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 81 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 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…
We’re looking forward to the events below. We hope you can join us for one or more this year!
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…
Coming Soon! The Forge @ the Clearing
The Forge will be home to The Clearing’s emerging metals program. This 1200 square foot facility will not only house 4 permanent forge workstations, but classroom space for other metal craft offerings, including metal sculpting, metal casting and welding. The facility will operate year-round and will serve all three Clearing programs—the Summer Program of weeklong classes from May through October, the Winter Program of day classes in January and February and the Workshop Program of day classes from June through November.