Who we are
The Soap Factory is a laboratory for artistic experimentation and innovation, dedicated to supporting artists and engaging audiences through the production and presentation of contemporary art in a unique and historic environment.
Based in the historic National Purity Soap Factory in downtown Minneapolis, The Soap Factory is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Where it began
The Soap Factory was founded in 1989 by a small group of artists as one of the first venues in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul devoted to emerging visual art.
Originally called No Name Gallery, then No Name Exhibitions, our nonprofit has filled a crucial niche in the vital regional arts community by providing a supportive exhibition environment for artists at the beginning of their careers. For 26 years, we’ve helped artists explore new genres of expression.
The Soap Factory exhibits the work of over 100 artists and more than 20,000 visitors attend opening nights, tour exhibitions, and participate in our events every year. Our programs are artist-centered yet accessible, and offer a visceral experience of art and the life of the artist.
Embracing the space
The gallery is now located in the former National Purity Soap Company building, donated to the organization by Pillsbury in 1995. This historic 130-year-old, 48,000-square-foot wood and brick warehouse is located along the riverfront near the birthplace of Minneapolis. The Soap Factory is the largest independent contemporary art gallery in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, and one of the largest devoted to emerging practice in the USA. Our authentically “raw” space serves as a unique showcase for sculpture, installation, painting, performance, theater, dance, photography, film, and video.
For 26 years, The Soap Factory has been dedicated to supporting artists and their work. We not only provide funding, development and exhibition space for new work on an unprecedented scale, but also offer a skilled staff to help artists realize new work and bring it to a larger audience. This assistance positions artists to continue beyond their Soap Factory exhibitions. It also offers our volunteers (many of whom are artists themselves) the opportunity to learn and work within a professional gallery environment.
The Soap Factory is committing to supporting artists financially and has been W.A.G.E. certified since 2015. W.A.G.E. Certification is a national program initiated and operated by W.A.G.E. that publicly recognizes those nonprofit arts organizations demonstrating a history of, and commitment to, voluntarily paying artist fees that meet our minimum payment standards.