“Spreading the Love” in Downtown Northfield

As we announced earlier this year, Artists on Main Street is moving forward with two exciting projects.  The first, we are happy to report, is already well underway!  Local glass artist Geralyn Thelen and metal artist Dale Lewis collaborated to create “Spreading the Love,” a magnificent sculpture that was just installed near the corner of Division and 6th Streets.

“The tree is a symbol of life,” said Thelen, and “the leaves are heart shaped to represent love.”  More importantly, she added, the leaves are multicolored to demonstrate that “all are welcome in our community.”

In addition to the sculpture itself, Thelen will create a corresponding 6-inch heart for every interested downtown business, creating a scavenger hunt and encouraging participants to “find the heart” of Northfield while learning more about the wide variety of businesses that make downtown Northfield so vibrant.  Be on the lookout for more info on how you can participate!

“Threshold” sculpture virtual dedication

As we announced earlier this summer, the NDDC was awarded a grant through the Southeastern MN Arts Council (SEMAC) to purchase and install a sculpture at the west entrance to the Riverwalk, in collaboration with the City of Northfield’s Arts and Culture Commission.  We had planned an in-person dedication ceremony, but decided to shift gears due to Covid concerns.  Instead, with the help of Northfield Public Broadcasting, we produced a short video to commemorate this spectacular piece of art and the people involved in making it happen.  It turned out great, and we hope you enjoy watching!

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts & cultural heritage fund.

Future of Downtown Northfield online survey

All individuals who live or work in or near Northfield, MN, are invited to share their thoughts on Northfield’s Downtown in an online survey.

Staff from Rethos in partnership with the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation are encouraging Northfield locals to take part in an online survey to share their thoughts, perceptions, and ideas for Downtown Northfield.

This survey is meant to gain insight from residents of all ages (kids included) who live in or near Northfield, as well as people who work in Northfield. This input will be analyzed and included with information from other related surveys and studies with an end objective of identifying community values and themes to direct planning and goals for downtown revitalization.

All survey input will be anonymous. The survey will take approximately five minutes to complete, and will be live from Monday, September 14 through Wednesday, September 30. Simply follow this link in order to complete the survey.

If you have questions about this survey or for the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation, contact Greg Siems at greg@nddc.org. To connect with Rethos Staff, contact Emily Kurash Casey, Rural Programs Coordinator at emily@rethos.org.

About Rethos 

Rethos, formerly the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working nationwide for the use of old buildings and sites. We are holistic in our thought and flexible in our approach. We activate space, invest in communities, and reimagine what can be to lead and inspire people to connect with historic places, promoting community vitality. At Rethos, our purpose to reimagine places comes to life through core services that help educate, motivate and strengthen communities. Our board, staff, and partners work together to protect and promote communities’ shared environment and culture. Rethos Main Streets Minnesota helps cities maximize both their people and built assets for economic vitality.  Rethos Main Streets is a Main Street America™ Coordinating Program and provides local Main Street communities with the training, tools, information and networking they need to reinvigorate their downtown districts. More: https://www.rethos.org/

Announcing the 2020 Artists on Main Street grant recipients

Winners selected for 2020 Artists on Main Street grant program; New creative placemaking projects will benefit downtown Northfield

Northfield, MN, 8/3/20—Amidst a global pandemic, the importance of community and place is more important than ever.  Thanks to the Artists on Main Street program—organized locally by the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC) and the City of Northfield’s Arts and Culture Commission (ACC)—two significant projects have been chosen that will help tell Northfield’s story and bring us together through the arts and creative placemaking.

These projects, described below, will comprise the second year of the Artists on Main Street program, a three-year community development initiative offered through Rethos: Places Reimagined and Springboard for the Arts, with funding from the Bush Foundation.  The projects were selected through the ACC’s Public Art Review Committee process, as outlined in the City of Northfield’s recently adopted ‘Art in Public Places’ policy.

“We are thrilled with this year’s projects, and we want to thank everyone who took time to apply.  The quality of this year’s submissions made the final decision very difficult,” said Greg Siems, NDDC Executive Director.

The first project—entitled “Spreading the Love / Finding the Heart of Northfield,” was submitted by local glass artist Geralyn Thelen, with the assistance of metal artist Dale Lewis.  Their vision is to create a 6-foot tall metal tree with leaves of fused glass.  “The tree is a symbol of life,” said Thelen in her application, and “the leaves will be heart shaped to represent love.”  More importantly, she added, the leaves will be multicolored to demonstrate that “all are welcome in our community.”  Once complete, the sculpture will be placed in a prominent location outside of the Armory building near the corner of Division and 6th Streets.

In addition to the sculpture itself, Thelen will create a corresponding 6-inch heart for every interested downtown business, creating a scavenger hunt and encouraging participants to “find the heart” of Northfield while learning more about the wide variety of businesses that make downtown Northfield so vibrant.

THE SECOND PROJECT—entitled “Musical Portraits of Northfield,” was submitted by Louis Epstein and Daniel Groll, who make up Northfield’s family music duo, Louis and Dan and the Invisible Band.  The duo plans to create a series of songs describing the sights and sounds of downtown Northfield, which will “complement the visual delights of the district and strengthen the notion of Northfield as a musical city,” as Epstein and Groll described in their application.  The topics and destinations for these musical portraits will be crowdsourced from community members, with a focus on children and families, to identify the businesses, buildings, public spaces, and other downtown sites they love most.  In response to their ideas, a song will be composed for each place followed by a live, public, on-site performance of each song.  Each performance will be filmed and serve as the basis for a music video, allowing each song to live on long past the premieres.  Northfield residents and visitors will be able to access the music videos for free via QR code or online links posted on small signs or in storefront windows.

For more information about the Artists on Main Street program, check out this link.