We work with nonprofit, government, and business partners to serve water and change the culture of collaboration.
Partnership Profile: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
"We enjoyed combining the strengths and networks of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Water Bar for a collaboration at the Minnesota State Fair. The MPCA brought the venue, exhibit production skills, and staff eager to engage with the public, while the Water Bar brought style and creativity, experience sourcing and serving water, and - mostly importantly - an openness to the conversations that unfold at the bar. Water Bar taught our staff to let the visitors lead the conversation and be open to questions they could not answer. It’s ok to wonder together and to share experiences and memories. Never before have we had an exhibit that was intended to do this." - Britt Gangeness, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Our partnership model is based in part on the Shared Work Method developed by social worker and facilitator Tuesday Ryan-Hart. When we partner with other people or groups, we put shared work and care - for water, place, community, and culture - at the center of our collaborations.
The focus on shared work and developing cultures of care within our partnerships - rather than focusing on consensus or on cumbersome planning processes - allows us to see the impact of collaboration almost immediately. We get to know our partners by working together toward an achievable goal, learning and growing in relationship, and we feel the joy of creating something together - all despite differences in experience, ideology, or approach to water and environment.
When we start by serving water together - through a pop-up Water Bar, or other small creative project - we can get right to work! And as we work together, we can continue to ask: What are we learning? What relationships are we growing? How can we build on this work in the future?
We've found this approach nearly always leads to more joyful and long-lasting collaborations. We all learn by sharing in the work, and we deepen our connections too.
Partner with Water Bar & Public Studio
As an organization, we are sustained in part through collaborative projects. Sometimes organizations come to us with ideas and opportunities to partner, other times we initiate conversations or collaborate to seek funding support. We're always looking for lessons and opportunities for innovation through collaborations across discipline, sector, field or community. As this work expands, we bring other artists and thinkers, makers, and doers into projects where their skills are vital.
Governor Mark Dayton's
25x25 Water Initiative
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has called on Minnesotans to work together to find solutions to keep Minnesota’s water clean and accessible to everyone, setting the goal of improving water quality 25% by the year 2025. Water Bar is partnering with the Governor's Water Policy staff to utilize Water Bar and other artist-led creative strategies to deepen engagement with people across Minnesota for the future of water in our State. Read more about the 25x25 Water Initiative.
Holland Neighborhood Improvement association
Holland Neighborhood Improvement Association (HNIA) is dedicated to representing residents and stakeholders of the Holland neighborhood in Northeast Minneapolis, where Water Bar & Public Studio is located and where Water Bar Co-Directors live. We are working closely with the board and staff of HNIA to develop civic engagement opportunities in our storefront that serve the neighborhood, as well as collaborating on the Northeast Incubator to serve local leadership.
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) monitors environmental quality, offers technical and financial assistance, and enforces environmental regulations. The agency finds and cleans up spills or leaks that can affect our health and environment. Staff develop statewide policy, and support environmental education. Water Bar works with MPCA staff to engage public audiences through art and design projects, including at the Minnesota State Fair.
City of Minneapolis
Water Bar frequently partners with City of Minneapolis departments and officials on public education, engagement, and art projects that address water and climate change at the local scale. Currently, we are working with the City of Minneapolis Drinking Water Department to utilize our Water Bar storefront and pop-up as a hub for citizen education and engagement, and the City of Minneapolis Sustainability Department to develop creative climate change awareness and preparedness workshops in our northeast Minneapolis neighborhood.
University of Minnesota
Water Bar frequently partners with faculty and departments at the University of Minnesota on education and public engagement projects. Our most frequent partners include the River Life program at the Institute for Advanced Study, the Sustainability Education program at the Institute on Environment, and the Water Resource Center. We also frequently host interns from the University of Minnesota, and public lectures, workshops, and projects with science, art, and design faculty.
Metropolitan Council Environmental Services
Water Bar has been working with staff at the Metropolitan Council's Environmental Services (MCES) division since 2014 to ensure that the information we share about regional water planning is accurate and up to date. MCES frequently engages Water Bar as a public education partner at conferences and events, and we continue to explore ways to work together to bring artists, designers, and other local leaders into conversations about the future of water policy and planning in our region.
Mississippi Watershed Management Organization
The Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) works to protect and improve water quality, habitat, and natural resources in the urban watershed in that drains directly into the Mississippi River. Water Bar partners with MWMO, it's home watershed management organization, on public projects that bring artful public engagement to critical water quality projects in our watershed.
HEaling place collaborative
The indigenous artist-led Healing Place Collaborative is a group of artists, educators, researchers, and activists who play leadership roles in articulating the vital role of the Mississippi River in the life of the Twin Cities. Water Bar artists are core partners of Healing Place, and continue to learn from and work with other Healing Place partners, adapting and evolving Water Bar and related projects into platforms that can also communicate indigenous stories and relationships with water and place.
MINNESOTA HUMANITIES CENTER
The Minnesota Humanities Center is a state-based humanities organization that is building a thoughtful, literate, and engaged society, by focusing on what unites us not divides us. The Humanities Center gathers all voices and makes clear that all narratives belong to the greater human story. Water Bar is partnering with the Minnesota Humanities Center on the ongoing, statewide We Are Water MN project, assisting with design and facilitation of public engagement.
Minneapolis College of Art and Design
Water Bar frequently partners with faculty and programs at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) to engage art and design students with opportunities to develop their passions for environmental advocacy and community engagement. We are currently working with students from the Entrepreneurial Studies program on the development of Water Bar products, including a resource that will help other watershed organizations utilize the knowledge and methods of engagement developed by Water Bar artists.
The MuseWeb Foundation & SMITHSONIAN MUSEUM / Be Here Project
The MuseWeb Foundation supports innovative projects that increase the inclusivity, accessibility, and sustainability of cultural heritage. Water Bar has partnered with MuseWeb and the Smithsonian's Museums on Main Street program to develop a pilot project in Minnesota, Be Here Main Street. Working with partners in 4 Minnesota communities, Water Bar artists are learning and connecting with the possibilities to use social spaces and technologies to amplify stories about small town life, place, and natural resources.
Mississippi Park Connection
& THe National Park service
As a long-time partner of Water Bar founding artists Works Progress Studio, Mississippi Park Connection (MPC) and the National Park Service (NPS) continue to work with us on projects that engage people with water, place, and story. Recently, we have partnered with MPC and NPS to create a photography exhibition that will be on view for the opening of our new storefront space. River Relationships illuminates contemporary relationships between Twin Cities residents and the Mississippi River. The exhibition includes a series of public discussions and events.