It was pure serendipity that St. Louis Park Middle School offered a math elective called Mini Golf Madness at the same time Can Can Wonderland put out a call for artists to submit design proposals for an 18-hole mini golf course in St. Paul.
“It’s the first year we’ve offered it,” said Randi Graves, the teacher who leads the seventh-grade math elective that, incidentally, has 32 boys enrolled in it.
Three of those boys will have their designs built as part of Can Can Wonderland’s “arts-immersive” course, which should open sometime this fall in a former can factory at 755 N. Prior Ave., just four blocks north of University Avenue in St. Paul.
Can Can Wonderland is the brainchild of Jennifer and Chris Pennington, Christi Atkinson and Rob Clapp. Their goal is to create a multi-purpose art space that includes the golf course and a food and drink venue, said Jennifer Pennington.
The group put out a call for proposals in January with $5,000 stipends offered to design-and-build plans and $1,000 stipends to selected design-only proposals. Can Can introduced the 18 accepted designs and their creators at a meet-and-greet April 25 at Forecast Public Art, 2300 Myrtle St., St. Anthony Park.
Dusty Thune, a special education teacher in St. Paul Public Schools, submitted Hot Tub Time Machine, which features a 20-foot-tall mastodon in a hot tub full of tar.
Sarah Stone’s That ’70s Hole was inspired by her grandmothers’ living rooms. It will feature shag carpet, a poodle knickknack collection, crocheted afghans, a liquor cabinet and old television shows running on a TV.
Than Tibbetts’ proposal is simple: the Longest Miniature Golf Hole in the World. In order to beat the current longest hole in the world at Chuckster’s Family Fun Park in Vestal, N.Y., Tibbetts will build a 201-foot-long green to the hole. If Chuckster’s decides to up its game after it learns about its new competition, Tibbetts said his hole could be easily extended once Can Can Wonderland develops the roof of the building.
Seventh-graders Ame Caldwell-Dass and Bryce Bonine will share the $1,000 stipend for their design submission, Natural Disaster. Their classmate Colin Weingart worked on his own when he designed Loopty-Loop Madness.
Natural Disaster will incorporate an earthquake, tornado and tsunami, explained Caldwell-Dass. The earthquake will move up and down as a golfer tries to hit the ball into an elevator that will take the ball up to a track that will then send the ball down a spiral—the tornado—before going into the hole, said Bonine.
The boys designed their holes using an online interactive design program from MIT.
So what are the boys going to do with their money? Caldwell-Dass laughed, said he was going to buy some new shoes and wasn’t sure what else he would do with his half of the $1,000. Bonine plans to buy equipment to build his own computer. Weingart is socking $750 away for college and the rest is his to spend as he pleases.
Can Can Wonderland will be launching a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo on May 19. Can Can Wonderland won’t open until late fall, but you can get a taste of the group’s work during Northern Spark on Friday, June 19. The group will have a human foosball court set up at Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis.
Keep up with Can Can Wonderland at its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/cancanwonderland.