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Midway’s own Mosaic on a Stick now at Hamline Park Playground Building

Posted on 08 May 2013 by robwas66

When artist Lori Greene first opened the doors of Mosaic on a Stick nine years ago on Snelling Avenue, she never thought the mosaic supply store, classroom and studio would one day occupy the historic old Hamline Park Building. Over Easter weekend, the shop moved its location to  the two-story structure built in 1938. Above, Green poses with staffer Eamonn McLain in their new space. (Photo by Stefanie Berres)

When artist Lori Greene first opened the doors of Mosaic on a Stick nine years ago on Snelling Avenue, she never thought the mosaic supply store, classroom and studio would one day occupy the historic old Hamline Park Building. Over Easter weekend, the shop moved its location to the two-story structure built in 1938. Above, Green poses with staffer Eamonn McLain in their new space. (Photo by Stefanie Berres)

By JAN WILLMS

When Hamline resident and artist Lori Greene first opened the doors of Mosaic on a Stick nine years ago on Snelling Avenue, she never thought the mosaic supply store, classroom and studio would one day occupy the historic old Hamline Park Building.

Over Easter weekend, the shop moved its location to 1564 Lafond Ave. and into the two-story structure built in 1938.

And on June 15, a grand opening will be held on the premises, with live music and food trucks brought in to add to the celebration.

Greene said the Hamline Park Building was constructed by the WPA and served as a parks building for the first 30 years of its life. It was then used by a series of nonprofits, but the space was greatly under-utilized.

Greene will make use of the space available, offering a variety of classes on the lower floor and a gallery, open studio and store on the first floor.

Classes will be available during daytime hours and evenings to participants of all ages, in beginning and advanced mosaic and handmade glass and sculpture.

Greene, who did her undergraduate studies at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland and her master’s at the Maryland Institute College of Arts, has been working with mosaic for the past 20 years.

“Operating the store has been the first time I have been open to public business,” Greene said, “but I have only really ever been an artist.”

From the beginning, she has promoted Mosaic on a Stick, so named because of its nearness to the State Fair corridor, as a community enterprise. One of her earlier projects was creating mosaic planters along Snelling, a joint effort with the Hamline Midway Coalition. Neighborhood residents and Hamline University students joined in to work on the planters.

Although Greene said she does not do much with the planters anymore, if she passes one and notices it needs to be fixed, she tries to repair it as soon as possible.

With the recent difficult economic climate, Mosaic on a Stick has not only survived, but flourished, a difficult task for a small business.

Greene said she attributed the business’ success to one thing—love. “This business is not a big money maker, but that’s not the point. It is really about community, and the people who come here are here for the community.”

She said she is still pursuing getting a nonprofit status for the business. She is currently working on a mural with North High students for their school and doing a project for two restaurants that are very much not local—they are in Dubai.

“It’s just a weird fluke that I happen to have work all over the place,” Greene said modestly.

She has two main staff members to help, Tara Nielsen and Eamonn McLain.

“I never expected the business to grow this much,” Greene said. “But I would like to encourage people to come over and see the building. It’s a very different space, and such a beautiful building. And people can always come and work on a project.”

The store is open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday and Friday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. The open house will be held during the regular Saturday hours.


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