In 1996, the Pro Billiards Tour declared Jimmy Wetch to be the fifth-best billiards player in the world. Now, the pro circulates among the 20 emerald felt plots at Jimmy's Pro Billiards, chatting with fellow billiards enthusiasts. At 9-foot and 7-foot Diamond and Gold Crown tables, players sink colorful spheres, and snooker tables encourage them to yell “snooker” as loud as they can. The staccato snap of the cue against a ball rhythmically fills the 10,000 feet of airy, high-ceilinged space. In the kitchen, the staff slices deli meats and pairs hand-pattied burgers with hand-cut french fries and beers with manually placed bubbles.
In 1879, a lumber baron named Thomas Barlow Walker built an extra room onto his house. He mounted his 20 favorite paintings on the room's walls and opened it to the public. This private collection transformed into a public gallery with the founding of Walker Art Center in 1927. Over the following decades, the center's staff amassed a collection focused on modern art, gathering works from Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, and Alberto Giacometti. Today, this permanent collection has expanded to encompass more than 11,000 modern and contemporary paintings, sculptures, and photographs, more than 800 film pieces, and more than 1,200 artists' books.
In the whimsical multistory geometric helix of the Barnes building, seven cube-shaped galleries radiate from a central core on terrazzo floors and under lofted ceilings. Docents lead group tours through the galleries to see rotating exhibitions or play hide-and-seek with Jackson Pollock. Current exhibits have explored the contemporary still photography of Cindy Sherman, American avant-garde film from 1960 to 1973, and prints, paintings, and sculptures produced after 1989. Inside the museum's social spaces, docents also host artist talks, film screenings, and open houses.
Designed as a contemporary twist on old European opera houses, the center's McGuire Theater draws visitors into its intimate space for live dance, theater, and music performances as well as performance art. Museum exhibits and events also spill outside to a central square and the four quadrants, bordered by granite and evergreen hedges, of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. As visitors walk across its lawns, they can glimpse iconic modern sculptures, cross a 375-foot steel-and-wood footbridge, or watch staff teach plants to paint in the Cowles Conservatory.
CorePower Yoga founder Trevor Tice knows yoga is much more than a tool for increasing physical strength. "We've seen first hand emotional breakthroughs, physical improvements, and most of all, a new found confidence and balance our students carry from the studio into their daily lives," says Trevor. To further their holistic efforts, CorePower provides additional services and programs across various locations. Some outposts house spas where visitors can quiet their minds with a massage or facial, while others host Karma Yoga events wherein teachers lead free classes for cancer survivors, and students share home-cooked food with homeless youths.
But yoga resides at the heart of CorePower's mission to inspire as many people as possible, so each studio boasts a range of classes that accommodates all experience levels. Truly serious students can conjure pensive expressions as they enroll in a yoga-teacher-training program, and all patrons can take comfort in knowing their studio was built from recycled materials and equipped with energy-efficient fixtures.
Wood Lake Nature Center's 3 miles of trails and boardwalks wind through 150 acres of cattail marsh, bottomland hardwood forest, and restored prairie. The Center's membership program supplies budding naturalists with fun, informative classes and demonstrations. Watchful walkers clutching loaned binoculars and field guides spy for winged creatures in flight on the Spring Bird Hike. Meanwhile, an environmental book club assembles adults into friendly thought circles to discuss eco-related topics and practice tree impersonations. Naturalist Marthe Herbert conducts a live animal show, which lets participants notch a closer look at foxes, owls, and other local animals, and Friday night campfires let kids and parents melt marshmallows in the crisp night air. In the winter months, free snowshoe rentals help feet float through flurries, and families can ring in the new year without playing thousands of simultaneous cell phone jingles thanks to the yearly Candlelight & Ice event, which gathers them to walk candle-lit trails and sit beside a crackling fire.
Dedicated to the preservation and celebration of the state’s storied past, the Minnesota Historical Society dutifully curates 26 historic sites and museums that help visitors delve into days of yore—from the Forest History Center in Grand Rapids to the Jeffers Petroglyphs in Comfrey and Split Rock Lighthouse on the North Shore.
Explore the Minnesota History Center’s collection of artifacts, local artworks, and hands-on exhibits at the History Center in St. Paul, from Civil War battle flags to Prince's suit from Purple Rain. Temporary exhibits include American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, on display through March 16, and Toys of the '50s, '60s and '70s, opening May 24. Mill City Museum in Minneapolis chronicles the linked histories of the flour industry, Minneapolis, and the Mississippi River, sending visitors through history as they traverse each floor on an eight-story elevator ride that depicts a working day at the mill. As a bonus, baking-lab demonstrations produce balmy bread samples and historically accurate stomach rumbles.
Most students in introductory stained-glass-making classes are in search of a new hobby or a fun few hours, but not Connie Beckers. In 1995, she took such a course and soon built a career around the art of stained glass and kiln-working. Now, through The Goddess of Glass, she teaches others her craft during classes that cover the creation of jewelry, coasters, plates, and transparent overalls. She’s also been known to flex her instructional muscle as a guest artist on the DIY Network show Cramped Quarters, where she taught the show’s host and contractor how to make stained-glass tiles for a kitchen in the middle of remodeling.
The Goddess of Glass also sells artwork and gifts out of a separate retail shop. Patrons can commission a custom piece, such as a stained-glass window, or peruse a collection of pieces by more than 80 local artisans. The shop’s staff can also advise clients who need custom framing, helping them to pick the proper matting and frame so that their Richard Nixon rookie cards really pop.