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From can factory to mini golf course? Help design St. Paul's 'strange art beast'

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What can you do with a can factory that can't make cans anymore?

Putt. As in mini golf.

The folks behind Can Can Wonderland are challenging artists, engineers, and assorted dreamers to help design a mini golf course in a St. Paul industrial building.

In its call for entries the group says it wants to fill its newly acquired 19,000 square foot building with "playable art" and answers the "Why?" question this way:

"Besides the obvious reason that there's not nearly enough awesome mini golf in the world, we're also birthing a strange art beast that can exist outside of the confines of the granting cycle by producing a self-contained economic engine for the arts."

Until recently the group was calling its project Blue Ox Mini Golf and has been working on lining up support through Springboard for the Arts.

Can Can Wonderland encourages designs that make use of kinetics ("holes that incorporate mechanical, motorized, hydraulic, pneumatic, or human powered movement are sexy and awesome"), as well as the ample space its 20-foot ceilings afford.

Of course, mini golf courses designed by artists and architects are no longer a new idea. To help inspire builders, Can Can Wonderland points them toward videos of some of its favorites, such as Smash Putt and Par King.

Can Can Wonderland says its founders have had a hand in projects including the Walker Art Center's mini golf course, the Ten Second Film Festival, and the Soap Factory's Haunted Basement.

Last week, Can Can Wonderland became one of Minnesota's first Public Benefit Corporations. It's a type of corporate entity authorized by a new state law that took effect on New Year's Day.

The Pioneer Press reports the designation allows corporations to use some of their resources on a broader societal benefit without risking a lawsuit from shareholders.

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