Mini-golf and art to collide in St. Paul, Minn.

A new mini-golf course is being built inside an old canning factory in St. Paul, Minn., and it's getting an artist's touch. The general idea is that it'll look somewhat like the temporary mini-golf course at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, but just inside.

The founders of this concept want to turn a 19,000 square foot space into a year round wonderland complete with an 18-hole mini-golf course designed by artists, and a lot more. It may look like the basement of an old canning factory, but to one group of artists it's a blank canvas to make their dreams come true.

"I'm so excited, I'm freaking out," Chris Pennington said. "We've been planning this for so long. So happy to have a space, an opening date, and be like hey, world, come make stuff."

A few years ago Pennington designed a bicycle-themed hole at the Walker Art Center's temporary mini-golf course. He and some other artists wanted to open a permanent outdoor course called "Blue Ox" at the Schmidt Brewery in St. Paul, but they couldn't come to terms on a lease.

So they're turning their attention to transforming what was once the largest canning factory in the country into a giant indoor mini-golf course.

"We just wanted an old raw space," Christi Atkinson said. "Something where we could do whatever we wanted."

But this won't be just any mini-golf golf course; the founders of Can-Can Wonderland want artists to create the 18 holes that will take up the 19,000 square foot space. Eventually, it will include a party room, a beer garden, and a boardwalk -- just like Coney Island.

"Artists can come up with better ideas than us and keep rotating in new holes to keep it exciting," Atkinson said.

And with a little help from homegrown artists, the founders said creating a new year round mini-golf experience is in the can.

"There's just a lot of creative energy in town and I think people continue looking for new projects," Atkinson said.

Can-Can Wonderland got a $350,000 grant to get their project off the ground. They're offering artists up to $3,000 for their designs, and they're hoping to open Sep. 1, 2015.

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