Happy Winter Festival!
What a marvelous time to be in Ely. The Ely Winter Festival is perhaps the best time of year to see the wide range of arts and culture that Ely boasts. Live, local music multiple times a week; snow sculptors spending hours on hours crafting incredible works of snow; the first annual End of the Road film festival; and all mediums of art on display in the downtown gallery that is the Ely Art Walk. It seems to be one of the few times our town gets together and decides to put on full display the inherent talent, creativity, and curiosity that Elyites share. 

And you can get a taste of many of those things here at the Ely Folk School. You don’t have to be ready to display your creativity for everyone, taking a class is a great way to join the artistic Winter Festival community. Our classes are non-competitive and intergenerational, meaning classes are a space to experiment, share stories, learn, and connect. 

This weekend is a busy one for EFS – we are hosting 10 classes and events and we are sponsoring the End of the Road Film Festival! Please check out the list of classes below – many have waitlists, but we encourage you stop by, say hi, and let us know what classes you want to take in the future! We hope to see you at the Ely Folk School and Ely’s Historic State Theater this weekend! 

Happy Trails!


View full list of classes online.

Thursday Makers Mornings
9:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Join other makers and crafters weekly at the Ely Folk School for a relaxed morning of creativity and sharing. Whether you crochet, quilt, solder, write, or weave, any project is welcome. This space is also excellent for students who did not finish a project during their class.

 Drop in whenever as you like, for as long as you like. 

Instructor Spotlight: Wade Pharr

What is currently your favorite class to teach and why?
I always look forward to teaching beginner classes, and helping people get used to working with clay. It is enjoyable to answer questions and help push students beyond where they are at with the craft. I find that classes give people inspiration for projects through working with others. My classes will be pretty broad in the beginning.

What do you enjoy most about your craft?

I value the ability to turn dirt into something beautiful. My favorite things to make are my more intricate sculpture pieces. 

How long have you been making pottery?
I’ve been doing clay work for 30 years, and for 22 of those years I didn’t have my own space. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to help get the studio membership going for people that don’t have a space to use. I understand the hardships of yearning to work with clay more often, but having limited access. We know it is important to offer as much access to the space as possible for studio members. 

What’s a fun fact about you?
I create and problem solve. I’ve done stone carving and painting. I’ve also done my own wild game butchering and hide tanning. I went to one year of college to do ad-design, but was ultimately drawn to continue pursuing pottery.

Mercantile Spotlight

Twisted Headbands made with wool from Erindale Tapestry Studio and novelty fibers made by instructor Laura Berlage, $35 each.
Shearling Headband with wool and silk blend yarn, $45 each.

We invite you to become a Friend of Ely Folk School through your donation. Thank you so much for helping us accomplish our mission of building community by providing learning experiences that celebrate the wilderness heritage, art, history, culture, and craft of the people of northern Minnesota.
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The Ely Folk School is made possible by: Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, Donald G. Gardner Humanities Trust, Lake Country Power, Minnesota State Arts Board, Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment, and Rotary International.