The Soap Factory is a laboratory for artistic experimentation, audience engagement and emerging cultural practice.
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) non-profit.
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 non-profit has, over 25 years, filled a crucial niche in the vital regional arts community by providing a supportive exhibition environment for artists who are at the beginning of their careers or who are exploring new genres of expression.
The Soap Factory exhibited the work over 100 artists and had 25,000 visitors attend opening nights, tour exhibitions, or participate in our special events. While popularly accessible, our programs are artist-centered, offering audiences a visceral and immediate experience of art and of the life of the artist.
The Soap Factory is 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, located along the riverfront near the birthplace of Minneapolis, makes The Soap Factory the largest independent contemporary art gallery in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, and one of the largest devoted to emerging practice in the USA. We are the only true "raw" space in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, a unique showcase for sculpture, installation, painting, performance, theater, dance, photography, film, and video.
The Soap Factory is the only W.A.G.E. certified organization in Minneapolis. This certification signals that it stands in solidarity with artists as part of an equitable community no matter what their material practice or reputation might be. The Soap Factory is committed to supporting the artists that perform and/or exhibit work at the Soap Factory financially.
The Soap Factory supports artists and their work not only by providing funding, development and exhibition space for new work by artists on an unprecedented scale, but also by providing a skilled staff to aid artists in realizing new work and critical reviews and publications. Doing so, we help position artists to continue beyond their Soap Factory exhibitions, as well as offering our volunteers, many of whom are emerging artists themselves, the opportunity to learn and work within a professional gallery environment.