The Northfield Downtown Development Corporation and the City of Northfield Arts and Culture Commission unveiled the winning design from their street banner competition last week. The new banners will be hung on lamp posts along Division Street and Water Street in downtown Northfield beginning this fall.
The winning artist is Steve Maus, a local artist and a staff member at the Northfield Public Library. “I’ve always wondered who the people were winning these contests. It was exciting to win,” said Maus.
The Public Art Review Committee (PARC) reviewed and selected the winning design. “Steve’s design is bright, bold, and eye-catching. It captures elements that speak to our history as well as our future as a community. We appreciate Steve’s willingness to work with PARC through drafts of the banner to arrive at the final design. We are so pleased and excited to have these banners up!” said Alyssa Melby, chair of the Arts and Culture Commission and a PARC member.
“It’s fun thinking about the many thousands of people visiting Northfield every year who will see these banners,” said Maus. Besides having his design displayed for thousands of visitors and residents annually, he also received $400.
The new banner features the words “Welcome” and “Downtown Northfield since 1855,” a silhouette of a windmill and buildings, and incorporates part of the city logo with the swooping blue and green indicating the river and farmland on a brightly colored backdrop of orange and yellow flowers. The winning design replaces the red, white and blue “Historic Northfield Since 1855” banners, which have been used since 2005.
The Northfield Downtown Development Corporation was awarded a mini-grant of $4,200 byMinnesota Main Street to assist with funding the competition, production and installation of the street banners.
Artists, makers, and creatives of all types are invited to participate in one of two free upcoming Creative Placemaking workshops as part of the Artists on Main Street Initiative here in Northfield. Attending the workshops is the first step for creatives to apply for and potentially receive funding to support projects this upcoming summer and fall. The workshop will be facilitated by Michele Anderson, Northfield native and current Rural Program Director for Springboard for the Arts, and Sarina Otaibi, Rural Program Manager for the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota. Attendees will learn more about creative placemaking in general, the Artists on Main Street Initiative, examples of projects funded in other MN communities, and the project parameters specific to Northfield.
The name of Northfield’s initiative is “Connection/Conexión.” Project funding will be available to any artist, creative, or maker living or working within the Northfield Public School district boundary. Projects will use art, creativity, events or performances to help to draw people from across Highway 3 to downtown and create connections between people and places within our downtown. Projects should occur within the boundaries of 2nd street on the north, 5th street on the south, the railroad tracks on the west side of Highway 3 and the East Riverwalk/backs of Division St. buildings on the east. All cultures, ages, and styles of creativity are welcome! A full call for proposals will be distributed at the workshops. The project’s fund of $15,000 will support 10-15 projects that will be selected by a Public Art Review Committee, a process facilitated by the City of Northfield’s Arts and Culture Commission. Projects must be implemented between May-October 2019.
Funding applicants must have attended a creative placemaking workshop in order to be considered for funding. Light snacks and beverages will be provided, and a bilingual Spanish interpreter will be available as well.
The Creative Placemaking workshops will take place on Friday, March 8 from 5:30-8:30 pm at the Northfield Arts Guild, and Saturday, March 9 from 9 am-12 pm at the Northfield Public Library. Registration for the workshops is free, but attendees should RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org if they plan to attend and indicate which session they will attend.
About the Artists on Main Street Initiative and Partners
The Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC) was awarded a $30,000 grant through the Artists on Main Street community development initiative in Fall 2018. The program is a partnership between the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota (PAM) and Springboard for the Arts, with support from the Bush Foundation. The program explores the intersection of arts and culture, downtown revitalization, and historic preservation in eleven Minnesota Main Street communities over a four year period. As the Designated MN Main Street organization, the NDDC will coordinate the Artists on Main Street program in collaboration with the City of Northfield’s Arts & Culture Commission and the Northfield Arts Guild.
Minnesota Main Street is an economic development program of PAM that uses a historic preservation based strategy to revitalize downtown districts in Greater Minnesota communities. The program works with communities long-term and provides training and resources, including a Main Street Project Fund; to help community members revitalize their downtown.
Springboard for the Arts is a national leader in creative community development. Their approach is rooted in the principles of community organizing and focuses on a “lots of little” strategy that surfaces unrecognized leaders in communities, builds public narratives from a multiplicity of perspectives and voices; and creates low-risk opportunities for collaboration. This equity-based model centers on the lives and experiences of the people in and of the place; values the relationships, partnerships, and creative capacity that artists and communities build together; and aims to build power and agency for individuals, neighborhoods and communities.
There’s always something interesting happening in Downtown Northfield! Join us August 17th at 7pm on Bridge Square for the 2017 Sidewalk Poetry Capstone Celebration. The event is open to the public and will bring poetry lovers and sidewalk poets together to hear the poems read aloud, to meet the winning poets, and to hear music byBonnie and the Clydes. Thanks to the Northfield Senior Center volunteers, the popcorn wagon will be open for business, serving delicious popcorn and cold drinks.
Bring your lawn chairs, relax and enjoy the music and poetry of the night. A large map of the locations of the 2017 winning poems will be shared and the winning poems from all seven years of the contest will be on display.
In 2011, Northfield launched its annual Sidewalk Poetry Project. In the seven years of the project, 66 poems – the creations of 46 local poets — have been selected for imprinting in over 200 locations across the community. Each one of the winning poems, imprinted into the concrete of our city sidewalks, is remarkable on its own; collectively, they offer a sense of the spirit of our community. Chosen from among 156 poems submitted for judging, ten winning poems will be celebrated in 2017.
Jim Bohnhoff’s contribution to downtown Northfield’s visual appeal through his historic signage has spanned decades. Among his recent projects: three signs for the Northfield Public Library. A month ago I took photos of him and Howie Holt installing the sign at the Division St. entrance:
Last week, after a mini-photo shoot of him with Library Director Teresa Jensen, I interviewed him about how he got started with historic signage and how he approaches each project:
I then took photos of him with 22 of his current signs along Division between 3rd & 4th streets and on Bridge Square. Watch the 14-minute video, see the gallery of 30 photos below, and visit his Jim Bohnhoff Design website.