Highpoint Center for Printmaking opens grand new home on Lake Street


Highpoint is hot. At its grand opening gala earlier this month, Highpoint Center for Printmaking opened the big glass doors of its new home on Lake Street to greet its past patrons and new supporters.

On view in the gallery is the exhibition Excavations: The Prints of Julie Mehretu. Collectors afraid of breaking the bank, don’t worry—not a single print is available by this internationally acclaimed artist. Mehretu’s 2004 Entropia (review), a 32-color lithograph and screenprint created at Highpoint with Cole Rogers during the artist’s yearlong residency at the Walker Art Center, is a complex dynamic print in an edition of 45 that initially sold for $2,500. At a recent auction, Enthropia sold for $13,500.

Outgrowing its old accommodating but cramped digs adjacent to the Soo Visual Arts Center on Lyndale Avenue, Highpoint acquired its new home at 912 West Lake Street—and it’s a dream. Renovated by James Dayton Design, the building is an enviable, versatile 10,000 square foot, one-story building (formerly home to Dreamhaven Books and Comics) that projects a semi-industrial pulse with an elegant modernist attitude. Maple flooring in the galleries is countered by concrete in the work areas. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows give the facility streetwise accessibly. Channel glass and stainless steel railings finish off the space in high style without pretention.

If by chance Highpoint has flown beneath your art-dar, the nonprofit organization has been making its mark since opening in 2001. It embraces all things print, providing opportunities and classes for professional artists, students and those simply curious about the art of making prints. Its professional studio, Highpoint Editions, serves artists from around the globe. Additionally, a fully equipped print shop serves co-op members, and classes are taught in its large state-of-the art classroom. Last week, Noel Vargus Hernandez, a visiting artist from Oaxaca, was more than pleased with the environment as he figured out the intricacies of the press. A serene, secluded studio for visiting artists looks out upon a contemplative garden created by artist Kinji Akagawa and the research library is a community resource. The multi-spaced gallery is an artist’s dream come true. Large, sleek, and well-lit by both natural and electrical illumination, the space is an eminently suitable home for the organization.

In a time of economic distress and global instability, how did a small non-profit organization raise 80 percent of their $3.5 million capital budget? “The community cares enough about what we do,” says Carla McGrath, Highpoint’s executive director. “Artists and supporters believe in what we do.”

Correction: This article initially reported the name of a Julie Mehretu print as Enthropia and said that it first sold for $3,500. In fact, the print’s title is Entropia (review), and it first sold for $2,500.