A Soap Factory show in 2013 (photo by Chris Kelliher).

New suds are soaking at Minneapolis’ Soap Factory gallery. The 29-year-old experimental art space announced last week the hire of Ellina Kevorkian (pictured below) as its new director of artistic programming.

An interdisciplinary artist whose work has been shown at MOCA in Los Angeles and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, Kevorkian (no relation to Dr. Kevorkian) most recently worked at Omaha’s prestigious Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts as its artistic director for residency programs. When she starts her new job June 1, she will be charged with shaping the Soap’s residency and exhibition programs, and choosing the direction of a potential curatorial program. 

The Soap Factory is slated to reopen this summer after a quiet couple of years. Financial problem forced the gallery to take a brief hiatus from regular programming in 2016 following the departure of longtime executive director Ben Heywood.

Bill Mague was subsequently hired for that post. He came from Artspace Projects, the Minneapolis-based nonprofit that develops affordable arts spaces throughout the United States, where he served as a vice president for 11 years.

After much soul-searching, the Soap Factory decided to renovate its 1882 building, an old soap factory near the downtown riverfront at 514 SE. 2nd St. It has been closed for construction work since September but there was a fair amount of off-site programming organized by Soap's gallery and residency director, Kate Arford. including the 3x5 residency program.