• bobjohnson74th Annual Decoy and Wildlife Art Show

    July 8 - 18, 2015

    Featuring the work of area decoy artists, Bob Johnson paintings and prints, and Al Mohler wood cut paintings

  • 2015-07-06 09.29.232015 Regional Show
    People's Choice Winner

    Found a Mate
    Oil on canvas, 2015
    by Judy Wegenast, Rochert MN



  • DSCN68612nd Annual Fish House Festival
    a fun-filled success

    *Custom painted spear house painted by 4 area artists
    *Decoys & cabin decor items painted by 8 area artists
    *Fish cookies, decoy painting, fish printing & fun


Online giving for the Cultural Center

Giving to the Cultural Center – easier & 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 (our legal name is “New York Mills Arts Retreat”).  Thank you!


Ellen Jean Diederich Reception


Detail of painting by Ellen Jean Diederich

Detail of painting by Ellen Jean Diederich

Enjoy the gallery and come meet exhibiting artist Ellen Jean Diederich whose original watercolor and acrylic paintings are on display in the second floor gallery. The works come from Diederich’s book Samson’s Gift, available in our gift store for purchase. The show is on display until August 8th.

The reception is a chance to meet the artist, ask questions and enjoy some light refreshments.

There is no charge for gallery or reception admittance.

Book Publishing Panel at the Cultural Center

On Saturday, August 1st from 4:30-5:30 PM, Author/Illustrator Ellen Diederich, Writer Linda Henry, and Illustrator Dawn Rossbach will conduct a panel on the navigation of the publishing process. Currently, Original artwork from Ellen’s book ‘Samson’s Gift’ and Dawn/Linda’s book ‘The Cookie Garden’ are on exhibit in the two galleries of the Cultural Center. This workshop is followed by the Artist Exhibition Reception for Ellen Diederich from 6-8pm at the Cultural Center. This event is free of charge.

Writers, artist/illustrators, parents and story tellers will benefit from the presentation as well as having their questions answered.

The Art of The Cookie Garden

Main floor gallery exhibit July 22nd – August 29th, 2015


The Cookie Garden is a children’s book written by Linda Henry and illustrated by Dawn Rossbach, and the gallery show featured at the Cultural Center July 22 – August 29 is a wonderful exhibit of not only the story told in the book, but “the story of the story”, as the opening visual of the show says. In addition to beautiful framed images of all of the book’s illustrations, the exhibit includes text and visuals, photos and notes, of the history of the labor of love that went into publishing this book. Whether you enjoy great artwork, are a fan of children’s books, or are interested in publishing, this is a show you won’t want to miss.

The Cookie Garden is about a boy who isn’t impressed with his mom’s vegetable garden, so he finds some cookie seeds in the kitchen cabinet and decides to plant his own garden. It comes with a DIY seed packet and instructions for caregivers on making the magic happen. The mission of both author and illustrator in bringing this story to life is to cultivate the imagination in both children and grown-ups.

Dawn, an artist and educator who lives near Park Rapids, used lush pastels in her illustrations that are appealing to little ones, parents and teachers, many of whom use the book as a prompt for helping kids further develop their imagination.

CookieGardenBookThe book is also for sale in our Gift Store, and makes a wonderful gift for the children in your life, or addition to your own home library.

On Saturday, July 25th from 6-8 p.m. we will host a reception and book signing at the Cultural Center gallery.  This is a chance to meet the artists, view the paintings, enjoy some light refreshments (including cookies, of course!), and purchase your own copy of The Cookie Garden and have it signed by the author and illustrator.  There is no charge for the gallery exhibit or reception.

7th Annual Puppet Pageant

Sun and Moon7th Annual Puppet Pageant

Please join us for the 2015 Puppet Pageant, once again under the creative direction of Anne Sawyer-Aitch.  This year’s original play will weave folklore from the Finnish national epic poem, the Kalevala, and the cultural heritage of the region in which we live.  Learn how to create, perform and maybe even walk on stilts!

Participation in the play and two weeks of workshops is open to youth ages 7 and up and adults, with volunteers gladly welcomed.

The cost of participation is $50/ child, but if cost is a concern simply call the Center and we can discuss potential scholarships. There is no fee for adult participation.

This year’s performance will take place on Friday, August 21st at 7 pm (immediately following the New York Mills Civic & Commerce Corn Feed), with workshops taking place the two weeks prior (Monday-Friday, August 10th-21st), at the New York Mills Creamery (located just a block away from the Cultural Center).

Schedule for workshops is as follows:


  • August 10-14 (Monday-Friday) 9am-noon
  • August 17-21 (Monday-Friday) 9am-noon
  • August 20 (Thursday) 6-8 pm *DRESS REHEARSAL*
  • August 21 (Friday) 5:30 CALL FOR PERFORMERS, 7:00 pm *PERFORMANCE*


  • August 10, 12, 13 (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday) 6-8pm
  • August 17-19 (Monday-Wednesday) 6-8pm


  • August 11 (Tuesday) 1-2:30 pm
  • August 13 (Thursday) 1-2:30 pm
  • August 18 (Tuesday) 1-2:30 pm
  • August 20 (Thursday) 1-2:30 pm


Making History with Crafts, Playful Marionettes

About 85 years ago, probably when your great-grandparents were growing up, Minnesota was hit hard by something we now call the Great Depression. Many people could not find jobs to support their families. To create jobs, then-President Franklin Roosevelt created the Works Progress Administration (WPA). It was created to provide people with jobs and paychecks and train leaders and workers to work together efficiently.

Children with hand-puppets, probably hand made (1937) courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society

Children with hand-puppets, probably hand made (1937) courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society

Digital image of original artifact

Digital image of original artifact. Courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society

So how do marionettes play a part in the history of the Great Depression in Minnesota? Well, a woman named Deborah Meader thought puppetry was a great way for people to work together who had different skills to create something meaningful. She brought her puppets all over to hospitals, libraries, schools, churches and prisons to brighten the lives of those she interacted with. Learn more about the history of the Great Depression while making your very own personalized marionette at the Cultural Center on Monday, July 24 1-3 pm OR 6-8 pm.



Intended ages are 7-12

Cost is $5/ per participant

Call to register at 218-385-3339


Making History with Crafts

Join us Monday, August 24 from 1-3pm OR 6-8pm in creating woodland trolls!

Many folktales from Scandinavia have trolls and other mythical beings. They often take on the traits of their woodland surroundings. A simple walk through the woods will provide you with almost everything you need to make your own troll!

After the passage of the Homestead Act of 1862, 75,000 people migrated to what is now the state of Minnesota from 1862-1865. Many of the people that came to Minnesota were from Scandinavian countries, and wanted to keep the cultural heritage of their home countries alive! Trolls play an important part in telling stories about human nature.

Learn more about Scandinavian and Minnesota history by creating your very own troll!

Intended for ages 7-12

Cost is $5/child

Call to register at 218-385-3339

August 2015 Art in YOUR Park

August is right around the corner so enjoy the dog days of summer outdoors creating crafts!

The final Art in YOUR Park events of 2015 will be taking place August 3-7 in New York Mills and Wadena. The activities will focus on turning trash to treasure as we take recyclables and transform old CD’s into mosaics, turn magazine pages into silhouettes of your favorite animals and use cans to make robots!

Dates and times are as follows:

Monday, August 3rd from 10 am-12 noon and again from 1 pm- 3 pm at Smith Park (NYM)

Wednesday, August 5th from 10 am- 12 noon and again from 1 pm-3 pm at Southside Park (NYM)

Thursday, August 6th from 10 am- 12 noon and again from 1 pm- 3pm at the LIONS shelter #2 in Wadena

Friday, August 7th from 10 am- 12 noon and again from 1 pm- 3pm at Lund Park


Hope to see you there!

Ellen Jean Diederich in the gallery

The Cultural Center is proud to host the works of Ellen Jean Diederich in our newly refreshed second floor gallery. The exhibition runs from July 8 until August 8, 2015.

EDSCN6969llen Jean Diederich’s Neo-Impressionistic acrylic and watercolor paintings fill the pages of Samson’s Gift with color and energy. Currently living in Fargo, North Dakota, Diederich grew up on a farm in Staples, Minnesota, where she especially enjoyed working with animals. A graduate of Minnesota State University-Moorhead with a B.F.A. in Fine Arts and a B.A. in Art Education, Ellen’s work has won numerous awards at national juried exhibitions.

The Samson’s Gift gallery exhibit has already traveled around North Dakota including exhibitions in Bismarck, Minot, and Fargo. Becky Dunham, Curator of the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, ND, commented on the exhibition saying, “Diederich’s new series of paintings for Samson’s Gift is an excellent educational tool about painting with water-based media such as watercolor and acrylic. Her bring color palette and loose brushstrokes coupled with her strong emphasis on figural and animal imagery appeal to audiences of all ages and backgrounds, especially children. Through the interweaving device of a narrative, in this case a story about self-sacrifice, Diederich lures her audience into closely examining each of her paintings, allowing them to further explore her techniques and use of formal qualities such as line, color and pattern.”

image002Ellen enjoys painting a wide variety of subjects drawn from her diverse life experience. Her favorite subjects are flowers, architecture and domestic animals. It was through her series of sheep paintings that she came up with Samson’s story. She also wrote and illustrated two earlier books, Where’s Petunia?, a children’s story that won the coveted Ben Franklin Gold Medal for Best First Book Fiction, and Progressive Painting – Your Creative Journey, an instructional and motivational guide popular with both beginning and professional artists.

110214-F-FF-HerVoiceEllenHer continuous experience with drawing, painting, and publishing her paintings, note cards, Christmas cards, giclée reproductions, and marketing has made Samson’s Gift possible.

Please visit the Cultural Center between July 8th – August 8th to view the Samson’s Gift Gallery Exhibition in our second floor gallery.  Ellen’s beautiful books and note cards will also be for sale in our Gift Store during this time.

All are invited to an Artist Reception at the Cultural Center on Saturday, August 1st from 6-8 p.m. for an opportunity to meet Ellen, view her work, enjoy light refreshments, and the chance to purchase your own signed copy of Samson’s Gift.  The gallery exhibit and reception are free of charge.