Water Bar & Public Studio is a bar that serves free local tap water. It's also an art space and incubator of collaborative projects on water, place, and environment. Led by artists Shanai Matteson and Colin Kloecker of Works Progress Studio, and artist Jennifer Arave, Water Bar works with a diverse network of partners, including other artists, science researchers, environmental advocates, and our neighbors in Northeast Minneapolis and across the state of Minnesota. 

In addition to our storefront taproom and public studio, we bring our pop-up Water Bar to other places and communities, working with local organizations to create projects that build relationships with and in place.

Water Bar & Public Studio is an artist-led Public Benefit Corporation

We sustain our storefront space and community programs by providing creative services and products to other businesses and organizations, through strategic partnerships with nonprofit organizations and government agencies, and through social impact investment from others who value what we're building together.

To connect with us email hello [at] water-bar [dot] org






Advisory Board




Water Bar & Public Studio is a project of Works Progress Studio and a network of creative and community partners. We work with these partners to develop and present artistic and design projects, popular education programs, exhibitions, skill-sharing workshops, internships and college classes, scientific research, and place-based advocacy projects on water and environmental justice.

Currently, we're developing partnerships and projects with the Holland Neighborhood Improvement AssociationHealing Place Collaborative, Freshwater Society, Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, Yo Mama Mothering Mothers InstituteMinnesota Humanities Center, The Smithsonian, MuseWeb Foundation, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Department of Health, City of MinneapolisMN American Water Works Association, University of Minnesota (River Life, Institute on Environment, Department of Landscape Architecture | College of Design), Northern Spark Festival 2017, Minnesota State Fair, and a number of public artists, designers, cultural and community organizations, and local businesses in Minneapolis and across Minnesota.



Project History

Water Bar was developed in 2014 as a public art project by Shanai Matteson and Colin Kloecker of Works Progress Studio, in conversation with a community of scientific researchers, environmental advocates, arts organizers, public employees, educators, and others.

Our first Water Bar was part of Twin Cities Public Television's TV Takeover program (see a video here) curated by Works Progress Studio in June of 2014.  In fall-winter of 2014, Water Bar was featured in the national exhibition State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. That project was a collaboration with the Illinois River Watershed Partnership and a group of paid student interns with backgrounds in ecology, natural resource management, design, policy, and business. 

In 2015, a new Water Bar was developed in Greensboro, North Carolina as part of the South Elm Projects at Elsewhere Living Museum, and was a collaboration with Greensboro Water Resources and Guilford College's Cape Fear River Basin Project. We have facilitated Water Bar pop-ups across Minnesota, as well as in Wisconsin, Illinois, and California.

Click here for a full listing of past events and here to see where we'll be next!