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!


Photography Class for Kids July 20th

Are your kids always reaching for your phone or camera to take a picture?  Come explore and learn basic digital photography skills with local photographer Sarah Wilhelmi of Impressions by Sarah on Monday, July 20th from 4:30-6:15 p.m. This class is for kids entering grades Kindergarten – 6th grade. See details below, and call the Center to sign up by July 13th! Limited spaces available; call today 218-385-3339.


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!

Making History With Crafts

MakingHistoryCraftsJoin artist, former art teacher, and Cultural Center volunteer Pam Robinson this summer in Making History with Crafts.  There will be four workshops offered on select Mondays during June, July and August, with each workshop to be offered twice, from 1-3pm and 6-8pm on the same day. Attend only one per day, as it will be the same workshop.

These classes will use materials from the Minnesota Historical Society.  For ages 7-12, and elementary teachers who may earn CEUs.  $5 fee per workshop.  Pre-registration required (maximum 7 participants per session); call 218-385-3339 to register.

Hmong Rooster Comb Hats – June 22

Participants will learn about this popular Hmong folk art form by creating your very own protective and symbolic hat which is usually worn for the six-week New Years celebration.

Makak Generation Basket – July 13

Participants will learn about the Ojibwe people through the creation of their very own makak (mah-kuhk) container. You’ll put your own personal spin on your basket by adding photos, memories and trinkets to your work of fine craft.

Playful Marionettes – July 27

Participants will learn about the Great Depression in Minnesota and the work of the Works Progress Administration. Many artists were employed by programs of the WPA, including muralists, illustrators and puppeteers. You’ll recognize the character of your puppet – you see it every day in the mirror!

North Woods Troll – August 24

Many folktales from Scandinavian countries have Trolls and other mythical beings. They often take on the traits of their woodland surroundings. Since the passage of the Homestead Act of 1862, 75,000 people moved to Minnesota (from 1862-1865). That adds up to a lot of people with stories about trolls!  Your crafty creation will be as adorable, cranky, crusty, or jolly as you like.

Guitar Lessons at the Cultural Center

Learn to play the guitar this summer


Local music instructor Rebecca Imsande will teach guitar lessons on Wednesdays beginning June 24 and running for six weeks.

Half-hour lessons for ages 9-adult are just $10 per lesson, and 15-minute lessons for ages 5-8 are just $5 per lesson.


Please call the Cultural Center at 218-385-3339 to reserve a time between 10am-5pm on Wednesdays.  Evening adult group lessons are possible as well, based on interest.


Donate through Network for Good

Donate to the Center on-line securely through Network for Good

Want a really easy, secure way to donate online?  Click on the logo below.  Our legal name is “New York Mills Arts Retreat.”  This provides the option of one-time or recurring donation, as well as the opportunity to designate your contribution for a specific fund or purpose.

Thank you for your investment in the Cultural Center, and for helping us Cultivate the Arts in rural Minnesota since 1990!


Kids Yoga Thursday mornings July 2 – 23

Yoga3Call now to register for Kids Yoga

Stretch, bend, balance and grow with certified yoga instructor Mel Lepper! We are pleased to offer Kids Yoga Classes as part of our Summer Programming.

There will be one 4-week session on Thursday mornings from 10:00-10:45 a.m.  The first class will be Thursday July 2nd and will follow for the next three Thursdays (July 9, 16, 23).

Sign up for the full four-week session for $40 (good for one parent/caregiver and one child), or drop in any single week for $11. Pay $10 for each additional child for the 4-week session, or $3 per additional child for a single class drop-in.

All classes will take place in the Cultural Center upstairs yoga studio. Pre-registration is requested; please call 218-385-3339 to sign up.

Technology Frees Us

America’s Greatest Thinker has been named for 2015

DavidVLapakkoDavid Lapakko, asserting that Technology Frees Us, was voted America’s Greatest Thinker on Saturday night by a crowd of 300 at the New York Mills James Mann Performing Arts Center.  David prevailed over Paul Terry, who argued that Technology Traps Us.  While many of the questions and discussions seemed to center around computers and smart phones as technology, David continuously reminded the audience that technology is much more than computers, and many of those technological advancements in the fields of medicine, transportation, electricity, etc. do indeed free us to live more full and rewarding lives.

In the earlier rounds, David Lapakko triumphed over Dave Eckel, and Paul Terry was voted into the final round over Marsh Muirhead. All four finalists presented relevant and interesting points to help argue in their favor and the audience votes showed support of all arguments. But, in the end it was David Lapakko of Richfield, MN who the audience said best presented his position that technology is freeing.

We will follow up soon with more from the event, including photos, finalist essays, and a live recording of the event provided by Lakes Radio of Perham.

Thanks to all who attended the event and made it another great year of philosophical debate in rural Minnesota!

23rd annual Great American Think-Off


Great American Think-Off

Think-Off Saturday June 13th @ 7pm

The Center is bustling with activity this week as we prepare for the 23rd annual Great American Think-Off.  The Great Debate will take place on Saturday, June 13th at 7:00pm at the James Mann Center for the Performing Arts at the New York Mills Schools, with a reception immediately following at the Cultural Center. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Tickets are available at the Cultural Center in New York Mills, at the P.S. I Love You boutique in Perham, by calling the Center at 218-385-3339, or online at Brown Paper Tickets (click here).

nkennedyWe will kick off the weekend with a concert at the Cultural Center on Friday, June 12th at 7:30pm, featuring Norman Kennedy, Scottish balladeer and storyteller. Norman returns to the Center as part of a short tour of Minnesota before heading back to Scotland to play in a festival there. Norman’s keen storytelling skills and powerful voice make for an evening to remember. Call the Center to reserve tickets at $12, or pay $15 at the door. Click here for more information about Mr. Kennedy.

Think-OffThe four finalists will be heading to New York Mills in just a few days, and are preparing for a return to the stage, with all four debaters repeat finalists to the Think-Off. This resulting ‘Battle of Champions’ promises to be a especially entertaining live debate, culminating with a resolution to this year’s question, “Does Technology Free Us or Trap Us?”, decided by audience vote. Arguing that Technology Traps Us will be Marsh Muirhead (Bemidji, MN) and Paul Terry (St. Paul, MN), and arguing that Technology Frees Us will be David Eckel (Clayton, NC) and David Lapakko (Minneapolis, MN). Click here to learn more about the finalists.

On Saturday at 11:45 a.m., the finalists will take a ride behind a tractor down Centennial Drive in a sort of mini parade, preceding hundreds of motorcycles that will roar through town as a part of New York Mills’ 14th annual Ronald McDonald House Ride.  If you’re near New York Mills on Saturday morning, stop by to give the finalists a wave, and to see (and hear!) the motorcycles pass through town.  Then, visit the Cultural Center to check out our 23rd annual Regional Art Show in the gallery, featuring the work of more than 25 regional artists, and peruse our unique Gallery Gift Store, where you can purchase hand-made artwork from nearly 100 local/regional artists, plus locally made foods, Scandinavian treats, and iittala Finnish glass.

Finally, join us at the NYM School for the 23rd Annual Great American Think-Off, beginning at 7:00pm on Saturday night (doors open at 6:00pm). Immediately following the debate and naming of 2015’s America’s Greatest Thinker, the finalists and audience members are all invited to a reception at the Cultural Center, to enjoy good food, drinks, conversation…and continue the debate!