Opening Reception


Gallery Hours


Exhibition Runs

Jun 1 - Dec 31

Buy Tickets



The building that The Soap Factory occupies has been used for many things; the railroad, armory storage, the production of soap, and for the past 21 years, an art gallery. In 1995 a group of artists (No Name Exhibitions) moved into an industrial, utilitarian space and transformed it into one of Minneapolis’ most well known cultural hubs. The building brings unique challenges and benefits for exhibitions, by existing not as a traditional clean white-walled gallery but as a raw industrial space with history and grit. Because The Soap Factory owns its’ own building, we have a unique and powerful opportunity to leverage our location and history in the community for artists. In 2017, The Soap Factory is taking the time and care to renovate it’s building, activating currently underused spaces to better serve artists by providing more opportunities to exhibit, reside, and experiment.



In 2017 The Soap Factory is taking in some fresh air, stepping outside the Factory and rethinking spaces both Here andThere. We’re making new connections with new public spaces throughout Minnesota and new cities around the world; asking you to pack your bags and join us on the trip.


The Residency exchange is a 1-2 month placement program, providing emerging and mid-career Minnesota artists support to research, produce, exhibit new works, and explore the artistic, social and cultural context offered by a host city. Upon their return, residency artists will share their experiences and any new work through an artist talk and studio visit with one of The Soap Factory’s established curatorial advisors.

In 2018, artists from each of these partner programs will be offered a 1-3 month residency opportunity at The Soap Factory, supported by our staff in documentation, installation, critique and presentation.

Each international exchange will be unique and aim to provide programming and networking opportunities in addition to travel and material support. For all residency artists, becoming part of a distinct network of cultural establishments, conversations, and communities will enhance the experience of making work in a new city, supported by a valued partnership organization.

We are interested in conversations, experimentation, and long-running relationships; Residency artists are welcome to re-apply to future residencies at The Soap Factory to explore their projects further, with possible opportunities to exhibit in our galleries.

2017/2018 Residency organization cities: Tranås, Sweden / Mexico City, Mexico / New York City, NY / Glasgow, Scotland / Minneapolis-St Paul, MN

Call is closed for Minnesota + Sweden Residency exchange, selections to be announced end of May, 2017.


The Soap Factory invited artists to propose projects outside of our Factory during construction that will activate the building’s exterior and surrounding property. In addition to staff, installation support, and documentation support; The Soap Factory will provide these four artists/artist groups with a stipend of $5,000 to complete their projects. More information and dates of programs TBA.


Monica Edwards Larson

Monica Edwards Larson / Sister Black (Bike) Press’s project “Poetry of Resistance” consists of two parts; a temporary installation of letterpress printed poetry cards and to host a collaborative one-time event: Poetry reading and DIY printing event, using the mobile bicycle press, at the Soap Factory. The installation will consist of hundreds of letterpress printed poetry cards that will be temporarily inserted within the construction fence on the property. The cards will feature the work of local poets whose work bears witness to the many challenges facing our democracy, the health of our planet, and all aspects of human rights, that inspire action.

Monica Edwards Larson is the proprietress of Sister Black Press – a private Letterpress and Book Arts studio, established in 2000 in Minneapolis, MN. She received a Masters in Fine Art in printmaking from Arizona State University. She has taught Printmaking, Graphic Design and Book Arts to students of all ages in the Twin Cities area, including the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, College of Visual Art, University of Northwestern and Minneapolis College of Art & Design. She is a 2017 recipient of the MN State Arts Board – Artist Initiative Grant, and recently started a new venture called Sister Black (Bike) Press – a mobile printing press that she pedals on the Twin Cities’ bike trails and streets, stopping to print at local bike shops, bookstores and libraries.



Leyya Mona Tawil

In collaboration with local dancers and musicians, dance artist and composer Leyya Mona Tawil will bring her day long performance ‘Destroy// All Places’ to The Soap Factory. Destroy// All Places is a new ritual for new times. The performance is composed, but untethered. The artists attempt a score imbedded with mechanisms that make its execution increasingly impossible, forcing the material into stages of deterioration and evolution. Destroy// All Places began in San Francisco in 2012, and has since visited over 23 cities including Saint Petersburg, Rome, Cairo and Athens.  Over 100 artists have participated in the project internationally.

“My project for The Soap Factory, Destroy// Minneapolis, is a metaphor for renewal and resistance.  The health of a city is dependent on change; a change that requires destruction as part of the life cycle…  As well, it is a framework to support and present the talented dancers and musicians of Minneapolis/St. Paul.” – Leyya Mona Tawil

Leyya Mona Tawil, Artistic Director of DANCE ELIXIR, is an artist working with dance and music practices. Her performance scores have been presented in 16 countries; highlights include New York Live Arts/Live Ideas (NYC), After the Last Sky Festival (Berlin), TransDance15 (Cairo), Bimhuis (Amsterdam) and the Museum of Nonconformist Arts (Saint Petersburg). Tawil’s work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, American Theater Magazine, Movement Research’s Critical Correspondence and PAJ-Journal of Performance and Art.

Photo credit: Atsushi Iwai


Monica Sheets

Monica is installing a large-scale neon sign for the Soap Factory façade created in collaboration with Ne-Art Custom Neon in Northeast Minneapolis. The text – “collectively we support your autonomy” – is a reflection of and comment on participatory processes and relationships between artist, participant, artwork and audience.

“This lesson also applies to the Soap Factory’s role in the Twin Cities’ art community. It is the support provided by organizations such as the Soap that enables artists’ autonomy in exploring their varied interests and contributing their knowledge to the world. It is also our collective support of these organizations as artists, audience and volunteers that ensures their continued existence. It seems fitting to me to emphasize these reciprocal roles on the Soap’s exterior while its interior is closed in order to undertake renovations that ensure its own autonomy and continued existence.” – Monica Sheets

Monica Sheets creates platforms for communication as a means of civic engagement for herself and other participants. She was born in Toledo, Ohio and her experiences growing up in the Rust Belt were pivotal to her decision to work directly with participants, coming from a desire to reach audiences who might not normally visit galleries and museums. In addition to her artistic work, she has worked in different capacities at a variety of non-profit art organizations, including as founder and director of Das Fundbuero e.V., a cultural organization dedicated to creating spaces in which former East German citizens can discuss their experiences of the German Democratic Republic and the aftermath of German unification in 1989.



Laura Brown

Laura Brown will install screen printed faux construction signs around the perimeter of the Soap Factory during renovation. The signs will contain components of the visual language of construction signs, but they will ultimately not be helpful or useful in navigating around the construction site. Instead, their colors and patterns will serve the purpose of sustaining anticipation about the soon-to-be completed Soap Factory renovation. In addition to the installation, Laura will host a series of Open Air Studio Sessions, inviting the public to come print signs of solidarity, protest, or encouragement; in relation to their day-to-day experiences in a wider world that is in various states of literal and metaphorical “renovation”.

Laura Brown is a printmaker, book artist, collaborator and teacher. Her work examines human relationships and memory through the lenses of geography, movement, and time. She has held residencies at the Myren Graffikk in Kristiansand, Norway; the Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, California; Minnesota Center for Book Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota; and the Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, New York, and her work appears in collections at Yale University and the Library of Congress, among others. In May, she will receive an MFA in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin.



The Soap Factory’s public space program invited artists to submit proposals for projects outside of The Soap Factory and throughout Minnesota that re-think public spaces, and/or utilize spaces that are often neglected or overlooked. In addition to staff, installation support, and documentation support; The Soap Factory is providing five artists/artist groups with a stipend of $5,000, and two artists/artist groups with a stipend of $10,000 to complete their projects.

Artists and Collaboratives Chosen for



Jess Hirsch

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to accurately identify an emotion and react appropriately through awareness. This may seem simple, however, emotions convolute our behavior, making us react quickly without recognizing our motivations. Emotional Platings is a series of picnic kits made from trees that heal specific emotions. Two people will check out a kit and have a series of prompts to explore the emotion together. Emotional Platings will take place throughout rural Minnesota.

Jess Hirsch is a conceptual artist investigating the healing world through installation and sculpture. She received her MFA from the University of Minnesota in 2013 and is the recipient of the Jerome Emerging Artist Fellowship, MN State Arts Board Grant, and the Jerome Emerging Artist Project Grant. Her art practice focuses on educating the public on alternative health practices through everyday experiences such as bathing, eating, and sleeping.


Aaron Dysart

Produced for specific purposes, data sets’ accuracy tends to limit their audience, as long lists of numbers need to be interpreted for non-specialists. Dysart’s project will turn over the aesthetics of a large colorful public spectacle in the Twin Cities to data in order to tell the story of place, highlighting the role interpretation and orientation plays in our understanding of different environments and how we process knowledge. The quantifiable will become qualitative as aesthetics mingles with interpretation allowing people to see place in a new light.

Aaron Dysart is a sculptor whose objects and environmental interventions push ideas of propriety, gift giving, and reciprocity, while showcasing his love of material’s ability to carry content. He has received awards from Franconia Sculpture Park, Forecast Public Art, The Knight Foundation, and The Minnesota State Arts Board and his work has been in Art in America, Hyperallergic, Berlin Art Link along with other publications He has shown nationally and is currently a City Artist through Public Art Saint Paul, embedded in the city of St. Paul.


Juxtaposition Arts

Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA) will build on the momentum they’ve created over the last 3 years around the celebration of Black August by combining the respective placemaking and art-based engagement skill sets of JXTA’s Public Arts, Tactical, and Environmental Design studios to bring 2017 Black August programming outdoors and onto the intersection of Emerson and West Broadway Avenues in North Minneapolis. This will include the creation and execution of Black August programming, the design and construction of a flatpak parklet, and the extension of Public Art’s 2016 mural, ​Who We Are​ . The extension will ​use the aesthetic style of Chicago’s 1967 mural, ​The Wall of Respect​.

Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA) is a youth development organization and a social enterprise located in North Minneapolis. JXTA envisions the youth of North Minneapolis entering the creative workforce as dynamic innovators and problem solvers with the confidence, skills and connections they need to accomplish their educational and professional goals, and to contribute to the revitalization of the communities where they live and work.


Maria Cameron

“Is Your Rebellion Sitting Still?” is a project by Maria Cameron that will transform public spaces in Rochester, MN into spaces of contemplation, self-reflection, and conversation. By installing a series of large-scale thought bubbles on buildings and in community spaces that are considered works in progress, this project highlights the present flux this city is currently in as it grows and expands. The questions aim to create dialogues about renovation and renewal inviting conversation about the meditative and often healing act of finding art in the every day. The viewer is given the opportunity to focus on some of the complicated questions that come with living, thriving, hurting, and healing.

Maria Cameron’s work examines the relationship between traditional techniques and modern methods by dissecting contemporary social behaviors and activities and reconstructing them into visual experiences. Her work is an extension and expansion of her experiences in Alzheimer’s research and memory care which she uses to reevaluate memory and personal experience. She has most recently been featured in Moon Magazine, at Coe College (Cedar Rapids, IA), and in collaborations for Northern Spark (Twin Cities).

Andy Sturdevant and Sergio Vucci

Common Room is a series of artist-led tours of Twin Cities sites, with each tour themed around a specific concept that the group uses as a lens to explore facets of the urban geography — in the past, these themes have included cats, alleys, skyways, fishing, freeway construction, weather, community kitchens, personal memory, and many more. Common Room is the work by Sergio Vucci and Andy Sturdevant, along with a rotating lineup of contributors. Now in its eighth year, is using the occasion of the Rethinking Public Spaces project to expand the scope of its programming for this summer to travel beyond The Soap Factory, and various neighborhoods of the Twin Cities by foot, bicycle and bus. Common Room’s themes in 2017 will include silence, sacredness, islands, neighborhood music, and more.

Sergio Vucci is a Minneapolis-based artist. He is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his work focuses primarily on engaging his surroundings outside of gallery spaces and on relational interactions, co-authoring ephemeral creative experiences with participants in response to place.

Andy Sturdevant is an artist and writer living in Minneapolis. He is the author of two books of nonfiction, and his artistic projects have been exhibited at venues in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle and elsewhere.

Lamia Abukhadra and Leila Awadallah

In the wake of an election that has left us facing such xenophobic rhetoric as “Build the Wall” and establishing a “Muslim Ban,” many activists have said we must build bridges in order to make human connections and provide people with sanctuary, not walls. As Palestinian Americans witnessing the destruction of communities and diverse ethnic and ecological landscapes both in the U.S. and internationally, Lamia Abukhadra and Leila Awadallah are interested in breaking down walls that should never have existed. With the support of The Soap Factory, they will build a physical wall in an outdoor or easily accessible indoor space, where it can be easily discovered and interacted with.The installation piece will culminate in a final interactive performance in which the lead artists will invite the community to break down The Wall. Lamia and Leila hope to ultimately convey that a concrete or metal facade is just that: a facade. A wall can divide and negatively define communities, landscapes, ecologies and livelihoods, but it can and will be dismantled by the subversive acts of our community.

Lamia Abukhadra is a Palestinian American artist based in Minneapolis. She is interested in the idea of art as a vessel of expression, communication, identity, and culture for and between the disenfranchised communities. Her art aims to dismantle harmful dominant narratives that cultivate and celebrate acts of colonialism, occupation, and genocide in Palestine and the Arab world through personal stories and historical events. Her work has been featured by Altered Aesthetics, the University of Minnesota T.R. Anderson Gallery, and the Quarter Gallery.

Leila Awadallah is a Palestinian-American dance artist and creator located in the Twin Cities. She explores movement by imaging where sensations moving from deep within the body begin and then how they move through the body in order to release energy. She crafts work built with the intention of nuancing, complicating and working to subvert narratives about Palestine. Her work has been presented at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. (2016) and in the Moultaqa Leymoun international dance festival in Beirut, Lebanon (2017). Her movement film reflections on ice received a SAGE Award (2016). She is in her fourth year as a company member of Ananya Dance Theatre.

Pete Driessen

Pete Driessen will be orchestrating a large scale, abstract trestle sculpture and installation reflecting contemporary culture in the Blacksmith Shop building at the Northern Pacific Railway Yard, Brainerd, MN for The Soap Factory ReThinking Public Space in Minnesota program during June-October of 2017. A trestle is often defined as a complex of braced framework serving as a vertical support structure, created with wooden timbers, rock piles, and iron or steelwork for carrying a horizontal traversed beam, such as a table-like road or railroad over a lower geographic depression. Trestle language, semiotics and symbolism are synonymous with current self-help trends of scaffolding, bootstrapping, sustainability and empowerment.

The Northern Pacific Railroad yard is a large historic grouping of 12 brick and wood beam buildings that sit on a massive 47-acre plot of land in Brainerd, MN. The massive industrial site contains the aesthetic atmosphere and former physical workings of the past turn-of-the-century railroad era. The old railroad Blacksmith Shop building is 50,000 square feet, with 20-foot high sidewalls, an 80-foot wide cross span, and concrete floors. Listed on National Register of Historic Places, the NP site is centrally located near the geographic center of the state. Both the industrial rawness and the monumental scale of the Northern Pacific site and its Blacksmith Shop space are reflective of The Soap Factory’s artistic history and its current ReThinking Public Space in MN programming goals.

Driessen envisions an interior, site-specific abstract trestle installation based in found object sculpture and its connection to the physicality of train tracks, rail ties and site detritus. The main trestle sculpture will be a conceptual fallen train track “spur” that reflects a trestle bridge. The NP Blacksmith Shop trestle installation will physically explore the typical rail transportation form, the trestle as figural representation, and expand sculptural and public art vocabulary and personal spatial vernacular.

Pete Driessen is a Minneapolis based multipractice visual artist, curator and cultural producer who creates abstract and sociopolitical paintings, mixed media ship fleets, found object installations, conceptual art statements, interdisciplinary public art, and performative participatory projects.

Driessen received his MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, VT, and BA from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul. Pete was recently named Minneapolis City Pages 2015 Artist of the Year, and has been awarded numerous regional grants and awards, including a 2015 Jerome/FSP Fellowship at Franconia Sculpture Park for his Franconia Boat Tower project, a 2014 MRAC Next Step grant for his Silverwood Park sculpture project, and two MSAB Artist Initiative grants (2017, 2013). Pete’s exhibition record includes national and regional solo and group exhibitions at a wide range of venues. He currently directs and curates a hybridic, experimental garage-based gallery known as TuckUnder Projects that specializes in emerging and midcareer artists focusing on conceptual visual arts practice, curatorial projects, and institutional critique.


Join our email list:

514 Second Street SE Minneapolis MN 55414  | 
(612) 623–9176