Living the Word: The Clearing Folk School

The Clearing Folk School in Ellison Bay is a Door County institution. Founded by the great landscape architect Jens Jensen, the school was established in the Danish folk school tradition which eschews grades and competition in favor of cooperation, hand-on work, conversation and quiet reflection. This method of teaching is what the Danes call the "Living Word." The bucolic setting of The Clearing is a result of the natural beauty of the escarpment on which it is perched, as well as the conscious design of Jensen, one of the 20th century's greatest landscape designers. Famed for his design of the Chicago Parks System, his preservation work on the Indiana National Dunes, and his most grand project - four residences he designed for Eleanor and Edsel Ford in Michigan and Maine - the venerable Jensen retired to Door County to create his masterpiece - The Clearing.  The Main Lodge at The Clearing. The Clearing offers classes in natural sciences, fine arts, skilled crafts and humanities during its winter sessions - heavily attended by Door County residents - and its week-long summer workshops, which run from May through October. Classes ranging from Quilting to Watercolors to Birding attract visitors from around the country who come to enjoy the incredible beauty of The Clearing, and take a break from the frenetic pace of modern life while they learn and reflect. A strand of writing courses named after the late, celebrated Door County author Norb Blei draws writers, and local expert historians, cave-explorers, naturalists and more offer their wisdom to groups of students who live and study in the Clearing's peaceful confines.  Jens Jensen Managed by a small, dedicated group of staff and many volunteers, the Clearing preserves a bit of "old" Door County, while offering its students the chance to expand their horizons and learn something new.