Video: ACC Library Salon Series Recap: Urban Boatbuilders

Video: ACC Library Salon Series Recap: Urban Boatbuilders

An in-progress canoe at the Urban Boatbuilders workshop

An in-process canoe at the Urban Boatbuilders workshop in St. Paul. 

On June 10, we were pleased to welcome four representatives from Urban Boatbuilders for our last Library Salon Series event of the spring.

Master boatbuilding instructor Phil Winger, who has been with the group since 2000, kicked off our event with an overview of the programming and history of the 20-year-old organization. Winger was joined by three youth instructors who started out in the Urban Boatbuilders apprenticeship program, a six-month course geared toward young people (ages 16-19) struggling with employment barriers. Maila was a former apprentice whose dedication and skill afforded her an opportunity to work as a part-time instructor, and Sam and Malik have both recently completed their apprenticeships and are now youth instructors in the program.

Using funny anecdotes and first-hand experience, the panel answered anything from the very technical to the very personal. By the end of the evening, they had completely charmed us all with their genuine appreciation and passion for the organization and their roles within it. We encourage you to check out Urban Boatbuilders' beautiful new studio off of University Avenue in St. Paul. We visited it and sat down with Phil Winger to ask him about the organization and why building boats is so effective at developing confidence in their apprentices.

Presented by the American Craft Council, the Library Salon Series is a series of free public presentations exploring craft, making, and art.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.