Tonight Dick and I attended a grand opening at Franklin Arts Center in Brainerd (Minnesota). The facility, built in 1932-33, is the former Franklin Junior High that housed 7-9th grade students. Artspace officially took over ownership of the building on February 15, 2008. Artspace is "a nonprofit real estate developer for the arts based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The company purchases older, historic buildings and raises money, primarily through individual gift donations and grants, to revamp them into live/work apartments and/or studios. Other funding comes from tax credits".
To convey the truly amazing work that Artspace does, I will begin with a photo I took peeking through the hallway door window of an empty unrenovated classroom. In recent years, the original oak paned windows had been replaced with metal frames. The windows in the building are gradually being restored to their original look. You can see along the room's perimeter the holes where heat registers were formerly secured.
The existing hallways, lockers, and oak built-in cabinets will remain to preserve the building's historic authenticity.
This former English and history classroom is presently home to an advertising business.
This is the former guidance office that is now an interior design business. Notice the oak paned window and the original oak counter. Each artist's studio is just as cozy and unique as the ones I've featured on this post.
This former home economics cooking classroom is now an artist's live/work apartment. There are 25 of these low-income efficiency, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units that occupy most of the space in the three floors of the building's right wing.
Some of the other studio categories in the Franklin Arts Center include graphic designers, a polar fleece seamstress (A Needle pulling Thread... such a cute name), framing shop, potters, stained glass, Victorian lampshades, fiber artist, architecture firm, textiles, photographers, writers, video, pencil artist, musician, and dance. The artists work is for sale. Walk-ins are welcome Monday through Friday 9-5. The second Saturday of each month a Community Open House is held from 10-4 when most of the artists are available. For a list of the artists, as well as additional info. on the center, go here.
The Journey North Church conducts church services in the auditorium, has an office in the former band room, and occupies classrooms in the west wing. Two gymnasiums, an auditorium, and the cafeteria may be rented through the Brainerd School District's Community Education Office. I'd say this is the ultimate reuse of an abandoned building that could have easily been destined for demolition.
For nostalgia's sake, I shot a photo of a second floor bathroom in what was formerly the 9th grade wing. It holds fond memories for me since I remember whisking in there between classes to fluff and primp. You know... I know you do... those all-important junior high years when image rates far and above anything else.