Update: Water Bar Pivots & Moves

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Some of you might have heard the news that we’ve decided not to continue our lease on the Water Bar storefront in Northeast Minneapolis. We’ll be closing our doors in early 2020, but we’re not going away! Below is more information about that decision, and an invitation to save the date for a party if you happen to be here in Minneapolis in early December!

What's New & Next for Water Bar & Public Studio


+ Long story short: We're making some big moves! And we hope you'll save the date — December 6th @ 6:30PM — for a winter social to celebrate and look forward.

+ We began Water Bar in 2014 as a public art project, popping-up a Water Bar at events to spark conversation and connection with the Mississippi River. You can see a video of one of our very first Water Bar pop-ups here.

+ Over the past five years we've continued to evolve what Water Bar is — and how we work in collaboration with our partners and our community — building deep relationships with other artists, cultural organizers, water and environment groups, and our partners in government and business.

+ The backbone of our work as a business has always been providing arts and culture strategies and services to an expanding network of people and partners. Over time that work has coalesced into a theory of change: Culture is "upstream" of our individual and collective decisions about how we want to live, consume, craft policy, and create community.... So together with our partners, we #ServeWater through art, design, storytelling and social space to build relationships that are effectively "upstream" transformations in the culture and leadership of water and climate work ....


+ In 2016 we launched a first-of-its-kind community storefront space in our Northeast Minneapolis neighborhood. Some of you might remember the unexpected conversation this sparked online...

+ That storefront space has been our home for the past few years — a demonstration of what is possible when artists and communities shape space together — and an incubator for new ideas and collaborations expanding out across the country.

+ Water Bar & Public Studio has become a flexible and mobile creative hub where we can experiment, connect, welcome diverse perspectives and projects led by other artists and community leaders, and develop locally specific arts and culture strategies for water equity and climate resilience.

+ It's also now being replicated in other cities, like Philadelphia, thanks in part to some of the work that was done to communicate our model in these case studies by US Water Alliance, ArtPlace and Helicon.

+ Thanks to generous support from our investors Jennifer Arave and Patrick Riley, we've been able to grow our social impact while keeping a footprint in our northeast neighborhood.


+ As we look back on the past few years, we can see that the most sustainable business model for Water Bar & Public Studio is to operate without a dedicated community space of our own. The costs associated with operating a bricks and mortar storefront prohibit our ability to invest in the people who make our work possible.


+ In early 2020 we will be ending our lease and closing our storefront community space in northeast Minneapolis.

+ Water Bar is not leaving Northeast Minneapolis. Conversations are underway with our partners to find a new home for us to work in our community -- and we're very excited to share those plans soon!

+ At the same time, we will be pivoting our focus to growing the creative services and strategic consulting we do with our network of partners and clients; And to creating mobile workshops and other resources that will help other artists and communities learn from our collaborative work.

+ Letting go of the responsibilities of stewarding and funding a community space will allow us to invest in sustaining the community-based work we are doing outside those walls.

+ We are grateful to our advisors, investors, and our community for continuing to support our work, offering creative and critical insights, and the gift of collaboration.


+ We’re looking forward to announcing some new Water Bar projects that will deepen our connections with Northeast and North Minneapolis partners and communities; Projects that will enable us to share strategies and resources with other communities, particularly in Northern Minnesota; And the ability to invest more of our revenue in the people who make our collective work possible.

+ Please save the date: We will be gathering at our storefront space in Minneapolis on Friday, December 6th, at 6:30PM for a celebration of all the work that’s been done amongst Water Bar partners, and to update everyone on the direction we’re going in the years ahead.

+ In the coming months, we will be using our newsletter and our social media pages to share what we learn as we make this pivot, as well as ways you can support Water Bar through this transition.

+ If you have any questions about our plans, we’d love to tell you more! You can reach us through our website water-bar.org or by reaching out to one of us directly.

+ As a side note, our storefront space is now available for lease! We can’t say enough about how much we love this space, and as residents of northeast Minneapolis, we are excited to see another business thrive here. If you are looking for storefront space in a caring community, we would be happy to connect you with the owners of our building — who have also been champions of our creative and community-focused work!