The Grand promoting arts with variety of April programs

Volunteer Cellar Press Manager Anne Makepeace works on one of several presses located in The Grand Cellar Press. This mini-printing press is mobile, recently installed on a former popcorn cart.

The Grand Center for Arts and Culture is a busy the next month with several programs and community activities.

The Grand is well known for hosting monthly art exhibits. Currently it has three exhibition showing the art of area students. The 4 Pillars Gallery features art work from MSU, Mankato students. The Education room includes art created by Martin Luther College (MLC) students. Another wall features the current Artists of the Month. Each month of the school year The Grand exhibits artwork created by middle and high school students in New Ulm.

The gallery exhibits are regular features of the Grand. New exhibits and new artists will be featured next month. This month The Grand is expanding its out reach into the community.

Downtown Poetry Path

Visitors to downtown Minnesota Street are likely to see greater poetic license in decorating windows. The Grand in cooperation with The Brown County Historical Society (BCHS) and New Ulm Library who has started a Downtown Poetry path.

The Grand displays some of the unique card for sale as part of the Cards for a Cause program. Profits from sales of the car will go to NUMAS Haus to help purchase art supplies for the emergency shelter.

April is poetry month and to celebrate hundreds who have posted original poems in the windows of downtown businesses.

New Ulm Technology Services Librarian LeRoy Harris said the call for poems went out at the end of February. They were hoping for 50 submissions, but received 300.

The New Ulm school system saw high participation rates, with several poems submitted by students who got behind the Poetry Path. There was no limit on how many poems an individual could submit. The most submitted by a single person was three.

A few poems were written in Spanish, meaning the event became a bi-lingual experience.

A special poem scavenger hunt is being held in conjunction with the poetry path. Scavenger hunt sheets can be found at the Grand. Each sheet has a four by four grid describing a poem on display downtown. Once a person has found a row of four poems and had a representative from the business displaying the poems stamp the square, the sheet can be returned to The Grand to enter a drawing for prizes.

Wilbur Neushwander-Fink will be teaching a class on how to make the origami peace crane Saturday, April 9 at The Grand.

A special “People’s Choice Award” is being held. 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 be for sale in the gift shop. The poem will be on display at The Grand for a year long installation.

At the end of the month, all the poems submitted to the Downtown Poetry Path will be donated to BCHS archives for preservation. BCHS already has several poem saved in it’s archives. Research librarians found poems from 1880 through 1991. Eight poems were selected to be read during The Grand’s Night of Poetry event at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 21.

Cards for a Cause

The Grand is working to raise funds for New Ulm Ministerial Association Shelter (NUMAS) through “Cards for a Cause”.

NUMAS Haus serves as an emergency shelter for homeless women and their children in the Brown County area.

“Lighthouse” by Jeffrey Mathews is one of nearly 300 poems decorating the windows of downtown New Ulm businesses. The poems are on display as part of Downtown Poetry Path organized by The Grand, Brown County Historical Society and the New Ulm Public Library.

Through The Grand’s Cellar Press, a variety of spring-themed cards were printed by different artists for Easter, Mother’s Day and other events. The Grand will be donating the profits from the cards sale to benefit NUMAS Haus.

NUMAS Haus Case Manager Hailey Hulke said they loved the idea of partnering with another organization. The donated funds will be used to help NUMAS Haus purchase arts and craft supplies. Many items are donated to NUMAS Haus but arts supplies are rare.

The Grand Program Manager Tamara Furth said The Grand was happy to create an art connection with The Grand. The Center has previously worked with promoting art therapy.

Hulke confirmed there is a therapeutic value for kids staying at NUMAS Haus to have an artistic outlet. Even the mothers benefit from arts and crafts supplies.

Any remaining funds will be used to provide mothers and children with basic needs. The Cards for a Cause program will continue at The Grand through Mother’s Day.

The Grand’s Cellar Press features several working presses, including three Vandercooks. It is one of the largest collection of Vandercooks in the state

Peace Cranes

The Grand is hosting a special workshop 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 9 to teach student the history of the “peace crane” and how to make the origami bird.

Instructor Wilbur Neushwander-Fink learned how to make the peace crane in 1983 while working as a Registered Nurse in New York. Neushwander-Fink said her supervisor wanted to do something for the nursing unit. This included decorating the ceiling of the unit with a thousand origami cranes.

Neushwander-Fink learned how to make the peace crane and has been passing the knowlege on ever since. She has lost track of the number of people she has taught the skill.

“I’ve taught people from 4-year-old to 104-years old how to fold the birds,” Neushwander-Fink said. Everyone attending her class will leave with at least one peace bird they have folded themselves. She will provide students with as step-by-step instruction to help them remember after the class.

The legend is 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 believes the world could use now.

Cellar Press

The Cellar Press is one of The Grand’s most unique resources and it will be celebrating it’s third anniversary next month.

A special open house event for the Cellar Press is Saturday, May 21. The open house will be held with demonstrations of printmaking, but visitors will also able to come in an see how some of the presses work.

In the three years since the Cellar Press has opened, many printmaking artists have utilized the space to create impressive artwork. However, the print and lettermaking studio had limited public access over the last three years during the COVID pandemic.

The hope is the open house will jumpstart further interest in this one-of-a-kind resource.

The Grand’s Cellar Press has seven different presses; including three Vandercook presses. The Grand founder and volunteer Cellar Press Manager Anne Makepeace said the Cellar Press has one of the largest collection of Vandercook presses in the state. She said the Minnesota Center for Book Arts is the only place with more Vandercooks.

For this reason, the Cellar Press is a popular studio for print making artists.

Letter Press classes have been taught at The Grand. Beginning classes were held in February and March using the large wood block type. A series of classes will be held in September to cover the finer detailed presses.

The Smallest Museum exhibit located outside The Grand will also feature works created in the Cellar Press. The display dedicated to The Cellar Press opens Friday, May 13.


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