Since its founding in 2000 as the NDDC, the Friends of Downtown Northfield have promoted arts as a key component in economic development and community vitality, fostering downtown Northfield’s reputation as an active and innovative arts community.
According to the Northfield ACC 2021 annual report, “Over 170,000 people attend arts and culture events in Northfield every year” and 80% of the audience is local. Further detailed by the Americans for the Arts, “$2.2 million dollars are generated by nonprofits in the arts and culture sector each year in Northfield; 59 FTE jobs are supported by the nonprofit arts and culture sector; Over 500 volunteers participate at organizations supporting arts and culture… For every dollar invested in non-profit arts, $5 is returned to the local and state economies.”
For many years the NDDC worked with partners to lead the effort to brand Northfield as an “Arts Town” and encouraged the development of major municipal initiatives, such as the 2019 Northfield Cultural Plan, the 2021 Percent for the Arts City initiative, and ongoing discussions of an official “Arts Corridor” which could provide incentives to encourage future investment downtown.
The Friends of Downtown Northfield has a long history of arts programming. From 2003 to 2009, we hosted Arts Swirl, a four-day festival celebrating Northfield’s Art Scene. While we no longer host Arts Swirl, more information can be found on our blog by searching Arts Swirl. Beginning in June 2018, we partnered to host the First Friday Art Night, a series of monthly events celebrating the arts.
We’ve also worked on various art installations such as the Riverwalk Threshold sculpture and new banners for downtown.
Starting in 2019, we began our Artists on Main Street Program to support local artists develop placemaking projects for our downtown.
Northfield is a vibrant arts community and there are many organizations responsible for the work. Learn more about our partnerships below: