The Grand Center for Arts and Culture is busy next month with several community programs and activities.
The Grand is well known for hosting monthly art exhibitions. Currently it has three exhibitions showing the art of students from the area. The 4 Pillars Gallery features artwork by MSU students, Mankato. The Education Room features artwork created by students from Martin Luther College (MLC). Another wall presents the current artists of the month. Each month of the school year, The Grand exhibits artwork created by middle and high school students from New Ulm.
Gallery exhibitions are regular features of the Grand. New exhibitions and new artists will be presented next month. This month, The Grand is expanding its reach into the community.
Downtown Poetic Trail
Visitors to downtown Minnesota Street will likely see greater poetic license in the window decoration. The Grand in cooperation with the Brown County Historical Society (BCHS) and the New Ulm Library which has launched a downtown poetry trail.
April is Poetry Month and to celebrate the hundreds of people who posted original poems in shop windows downtown.
Ulm’s new technology services librarian, LeRoy Harris, said the call for poems went out in late February. They were hoping for 50 submissions, but received 300.
The New Ulm school system has seen high turnouts, with several poems submitted by students who have followed the path of poetry. There was no limit to the number of poems an individual could submit. The most submitted by one person was three.
A few poems were written in Spanish, which meant the event became a bilingual experience.
A special Poetry Scavenger Hunt is held in conjunction with the Poetry Trail. Treasure hunt sheets can be found at the Grand. Each sheet has a four-by-four grid depicting a poem on display downtown. Once a person has found a row of four poems and a representative from the company displaying the poems stamps the square, the sheet can be returned to the Grand to be entered into a raffle for prizes.
A special “Audience Award” is detained. People can vote for their favorite poem at the Grand. Copies of the winning poem will be printed in The Grand’s Cellar Press and will be available for sale in the gift shop. The poem will be exhibited at Le Grand for a one-year installation.
At the end of the month, all poems submitted to the Downtown Poetry Path will be donated to the BCHS Archives for preservation. BCHS already has several poems recorded in its archives. Research librarians found poems from 1880 to 1991. Eight poems were selected to be read at The Grand’s Night of Poetry event at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 21.
Cards for a cause
Le Grand is working to raise funds for the new Ulm Ministerial Association (NUMAS) shelter via “Cards for a Cause”.
NUMAS Haus serves as an emergency shelter for homeless women and their children in the Brown County area.
Thanks to The Grand’s Cellar Press, a variety of spring-themed cards have been printed by different artists for Easter, Mother’s Day and other events. The Grand will donate proceeds from the sale of the cards to benefit NUMAS Haus.
NUMAS Haus case manager Hailey Hulke said she loved the idea of partnering with another organization. Donated funds will be used to help NUMAS Haus purchase arts and crafts supplies. Many items are donated to NUMAS Haus but art supplies are scarce.
Grand program manager Tamara Furth said The Grand was happy to create an artistic connection with The Grand. The Center has already worked with the promotion of art therapy.
Hulke confirmed that there is therapeutic value for children staying at NUMAS Haus to have an artistic outlet. Even mothers benefit from arts and crafts supplies.
Any remaining funds will be used to meet the basic needs of mothers and children. The Cards for a Cause program will continue at Le Grand until Mother’s Day.
cranes of peace
Le Grand is hosting a special workshop from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 9 to teach students about the history of “peace crane” and how to make the origami bird.
Instructor Wilbur Neushwander-Fink learned to make the Peace Crane in 1983 while working as a registered nurse in New York City. Neushwander-Fink said her supervisor wanted to do something for the nursing unit. This included decorating the unit’s ceiling with a thousand origami cranes.
Neushwander-Fink learned to make the Peace Crane and has been passing on his knowledge ever since. She lost track of how many people she taught the skill to.
“I taught children from 4 to 104 years old how to bend birds,” says Neushwander-Fink. Everyone who attends her class will walk away with at least one Peace Bird that they folded themselves. She will provide students with step-by-step instructions to help them remember after class.
Legend has it that anyone who creates a thousand Peace Cranes will be blessed with good fortune. The act of creating the origami birds is a meditation on peace, something Neushwander-Fink thinks the world could use now.
The Cellar Press is one of the most unique resources in the Grand and will celebrate its third anniversary next month.
A special open house for the Cellar Press will take place on Saturday, May 21. The open day will be held with engraving demonstrations, but visitors can also come and see how some of the presses work.
In the three years since Cellar Press opened, many printmaking artists have used the space to create impressive works of art. However, the printing and letter-making studio has had limited public access for the past three years during the COVID pandemic.
The hope is that the open house will rekindle interest in this one-of-a-kind resource.
The Grand’s Cellar Press has seven different presses; including three Vandercook presses. The Grand’s founder and volunteer head of Cellar Press, Anne Makepeace, said Cellar Press has one of the largest collections of Vandercook presses in the state. She said the Minnesota Center for Book Arts is the only place with more Vandercooks.
For this reason, Cellar Press is a popular studio for printmaking artists.
Letter Press classes were taught at the Grand. Beginning classes were held in February and March using the large block type of wood. A series of courses will be held in September to cover the finer detailed presses.
The smaller museum exhibit outside of the Grand will also feature works created in the Cellar Press. The exhibition dedicated to The Cellar Press opens on Friday, May 13.