A Message From Mike
Spring has sprung, although, as usual, it’s taking its sweet time traveling all the way up the Door Peninsula. We can blame the “big water” on both sides of the peninsula for this. Large bodies of water warm up slowing in spring and cool down slowly in fall. Consequently, in Door County, especially here in the northern part of the county, the seasons arrive later than they do in most of the rest of the state. This can try one’s patience, especially if it’s spring and you’re a gardener. But, on the other hand, the slow warmup keeps plants blooming longer, allowing those of us who live here more days to savor this most wondrous time of year.
Along with the early blooming woodland wildflowers—sharp-lobed hepatica, bloodroot, trout lily and a few others—and the arrival of those birds that spent the winter in a warmer place than here, other things are happening that tell us it’s spring at The Clearing. With the start of the “tourist season” in Door County, more people are stopping at the Jens Jensen Center to shop in the Bookstore and, for those here for the first time, to learn about The Clearing. May is also bringing the first guests for our Clearing Retreats Program. And while the start of week-long classes is delayed this year, there will, at least, be classes, unlike last year. They’ll begin in late June and run through mid-November. Registrations, I’m happy to say, are going well so far, although there are still openings in many of the classes.
So things are waking up at The Clearing. Things are looking up too. And our staff is very much looking forward to a much better spring than last year—this year, a spring of hope and promise, not one of stress and uncertainty, like last year.
We hope you can join us this year. It would be great to see you.
Take care, stay safe, be well and do good.
Michael J. Schneider Executive Director The Clearing
2021 Clearing Retreat Program :: April - June
2021 Clearing Summer Program :: July - November
2021 Clearing Workshop Program :: July - November
Who We Are
The Clearing is a folk school founded in 1935 by landscape architect Jens Jensen (1860-1951). This “school of the soil” is nestled within 128 acres of Door County forests and meadows and overlooks the dramatic Green Bay shoreline. It was built as a place where ordinary people could, as the name implies, “clear one’s mind” by reconnecting with nature and with one another.
The Mission of The Clearing is to provide diverse educational experiences in the folk school tradition, in a setting of quiet forests, meadows and water. The Clearing is a place where adults who share an interest in nature, arts or humanities can learn, reflect and wonder.
This is in keeping with the goals of Jens Jensen, founder of The Clearing, who loved it as a special place where one could feel kinship with the earth and reassess one’s life.
You Can’t Be Around for 86 Years and Not Have a Good Story. Here’s Ours.
The Clearing offers year-long educational opportunities in three programs: the Summer Program, the Workshop Program and the Winter Program. All programs offer a wide range of classes, including painting, writing, quilting, birding, wood carving, poetry, rustic furniture making, photography, poetry, fine wood-working, music, weaving, philosophy, stained glass, metal work, nature study and paper arts. All Clearing classes are taught in a relaxed, informal style.
WEEK-LONG RESIDENTIAL CLASSES FROM MAY – OCTOBER
The Summer Program, which runs from May through October, is The Clearing’s oldest and the one that most closely resembles Jensen’s original folk school vision. The mainstay of the Summer Program is week-long classes, with 25 to 35 students and instructors living at The Clearing, eating family-style meals and renewing their spirit through close contact with the native landscape.
More About the Summer Program...
ONE- AND TWO-DAY CLASSES FROM JUNE – NOVEMBER
The Workshop Program includes one, two, and three-day workshops from June through mid- November. These workshops appeal to a broad audience by providing shorter length classes during the Summer Program season for those who cannot come for an entire week or who want a “taste” of what The Clearing is like before deciding to take a week-long class.
More About the Workshop Program...
DAY CLASSES IN JANUARY & FEBRUARY
The Winter Program offers over 90 day-classes in January and February. In addition to offering an impressive selection of classes, the Winter Program represents something unique and wonderful about Door County, an amazing group of volunteer instructors who generously share their time, along with their considerable talent, for the benefit of the community. So bring on the snow and the cold. Now over 650 strong, you won’t meet a more friendly or hardier group of people than Clearing students in Winter!
More About the Winter Program...
The Clearing is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that relies on the generosity of many different groups to support its mission of diverse educational experiences in the folk school tradition. Thanks to hundreds of friends, volunteers and donors, The Clearing is able to offer quality programs and services all year long. Interested in supporting The Clearing? Below are several ways to help us out. Take a look!
Take a Look Around...
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then our picture page is a gold mine! The Clearing is special for so many reasons. Its interesting people, historic buildings, rich landscapes and creative spirit combine to make this place like no other. It’s a place you really have to experience to understand, but we hope our photo galleries will give you a little taste of what The Clearing experience is all about.
Explore The Clearing...