The NDDC made its first visit to a non-profit organization as part of the business visit program; the board visited the Northfield Arts Guild. It may be a little out of the ordinary, however, NDDC board members realize that strengthening our community requires more than creative business development; non-profit and civic organizations also add vibrancy and vitality to our local economy.
NDDC board members Mark Quinnell and Keith Covey met with Arts Guild Executive Director Ann Mosey. Ann comes to Northfield from Stevens Point, Wisconsin (yeah, that’s about 50 miles due west from Green Bay) and has been at the Guild for two years. She felt very welcomed to the community and, like many others, noticed that people say “hello” to visitors on the sidewalks of downtown.
In her position at the Arts Guild, Ann values the well-educated population which is appreciative and supportive of the organization’s activities. She sees this enthusiasm throughout the community, from young families to older couples. Ann said that the Arts Guild benefits from the downtown vitality and the history of collaboration with the two colleges. She also applauds the on-going, if not always successful, efforts at improved communication between groups.
As for what she might add to our economic mix, Ann said that a little more diversity in restaurant offerings would be nice. She also wishes there were a few more places that were open late at night.
Ann would also like to see more widespread financial support for collaborative marketing efforts. In Stevens Point, she noted, the CVB used to make annual grants to organizations for marketing initiatives. She’d also appreciate more seed funding for community events.
It would be helpful if there were an official like former councilor Dixon Bond, an unabashed advocate for the arts. Ann is hopeful that there will be more recognition from this year’s city council for the economic impact of the arts.
Finally, Ann would like to see a microbrewery in Northfield (she was in Wisconsin after all). I’ll raise my glass to toast that idea!