Artists on Main Street


The Northfield Downtown Development Corporation is proud to announce our 2021 Artists on Main Street projects!  After receiving many strong proposals, a volunteer Public Art Review Committee (established through the City of Northfield’s Arts and Culture Commission) selected five applicants to receive $2,000 each out of the $10,000 grant budget.  These five artists will spend the summer and fall implementing their creative placemaking projects in downtown Northfield!

Project title Lead artist Brief summary
A Breath for Change Epic Enterprise Arts Learners A collaborative installation featuring 3-D self-portraits and birds moving among 3-D trees, culminating in an accessible and inclusive community event and exhibit at the Brick Oven Bakery.
Framing the Scene Erin Ward A free-standing, three-dimensional, mosaiced open frame to be placed along the Riverwalk area.  The interactive sculpture could be used by individuals, friends, groups or families to take pictures.
Literary Steps Kathy Ness Painted replicas of children’s book spines (with titles crowdsourced from the community) on the 16 steps going up to the Division St. side of the Northfield Public Library.
Recipes for Life Catherine Stricklan A mobile screen printing workshop that will pop-up in downtown Northfield and engage the public in creating a screen printed tea towel of a beloved family recipe or treasured words of wisdom from a loved one.
Resilience + the Freshwater Drum Along the Cannon Sophie Rogers A series of workshops and installations of large, performative drawings focusing on the freshwater drum fish and the Ames Mill Dam, cultivating a dialogue on adaptability, resilience and inclusion of our interspecies communities.

Be on the lookout for future news and announcements as these projects develop and begin to take shape throughout downtown.


2021 program information:

The Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC) is thrilled to offer the 3rd year of the Artists on Main Street (AOMS) program, a community development initiative exploring the intersection of arts and culture, downtown revitalization, and historic preservation by investing in “creative placemaking” projects.  Originally designed and funded by Rethos: Places Reimagined, Springboard for the Arts, and the Bush Foundation, the 2021 program 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.

For more information, check out this page of FAQs (Preguntas Frecuentes).  Applications will be accepted in either English or Spanish.


Creative placemaking has many different definitions, but could be simply described as using art and other creative activities to make positive physical, economic, and social impacts within a particular community or space.  The overarching goals of Northfield’s program include:

  • Providing art and creative placemaking experiences that draw people to shop, dine and connect in Downtown Northfield;
  • Enhancing the downtown’s aesthetics through the creativity of local artists;
  • Utilizing the arts as a springboard for improving diversity and inclusiveness in Downtown Northfield across all cultures.

In addition to the general goals listed above, each year of AOMS highlights a specific theme, prompting applicants to shape their proposals based on relevant or emerging issues within the community.  In 2021, after all the difficulties of the past year, we want to focus on the positive undercurrents that have always made Northfield special and will continue to sustain us through and beyond the current pandemic.  We hope that your creative placemaking projects will highlight the importance of “Building a Post-Pandemic Community” by embodying values and actions such as unity, togetherness, welcoming, gathering, and empathy.  We encourage all applicants to think broadly and make a case for your vision of a healthy post-pandemic community.  In accordance with the principles of creative placemaking, you should also consider how your project interacts with the physical space where it will take place and the community as a whole – think of adjectives such as delightful, whimsical, surprising, thought-provoking, and so on.

Our first two years of AOMS funded twelve unique projects, including musical performances, poetry readings, interactive sculpture, spoken word events, pop-up installations, and one large cement shark.   And despite the interruptions and challenges caused by the global pandemic, we are grateful for the opportunity to support our creative community and improve our downtown again this year.  The NDDC, in partnership with the City of Northfield’s Arts & Culture Commission and the Northfield Arts Guild, encourages all local artists, creatives, and makers to submit a proposal and get involved in this exciting initiative.