Shafer, MN | July 2020 – Celebrating the successful completion of a 5-year capital campaign, Franconia Sculpture Park is excited to open Franconia Commons—a lively new civic space that will provide expanded opportunities for people to learn about the park, have unique arts experiences, and engage in dialogue with Visiting Artists.


In 2015, Franconia Sculpture Park embarked on a $3M capital campaign to design and build a space that would serve artists and visitors year-round. Designed by Kampa Studio, Franconia Commons will add an additional 7,000 square feet of indoor community space to the nearly 45-acre sculpture park, allowing for expanded public programming and educational opportunities throughout the winter months. Founded in 1996 on the principal of providing an “outdoor laboratory” for artists to create and install “big art”, Franconia has evolved to embrace diverse sculptural mediums such as land art, installation, and performance. As a major economic driver of the St. Croix River Valley, Franconia Commons is a space where art and civic life will intersect through cross-sector collaborations and critical dialogues between artists and visitors.

Franconia Commons is more than just a visitor center. It includes a multi-purposes performance and education space to house hands-on artmaking workshops, lectures, and performances, allowing Franconia to deliver unique educational content year-round such as its upcoming Multigenerational Artmaking Workshop series that allows families to take classes together such as Soft Sculpture, Sound Sculpture, Collage, and more.

Franconia Commons also will include an indoor art gallery, where rotating quarterly exhibitions featuring artists from across the globe and throughout Minnesota will be on display to our 150,000 annual visitors. The inaugural exhibition, “New Domestics” will explore themes of domesticity in contemporary art, blurring the lines between functional art, craft, and high and lowbrow art forms. Using the gallery as a platform to contemplate interiors and their intimate relationship to art and design, this exhibition celebrates artists from across the globe while examining the depth and breadth of sculpture as an expansive and diverse medium.

In addition, Franconia Commons will have a gift shop, fully-accessible public restrooms, administrative offices, a Visiting Artist project space, and a Café and Patio designed by Franconia Fellow artist Tom Bierlein where visitors can sit and enjoy the expansive outdoors at Franconia.

The Grand Opening of Franconia Commons will be celebrated on Saturday, September 26th at Franconia’s 24th Annual “Art & Artists Celebration from 3pm-9pm. The event will feature musical performances by Minnesota-based bands Starcrossed, XOXOTECH, and Le Hearse, food trucks will be on site vending, and tours of the new building and sculptures created in 2020 will take place throughout the day in addition to artmaking demos by artists-in-residence. This event is free and open to the public with a $5 parking fee. Please join us in celebrating this important achievement for Franconia and the Minnesota arts community!

About Franconia Sculpture Park

Franconia Sculpture Park is the pre-eminent, artist-centered sculpture park in the Midwest. Founded in 1996, Franconia provides physically and intellectually wide-open spaces that inspire new ways of thinking through access to contemporary sculpture, installation and land art. Located in the scenic St. Croix River Valley, Franconia operates a 43-acre outdoor museum, active artist residency program, and a depth and breadth of arts programming for a diverse and engaged public.

Franconia is located at 29836 St. Croix Trail in Shafer, Minnesota, and is free and open to the public 365 days a year from 8am to 8pm.

Media Contact

Alyssa Auten
Franconia Sculpture Park
Communications & Creative Director