Give to the Max Day November 13

End of Year Fundraising Kick-Off November 13

Give to the Max Day is the beginning of the Cultural Center’s end-of-year fundraising.  The Center has a funding gap of $50,000 that it must close by December 31, 2014 in order to start our new fiscal year in the best way possible, bringing regional creative expression to the forefront of our lives.

Give to the Max day will be the beginning of our fundraising to close the gap and be ready to bring everyone the best creative experiences again in 2015.  There is plenty more happening at the Center this fall season, including a wonderful concert series that culminates in the Longest Night Music Festival on December 21.

And lots more.  Click on the headline above or on the logo below and learn how you can become a partner with the Cultural Center to bring the best creative experiences here to rural Minnesota in the remainder of 2014 and throughout 2015.  Please note:  the Cultural Center’s legal name is New York Mills Arts Retreat.  You may not know us by that name, but we are the same organization.  Thank you!

Give to the Max Logo

The Spirits Within

Pastel work by Don Garey

Don Garey pastel workThe Spirits Within exhibit of pastel work by Staples artist Don Garey is on display at the Cultural Center in the ground floor gallery.

Opening October 18 and running through November 26, this exhibit by Don Garey fills the Cultural Center gallery.  A reception welcoming everyone to talk with Don about his work will be held on Friday, October 24th from 6-8 pm.

Don taught graphic art and design at Central Lakes College until his recent retirement.  The striking images in this work are intended to interpret insights Don discovered in a long bout with cancer.  He writes that the work “is not about art principles or design, it is rather about what it is in our lives that gets us through difficult times.”

There is no admission charge to the Center’s gallery.  Hours of operation are 10 am to 5 pm Tuesday – Friday and Saturdays from 10 am to 3 pm.

Zeitgeist and Nirmala Rajasekar November 12

Summer Rain:  Indian classical music and Western classical new music

Wednesday November 12 at the James Mann Center for the Performing Arts at the New York Mills Schools.  7:30 pm.  Advance ticket reservations $12 or $15 at the door.  $2 additional discount with a donation for the Mills Food Shelf.

Zeitgeist & Nirmala

SUMMER RAIN is a new production with music developed and performed by Zeitgeist and composer/veena virtuoso Nirmala Rajasekar. A blend of Indian Classical music (Carnatic tradition) and Western classical new music, SUMMER RAIN features five musical compositions interspersed with discussion and interactive opportunities designed to bring audiences a greater understanding of the two traditions.


April Verch concert Saturday October 11

Fine singing, deft fiddling, and amazing step-dancing


Concert Saturday October 11 at 7:30 pm.  Call 218-385-3339 to reserve your tickets.  Admission is $12 advance or $15 at the door.  Bring a donation for the food shelf and receive an additional $2 discount!

Free music workshop to be given by April and her band before the concert at 4:00 pm.  Bring your instrument if you have one – fiddle, banjo, guitar, upright bass. 

April Verch has never sounded more comfortable in her skin than she does now, in the second decade of her career as an internationally touring Canadian fiddler, step dancer and singer-songwriter. Her ninth album, Bright Like Gold, captures a woman who’s fleshed out her identity and is in full command of her gifts, a woman who’s grown from a prodigy into an enduring artist—one of music’s most unforgiving public transitions—with grace and grit to spare.

The April Verch Band—rounded out by bassist and clawhammer banjo player Cody Walters and guitarist Hayes Griffin, who has a Masters in jazz improv from the New England Conservatory—is an energetic, virtuosic, tradition-celebrating outfit, not to mention one that’s not soon forgotten when they depart the stage. It doesn’t hurt that the thrilling grand finale involves Verch fiddling and step dancing—and often executing two entirely different intricate rhythmic patterns—at once.

Something else that’s downright impressive is the range of material Verch, Walters and Griffin inhabit on the new album. She’s so fluent in folk traditions—the Canadian ones she was born into and the American ones she later found her way to—that old fiddle tunes like those featured in the Canadian medley “Dusty Miller,” “Fiddle Fingers” and “Grizzly Bear” and the Appalachian medley “Edward in the Treetop,” “Yellow Jacket” and “Quit That Tickling Me” sound positively reinvigorated.

Originals like her instrumental waltz “Morris & Boris” and country courting number “The Only One” are clearly made to last. What makes the latter song even more special is that Bluegrass Hall of Famer Mac Wiseman’s voice is on it, and he’s not the only guest of note. Premier old-time fiddler Bruce Molsky joins Verch for some handsome dual fiddling on “Evening Star Waltz,” and bluegrass banjo icon Sammy Shelor appears on “Davy Davy” and “Folding Down the Sheets.” Griffin’s “Foolish Heart” offers a playful take on western swing, Walters’ “Raven In the Hemlock” unfurls melodic surprises and Verch’s “Broken” and “Sorry” have real emotional heft. The fact that she also chose to include “No Other Would Do”—the only song her dad’s ever written—perfectly completes the musical circle.

Verch, leader of this self-assured ensemble, is claiming her power as an artist and a woman, and taking charge of her recording process. Produced by Verch, Walters, Griffin, and their engineer Chris Rosser, Bright Like Gold is, quite literally, the album of Verch’s life. It’s a wonder to behold Verch pulling off those pristine double-time triplets with her feet, and the myriad other ways she’s made good on the promise she showed at a tender age by becoming an artist in touch with roots and in her element.

She won’t be the one to mention her championship titles to you, or even the fact that she represented Canada’s fiddling tradition by performing in the Opening Ceremonies at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. “The accolades are important and noteworthy and special to me,” she says, “but what I think is most impressive to me is that I’ve been doing this full time since 2000. We make a living playing music that we love and it touches other people. I feel like we’re extremely lucky to do that, but also I work really hard, not just at the music, but at every aspect of our career, to make that happen. That we find a way to make it work, and have had that kind of longevity, that’s impressive to me.” And rightfully so. Verch has perfected the art of winning fans for life.

ArtsMidwest LogoThis presentation is supported in part by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Crane Group, and the General Mills Foundation.

Workshop on identifying Minnesota birds

Dick Oehlenschlager to present workshop on Minnesota bird ID

Minnesota BirdsDick has identified nearly 200 birds in Wadena county and he will be the featured presenter in a workshop focused on identifying the birds of Minnesota.  Everyone is invited to this event on Tuesday, September 30 at 7 pm in the ground floor gallery.

The Jacobite Harp

A concert with Ann and Charlie Heymann

Jacobite HarpFriday, October 3rd at 7:30 pm “The Jacobite Harp” concert will present a show featuring the world renowned artistry of Minnesota’s own Ann & Charlie Heymann. Their dramatic harp music and poignant ballads are balanced by good humor and lively dance music, making this a seriously fun event! Tickets are available by calling 218-385-3339. Admission is $12 with advance reservation and $10 for Center members. Receive an additional $2 discount on admission by bringing a non-perishable food item for donation to the Mills food shelf.

Ann plays a replica of an Irish harp that survived the turbulence during the Catholic Stuarts’ fight to claim the English throne, nearly uniting Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales and France—some three hundred years before the European Union! The harp was made in 1734, owned and played by an exceptional Protestant clergyman who risked all to support seditious Munster poets who continued to protest the decimation of their homeland. After his death the harp curiously found its way to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston—the sole surviving Gaelic harp outside of Ireland and Scotland.

Visiting Artist Jill Kalz Poetry Reading



Visiting Author Jill Kalz will give a poetry reading, Wednesday October 1st from 7 to 8 pm at the Cultural Center. There is no charge for this event and everyone is welcome!

Jill is the author of over 70 children’s books and  has also published short-fiction/poetry for adults in Minnesota Monthly, The Nebraska Review, The Ohio Review, Cream City Review, and other magazines. She currently works as a full-time children’s book editor.

Arts Retreat FREE ARTIST RESIDENCY – submissions due October 1, 2014

The New York Mills Arts Retreat is currently accepting applications for January – June 2015 artist residencies. The Arts Retreat program offers self-funded 2-6 week solo residencies for selected artists in all disciplines. A small house and studio access are provided, along with dedicated time for creative development and exploration in our rural Minnesota setting. Application can be completed online and must be submitted by October 1, 2014 to be considered for residencies during January – June 2015.