freshwater Society, Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, Yo Mama Mothering Mothers Institute, Minnesota Humanities Center, The Smithsonian, MuseWeb Foundation, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Department of Health, City of Minneapolis, MN American Water Works Association, University of Minnesota (River Life, Institute on Environment, Department of Landscape Architecture | College of Design), Northern Spark Festival 2017, Minnesota State Fair, and a number of public artists, designers, cultural and community organizations, and local businesses in Minneapolis and across Minnesota.
Water Bar was developed in 2014 as a public art project by Shanai Matteson and Colin Kloecker of Works Progress Studio, in conversation with a community of scientific researchers, environmental advocates, arts organizers, public employees, educators, and others.
Our first Water Bar was part of Twin Cities Public Television's TV Takeover program (see a video here) curated by Works Progress Studio in June of 2014. In fall-winter of 2014, Water Bar was featured in the national exhibition State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. That project was a collaboration with the Illinois River Watershed Partnership and a group of paid student interns with backgrounds in ecology, natural resource management, design, policy, and business.
In 2015, a new Water Bar was developed in Greensboro, North Carolina as part of the South Elm Projects at Elsewhere Living Museum, and was a collaboration with Greensboro Water Resources and Guilford College's Cape Fear River Basin Project. We have facilitated Water Bar pop-ups across Minnesota, as well as in Wisconsin, Illinois, and California.