• ThinkerTractor 
    The 2016 Great American Think-Off 
                  results are in:
    Income Inequality Threatens Democracy

    Sam Dennison is America's Greatest Thinker
                                   click here for the full story

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Online giving for the Cultural Center

Investing in the Cultural Center

Like what we’re doing? Click below to donate! We are a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, so your donation is tax deductible.

We depend on the support of individual and businesses to continue our programming and to help us achieve our mission of being a hub for creativity, community vitality, and lifelong learning in the arts. THANK YOU for helping us continue to connect people to artists and great cultural experiences in rural Minnesota!

donatenowlogo2Just click on this button for Network for Good on the left.  You will be directed to the Network for Good website featuring the Cultural Center (our legal name is “New York Mills Arts Retreat”).  Thank you for your support!

Sustainable memberships are a fantastic way to offer regular support to the Cultural Center in a way that is easy on your budget too. Sustainable memberships may be on a monthly (minimum $10/month), quarterly or annual basis, and is payable through your bank account (checking or savings) or a credit card (VISA or MasterCard).  Please contact us to set up your sustainable membership today (218-385-3339)!


Raffle Tickets For Sale Now!


Fish House Festival Raffle Tickets For Sale

~Only 290 are sold!

~Low price of $10

~Comes with free commemorative poster

Great Prizes!

1st Prize – 2016 Fish House painted by artists Troy Helget, Bob Johnson, John Peeters, and Pam Robinson

2nd Prize – 2015 Fish House painted in the street by artists

3rd Prize – Ron Hamm Spear

4th Prize – John Peeters Decoy

Drawing for the prizes will be the day of the Fish House Festival, Friday, July 8th 2016 at 6:30pm in front of the fire hall 24 W Centennial Drive.

Call the Cultural Center at (218) 385-3339 today to get your raffle tickets for $10 each! Or stop by during regular business hours: Wednesday & Thursday 10am-7pm, Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday 10am-3pm.

2016 Fish House Festival


Friday, July 8th ~ All Day Event

Join us on Main Avenue in front of the Cultural Center for activities from 9am to 4pm! Come into the Center from 2pm-4pm to cool off and view the art and grab a bit of refreshment at the Reception for the Decoy Show & Sporting Art Through Time Exhibit. Buy your Raffle Tickets for the drawing at 6:30pm in front of the fire hall on Centennial Drive.

2016 Fish House Fest Poster

Buy Raffle Tickets today for only $10 by calling the Center.

Schedule of Events

  • 9am-4pm Artists Painting on Main Ave  
  • 9am-4pm 5th Annual Decoy Show & Sporting Art Through Time Exhibit  
  • 9am-4:30pm Auction numbers available from Cultural Center staff and volunteers
  • 9am until they’re sold out! Raffle Tickets for 6:30 drawing available from Cultural Center staff and volunteers
  • 10am-Noon & 1pm-3pm fish-themed “Art in Your Park” arts & craft activities for children upstairs at the Cultural Center
  • Noon-4pm Free Kids/Family Activities & Food for Sale on Main Ave ~ Games, Face Painting, Cookie Decorating, Hot dogs & Soda or Beer
  • 1-2:30 Youth Decoy Painting Workshop for only $5!
  • 2pm-4pm Gallery Reception – Decoy Show & Sporting Art Through Time Exhibit
  • 4:30pm-6:30pm Get your auction numbers on Centennial Ave
  • 6:30pm Raffle Drawing on Centennial Ave
  • 6:30pm Live auction for decoys painted during festival on Centennial Ave
Call the Cultural Center at (218) 385-3339 for questions or to buy raffle tickets.

June Artist of the Month

Shelly croppedJune 2016 Artist of the Month

The Cultural Center is proud to have Shelley Johnson as our June Artist of the Month! Her needlework is featured in the Giftshop with a 10% discount. knifty knitter loom

Shelley moved to West Central Minnesota in 2003 and started knitting in 2004. She knitted hats, scarves, and baby blankets for her four grandchildren. She teaches classes on how to use the knifty-loom on Tuesdays at the Cultural Center. Shelley enjoys the Tuesday night Sit-n-Stitch group with Connie, Pam, Judy and Marie. From home she knits washcloths, towels, and throw rugs. She loves knitting, canning, being a grandma, spending time with her family, and going for nature walks.

Join Shelley and the Knifty Knitters on Tuesday night Sit-n-Stitch gatherings for knitting fun! Every Tuesday from 6:30-8:30pm at the Cultural Center.

Shelley will be offering more knitting classes in the future! If you are interested in learning about yarnwork, contact the Cultural Center and get on our Knifty Knitting database! We’ll happily contact you when Shelley teaches more classes.


Please call the Cultural Center at (218) 385-3339 to sign up for knitting class information.

Yoga Summer

YogaMarketingPicSummer Yoga is On!

Join Emma Olson each week this summer for some relaxing and energizing yoga!

Yoga is available every Wednesday in June, July, and August from 5:30pm to 6:30pm.

Call the Center to answer questions or for details: (218) 385-3339.

July 2016 Jewelry-Making Class

JTaquaseaglassCroppedIntro to Wire Wrapping JTbrightgreenCropped

Sign up by Friday, June 24th for this fun class on Friday, July 1st!

Come join JT and Karla, of JT Maui Designs, for an evening of jewelry creation. This class will focus on the wrapping of ‘found’ objects (be it stone, sea glass, or driftwood). We will be looking at several completed pieces and discussing the techniques and styles used as well as creating a piece for your personal jewelry collection. Stones and sea glass will be provided for wrapping as well as supplies to be able to JTandKarlaCroppedcomplete a necklace in the evenings time frame. If you have something you have found (stone, sea glass, coin) and would like to see about wrapping it, bring it with you; JT and Karla can help you create your own memory necklace.

Minnesota native Jon “JT” Thompson resided on the island of Maui for many years before returning to his home state and joining fellow artist Karla Mikkelson. The natural colors and materials from beaches and lakes are evident in each of their one-of-a-kind creations. JT has been making jewelry since attending college at St. Cloud State University.



Date: Friday, July 1st

Time: 5:30pm-7:30pm

Location: The Gallery at the Cultural Center

Cost: $30 ($25 for members)



Call the Cultural Center to reserve a place in this class by June 24th: (218) 385-3339

Honorable Mentions’ Essays Announced


John Forde, the Moderator, announced the Honorable Mentions at the Great Debate

10 Honorees were mentioned for the quality of their essays in addition to the four finalists who debated in New York Mills on June 11th. These Honorees were:

Cody Atkins, David Bornus, Julie Davis, David Eckel, Don Evans, David Lapakko, Milt Lee, William Matz, Conan Mauro, and Fred Morris.

To read their essays, click here.

2016 Think-Off Winner Announced

DSCN8491Income Inequality Threatens Democracy

In the 24th annual Great American Think-Off, Sam Dennison of San Francisco, California successfully argued that income inequality does indeed threaten democracy.

Silver medalist Alex Liuzzi also gave a convincing argument, but the audience cast their votes in favor of Sam’s position, and thus another year’s topic has been resolved.

Bronze medalists Alice Obrecht and Kim Larson also argued their points eloquently in what was a close vote in all three rounds of debate. All four finalists are pictured below following the awards ceremony.


Sam Dennison (San Franciso, CA), Kim Larson (Moorhead, MN), Alice Obrecht (Wheaton, IL / London), Alex Liuzzi (St. Paul, MN)



Each of the four finalists effectively argued their positions, and the result was another year of intelligent, thought-provoking, and civil debate.

The Cultural Center would like to thank this year’s finalists, sponsors, and attendees for helping make the 24th annual Great American Think-Off a resounding success.


Click here to read more about the great debate on our Think-Off website.