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An artistic mini golf course to help liven up the old Schmidt Brewery

The Blue Ox Art Putt, a $500,000 artist-designed mini golf course, is in the works for a part of the old Schmidt Brewery in St. Paul.

The concept stemmed from an earlier project that a couple of the Blue Ox LLC group members had been involved in at the Walker Art Center in 2004 and 2008, according to Jennifer Pennington, a member of the group. At that time, Blue Ox team member Christi Atkinson led in the making of an artistic mini golf course that was on the Walker grounds temporarily.

Pennington’s husband, Chris, built one of the holes, which turned out to be a popular part of the course, even earning national press, she says. The whole idea was “so fun and engaging,” Pennington says, “We thought, ‘let’s build a permanent one.’”

Beyond that, the mini golf course could also feature other types of arts programming, such as live music, dance, or puppet shows. “We want it to be a community hub,” she says. “It’s really about creating not just an arts destination but a place for people of all backgrounds to come together.”  

In preparation for the mini golf course, the group looked at a variety of locations, finally settling on the brewery because of the arts-focused development happening there, she says. The Schmidt Brewery is being converted into an artist live/work complex, along with a museum and a taproom/restaurant.

For the golf course, artists will work individually or in a team to design each hole. “It’ll be something to discover for everyone,” she says, adding that she expects it’ll be the kind of place that “inspires wonder and amazement and beauty.”

The plan still has to go through a city and state approval process because of the brewery’s historic status, but Pennington expects construction on the clubhouse to start this summer. Around the same time, the group will put out a call out for artists. Further down the line, the holes will be constructed off-site and installed in spring of 2014, she says.

The Blue Ox Art Putt is planned to open in May of 2014.

Right now, the Blue Ox team is waiting to hear back on some grant applications. Pennington is optimistic that the mini golf course will be a draw in the neighborhood. “There’s been so much positive feedback. A lot of people have been very generous with sharing resources. It’s been a lot of fun,” she says.

Source: Jennifer Pennington, Blue Ox Art Putt
Writer: Anna Pratt
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