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 (our legal name is “New York Mills Arts Retreat.”)  Thank you!


Open House for Jamie Robertson April 23rd

JamieJamie’s Off to New Adventures

Please join us on Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 for an Open House honoring Jamie Robertson at the Cultural Center from 4:30-7:00pm, with a short program at 5:45pm.  Help us thank Jamie for sharing his creativity and devoted service to the Cultural Center and the arts in Central Minnesota.

After nearly 8 years as Executive Director of the Cultural Center in New York Mills, Jamie Robertson’s last day at the Center will be April 21st. His departure marks the end of an era, where Jamie has grown the arts impact in the region and has developed many lasting impressions at the Cultural Center, around the community of New York Mills, and the greater Central Minnesota region. His presence as Director of the Cultural Center will be greatly missed.

Check out this link to an article written by Tim King this past September about Jamie to learn more about his life, career, and positive impact on the region:

If you are unable to attend the Open House, but wish to share your thoughts and gratitude (and photos, too!), send them via email to  For more information please contact Betsy Roder at

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.

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.

Back by popular demand this year will be 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!

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. We will update this post with a preview of items to bid on as the donations come in!

Young artists’ shows in April and May

Now through May 22nd see student work in the gallery in three separate but linked shows.  The local high school show is in the gallery now through April 25th to be followed by the State High School League show and the local elementary show.


Elephant bull, watercolor by Antonia Starzl (12th grade student in Fergus Falls)

High school artists from 5 regional schools are participating in an annual show featuring the work of young artists.  Schools participating this year include Fergus Falls (Peder Butenhoff, teacher); Bertha-Hewitt and Verndale schools (Ms. Ervasti, teacher); Menahga (Dawn Rossbach, teacher) and New York Mills (Tammy Olson, teacher).

The New York Mills Lions donated award money for students in this year’s show.  Six artists received honorable mention awards of $25 each, including Isabelle Villarred of Menahga, Antonia Starzl, Fergus Falls, Elyssa Kern, Verndale, Austin Gendron, Fergus Falls, Isabella Foerderreuther, Bertha-Hewitt, Claire Ripley, Fergus Falls.

Stop in and see some amazing work by young artists!

Annual Meeting – Tuesday, April 21

Welcome Betsy Roder,  the Center’s new Executive Director

Betsy RoderThis year’s annual meeting (Tuesday, April 21 at 6:00 pm) is particularly noteworthy because Betsy Roder, Arts Retreat Coordinator and Gift Store Manager, will assume her new leadership role as Executive Director of the Cultural Center.  We hope you can come to welcome Betsy as she works with the community to define a new and exciting life for the Cultural Center.

The Center’s Annual Report for 2014 will be distributed to everyone at the meeting, and new board members will be elected.  The meeting will not be long, and it will provide a chance for you to take a direct hand in helping shape the future of the Cultural Center.  Hope you can come.

Refreshments will be served too!

Artist-in-Residence Angela Sprunger


A printmaking artist from Minneapolis will be occupying the Arts Retreat house for the first few weeks of April 2015.

Angela Sprunger is an artist, educator, and administrator. She creates socially engaged prints and objects to agitate cultural complacency. In the past year, Sprunger completed a public art project through a Corridor Collaboration Grant from the City of Saint Paul and had a solo show of print work at Franklin Arts Center Resident Artist Gallery in Brainerd. She is also part of the Art Swap team, a portable community event that invites participants to bring a work of art they made to exchange for a piece in Art Swap’s rotating collection.

When asked about her plans during this residency, Angela responded, “I am exploring connections between my art practices and experiencing the natural world. The paper and woodblocks I use to make art come from trees. You may see me walking around town carrying a log and a tripod. It’s an exercise to think about where my materials come from and how I might return what I create from them to the natural world.”

She added, “I’m also finding inspiration from re-watching Twin Peaks, the David Lynch T.V. show from the early 1990s. It was such a strange show and combined so many disparate things (detective story, melodrama, surrealism, mysticism, nature, humor, musical score) into something that worked. There’s a character in the show simply called the Log Lady who takes her log everywhere! Twin Peaks is also a lumber town with a café that makes amazing pies. So, New York Mills has a few things in common with it. The show is making me think about how to combine the different ways in which I often work (printmaking, drawing, painting, sewing, nature) into something singular.”

Be sure to keep an eye out around New York Mills for our very own “Visiting Log Lady”, and if you see her, say hello.

Check out Angela’s work at  Also, you can follow what she’s doing here on instagram @angelasprunger. She will be posting one photo a day using the tag #newyorkmillsMN.

Cultural Center Announces Roder as New Executive Director

betsyThe Cultural Center, located in New York Mills, MN announces the selection of Betsy Roder as its next executive director. Roder will assume the position on April 22, when current executive director, Jamie Robertson leaves his post of nearly 8 years, to pursue personal and family interests.

Roder holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of St Thomas, as well as Bachelors of Business Administration/Finance, from Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN. Upon completing her graduate degree, Roder worked for the Target Corporation, where she held a variety of management positions; including business analyst, buyer, and merchandise planning manager. While at Target, Roder was Recipient of Honors Leadership Excellence Award, Target Best in Community Award and the Merchandising DMM Award.

A native of New York Mills, Roder moved back with her family in 2010, after almost ten years away from her home town. She said, “Though I didn’t realize it when I chose to move back home from Minneapolis, I am part of a movement called “Rural by Choice,” a growing trend among people in their 30’s to be intentional about living in a rural community because of the many benefits that lifestyle offers. One of the things that can be a trade-off is when moving from the city to a small town is giving up access to the arts. However, in the case of New York Mills, the Cultural Center provides that access, making the rural by choice decision an easy one to make.” 

In 2011, Roder was hired by the Cultural Center to be the Arts Retreat Coordinator and Gift Store Manager. In 2012-2014, she was selected to be part of the Cultural Center’s ArtsLab Cohort, which is a two year program of Arts Midwest that provides intensive training and mentorship for leaders of arts nonprofit organizations. During this two year period she learned about best practices in the areas of arts nonprofit capacity building, strategic planning, fund development, marketing, leadership development, and more. ArtsLab also enabled Roder to work with the nation’s foremost leaders in nonprofit leadership, as well as the staff and board members of 15 arts nonprofits.

When asked why she chose to change her role at the Cultural Center, Roder noted, “I believe the Cultural Center is a true gem in our region, providing a window to the world in an area where access to arts & cultural experiences can be hard to come by.  With the upcoming retirement of current ED Jamie Robertson, it felt like the right time to step up and have a larger impact on the organization. I’ve learned a lot from Jamie over the past 4 years, and I am excited to apply that knowledge, along with my educational and business background, to lead the Cultural Center into the future.”

Roder plans to continue the long tradition of providing high quality arts and cultural programming to the region, supporting local and regional artists, and bringing new and different experiences to our area. She will also focus on developing long term fiscal sustainability for the Center, particularly through increased earned and contributed income.

When asked what the Cultural Center’s greatest contribution is to the area, Roder stated, I believe the Cultural Center brings people together by providing access to new and unique experiences. There are so many wonderful things about living in a small town, but access to quality arts and cultural experiences can be a real void in many rural areas. The Cultural Center fills that void and provides a link between what is great about small towns in terms of local activities, events, and festivals, and enriching lives with exposure to great music, performances, classes, interactions, and experiences. I am thrilled to now have this opportunity to be the leader of the Cultural Center and have a direct impact enriching the lives of the people in this region.”

Roder lives in New York Mills, with her husband Nick, their three sons, Finn, Bergen, Trygg, and baby daughter, Kaia. She also serves on the New York Mills City Council, Library Board and Park Board, and participates in several community groups including the NYM Civic & Commerce Association, the Community Supporting Classrooms committee, Library Book Club, and Trinity Lutheran Church.

The Cultural Center in New York Mills is a rural center for creativity, community vitality, and lifelong learning in the arts, serving residents and visitors to central Minnesota.

For further information please call 218-385-3339 or email


Next “little big year” event at the Cultural Center

Little Big Year bird countBig Year

Movie night with snacks, beverages and door prizes on Thursday April 16 at 7:30 p.m.  We’ll be watching “The Big Year” starring Owen Wilson, Jack Black and Steve Martin. As you can tell by the cast, this is a comedy, but at the same time it imparts a good deal of information about birds and the people who spend more time and money than anyone else trying to see/hear them.  Bring your most comfortable lawn chair for optimum movie viewing.  There will be snacks and door prizes for those registered in the “little big year” bird count.  Your bird count has the chance to really grow with the spring migration, nesting mating season.