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New digs double the elbow room for printmaking center

On Saturday night, the Highpoint Center for Printmaking will celebrate its new 10,000-square foot home on Lake Street with “Proof Positive,” a grand opening gala. The center, founded eight years ago by Carla McGrath and Cole Rogers, resided until recently on Lyndale Avenue, a few blocks away from Highpoint’s new space.

Though not yet a decade old, Highpoint quickly outgrew its original 3,800-foot building, thanks to the center’s wide array of exhibition programs, fellowships, popular printmaking classes, workshops with schoolchildren, and generous studio and equipment access offered to its co-op artist members.

At a time when so many arts organizations are struggling for their very survival, Highpoint’s achievement is heartening indeed. That’s not to say it came easy.

“HP2: Campaign for a Permanent Home,” an intense fundraising campaign to finance this endeavor, is a testament to Highpoint’s value for local artists, foundations and community residents. According to the center’s website, the effort raised $2,711,803 by the end of September from individuals, corporations, and philanthropic foundations and organizers hope to reach their goal, $3.5 million, by the end of the year.

Highpoint’s new facility, designed by architect James Dayton, boasts an elegant outdoor courtyard/green space and rain garden, designed by McKnight Distinguished Artist Kinji Akagawa, as well as dedicated classroom and workshop space, a new artists’ print shop cooperative studio, expanded exhibition galleries and, of course, roomier studios and storage spaces for co-op members and visiting artists.

Less glamorous but just as important, the new Highpoint Center also has a parking lot — a welcome and, in that Minneapolis neighborhood anyway, sometimes scarce convenience for visitors.

In addition to Saturday’s grand opening activities, the center is marking the occasion with an exhibition of new work by Highpoint Editions artist Julie Mehretu, “Excavations.” The festivities include a menu of ticketed options, from $300 to $35 — ranging in exclusivity and quality of swag, depending on the donation level.

While Mehretu’s exhibition promises to be a good one in its own right, the most compelling reason to go is simply to rubberneck around the luxe new gallery spaces and to celebrate the underdog success of this arts center.

“Proof Positive,” the grand opening gala for Highpoint Center for Printmaking, will be Saturday, Oct. 3. Visit the website for more information on ticketed events scheduled throughout the evening.

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