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The Flame that Heals: Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center works with County Home School Youth to Conserve Public Art

Minneapolis, MN. Work taking place August 27-30th


The Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center (CAFAC) is a non-profit arts organization with a mission to inspire hearts, hands, and minds through art forms created using heat, spark, and flame such as blacksmithing, welding, and metal fabrication. CAFAC has been working with youth—particularly those at risk--to use art as a community-building tool since 2006. Once again next week, CAFAC will be working with youth from the Hennepin County Home School on a public art project in which youth design, create, fabricate, and preserve public works of art. In addition to learning basic skills of using welding, grinding, and blacksmithing equipment, the participants also learn important lessons about conservatorship, project management, and teamwork.

“We’ve had kids come through this program who have never done anything like this before and later on gone on to college or to learn trades inspired by the work they’ve done here” said Heather Doyle, CAFAC Artistic Director and project founder. “We’ve seen how working with fire art forms can be an incredibly empowering experience for these kids, and provides with them an opportunity to give something back to their communities.”

This year’s project will include maintenance and repair work to several pieces that were constructed by an earlier class before moving the pieces to a new home on the County Home School campus.

A note about photo and videography opportunities: Welding and blacksmithing provide some great visuals of sparks flying, metal forges heating, oxy-acetylene torches being used to cut steel, but because the participants in this program are juvenile felons, their faces cannot be filmed or photographed. When working they will be wearing full protective gear which covers their faces, which can be filmed without any limitations.

About the Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center

The Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center (CAFAC) is a non-profit arts organization that fills a unique niche in arts programming for the Twin Cities region. Its focus is on fine and industrial art forms that are produced using heat, spark, or flame—collectively known as "fire arts"—including sculptural welding, blacksmithing, glasswork, jewelry making, and others. CAFAC provides classes to anyone with an interest, from youth to adult and beginner to master-level artisans. We also offer studio rental facilities to working and emerging artists and feature a storefront gallery space.


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