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Lost Towns of Northern Minnesota

Rhonda Fochs and the lost towns of northern Minnesota

Minnesota Lost TownsAuthor Rhonda Fochs will be discussing her book “Minnesota Lost Towns” this Thursday, August 28 at 7:30 pm at the Cultural Center.  There is no charge for this event and everyone is invited to learn about the history of our region through the small towns that have been lost. Rhonda’s book takes us on a trip into Minnesota history and visits nearly 150 northern Minnesota lost towns. Learn how these towns were created, grew and prospered, and why they died, where they were located and what you’ll see there today.  This event is free of charge and open to the public.  Everyone invited.

Minnesota author Rhonda Fochs has been traveling the state in search of lost towns, lost stories and the people who created them. This is her first in what Fochs hopes will become a series. “Minnesota’s Lost Towns: Northern Edition,” was published in mid-May this year.

“I wanted to tell folks about the people and the places,” Fochs said. “It’s the story of people and places that are fun to read — I tried to capture the interest and personality of each town.”

“We’re all connected to these towns in some way,” Fochs said. “We’ve driven through them, our ancestors came from them. History is right in our own backyards.”

Online giving for the Cultural Center

Giving to the Cultural Center – easier and quicker than ever

Just click on the button for Network for Good below.  You will be directed to the Network for Good website featuring the Cultural Center (aka “New York Mills Arts Retreat.  Thank you!


Open Mic Night


Looking for something different to do on a Tuesday night? Come to the Cultural Center every 4th Tuesday of the month at 7:00pm for our monthly Open Mic Night. Open Mic is always FREE and open to all.

ALL are welcome – musicians, poets, writers, jugglers, comedians – anyone looking to perform or practice their art form.  Join Open Mic organizers/standbys John Perry with his keyboard and Dave Virnala with his guitar (pictured at right), both will to play and sing a few tunes and welcome audience members and/or performers of all ages and interests.

The schedule recently changed for Open Mic; it will now be held every 4th Tuesday of the month at 7pm, in the Cultural Center Main Gallery.

New sculpture “uprooted” at Sculpture Park

Morris, Minnesota Artist Gary Wahl introduces his sculpture “uprooted” at the Sculpture Park

UprootedUprooted, a new sculpture at the Sculpture Park in New York Mills, will be introduced to the community by artist Gary Wahl on Saturday, August 2 from 4 pm to 6 pm. Everyone is invited to talk with Gary about his work in general and in particular his new piece. The Sculpture Park is a program of the Cultural Center.

Gary completed his M.F.A. and M.A. at the University of Iowa and his B.A. at the University of Minnesota, Morris, where he now teaches studio art. His work is in photography and sculpture and he has a special interest in public art.

Gary’s work has examined issues of land-use in the rural Midwest, economic recession, and the housing bubble as viewed through children’s playhouses, developments, and organic house-forms.

Please join artist Gary Wahl on Saturday,  August 2nd, 2014 at the Sculpture Park from 4:00-6:00 pm. Refreshments will be served.

2014 Puppet Pageant

PicMonkey CollageJoin us for two weeks of fun and creativity!
Learn to walk with stilts, children & adults
help to make large puppets and
perform in our theatrical event!

Workshop Schedule:

For all participants
August 4-8 Mon thru Fri 9:00 am-12:00 pm

August 11-14 Mon thru Thur 9:00 am-12:00 pm

For Stilters ONLY
August 5, 7, 12 & 14 Tues & Thurs 1:00-2:30 pm

Adults and Children Accompanied by Adults

August 4, 6 &7 Mon, Wedn & Thurs 6:00-8:00 pm
August 11-14 Mon thru Thur 6:00-8:00 pm

For all participants
August 15 Friday 4:00-5:30 pm Pre-Performance

Grand Performance Friday, August 15th at 7:00 pm,
outdoors behind the Cultural Center,
immediately following the New York Mills Community Corn Feed
(free corn sponsored by the NYM Civic & Commerce Association)

Both adults and children are welcome to participate!

Margo McCreary Puppet Show


The Cultural Center brings a puppet show by extraordinary puppeteer Margo McCreary to New York Mills Farmers Market on Saturday, July 26 at 11am.

The performance is free to the public, and is made possible, in part, through funding provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board Arts Tour Minnesota program with funding provided by the Legacy Amendment appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature, and by the West Central Initiative Foundation in Fergus Falls.

“The On-Time Circus” will be performed with live music under the awning on the east side of the Creamery in New York Mills. The show will be staged on a puppet wagon that serves as a stage. This show is appropriate for persons of all ages and will last approximately 45 minutes.

Additional performances of this marvelous show will be held at the Wadena Farmers Market on Friday, August 8th at 3:00 pm and on Saturday and Sunday, August 9 and 10 at the Old Wadena Rendezvous in Old Wadena Historic County Park.  For details about the Old Wadena Rendezvous, click this link.

Decoy Judging Results


The Annual Decoy Show will be on display in our gallery from July 9-July 19th. Stop in and take a look!

Congratulations to all winners! Also, a  special congratulations to Paul Sparks and John Peeters, who placed in all 3 categories!


lund boat camo winner john peetersclass 2 winner paul sparksdecorative walleye winner john peetersyouth winner nathan leaderbrand






Class 1 Lund Boat Camo                                                       Class 2 Decoys

1) #44 John Peeters                                                                     1) #31 Paul Sparks

2) #30 Paul Sparks                                                                       2) #40 Todd Schulze

3) #49 Lyle Bethel                                                                        3) #32 Paul Sparks

4) #35 Larry Lange                                                                       4) #46 John Peeters

5) #39 Todd Schulze                                                                    5) #42  Todd Schulze


Class 3 Decorate Walleye                                                   Class 4 Youth 

1) #48 John Peeters                                                                  1) #61 Nathan Leaderbrand

2) #43 Todd Schulze                                                                  2) #67 Ryan Leaderbrand

3) #38 Larry Lange                                                                    3) #68 Natalie Oday

4) #59 Curt Soine                                                                        4) #66 Parker Wegscheid

5) #34 Paul Sparks                                                                     5) #62 Mia Campance

Masks and Stone Sculptures by Simon Zornes

Simon Zornes show through Thursday, July 31 in the upstairs gallery

Artist reception on Friday, July 11th from 2-5 pm

Using native rock and wood, Simon Zornes creates powerful images expressive of his Anishinaabeg heritage.  Here are three images that tell more about Simon’s work than words can.  Please visit with Simon in person on Friday, July 11th from 2-5 pm during the Summer Celebration in New York Mills.











Following is Simon’s artist’s statement:

Boozhoo (greetings), Ishkode Indizhinikaaz (my spirit name is Fire), Makwa Indoodem (I am from the Bear Clan), Gaawaabaabiganikaag Indoonjibaa (I am from White Earth). I have lived and learned from Maamaa Aki (Mother Earth) for nearly 4 decades – harvesting manoomin (wild rice), gathering and making ziinzibakwad (maple sugar), and growing minomiijim (good food).

Along with harvesting, I have been creating sculpture with asin (stone) and mitig (wood) for over a decade. My journey with asinoog (Stone grandfathers/grandmothers) began when my dear friend, Tim Stone, and I started finding and playing with unique rock from the moraine region of the Mississippi Headwaters and White Earth Reservation.

I have found that each stone holds many stories that access me as their storyteller. One includes the geological saga of its creation and composition over eons. The others evolve from images invoked from within me as a result of the interaction between the stone’s unusual characteristics and the narrative it shares with me. Some pieces start from a gentle low pitch whisper and take days and often weeks to unfold due to both the quiet reverberation and the time it takes to research, sketch, and find the “right” angle and tool. Others boldly present and need less attention presenting in near final form.

Most of the sculptures have indigenous themes like mikinaak (turtle), miigwan (feather), and Chief Hole-in-the-Day the younger. Since the asinoog have spirits of their own, they often choose their resting place.   Many sculptures have been gifted to friends and family. Larger creations have found homes throughout the Bemidji Sculpture Walk, the Minneapolis American Indian Center, and my private sculpture garden. Others have found resting spaces throughout the country via my website “Art from Nature.”