Artists raise the bar for water In this March 16, 2016, photo, Colin Kloecker and his wife, Shanai Matteson, pose with water in growlers and glasses in the building where they are preparing to open a storefront Water Bar in northeast Minneapolis, a taproom serving pints of free city water plus limited-edition pours from other communities. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Artists raise the bar for water
Lexile

It's a bar that serves nothing but tap water. For free.
 
The concept was developed by two Minneapolis artists. It all started as pop-ups across the country. Those ranged from an event at a North Carolina artists' space to a waterfront fundraiser in Chicago. And, there was a four-month run at an art museum in Arkansas.
 
They've been such a hit that Colin Kloecker and Shanai Matteson are preparing to open a storefront Water Bar. It will be in northeast Minneapolis. Their taproom will serve pints of city water plus limited-edition pours from other communities. Visitors will get to taste and compare. But the goal is bigger, they want to connect the public with the scientists, utility employees, environmentalists and activists who will serve as bartenders.
 
"It's really about opening up a conversation with the idea that 'Water is all we have,' which is our tagline. Because that's all we're serving," Matteson said. "And then the conversation goes from there."
 
The timing is opportune with the widespread attention on the lead-tainted water crisis in Flint, Michigan.  In Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton is making water issues a personal priority for the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
 
The storefront Water Bar is slated to open to the public in May. The bar won't serve pricey boutique "artisanal water" as has been tried elsewhere. It will offer plain-old tap water. Its funding will come from various sources. Those include a neighborhood association and a crowdfunding website, as well as money from ongoing pop-up events. Any tips for the bartenders will go toward supporting allied organizations and providing seed funding for community projects.
 
"What Water Bar does is let communities and experts come together and talk to each other about, 'What are the issues here? Have you thought about where your water comes from? What are you concerned about when it comes to water?'" said Kate Brauman. She is lead scientist for the Global Water Initiative. It is at the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment.
 
Brauman worked the bar at a sustainability event on campus last year. It was so popular they ran out of cups.
 
A 2014 pop-up Water Bar installation at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, was part of a contemporary art exhibition.
 
"The best art displaces you from your everyday experience. (It) allows you to think creatively and critically about yourself and your place in the world around you. And the Water Bar does that beautifully," said Chad Alligood. He is one of the museum's curators.
 
The pop-up events also have connected Kloecker and Matteson, who are married, to other water-minded organizations. The Crystal Bridges event led to an invitation to the Alliance for the Great Lakes' annual Taste of the Great Lakes fundraiser. It was held last June. There, they served Chicago city water from Lake Michigan. The servings included tap water from Toledo, Ohio, which was coping with a toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie. And there was tap water from Green Bay, Wisconsin, which runs a pipe nearly 30 miles to a cleaner part of Lake Michigan, said Jennifer Caddick, the alliance's engagement director.
 
In Greensboro, North Carolina, Kloecker recruited city water employees and students from a Cape Fear River Basin program at Guilford College. They were bartenders at a pop-up event in October.
 
"There were always 15 to 20 people around in front of the Water Bar," said Steve Drew, director of Greensboro's water system.
 
Some swished the water in their mouths. Some couldn't tell the difference between the samples.
 
A boy whose chin barely came over the bar tried a couple samples and said, "I think I like the orange one best." He was referring to a glass jug with a little orange label that meant it came from Reidsville, one of Greensboro's suppliers.
 
"All right!" replied bartender Mike Borchers, deputy director of Greensboro's water system.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How do the artists keep their costs low?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (16)
  • josiec-1-bar
    3/28/2016 - 09:25 p.m.

    Artists keep their costs low because the artists', "... funding will come from various sources. Those include a neighborhood association and a crowdfunding website, as well as money from ongoing pop-up events. Any tips for the bartenders will go toward supporting allied organizations and providing seed funding for community projects." (paragraph 5) The artists will keep their costs low by using different ways of raising money from different organizations to try to complete their projects and goals. My opinion is that it is very creative that people have opened water bars to see peoples' opinions on which water tastes better.

  • maxwellc-3-bar
    3/29/2016 - 12:13 a.m.

    The artists keep their costs low because they are not spending money on making the water better, or packaging and get the water from the tap, which means that it has not been purified, sanitized, or cleaned. As the text stated clearly, "The bar won't serve pricey boutique 'artisanal water' as has been tried elsewhere. It will offer plain-old tap water. Its funding will come from various sources. Those include a neighborhood association and a crowdfunding website, as well as money from ongoing pop-up events. Any tips for the bartenders will go toward supporting allied organizations and providing seed funding for community projects." People are also so interested in this project that they truly care enough to donate or fund these pop ups. I think that I would probably not drink tap water from any place in the US, but it seems like an interesting idea.

  • briannec-ste
    3/29/2016 - 07:02 p.m.

    I would love to have a water bar. I think it would be cool to taste all the waters.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    3/29/2016 - 09:26 p.m.

    The artists might have been able to open a water bar that would be able to only sell plain tap water instead of selling beers or any other drinks or alcohol that are usually sold in other kinds of bars but a water bar is different. The water bar might have been able to become very popular than the regular bar where there are other kinds of drinks and alcohol that are sold in regular bars rather than a water bar. The people that are working at the water bar that would be able to sell their plain tap water samples for free to people that would like to drink the plain tap water. People that are bartenders for the water bar that the people had made a water popup to other places that would like to open up the water bar at other places.
    Critical Thinking Question: How do the artists keep their costs low?
    Answer: I know that artists keep their costs on tap water low because they wanted to sell the plain tap water for free so that it wouldn't cost them as for other drinks in regular bars.

  • josephd-6-bar
    3/30/2016 - 06:00 p.m.

    Artists will keep their costs low by getting donations from many sources. "Those include a neighborhood association and a crowdfunding website, as well as money from ongoing pop-up events. Any tips for the bartenders will go toward supporting allied organizations and providing seed funding for community projects." (paragraph 5). I think this water bar is a good idea because people will get to sample different types of tap water for free and see which one they like the best. I chose this article because I think we should have a water bar where we live so we can see what type of water we like the best.

  • christianc-ver
    3/31/2016 - 08:59 a.m.

    They keep their costs low because they have funding from various sources.

  • isabellaw-1-bar
    4/01/2016 - 02:23 a.m.

    The artists keep their cost low because will come from other sources."Its funding will come from various sources." this shows that other people can donate the money.

    I found this article suprising because wouldn't have thought that someone would I have thought of such a cool idea.

  • kenziel-hol
    4/06/2016 - 12:16 p.m.


    Artists will keep their costs low by getting donations from many sources. "Those include a neighborhood association and a crowdfunding website, as well as money from ongoing pop-up events. Any tips for the bartenders will go toward supporting allied organizations and providing seed funding for community projects." I think this water bar is a good idea because people will get to sample different types of tap water for free and see which one they like the best. I chose this article because I think we should have a water bar where we live so we can see what type of water we like the best.

  • aliviac-pla
    4/06/2016 - 09:00 p.m.

    This bar serves nothing but water. It was started by two artists in Minneapolis. Their water bar has been such a hit that they are planning to open more Water Bars. They offer pints of water from the city and also limited-edition pours from other communities that visitors can then taste and compare. Their goal is to connect to the public among other people. Their timing with opening these water bars in opportune because of the lead-tainted water issues in Michigan. The Minnesota governor is making water a personal priority for the state. The first Water Bar is set to open in May. They wont be serving pricey “artisanal water” but instead plan to be selling plain old tap water. They are going to get funding from various sources and all the tips for the bartenders will go to supporting allied organisations and funding for community projects.

    For some people it may seem ridiculous to be going to a bar to buy plain old tap water but it seems (according to this article) that people are very interested in the water bar. This is also engaging for the community because they seem to have a close link with the community and they also want to make a connection with people in the community. So it seems that the community and the community's involvement with the Water Bar is very important to them.

  • ashtynb-ter
    4/12/2016 - 09:23 a.m.

    I kind of want to go to one of these places just to try to taste the difference in different places of water

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