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!


23rd annual Regional Show in the Gallery now

IMG_20150528_145648062-459167690Reception Saturday, May 30th, 7-9pm

Please join us for an Artists’ Reception on Saturday, May 30th from 7-9pm at the Cultural Center for what is always one of the most fun receptions of the year with many regional artists attending to connect and view artwork from others in the area. This event is free and open to all.


If yoIMG_20150528_145627619-358713535u’re not able to make it on Saturday, be sure to stop by the Center anytime now through July 2nd to see the work of 25 regional artists.  Featured artwork includes paintings, glass, photography, ceramics, sculpture, and more.  This show is local favorite as it features regional talent and provides an always interesting variety of mediums and styles.

One piece of artwork will earn a People’s Choice Award and $50 based on visitor votes – be sure to come by and cast your vote for your favorite item now until July 2nd. The winner will be announced at the conclusion of the exhibit.

Patti Donaldson's "Fused and Shaped" glass

Patti Donaldson’s “Fused and Slumped” glass

We are pleased to announce four Best in Category awards. In two-dimensional artwork, winners are “Children in in the Boat” by Grace Haverty of Richville, and “Dairy Farm, Section 5, Erhard’s Grove” by Jon Solinger of Pelican Rapids.  In three-dimensional artwork, winners are “Hermes” by Christy Johnson of Staples, and “Fused & Slumped” by Patti Donaldson of Richville. Congratulations to these individuals, and thanks to all participating artists.

2015 Garden Party: THANK YOU!

GardenParty2015-3On May 14th, we hosted our annual Garden Party fundraiser at the Cultural Center.  We were overwhelmed with the generosity of donors and bidders, and are thrilled to report that you, our community of supporters, invested more than $7,300 to bring high-quality arts programming into the lives of rural Minnesotans!  This investment helps bring to life the Cultural Center’s mission to be a rural center for creativity, community vitality, and lifelong learning in the arts.  THANK YOU!!

GardenParty2015-2The evening involved a silent auction, live auction, beans & brats cooked on the back deck, yummy sweets & treats donated by board members, a wall of wine and visiting artist’s artwork drawing, and plenty of good conversation.  A few numbers to help tell the story of what a successful (and FUN!) evening it was…

  • 147 items donated for the live and silent auctions
  • 81 bidding numbers
  • 100+ attendees
  • 160+ tickets sold for the Wall of Wine
  • 50+ tickets sold for Visiting Artist Kiki Farish paintings
  • 72 brats (thanks to the Mills Locker Plant for donating the brats & Dean’s Country Market for donating the buns!)
  • 2 crock pots of beans
  • 76 bags of chips (thanks to KLN for donating!)
  • 12 empty bottles of wine and 50 empty bottles of beer recycled

GardenParty2015-1This event would not have been possible without the donations from area businesses and individuals (more than 70 of you!)…thank you for your generosity.  Additionally, a big thank you goes out to all volunteers, staff and board members who came together and worked hard to pull off a really great event.

We are  grateful.  We hope you’ll come visit us again soon at the Center.

PS Did you miss the party, but still want to give? Just click here to donate.

Norman Kennedy to kick off Think-Off weekend

normankennedy1Scottish balladeer and storyteller to kick off the 2015 Great American Think-Off weekend with a concert at the Cultural Center on Friday, June 12th at 7:30pm

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear Norman Kennedy in concert at the Cultural Center on Friday, June 12th at 7:30pm.  This is the night before the 23rd annual Great American Think-Off (click for more information).  Join us in New York Mills for a full weekend of musical and philosophical entertainment.  Admission to the Norman Kennedy concert is $15 on the night of the concert or $12 with advance reservation.  Student admission is always $5.  Call 218-385-3339 for reservations.

2003NormanKennedyNorman Kennedy is an unaccompanied singer of traditional Scottish songs with a long history of performances around the world, including such venues as Carnegie Hall and the Newport Jazz Festival. Norman learned his songs naturally by growing up around some of the great Scottish singers of the last generation. He has a wide repertoire of songs learned directly from them without the facility of tapes and records. He learned them, not because he wanted to be a folk singer, but because even as a boy he was drawn to the music.

In concert, Norman draws only from that body of old songs. His concerts have a relaxed informality about them. He comes out on stage, takes a seat and seemingly starts a conversation with the audience. His dry sense of humor and memory of the stories surrounding the songs make his listeners appreciate not only the old songs, but the old ways as well. “You can tell stories, you can recite them, you can sing them,” he says. Singing and recollecting are all part of the same cloth. With this directness he presents ballads — stories of love won and lost, betrayal, death — in a way that holds everyone’s attention.

Norman shares what is enduring about traditional songs – their authenticity to life, the humorous turns of every-day events, the beauty of old melodies. As Norman explains it: “These songs are my roots; they’re older and more important than I am.” This unpretentiousness makes Norman’s music as wonderful to the audience as it is important to him.

Norman Kennedy was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, into a family with roots in that port city dating to the 13th century. The Kennedys had been shipbuilders and merchant seamen for generations. While learning songs, stories, and lore from family members and neighbors, Kennedy spent part of his teen years “hanging around” the local handweavers.

During the 1950s, he made annual trips to the Outer Hebrides to learn the local weaving, Gaelic songs, and cultural practices. In 1965, he was invited to perform at the Newport Folk Festival to represent Scotland in a program on the origins of the American ballad tradition. A year later, he returned to the United States to co-found Country Roads, a shop and organization intended to support traditional crafts.

From 1967 to 1972, he served as the master weaver at Colonial Williamsburg. Finally, Kennedy founded the Marshfield School of Weaving in Marshfield, Vermont, in 1976 where he taught until he closed it in 1995. Kennedy travels the country performing the old songs, telling stories, and instructing people in traditional weaving techniques, including the rarely practiced community method of waulking (shrinking) cloth accompanied by group song. He once answered someone, who asked him why he didn’t use some of the new labor and cost-saving devices for preparing cloth, with his own question: “How much is a pound of pride and maybe a half a pound of satisfaction?”

2015 Annual Kite Festival, NEW Rocket Launch

Kite2The Kite Festival is back at the New York Mills School

This annual program sponsored by the Cultural Center has in the past included classes from NYM building and launching various types of kites with help, instruction and supplies from the Cultural Center.  This year, Tammy Olson’s Exploring Art class will be building and decorating paper kites that they will fly May 28 or 29, and new this year, Travis Ekren’s science classes will be launching air powered rockets outside the school on May 26th.

Kite1Both launch and flight activities use supplies provided by the Cultural Center.  Many kids have never flown a kite much less launched a rocket, so this is a great opportunity to incorporate art and science learning, all while having fun in the great outdoors.  Thanks to all Cultural Center donors for making this activity possible.

Help Wanted: Program Coordinator

ProgCoordJobPostMay15Looking for a part-time job? Interested in the arts, culture, and community? Appreciate the value of lifelong learning? Then submit your resume and a cover letter telling us why you’d be the best fit for the job of Program Coordinator here at the Cultural Center. We are seeking a person to assist in carrying out various roles related to lifelong learning in the arts.  20-30 hours per week (some flexibility in schedule, prefer 3-4 days/week), beginning as soon as possible. E-mail resume and cover letter to


Art in Your Park 2015

Join us in the parks this summer for FREE art activities for kidsArtInYourParkPhoto

Each month will feature a different theme of activities and art projects that kids can take home at the end of the day.  Come and have fun being creative while enjoying the great outdoors.  Stop in or stay for the whole session.

All ages welcome, with children under the age of 7 needing to be accompanied by an adult or older sibling.  Activities will take place in New York Mills, Perham and Wadena. Schedule follows:
















We look forward to seeing you in YOUR park this summer!

2015 Regional Art Show

Submit your work and participate in the annual regional art show at the Center.  Everyone is welcome, all media are accepted, and this is a non-juried show.  Details below.

Wednesday May 27th – Thursday July 2nd, 2015
Open to all artists working in any medium
Reception for artists Saturday, May 30th from 7:00 – 9:00 pm

Submit up to two works in any medium for inclusion in this non-juried art show.  Bring your work to the Cultural Center on Thursday May 21st or Friday May 22nd from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm or Saturday, May 23rd from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.  Need a special drop off time?  Call 218-385-3339.

Entry fee for one piece is $15, or $20 for two pieces.  This includes membership in the Cultural Center for one year.  This modest  fee helps the Center keep its gallery space available to regional artists.

Work must have been completed in calendar years 2013, 2014, or 2015.  You may choose to make your work available for purchase.  Please note that the Center charges 25% commission on all gallery sales during the show; please price your work accordingly.  All work must be ready for presentation.  For example, photographs must be matted and framed.  Paintings must be prepared for gallery hanging.Attach a completed entry form (click on form below) firmly to the back or underside of each work submitted and another on the front or top.

There will be a $50 “People’s Choice” award announced at the conclusion of the show.  There will also be four $50 “best in category” awards given at the reception on May 30th.  Categories will be established after submissions are complete and will be based on the number of submissions in each medium.

Please click on the entry form below to print the submission guidelines and the entry form.  Thank you for entering this annual people’s art show May 27th to July 2nd, 2015.  Reception Saturday May 30, 7-9pm.

2015 Regional Show

2015 Garden Party: Thursday May 14

gardenparty2Join us for our annual live & silent auctions

Spring is here to stay…let’s celebrate with the annual Cultural Center Garden Party fundraiser!   We will have many gardening and other items for your bid at our May 14th event.

The Cultural Center’s annual spring fundraiser, the Garden Party, is happening on Thursday evening May 14th at the Center.  Please save the date and join us. Weather permitting, we plan to open up the back doors and extend the party out onto the back deck this year, where we will be selling brats, beans & beer.  As usual, we will also have wine, soda, and other treats & sweets for your culinary enjoyment.  The Mills Locker Plant has generously donated their award-winning brats in a variety of yummy flavors, and Dean’s Country Market has contributed the buns. Thanks to these wonderful business supporters – please be sure to frequent these local businesses!

gardenparty4Bidding for silent auction items begins at 6:00pm and concludes at 8:00pm.  At 6:45pm, a live auction segment will begin, featuring live plants and other exciting items.

New this year – we are partnering with several area greenhouses for a portion of the live auction items for which the proceeds will be split with those businesses; greenhouse/floral partners include Red Barn Greenhouse, Perala’s Evergreen Gardens, Clover Hills Farm, Jean’s the Right Plant Place, and Designs by Tes.  Again, please be sure to stop by these local businesses and support them as well.

Back by popular demand is our Wall of Wine fundraiser. Donate a bottle or two to add to the wall and a lucky winner will take home all the wine!

In addition, current visiting artist Kiki Farish has donated several paintings completed during her residency, two of which will be in the live auction, one in the silent auction, and two in a drawing.  Kiki will be at the Garden Party and looks forward to meeting local residents and supporters.

Get ready for gardening and life outdoors after a long winter at this year’s annual Cultural Center “rite of spring.”   We look forward to welcoming Spring together.

Donations are being accepted now and can be dropped off at the Cultural Center. If you would like to arrange for a pick up, please call us at 218-385-3339.  Thanks to all generous donors and bidders for making this a fun and successful event each year.

The donations are coming in and staff members can’t help but make lists of items to bid on! A sampling of items include 18-hole rounds of golf  at several regional golf courses, a canoe trip for four down the Crow Wing River with lunch or dinner at a local restaurant, kid’s gardening sets, lawn ornaments made of metal, glass and even fiber (handmade by the Center’s Sit & Stitch group), homemade pickles, and so much more. Click here to check out our Facebook page for photos and updates!