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Kids of all ages from Ely to Maine joined in the online kitchen fun.

“My daughter loved the pine needle basketry and sewing for dolls classes she took in Ely. She made a lemon pie with Lacey’s online class and keeps talking about it!”

Erin, Maine

“Thanks for the awesome class! My son had tons of fun!”

Anna, Ely

“The biscuits and gravy class was excellent! Lacey was a great teacher with enthusiasm and energy that we all needed. Thank you for doing these classes! We’re saddened that travel to Ely this summer might not be possible, but the Folk School is a wonderful connection to Ely, and we look forward to what you have in store.”

Ann, North Carolina:

“This is such a creative way to keep the Folk School front and center during this crazy time.”

Mary, Ely

“What a fun class! Our pizza was delicious!”

Meg, Illinois

These are the voices you can hear echoing through the virtual halls of the Ely Folk School. In these challenging times, we’re still bringing people together to learn and get to know each other. Over 150 of you enjoyed Lacey Squier’s free online cooking classes, having fun cooking with family, friends, and strangers across the country. One North Carolina woman reconnected with Ely high school friends she hadn’t talked to in years. Your freewill donations have helped keep the lights on and have been gratefully received.

Les Conrad’s Adobe Lightroom photo editing class was successfully broadcast from a dining room table, and participants in a Zoom story-telling evening huddled around computers, sharing memories.  Rosemaling, watercolor, songwriting, chip carving, and more are virtually around the corner.

With your support and some grant funding in 2019, we have been able to buy some basic equipment to establish a ceramics studio, a stained glass program, and expanded blacksmith classes, all three in demand and unavailable elsewhere in our region.

“Yes the [Adobe Lightroom] class was great. Les takes time and makes sure that we understand before he moves on. He is loves his subject matter and is very personable. His presentation was awesome more, more, more information is good!”

Deb, Minnesota
There’s still more to do, and we need your ongoing support!
The IRRR has approved $9,000 for developing our programs and new initiatives in 2020. Accessing these essential funds requires matching donations from our supporters, Friends of the Ely Folk School.Donate OnlineWe’ve set up an easy way for you to donate your Spring 2020 gift online at Your gift will be doubled and will help meet our required match for our 2020 IRRR grant.  You can also mail in a donation to 209 E. Sheridan St., Ely, MN 55731.Online, you have the option of a one-time gift or a recurring monthly gift.  We encourage you to choose the recurring option where a small amount adds up!
Carol, one of our sustaining donors, says, “I give $10 a month, and it’s so easy, I’m going to increase my donation. I never miss it, and it’s gratifying to be able to support the Folk School in this more substantial way.”

If you’d like, you can specifically contribute to these targeted goals:


Blacksmith Forge:

Stained Glass:

Scholarship Fund:

Ely Folk School has offered over 200 classes and events every year since 2015. This summer will look a bit different, but we look forward to sharing news soon about more classes, online and on-site.

We feel our major strengths and achievements stem from our desire and ability to bring people together where they can learn skills, reconnect with their own creative abilities, and forge new relationships within the community. We are continuing to do that, and you are continuing to help us.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The Ely Folk School Team:
Board: Paul Schurke, Tanner Ott, Chris Clemens, Johnnie Hyde, Lacey Squier

Staff: Betty Firth, Irene Hartfield, Pam Kewley

And our terrific volunteers who help keep everything ticking from data entry to building shelves!

Here is a composite picture of the five parts of our family that have taken part in the online cooking classes.  All loved the pizza best, Ted took the lemon pie class and loved that, and those who participated were pleasantly surprised at how much we liked the the Thai green curry.  These classes were truly informative and fun, but for our family it was great to “get together.”  All have been to Ely many times and miss it this summer.
Thank you for all that you do. – Ann Spitler
“The class you set up for our family was perfect from beginning to end. We loved being together away from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. Everyone left with a smile and fabulous self-made beaver hats or mitts and memories that will last a lifetime!”
The Chmelik family, Minnesota