Textile Center was formed by a group of fiber artists and patrons and incorporated in 1994. As an umbrella arts organization for fiber artists and textile arts groups, the Textile Center’s goals are to:
- Inspire and support fiber artists.
- Increase public access to and education about fiber art.
- Foster and promote diversity in all areas of fiber art.
- Preserve fiber art skills and traditions.
- Provide a central networking and resource facility for fiber artists.
During its first seven years, the Textile Center operated from a small rented office in St. Paul and presented three or four fiber art exhibitions in venues across the region annually. At the same time, Textile Center founders were building connections among textile guilds, fiber artists, and textile arts enthusiasts. They began an extensive search for a permanent home. In 2000, Textile Center found a 1920s one-story brick building in the Prospect Park neighborhood of Minneapolis, and a capital campaign was launched to pay for its purchase and renovation.
Rapson Architects designed the renovation of the building, originally a Ford auto showroom, and in the process uncovered many of the building’s original features including clerestory windows, terrazzo floors, and trusses that had been hidden for years. The facility opened in 2001 leading to a dramatic expansion of Textile Center programs and services.
Textile Center surpassed its $2 million capital campaign goal in early 2003, thanks to phenomenal grassroots support from more than 1,300 individuals and scores of textile guilds, businesses, and foundations. In recognition of its artistic initiative and its steps to strengthen the cultural community, the Textile Center received the 2002 U.S. Bank Sally Ordway Irvine Award. Now in its second decade, the Textile Center has become a preeminent center for fiber art, serving a community that is worldwide.