Artist’s rendering courtesy of TwispWorks

Old Schoolhouse Brewery is constructing a new brewery (left) and an adjacent taproom on the TwispWorks campus.

Music, art, food and more at Saturday event

By Ann McCreary

TwispWorks will kick off summer with a Big Shaabang on Saturday (May 26), welcoming the community to the campus for live music and performances, open art studios, local food and beverages.

The event is also an opportunity for TwispWorks to show off the latest developments on the campus and share plans for the coming year, said Don Linnertz, TwispWorks executive director.

Redevelopment of the former U.S. Forest Service ranger station began nine years ago, when community leaders saw the neglected facility as a place to bring together arts, culture and business to increase the economic vitality of the Methow Valley. A donor provided a $1 million loan to help the community buy the property.

Photo by Don Nelson

TwispWorks is celebrating its ninth anniversary at the Big Shaabang.

“The vision was to re-energize and reactivate this facility and promote economic revitalization. We’re coming to the end of the first decade of that vision,” Linnertz said.

All the buildings, except for one shed, have been renovated and are now leased to almost three dozen diverse occupants that include schools, art studios, small businesses and manufacturers, a commercial kitchen, a radio station, a newspaper office, a native plant garden and an interpretive center.

A landscaped central plaza area was developed two years ago as a focal point of the 6.4-acre campus, with a splash pad area and a performance space. Many of the Shaabang activities will center around the plaza.

People attending the Shaabang will see signs of the next big development on the campus — a new 4,000-square-foot building that will be built this summer to house a production brewery for Old Schoolhouse Brewery (OSB). Groundbreaking has begun, and the building is expected to be completed by next February. A 900-square-foot building will be built next to the OSB brewery for a taproom.

TwispWorks will build and own the buildings, and OSB will finish the interiors. The brewery and taproom projects are examples of the opportunities TwispWorks is intended to provide, Linnertz said.

“This is an existing Methow Valley business, based in Winthrop and expanding production in Twisp. They are creating another business here, hiring three to six new employees and creating an exportable Methow product. It’s part of the whole economic development and revitalization of the Methow Valley. It’s a powerful piece of that,” Linnertz said.

During the next year, TwispWorks will renovate the last space on campus that has not been upgraded — a shed that can house three new businesses. A shop to provide storage and workspace for TwispWorks will also be built with help of students in the Careers in Construction Academy, a program on the campus that provides local high school students with hands-on experience in building trades.

Final improvements that are planned as TwispWorks approaches its 10-year anniversary include repaving the deteriorating parking areas, creating pathways throughout the campus, installing directional signs, and mounting signs on buildings explaining their history. 

“We’ll have our 10-year anniversary in June of 2019. We will be operationally sustainable, generating 100 percent of the money to run TwispWorks,” Linnertz said. At that point, he said, the deed held by the $1 million donor will be turned over to the TwispWorks Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that owns and operates TwispWorks.

What’s shakin’ at the Big Shaabang

• Free, family event on May 26 at TwispWorks

• 11 a.m. — Fork! Food Truck, the Old Schoolhouse Brewery Taproom and artist studios on the TwispWorks campus open

• Noon — Opening remarks by Don Linnertz, TwispWorks executive director, at the plaza stage

• 12:15 p.m. — The Tom Zbyszewski Children’s Theater performs scenes from “The Adventures of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” on the plaza lawn

• 12:30 p.m. — Music by The Full Uplift with special guests, Orphans for Rock n’ Roll, at the plaza stage.

• 1 p.m. — Street theater performance by Anthony “Twig” Wheeler

• 1:15 p.m. — the Kestrels from the Aerie Circus Studio perform feats of aerial daring on the front lawn

• 2 p.m. — More music from The Full Uplift and Orphans for Rock n’ Roll at the Plaza stage

• Throughout the afternoon — Abracadoodle’s face painting tent on the south lawn; Winthrop Physical Therapy & Fitness demonstrations and challenges at the Kiosk; smokejumper exhibition at YourSpace building (the former Education Station).