Works Progress was originally founded in 2009 by Colin Kloecker, Troy Gallas, Shanai Matteson and Ben Shardlow as an umbrella organization for four distinct public projects previously created by it's co-founders and others. These early projects included Solutions Twin Cities, an annual showcase of local and regional change makers created by Kloecker and Gallas in 2007; Give & Take, a monthly program aimed at building connections between strangers, created by Kloecker, Gallas and Shardlow in 2009; Salon Saloon, a live arts and culture magazine spotlighting Twin Cities cultural makers, created by Kloecker, Matteson and frequent collaborator Andy Sturdevant in 2009; and West Bank Social Center, a laboratory for art and community in Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside neighborhood ran by Matteson, Kloecker, Gallas and collaborators Andy Dayton and Miranda Trimmier from 2009 to 2011.
In 2010 Shanai Matteson and Colin Kloecker began to transition into working full time on Works Progress projects, and in 2011 they become Collaborative Directors of the practice. With support from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council and a volunteer advisory board, Works Progress explored existing and emerging organizational models, eventually making a decision to forgo non-profit status in favor of a business model based in the tradition of the multi-disciplinary design studio. Works Progress Studio was incorporated that year.
This model allows us to remain nimble and responsive, focusing our energies on the research, development and production of new projects in collaboration with our partners, rather than on maintaining a fixed suite of programs and staff. We continue to exist in the grey space between established disciplines, always evolving our creative process and approach. In 2014 Works Progress moved into our current studio space in an affordable housing development for artists and their families in Northeast Minneapolis, Artspace Jackson Flats, where we occasionally host small public events and workshops. Today, we make a living from a combination of art commissions, self-initiated and for-hire public art and design projects, working on multidisciplinary design teams, and presenting public workshops or lectures. We’re grateful for the opportunity to work in many different ways - from artist, to organizer, to filmmaker, to designer.
We look forward to what is next!