The Friends of Downtown Northfield (Friends) are thrilled to offer the fourth 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 2023 program is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a $25,000 grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund, with an additional $10,000 from the City of Northfield’s 1% for the Arts Program.
This year’s theme is Meet Me at the River and 19 strong proposals were received. A Public Art Review Committee comprised of volunteer community members selected 8 projects as winners. The guidelines and application were open earlier in the summer and the projects will take place over the summer and into the fall. Learn more about their projects below.
Project Title: Storm Drain Art: Remembering the Cannon
Artists: Rocky Casillas Aguirre and Mike Provancha
Project Summary: Various paintings and art installations around storm drains in Northfield, all to educate and remind residents of the importance of keeping our waterways clean. The art will combine visual aspects of the river, aquatic life, and more to demonstrate this point. Proposed locations include the storm drain on the Cannon River’s pedestrian bridge, the intersection of Division Street and Bridge Square, and more.
Project Title: Random Acts of ART!
Artists: Everyone, hosted by Shona Brooks
Project Summary: Free, random art activities in the Goat store downtown. Anyone can and should be involved, regardless of age (“it doesn’t matter if you are 5 or 85, all are welcome in the creative world”). Tables providing painting supplies, buttons, balloons, and various other crafts are included.
Project Title: The Catrina Chalchiuhtlicue
Artist: Gustavo Boada
Project Summary: One large-scale, interactive sculptural piece representing Latino popular culture (“Catrina”) on the Northfield Public Library’s patio. Catrina’s clothing symbolizes that of Chalchiuhtlicue, a protective goddess of water. This sculpture aims to connect Northfield’s Latino community with their ancestors while also serving as a reminder of water as a legacy and source of life for new generations.
Project Title: Lady Cannon
Artists: Maya Kenney and Raquel Santamaria
Project Summary: A colorful mural along the Riverwalk depicting a water goddess with animals in her hair, all meant to personify the Cannon River. Community members are encouraged to participate by hanging pieces of trash found along the river above the mural.
Project Title: Poets at the Depot
Artists: Various poets, hosted by Northfield’s Interim Poet Laurates Becky Boling and D.E. Green
Project Summary: The Twin Cities’ Cracked Walnut chapter of the League of Minnesota Poets is running a poetry reading festival in October. Northfield is participating in this on Saturday, October 7th from 2-4 PM at The Northfield Depot. One or two headliner poets from the chapter, plus local poets, are invited to share their selected works. Poets are encouraged to incorporate references related to local waterways, such as the Cannon, Mississippi, and Minnesota Rivers. There will also be an open mic session for broader public participation.
Project Title: Creatures and Features of the Cannon
Artists: Kathy Ness and Kate Woodstrup
Project Summary: Paintings of Cannon River wildlife along the 11 plastic barriers in Bridge Square. Plants and animals will each be included. The artists plan to garner public opinion regarding which wildlife to include at a Saturday Riverwalk Market Fair.
Project Title: Your Mind is a Magic Wand
Artist: Michael J. Sweere
Project Summary: A ceramic tile and glass mosaic hoping to uplift younger generations to continue their creative passions in a world of AI overhaul. In this work, a little girl walks through a mundane background while carrying a wand, which floods the space with vibrant colors in a “river of imagination.” The piece will be installed at the Northfield Public Library.
Project Title: River Light
Artist: Andrew Wykes
Project Summary: A large-scale mural painted under the 2nd St bridge, with an emphasis on capturing the different movements and colors of the Cannon River. It aims to highlight the beauty of the river above all else, especially in an era of climate change and degrading water resources.
This activity 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 and residents of the City of Northfield through the Percent for the Arts Initiative.