The White Bear Center for the Arts has expanded its space. Stemming from an initial need for more parking and additional square footage for the popular clay classes, the center has added to its atrium space, gallery and created two rooms dedicated to clay classes.
Such additions will only increase the community opportunities available at the White Bear Center for the Arts.
“We’ve always looked at the art center as a community center with art at the core, versus an art school that serves the community,” says Suzi Hudson, executive director of the White Bear Center for the Arts. “Thinking of it as a community center [highlighted] the importance of having a welcoming space for the community to come and gather.”
One key aspect of the expansion is the focus on accessibility. The five-acre campus is a “walking labyrinth,” Hudson says. However, the old site was not wheelchair accessible. Now, both indoor and outdoor spaces will be fully wheelchair accessible all year-round.
Not only will the physical space be more accessible, classes and gallery shows will be easier to navigate, too.
“All of our exhibitions going forward will also be available virtually,” Hudson says. “We’ll continue to offer a certain percent of classes virtually and explore what the community needs from us as we resume in-person activities.”
The grand reopening took place the week of October 11 with a series of daily outdoor and indoor events, as well as live music. A community open house was held on October 16, and featured an artist’s market, a labyrinth rededication and wood fired pizza.
“As excited as we are about the shows that are coming and the classes, it’s really about the people and getting the life of the community back to the [Center for Arts],” Hudson says.