Knowing Your Neighbors: Duluth Folk School

DULUTH, Minn. – There’s a new school in Duluth where people learn crafts and skills they’ve always wanted to try.

“It’s a school for people,” says Bryan French, President of the Duluth Folk School.

The Folk School has been teaching the community for about a year and a half.

“It could be anything from learn how to use a circular saw or learn how to make a pair of snowshoes or, like tonight, learn how to play the banjo,” says French.

Until recently, they didn’t have a space of their own. But now, they’re renovating a building on West Superior Street in Duluth’s Lincoln Park Craft District.

“In this building we have folk school classes but we’re also going to have a cafe, we’re going to have a marketplace with locally made, hand crafted stuff, we’re going to have a commercial teaching kitchen,” says French.

The school’s purpose is to give people a chance to try out activities they were always interested in.

“It’s all of the cool things that you used to do in shop class, in home economics, but a lot of people don’t have access to that or it’s been years since they had that kind of class, so now they just want to get back to it,” says French.

It’s a laid back setting with no experience necessary.

“They basically learned a whole tune in a half hour,” says Kyle Ollah, the Folk School’s Folk Music Instructor. “If you gave someone a sheet of music, after a few years you could learn it, but your second day, not so much. So it’s just a different way of learning.”

The Folk School is looking for instructors that can teach any craft or trade.

“Looking for people who not just are enthusiastic and skilled in a craft, but are great teachers who love people,” says French.

“When I’m teaching I feel like I can be casual and I can be real, I can just talk about a thing I’m interested in,” says Ollah.

When his school is complete, the director expects it to be a community gathering place offering unique opportunities almost every day.

“Everybody who comes in, they just get excited because there’s something for everyone and that feels good,” says French.

For more information, or for a class schedule, you can visit their website.