Minnesota is set to open the world’s first Water Bar that will feature a full-fledged bar that will serve exclusively water products. The Water Bar began as a pop-up art project in 2014 as a collaboration between artists Shanai Matteson and Colin Kloecker of Works Progress Studio. The bar serves local tap water to increase awareness about problems concerning water quality.
“Water Bar is an itinerant open space for the generation of conversations and connections around the life-sustaining, precarious, communal activity of drinking tap water,” the bar’s website states. “We invite Water Bar visitors to engage with one another, as well as with project collaborators, who tend bar and share their knowledge of water and water issues.”
The project is set to open its first brick and mortar location in its home state of Minnesota in order to combine with an art studio and hopefully extend its reach. “The most important thing is that we’re actually combining the Water Bar with a public studio, which we’re thinking of as an art sustainability studio and incubator, intended to build local projects with other artists and designers, all about water and environmental sustainability at the local level,” Matteson told MinnPost.
The bar employs the motto “Water is all we have,” and allows visitors to sample flights of tap water free of charge, so they can taste the difference between private well water and public tap water. Matteson added that Water Bar’s primary focus is to change the public perception that Minnesota and other areas are free from water problems simply because there’s an abundance of natural water in the area. “People think Minnesota doesn’t have any water problems, that we have so much water because we’re the land of 10,000 lakes,” she said. “Water is not something people think about, but we have potential water shortage problems and water quality problems, like what’s going on in White Bear Lake. And across Minnesota, most people get their drinking water from groundwater sources, and those are not immune to pollutants.”