Mineral School offers both an overnight artists residency program as well as public art events from a classic 1947 elementary school in a lake town near Mt. Rainier.
Mineral Elementary School operated until the early 2000s, when it was surplussed by its school district due to the declining student population in Mineral. (The original school was built in the 1910s or 1920s, but was burned to the ground by a student firebug. The building as we know it was built in 1947.) After Mineral Elementary closed, two Mineral residents purchased it and ran it from 2005 to 2010 as the Mineral Lake Events Center, offering a variety of types of events.
Due to the challenging economy, in 2012 the property went back on the market. In 2013, our program’s founder Jane Hodges bought the building with an eye toward converting it into an artists residency and arts center that could serve the growing population of artists in the Pacific Northwest while uniting creative folks from there and around the U.S. in the Mt. Rainier foothills to make and share work in a beautiful and rustic setting.
Mineral School secured fiscal sponsorship with arts facilitator Shunpike, adapted the building for overnight use, and launched the residency and other artist programs in 2015, taking a break briefly in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, Jane sold the building to a couple named Brian and Lisa Franchini, who with their architecture and event backgrounds will further optimize the property for overnight use and larger events, such as weddings. Mineral School continues its program as a tenant, and operates onsite as before, about one-third of the year.
Over time we’ve gotten to know the welcoming community in Mineral and the nearby towns of Morton, Ashford, and Eatonville. And we’ve established friendly relations with the frisky ghost who hides keys, noodles with music playlists, and flips the recess bell.