Celebration & Challenge

Ely Folk School opening 2014

Happy Birthday to Us! Our Ely Folk School is entering our 5th Season! Please join us for our Celebration and our Challenge.

Our Celebration: Join us for our special event 3-5pm Sunday, June 9, and share highlights of our first half decade, updates on new classes, lots of yummy cakes (& other treats)

Our Challenge: We’ve been gifted with a generous grant from Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation that will boost our 5th year initiatives.  BUT it requires a 1:1 match from community donations. Please help make this happen with your gift to our Spring Appeal.

Your gift will be doubled by our grant to launch these great initiatives:

  • Our new pottery program in our newly remodeled workshop.  Let’s fire up our donated kiln this summer!
  • Our expanded blacksmithing program, which opened to very popular appeal last fall in our converted garage
  • Our collaboration with Ely arts groups on the “Nature for the Nation” outdoor walking play, slated for a performance here this August
  • Our extended seasonal folk dance series, which is also supported by the Gardner Trust
  • Plus, expanded website and marketing services and funds to assist with compensating our talented and dedicated instructors who teach our short courses in traditional skills

Year Five is a threshold for our Ely Folk School. It’s well-established that a 5th-year tipping point separates short-lived ventures from those with staying power. Your generous gift to our 2019 Spring Appeal will put us in the winner’s column. We’ve got a great track record to build on:

  • Since opening in May 2015, we’ve offered nearly 1,000 classes and events.
  • 80% of our classes are being held as planned, a marketing success rate that rivals the biggest folk schools.
  • Our class revenues have increased 50%, but like all folk schools, we rely heavily on grants and donations, and we keep course fees minimal to ensure affordability.
  • We’ve been credited as a catalyst in Ely’s downtown rejuvenation, which the Minneapolis Star Tribune has hailed the “Ely Renaissance.”
  • We aspire to become a key economic engine for Ely. Folk schools have helped revitalize small towns all across the country, building business and engendering pride of place.

Please join us in celebrating our EFS Birthday Party, 3-5 pm, Sunday, June 9 at the Ely Folk School. Learn about our exciting summer line-up. It includes our ever-popular programs like pine needle basketry, rosemaling, canoe building, barn quilts, wild edibles, watercolor notecards, weaving, and making Slovenian favorites like pasties, potica, and strudel. PLUS new offerings such as fish leather wallets, herbal first aid, shoreline plants, embroidery, and night sky photography.

Please donate online here.

Your generous gift will help ensure that we meet our required match to make full use of our Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation grant. Your gift will also help ensure that our fifth year marks the Ely Folk School’s continuing success as a community connecting point and celebration of our region’s rich cultural legacy.

Thank you for helping the Ely Folk School make  Ely a great place to live and visit!

The Ely Folk School Board and Staff Team:

Paul Schurke, Tanner Ott, Pam Ransom, Patsy Mogush, Johnnie Hyde, Chris Clemens, Mary Louise Icenhour, Diane Thompson, Betty Firth, Irene Hartfield

P.S. Your gift to the Ely Folk School is fully tax deductible. We’re a non-profit, 501c3 tax-exempt organization.

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