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Framing the Future

The Campaign for North House

Framing the Future sets the stage for the next 25 years of enriching lives and building community on the shores of Lake Superior.

architectural rendering of North House's future Welcome Center - a two story building with walk-out basement.

The $7 million campaign is the critical next step of programmatic and campus evolution. $5 million will be invested in evolving campus that will make it possible to host 100+ additional courses each year with the construction of two new craft-focused classrooms and to celebrate and feature the work of artisans and share the tools and resources that sustain craft in the expanded school store. Across the street a remodeled Green Building will expand North House’s internship program to five participants—furthering our commitment to steward the future of craft.

Funds raised towards the $2 million goal for operations over the course of the campaign that started in 2020 have not only kept North House moving purposefully forward throughout the pandemic, but continue to advance relationships with Indigenous instructors, grow youth and family programming, and radically expand scholarship and Work Study programs.

The timbers are ordered. The contractors are lined up. Your commitment is needed today to make this vision possible.

Campaign Priorities

Build the Welcome Center

With expansive views of the harbor from the upstairs classroom and a bright lake-level classroom that connects students with the rest of campus and the Grand Marais Harbor the new building grows course offerings and builds on North House’s strengths. The new front door of campus will provide a warm welcome for students and spark curiosity about traditional craft for visitors – connecting them with the crafts of instructors and the tools and books needed to find their passions.

Grow the Intern Program

Building on two decades of success, with more than two dozen former interns now serving as instructors—this program has demonstrated its vital importance in stewarding the future of craft. Remodeling a portion of the Green Building will give added privacy and more room for interns to explore craft and engage with instructors that have sent a lifetime honing their skills.

Carry Craft Forward

Building on an already strong foundation and with new space for learning gives the freedom for creativity to flourish. With the generous philanthropy of supporters, North House will be able to continue growing as the internationally recognized Northern crossroads of traditional craft – with unmatched programs and events that weave together the stories and cultures from across the northern landscape.

Construction Progress

Follow along as the building moves through construction.


Campaign Leadership

“As someone who has been involved as a student and supporter of North House over the past 20 years, I believe that this campaign moves the organization forward, while keeping the culture and feel of campus intact. I think that it’s critical to find ways to evolve while staying true to the values and visions of a place that means so much to so many.”
Kari Wenger, Campaign Co-Chair
“I am honored to have the chance to leverage my career experience for my home of Grand Marais and especially North House. Coming to Cook County, I quickly came to believe that this campaign is not only key for North House’s continued success, but for this community to thrive in the decades to come.”
Phil Oswald, Campaign Co-Chair
“I remember hearing Mark Hansen talk about his dreams of a folk school before there was a North House, and it has grown beyond even his imagination! This next decade of thoughtful development is critical for the long run; the success of this campaign will mean tens of thousands of more people will have the chance to experience the power of learning in community.”
Carol Winter, Board Chair

Fundraising Progress

Thanks to the incredible philanthropy of students, instructors, and foundations, the North House community has raised over $6 million in gifts and commitments to date.



Join the transformational campaign for the North Shore’s home for traditional craft.

Make Your Gift

Leadership Donors

North House is grateful to the 50+ supporters of the campaign to date whose generosity helped to launch Framing our Future. The following individuals have made commitments over $10,000 towards the campaign.

  • Anonymous (3)
  • Jane Alexander and Chris O'Brien
  • Amy Hubbard
  • Terri Cermak
  • Nancy Burns and Scott Harrison
  • Andrew Houlton
  • Todd Mestad
  • John and Catherine Schoenherr
  • Greg and Coralyn Koschinska
  • Mary and John Anderson
  • Buck Benson
  • Randi Lyders
  • Jeff and Sherri Riehle
  • Paul and Jean Groben
  • Monte Lamer
  • Bob and Ginny Padzieski
  • Leslie Anderson
  • Lisa Dayton
  • Barbara Glaser and Paul Zachos
  • Walt McCarthy and Clara Ueland
  • The McKnight Foundation
  • Mardag Foundation
  • The Manitou Fund
  • Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation

Where Craft Thrives

In a world of increasing isolation, we need a place that builds community and enriches lives more than ever. The campaign will grow the already rich sense of connection students experience on campus - with high-quality craft-focused classrooms, a Welcome Center builds relationships with students from the moment they enter the door, to a community of students, instructors, and a more connected staff.

Framing our Future sets the stage for the ongoing success and sustainability of North House Folk School. With your support, North House can continue:

  • Bringing the world’s best instructors to campus to share their life’s passion with you.
  • Celebrating the stories of the North and bringing forward the crafts and traditions of boreal forests, border lakes, snowy mountains, arctic ice flows, and the frozen taiga.
  • Expanding the circle of those who are engaged in craft, using our strong foundation to expand scholarship and work-study programs.
  • Providing a strong foundation for Cook County’s thriving and creative community with events that bring unique authors, story-tellers, and musicians to campus.

Support the Campaign

You have an important role to play in making this campaign a success. Adding your support today will help transform campus into a more vibrant, accessible, and creative space. Students will be enriched in new classrooms. Craftspeople will thrive as a result of the new school store. Interns and artisans will grow into the next generation of champions for traditional skills.

Your gift makes it possible!

Get Involved

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