Visiting artist Britt Aamodt

BRITT in Beret for Great Northern RadioIn the retreat house for a short stay in early April is artist Britt Aadmodt from the Twin Cities.  Britt was born on the Chesapeake but migrated to Minnesota, the land of her ancestors. Those ancestors are the source of her tales about the immigrant women and men who settled the Iron Range in the early part of the 20th century. The author of Superheroes, Strip Artists & Talking Animals, Britt has published short stories and poetry, and is a Twin Cities-based storyteller, playwright and performer with the touring variety show the Great Northern Radio Show. Her autobiographical play Brute Camp will premier at the 2014 Minnesota Fringe Fest.

During her residency, Britt plans to work on Brute Camp in preparation for the Northlands (Wisconsin) and Minnesota Fringe Fest. Brute Camp is a 50-minute play about two women, one 28, one 18, from different worlds whose destinies crash into each other and boil over in the pressure cooker of Air Force basic training.  It’s a story about discovering oneself and finding friendship with the most unlikely of people in the most unlikely of places.

Arts Retreat residency deadline April 1st

artist-in-residenceFREE ARTIST RESIDENCY

The New York Mills Arts Retreat is currently accepting applications for July – December 2014 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 April 1, 2014 to be considered for residencies during July – December 2014.

Some past visiting artists have this to say about the program:

“The residency in New York Mills gave me time to consider what I really wanted to do with my life. In our frantic, busy lives there isn’t time to ponder and reflect. And be creative at the same time. There isn’t much to get distracted by in New York Mills. [...] It’s a good place to concentrate. The people are wonderful. The landscape is calming. It’s good for the brain. I still go back there.” — Linda, Minneapolis

“It [The Arts Retreat] sure had and still has an effect on me. The kind of peace of mind I was able to achieve while on retreat, the focus and concentration and the influx of new experiences (i.e. the people I met there, the landscape, the weather, the food, the sounds that surrounded me, etc. etc.) have been with me since and continue to influence my music and my life…I’d recommend it to anyone and it was a great and very meaningful experience. I’d come back anytime!” — Anat, Isreal

Click here to apply now!

Piga Project: Women, Immigration, and Resilience

The PIGA project by Jill Johnson

PIGA project

The Piga Project creates new forms of folk art as a way to challenge our ideas about culture and belonging.  Researched over a period of two years in Sweden and the US, Johnson’s project also explores questions around the emigration/immigration process and women’s experience.

The Piga Project utilizes many forms of plastic–from clear colored mylar to opaque drafting film as the material for the creation of hand-sewn folk dresses and printed photographs as well as the Interactive Immigration Altar.  The work is created as a site-specific installation which means that the physical structure of the cultural center itself becomes part of the art piece and process.  Dresses hang in the skylight space and shadows appear and disappear on walls and floors as the sun moves across the sky.

Several workshops will accompany the show.  April 3, Johnson will work with concepts of identity and meaning through clothing– color, fabric, today’s dress, and folk dress as a way to encourage us to think ultimately about the communities we create.  This workshop is part of the High School League art show and is open to High School students with registration through the cultural center.

The artist talk will discuss, through a tour of the exhibit, the effects of immigration on women and families and how these differences may actually be similarities across many cultures and time periods.

The Interactive Immigration Altar workshop will be held Sunday May 4 from 2-4 pm.  During this workshop, participants will explore meaning and belonging, the emigration/immigration process–no matter how long away one is from the time of immigration.  Participants will utilize concepts about frozen immigrant grief from the book Ambiguous Loss by University of Minnesota professor emeritus Pauline Boss.  Symbols will be created and utilized with the floating altar which is based on the permanent installation entitled First Generation by Esther Shalev-Gerz in Stockholm, Sweden.  The workshop is appropriate for all immigration groups from current immigrants to long-settled out communities and First Nations people.  The workshop is free.  Participants are encouraged to bring one healthful non-perishable food item for donation to a local food shelf.

Sunday May 4 at 5pm is a one-hour presentation of spoken word poems and short repeat film loops from Sweden, illustrating the concept of memory.  This is from new work-in-progress that Johnson is working on during her artist-in-residency in New York Mills.  “this is a big experiment with these film and spoken word combinations.  The spoken word illustrates the lives of the women in the dresses and the film loops remind us of the nature of memory– repeat, repeat, repeat in images.”

Johnson’s work is funded by the Minnesota State Arts Board Folk and Traditional Grant, the Arts Partnership Individual Artist grant program, and the Lake Region Arts Council Break-even fund.  Johnson has been creating art since 1995 and in the past ten years has begun reframing and creating new forms of folk art as fine art and community art projects which bring people together through their shared stories of community and belonging.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund, and with financial support and backing provided by the Lake Region Arts Council and the MN Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, and by an individual artist grant from the Arts Partnership in Fargo.

Mixed Blood Theatre presents Deaf Duckling

Experience theater up close and personal on Friday, April 4 at 7:30 pm

Admission $5 for all for this moving theater experience in the Cultural Center’s listening room performance space.

Deaf Duckling

Slovakian Easter Egg Class April 11 or 12

easter-eggs-6Join us Friday April 11 or Saturday April 12, 2014 for a Slovakian Easter egg decorating class taught by Pam Robinson. Interested in her ethnic heritage, Pam learned this egg decorating method as a teenager, which uses a wax-resist technique and a homemade straight pin ‘tool’. You will learn how to blow out (empty) the contents of a raw egg and create two Easter eggs with beautiful designs based on the use of dots and teardrops.

Pam and her sisters grew up helping their mother make Slovakian holiday favorites such as potato pierogies (especially for the meatless Lenten Friday night meals) and potica (a coffee cake bread with either poppy seed, walnut, or apricot filling). You will have the opportunity to taste these ethnic treats as part of the Slovakian Easter Egg Decorating class. Slovak-Pierogipotica bread 2

There are two options for this class: Friday April 11 from 6 – 9 pm, or Saturday April 12 from 9 am to noon.  $15 per person includes all materials.  These two sessions are identical.  Sign up for one only (unless you just want to repeat the process to learn it better). Call 218-385-3339 to register.

Kathryn Daugherty reading Friday, March 14

Kathryn Daugherty

Passionate romance, a tense courtroom battle, and catastrophic family drama provide something for every reader in Kathryn Daugherty’s debut novel, A Case of Hearts. Published by the Write Place in August 2013.  The book follows Carol Matthews and Donovan Delaney as they fight to help Carol retain custody of her nephew, four-year-old Jeff.  Kathryn will give a reading and sign copies of her novel (copies will be available for sale the night of the event) on Friday, March 14  at 7:00pm.  There is no charge for this event.

Charles Holdefer, author of Back in the Game, says A Case of Hearts “shows how family is both fragile and a source of joy, and how family can renew itself in unexpected ways.”Louise Phillips, author of Factory Romance, says the story “warms my heart and enflames my romantic side…I won’t spoil anything, but wow!”

Learn to spin – or practice your skills

Learn to spin thread and yarn

Ghandi spinningBruce Engebretson is a master spinner and weaver and he will teach Bruce Engebretsontechniques of spinning in two sessions on Saturdays, March 8 and 15 from 10 am to 3 pm.  If you have a spinning wheel, bring it with you.  If not, we’ll have an extra couple of wheels so you can practice.

Spinning is fun, and like many manual tasks, can be meditative.   Bring your wheel if you have one, or there will be an extra wheel for you to try.  Bring wool cards if you have them too.  For this first session there will be wool for you to learn with.  Cost for this two-session class is $40.


Learn to make cheese Saturday March 22 – 1 to 4 pm.

CheeseThis class covers the basics of cheese making and is taught by Bruce Engebretson from Osage.

Participants will learn how to make queso fresco and cottage cheese as well as a tomme cheese.  One variety of tomme cheese is gruyere.  The class will be held at the Creamery.  $25 fee for this class includes all materials.  Call 218-385-3339 to register for this class.