The Soap Factory is a laboratory for artistic experimentation and innovation, dedicated to supporting artists and engaging audiences through the production and presentation of contemporary art in a unique and historic environment.

Based in the historic National Purity Soap Factory in downtown Minneapolis, The Soap Factory is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Our history

The Soap Factory was founded in 1988 by a small group of artists as one of the first venues in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul devoted to emerging visual art.

Originally called No Name Gallery, then No Name Exhibitions, our nonprofit has filled a crucial niche in the vital regional arts community by providing a supportive exhibition environment for artists at the beginning of their careers. For 30 years, we’ve helped artists explore new genres of expression.

The Soap Factory supports the work of over 100 artists and more than 10,000 visitors attend opening nights, tour exhibitions, and participate in our events every year. Our programs are artist-centered yet accessible, and offer a visceral experience of art and the life of the artist.

The gallery is now located in the former National Purity Soap Company building, acquiring through an open RFP from Pillsbury in 1995. This historic 130-year-old, 52,000-square-foot wood and brick warehouse is located along the riverfront near the birthplace of Minneapolis. The Soap Factory is the largest independent contemporary art gallery in Minneapolis-St Paul, and one of the largest devoted to emerging practice in the USA. Our authentically “raw” space serves as a unique showcase for sculpture, installation, painting, performance, theater, dance, photography, film, and video.



Our values

With a focus on catalytic experimentation, artistic rigor and fearless programming, The Soap Factory seeks to authentically engage locally while fostering an artist-centric ecosystem that cultivates the creative process across global communities.

We strive to propel artists forward through funding, career development, global partnerships, working studios, and exhibition spaces that inspire large scale ideas and encourages interdisciplinary dialogue. In support of these efforts, we offer a skilled staff to help artists realize new work and bring it to a larger audience. We believe that our artists have something compelling to add to the conversation and deserve to be apart of a larger, global dialogue; and we believe our opportunities position artists to continue working beyond their Soap Factory exhibitions and residency experiences. 

The Soap Factory delivers artist-centric opportunities and engaging programming; we open our doors to all audiences and believe that artists from all backgrounds and all disciplines should feel they have a place in our building. 

W.A.G.E. Certified