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    Kardemimmit Concert
    Finnish Folk Music Direct from Finland
    Tuesday, September 15th, 7:30 p.m.


    Shadow Jumper, mixed media

    Richard Simonsen Abstract Art
    September 2 - October 17
    Reception Saturday, September 12, 6-8PM

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    The Art of the Cookie Garden

    July 22 - August 29th

    An exhibit "telling the story of the story" featuring paintings from the children's book "The Cookie Garden" by illustrator Dawn Rossbach

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!


Kardemimmit Concert September 15, 2015

kardemimmit-small-webFinnish folk music direct from Finland

The Cultural Center is pleased to host Finnish folk group Kardemimmit on Tuesday, September 15th at 7:30 p.m., during the group’s USA tour.

Kardemimmit is a Finnish folk music group formed by four young women: Maija Pokela, Jutta Rahmel, Anna Wegelius and Leeni Wegelius. They are singers and players of the kantele (the national instrument of Finland) in its 15 and 38 stringed forms. The group’s repertory consists of modern folk music mostly composed by the members themselves. The music of Kardemimmit is fresh but it’s strongly foundationed in Finnish tradition from both Eastern and Western regions featuring e.g. reki-style of singing, Perhonjoki valley kantele style, Karelian small kantele and runo-song traditions as well as archaic improvisation.

kardemimmit2The group’s roots go back to the music school Juvenalia in Espoo, southern Finland where all of the members have studied. Kardemimmit has played together for over ten years. This long history can be heard as a unique sound in both the group’s singing and playing. As a kantele group Kardemimmit is a foregoer: in the year 2004 the Kantele Association chose the group as the kantele group of the year and the next year it won the national kantele group contest in its league. Kardemimmit was the group of the year in the Uusimaa-region in 2009 and 2010. Their third album, Autio huvila, was chosen as the Folk Music Album of the Year 2012 by the Finnish Folk Music Association.

Thanks to Finn Creek Museum for co-sponsoring this concert with the Cultural Center. Finn Creek is celebrating 40 years of open air history this year, and we are pleased to partner with them to bring this Finnish folk music to New York Mills and the surrounding region, direct from Finland. Please join us on Tuesday, September 15th at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are just $5.

Visiting Artist Jhon Sanchez

Even though current visiting artist Jhon Sanchez has been writing since he was a child, as an adult, the process of discovering the English language has helped him to develop his creativity. He came from Colombia in 1998, seeking asylum because the practice of his legal profession endangered his life and freedom during those years of political turmoil in his country. Learning a language at the age of 27 years old is not easy, but like falling in love, it was, and still is, wonderful to be unaware and unheeded of what would be the final destiny of the words. That’s why he started writing poetry. After going to law school in the US, and completing his masters degree in Creative writing, Jhon decided to fully dedicate his time to the profession of writing.

Jhon, posing by mural behind the Cultural Center, created by Pam Robinson in collaboration with local students.

Jhon lives and writes in New York City, where he is also a practicing attorney. His prose has been featured in two anthologies, New Lit Saloon and the Bronx Memoir Project. His poetry has been published in several magazines such as the Brooklyn Paramount and the Overpass Magazine. He devotes his free time to assist in the creation of a workshop called Wordsmith and he has also volunteered in creative writing classes for the HIV population in GMHC.

Sanchez was awarded the Immigrant Artist Project (NYFA 2011), and he was selected as writer fellow for the Edward Albee Foundation in 2014. During his residence time, he continued developing a Novella called the Biology for the Dove Sisters. Like most of his fiction, the Dove sisters are immigrants in the US that struggle to survive using the extravaganza of their personalities that confronts and shocks the others in their communities.

Jhon will be in residence at the Retreat House in New York Mills until September 12th. A reception will be held at the Cultural Center on Wednesday, September 9th at 7:30 p.m. Jhon believes that poetry and literature are tools to cause an emotional change walking through the realms of other people’s lives and difficulties. The reception will include a selected reading of his poems and narrative prose which incorporate memories, experiences and imageries from his childhood in Colombia as well as his life as an immigrant in New York City. Participants will have an opportunity to share their writings in a supportive atmosphere, following the reading. Please welcome Mr. Sanchez to New York Mills in an open, relaxed environment with a casual conversation to follow after the reading.

Richard Simonsen gallery show

Abstract Art Show in Main Floor Gallery

?Anyway 24x48 $1800

Anyway, mixed media

Visit our main floor gallery from September 2nd to October 17th for a sixteen piece exhibition by Minneapolis artist Richard Simonsen. Ranging from medium to large wall handing pieces, Simonsen’s work captures the attention and imagination of the viewer.


Shadow Jumper, mixed media

“My work has been a journey of experimentation and discovery. I combine found metals, woods, aged hardware and assorted debris. Many of these components are treated with acids, solvents, waxes and paint. Other changes are made by crushing, grinding, torching and sanding to reshape and color the various layers of materials. The industrial elements establish a heavy texture that produces a sculptural depth that has a close affinity to architecture.

These combinations are not concerned with what the art could symbolize or represent but what they are – imagination in texture, shape and color. The use of dissimilar materials, trial and error, natural accidents and mistakes, all help form the inspiration and satisfaction in a final creation.”

Please join us for a reception to this exhibition on Saturday, September 12th from 6-8pm with wine and light refreshments provided. The reception serves as a way for you to meet the artist and enjoy the gallery. Gallery admittance and the reception, as always, are FREE of charge. Bring a friend!

A special thanks to Lynn Kasma for sponsoring this gallery exhibit and reception.

Help Wanted: Come Work at the Cultural Center

Tractor&Stripe--TransparentBkgd 2Looking for a part-time job? Interested in the arts, culture, and community? Looking for a fun, flexible job opportunity? Then submit your resume and a cover letter telling us why you’d be a great addition to the staff here at the Cultural Center.

We are seeking one or two persons to assist in carrying out the mission of the Center. Potential duties could include all or some of the following based on applicant experience/education:

  • Event planning – example annual events include High School Arts Festival, community Halloween Party, Puppet Pageant, spring/holiday fundraisers, and more
  • Artist residency coordination – promote, manage application review process, schedule and assist visiting artists
  • Gift Store management – manage relationships with artists and vendors, order inventory, manage pricing, etc.
  • Education/Outreach – further develop folk school, fine arts, and wellness education to build mission of supporting life-long learning in the arts, including strong partnerships with schools and youth
  • Fund development – grant writing, securing sponsorships, donations, etc.
  • Youth development – build connections through youth council, develop other programs and ideas
  • Performing Arts – schedule music and theater performances, manage events
  • Tourism and hospitality – serve as welcoming contact for all visitors as primary tourist location for our city and region
  • Volunteer coordination – develop roles and relationships with volunteers to help carry out the work of the Center
  • Donor database management – manage membership and donor database to ensure accurate record keeping; develop communication plan with donors to maximize engagement and giving

Hours are negotiable, but looking for 20-40 hours/week (at least two days/week), beginning as soon as possible. Our Open Hours (when we need coverage) are Tues-Fri 10-5, and Sat 10-3 (closed Sun), plus occasional evening and weekend events.  E-mail resume and cover letter to info@kulcher.org.

The Little Big Year is back for 2015-2016

2nd Annual Little Big Year kicks off Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. at the Cultural Center

The first Annual Little Big Year came to an end on July 31, 2015, and the finale event was held on August 13 at the Center. The grand prize was awarded to Ben Martin who reported 101 sightings, and an additional seven birders, including a 6 year old, received prizes for their sightings.

The enthusiastic group decided that there should be a 2nd Annual Little Big Year beginning on September 1, 2015, and running through August 31, 2016. Activities are already being planned and will include some group birding events, a movie night, and opportunities to be involved in Audubon bird counts. Everyone is welcome.

The registration fee is $10 except for children 15 and under who can participate at no cost. The kick-off meeting will be held on August 31, 2015, at 7:00 p.m. at the Cultural Center. For more information, please contact Alice Martin at 218-385-3245.

Picture People for Art Adventure 2016

MIA_logoConsider becoming a Picture Person for the 2015-2015 school year

Like art? Like kids? Becoming an Art Adventure Picture Person is the perfect way for you to share your passion for art with youth, expanding their knowledge and critical thinking skills.

Art Adventure is a program developed by the Minneapolis Institute of Art and brought to you by the Cultural Center. It comes at NO COST to participating schools!

Trained volunteers, called Picture People, will have the opportunity to go into 3rd-8th grade classrooms to share reproductions of pieces from Mia’s permanent collection and then have an in-depth exploration of the artwork, with pieces ranging geographically and by time period thereby raising their global awareness of different ways of life. Volunteers will be needed for the months of February and March 2016, with a training date in Minneapolis to be determined based on volunteer availability. This year’s theme is “How People Lived” and includes Ancient Greek pottery, a Medieval tapestry, and French portraiture among others.


 Portrait of Catherine Coustard (1673 – 1728), Marquise of Castelnau, Wife of Charles-Leonor Aubry (1667 – 1735) with her Son Leonor (1695 – 1770), c. 1699 by Nicolas de Largillere

Last year, the Art Adventure program reached almost 80,000 students in Minnesota, with the Cultural Center’s crew boasting as the longest distance driven to provide Arts programming in rural Minnesota! To learn more about this incredible program visit this link new.artsmia.org/discover/art-adventure/ or email us at info@kulcher.org.

Rainy Evening on Hennepin Ave. c. 1902 by Robert Koehler

Rainy Evening on Hennepin Ave. c. 1902 by Robert Koehler

Support the Center through AmazonSmile


Did you know that your online shopping can benefit the Cultural Center?

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support.

To support the Cultural Center through your Amazon shopping click on the link in this post and your eligible purchases will give us a .5% return without any additional cost to you! The link will directly bring you to our AmazonSmile account, under our legal name of New York Mills Arts Retreat.


Puppet Pageant this Friday, August 21st


Workshops underway for 7th annual Puppet Pageant

Workshops for the Puppet Pageant kicked off last week and continue this week, all leading up to the final performance on Friday, August 21st, 2015 at 7:00pm (immediately following the New York Mills Civic & Commerce Corn Feed taking place from 4-7pm in Central Park).

Preparations for the 7th annual pageant have been going great, according to returning Creative Director Anne Sawyer-Aitch and Assistant Director Lisa Winter.  There are sixteen youth participants this year ages 5-13, and an amazing core crew of adult volunteers, all of whom have been working hard building costumes and scenery, practicing stilt walking, and learning the script for this year’s show.

2015-08-14 10.45.33This year’s performance is titled “King Kraken and the True Story of the Corn Feed” and once again, the story incorporates not only folklore, stories and characters from the Finnish epic book of legends, The Kalevala, but also regional themes including the Corn Feed and Lund boats. Attendees will also see many fantastical creatures and beings both new and old, including a witch, a green man, and something new lurking in the water!

2015-08-11 14.08.23Meanwhile, “backstage,” if you will, Cultural Center staff, board and volunteers have been busy securing funds for this year’s event. When grant funding did not come through this year, Executive Director Betsy Roder came up with a plan to fund the $6,000 cost of putting on the pageant.  The plan incorporates securing donations from area businesses and individuals, as well as selling root beer floats during the Corn Feed and collecting change around town to “feed creativity” (see image at right). We will also “pass the hat” at the performance this year for the first time, hoping that attendees enjoy the show and show their support through a free will donation.

The Pageant is a wonderful opportunity for kids to gain experience in both visual and performing arts, challenge themselves physically with stilt-walking, and learn skills in collaboration and teamwork…all combining for an opportunity that is proving to be the right recipe for gaining community support.

As of this post, the show will most definitely go on, thanks to the continued support of the New York Mills Civic & Commerce, and an anonymous $2,000 matching funds donor. These generous investments have spurred other local businesses and individuals to chip in as well, and currently, the following have all contributed funds or donated items to this event:

  • New York Mills Civic & Commerce Association
  • Dean’s Country Market
  • Klein Insurance
  • Central Minnesota Credit Union
  • Farmers & Merchants State Bank
  • Lumber Depot
  • Cenex Hardware Hank
  • Seip Drug
  • Theisen Design Studios
  • Impressions by Sarah Photography
  • Casey’s General Store
  • New York Mills Drama Club
  • Robb and Illene Reed
  • Amy and Jake Wallgren
  • Darla Berry
  • Don and Loni Niles
  • Alice Martin
  • Matt and Julie Radniecki
  • Betsy and Nick Roder
  • Larry and Nancy Witt
  • Pam and Gary Robinson
  • Jennifer and Jim Arno

Enormous amounts of gratitude to these supporters! If you would like to join in and help with this fun and educational event, please contact the Center at 218-385-3339 or via e-mail at info@kulcher.org.

Puppet Pageant poster 2015 V4 big WEB