Connections/Conexiónes: 2019 Artists on Main Street

The theme for the 2019 Artists on Main Street was Connection/Conexión. These projects  used 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.

“Connections/Conexiónes” was a collaboration between the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation, the Northfield Arts and Culture Commission and the Northfield Arts Guild. Funding was provided by Springboard for the Arts and the Bush Foundation through a $30,000 grant from Rethos Places Reimagined.

On October 4, 2019 we had a concluding celebration of the 2019 Artists on Main Street projects, “Connections/Conexiónes”. Remember “Raggin’ at the Depot”, “Selfie Shark” and “Geese Be Gone”? This was a chance to meet some of the artists whose projects have contributed to creative placemaking in Downtown Northfield over the summer and learn more about how they brought their projects to life.

Learn more about the selected Artists on Main Street below. Ten artists/groups were selected to participate. 

The Poetry Post

Artist(s): Rob Hardy (Northfield Poet Laureate)

Date: September 28 (Northfield Poetry Festival)

Location: A small garden bed along the east Riverwalk, near the bench dedicated to the memory of Barbara Burke

Description: Similar in concept to Little Free Libraries, poetry boxes are simple structures designed for the public display of poetry. I’m seeking funding to commission an artist to design and build a visually interesting poetry post that will harmonize well with its surroundings along the river. The Northfield Poet Laureate would then issue an open call for submissions for poems to display on the poetry post.

Hanging Gardens in Plein Air

Artist(s): Lorraine Rovig, Sue Van Eeckhout, Robert Collman & Northfield Garden Club

Date: Saturday, July 13

Location: On the shady sidewalk on the east side of the Riverwalk looking north to view the hanging flowers on the Pedestrian Bridge or west to the beautiful old brick buildings across the Cannon River to view the flowers hanging from the balconies of Froggy Bottoms.

Description: The Northfield Garden Club invites you to paint a free picture of our beautiful hanging gardens while a professional harpist creates a relaxing atmosphere. Come to the riverside on Saturday, July 13, from 11am-2pm, use our watercolors or colored pencils. Shy? Two professional artists offer Free lessons on “Plein Air” painting! Come watch or come create your own memory of a beautiful summer day in beautiful downtown Northfield. All ages are welcome.

Raggin’ at the Depot

Artist: Fletcher Coolidge

Date: July 17, 12pm and 1pm

Location: 204 Third St. W (old Milwaukee Road Depot grounds)

Description: A 1-hour brass quintet concert by a new group, “Maple Street Rag,” featuring as much as possible music of the 1890-1910 period: Ragtime, pop songs, popular sacred songs (a Fanny Crosby hymn or two, for example). I will introduce the tunes as we play them, and will use the opportunity to talk briefly about the Northfield depot’s history and future plans, depots in general, the centrality of depots to any community’s life “back in the day,” etc.

Pain Speaks / El Dolor Habla

Artist(s): Alexis Valeriano

Date: September 29

Location: Riverwalk by the pedestrian bridge

Description: It will be a spoken word event about the invisible wounds people carry. Events like these help us relieve some of that burden, stress, depression, national trauma, or anger by channeling our emotions through spoken word.


Rays of Unity/Rayos de Unidad

Artist(s): Oliver Jin Casima and Ben Heath (Northfield Union of Youth)

Date: July – September

Location: The lanterns would then be placed around town, specifically the west side of the C1 Business District and Water St.

Description: A collaborative art project where community members, mainly youth, create customizable interactive lanterns that allow them to play, communicate, and collaborate with each other in creative and unique ways that help establish their own identities through color and sound. The process would then be recorded to provide a digital documentary story showcasing the connections made by youth connecting with the community around them.

Bridge Weaving

Artist(s): Sharol Nau

Date: July

Location: Fifth Street bridge

Description: As an artist I develop works of art as they come to me or are assigned to me using traditional materials as well as non-traditional materials. Much of my work is related to rivers and creeks close to where I live. I also use simple math problems when designing artworks.

Selfie Shark

Artist(s): Demian Jackman

Demian Jackman

Date: August 9

Location: Ames Park

Description: “Come give me a hug, I promise I won’t eat you.” A human sized shark totem with authentic replica sharks teeth. The figure is giving a one armed hug. Envisioned as part of a series of animal sculptures doing interactive poses.

Totally Tubular Traveling Tubulum

Artist(s): Jim Rossow & ArtMakers

Date: September 28

Location: Along the Riverwalk and Bridge Square

Description: Wandering players for the 21st century – a group of artists with diverse backgrounds and abilities. They will be singing, dancing, and making joyful noise while pulling a beautifully decorated, portable percussion wagon (tubulum) made from everyday items, including PVC pipe. Alongside, beat poets will perform original raps based on the work of Dr. Seuss, sharing a serious message with a touch of whimsy.

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Love Makes the World Go Round

Artist(s): Suzanne and Mark Daehlin

Mark and Suzanne Daehlin

Date: Friday, October 4

Location: Ames Park

Description: A modern take on the whirligig, advertising unconditional love. It consists of a windmill-type rotor made from repurposed bicycle parts, designed to draw the public’s attention.

Geese Be Gone

Artist(s): Kathy Ness

Date: July-September

Location: Along the Jean Campbell Brooks Memorial Path

Description: Ames park has been taken over by wild Canada Geese. There have been many attempts to keep them off the grass and soiling the walking trail to no avail. I have researched the most effective goose deterrents and found that random movement, reflective materials and noises annoy and bother the geese. My project will combine all these elements on large vertical flags. The colorful flags will draw people to the underused park to see what’s going on. As they walk along they will find an assortment of interactive noisemakers on the flags. The more people, movement, and noises the less the geese will like it and we can reclaim the park from the geese.