Northfield loves its art. It’s everywhere. From its nationally-recognized liberal arts colleges to the half-century old arts guild, from sidewalk poetry to local art displayed in city hall, Northfield residents can’t get enough. Why don’t you join us and appreciate some of the finer offerings of life?
Northfield Arts Guild
Let’s start with the most obvious entry on this list. The Northfield Arts Guild, founded in 1961 by artists of various disciplines, is the purveyor of all-things artsy in the fair town of Northfield. And The Guild is far from a one-trick pony. The Northfield Arts Guild offers more than 100 events annually and 40 weekly art classes.
From art galleries to exhibits, from classes to dancing, from theater in the Northfield Arts Guild Theater to theater in Central Park, there’s a little bit of everything offered by The Guild for a fan of art. In 2013, more than 1,200 local artists’ work was exhibited, more than 400 students took classes and 31,000 people passed through the doors of the Northfield Arts Guild.
Be sure to peruse the gift shop to bring home a one-of-a-kind item for yourself.
Carleton College, with its campus adjacent to downtown Northfield, is a haven for art. Exhibitions, featuring tangible artifacts, and organized around research questions, can be found at one of three facilities hosted by Carleton’s broad-based exhibition program, including the Perlman Teaching Museum, Gould Library and Weitz Center for Creativity White Spaces.
The Perlman Teaching Museum features the Braucher Gallery, with 24-foot ceilings and an adjusting lighting grid, as well as the more intimate Kaemmer Family Gallery.
St. Olaf College
Across the Cannon River to the west stands historic St. Olaf College, where the performing and visual arts are a big deal. St. Olaf embraces music, theater, dance and the visual arts. If you can score tickets, the renowned St. Olaf Christmas Festival is an experience that can’t be describe. The show is so revered, it airs annually on Twin Cities Public Television.
Elsewhere, St. Olaf offers a vibrant art showcase and is well-known for its innovative theater productions and dance performances. The Flaten Art Museum is a must visit for an art lover.
Out and about on the town
The historic Carnegie Northfield Public Library, recently renovated and heralded as the best public library in the state, according to WCCO viewers, is art in itself through its architecture. Inside, a wonderful literary collection awaits. Outside, a rotating sculpture created by high school students can be found on the corner of Division Street and Third Street.
As you’re standing at the statute, look down and you’ll see sidewalk poetry, product of an annual competition to stamp the city with the talents of its residents. Since 2012, the works have been installed and are peppered throughout downtown and the city. If you make it to Northfield City Hall, enjoy the rotating works from local artists. It truly is a citywide effort and appreciation.
Riverfront Fine Arts Festival
This is not an event you’ll want to miss. Held annually during the Defeat of the Jesse James Days, the Northfield Arts Guild (remember them?) hosts the Riverfront Fine Arts Festival, overtaking the idyllic Cannon River walkway and featuring more than 65 fine artists and craftsperson selling their work, including ceramics, jewelry, fiber, paintings, wood and steel. Dates for this year’s event are Sept. 9 and 10.
Make a weekend of it
There’s plenty of arts to go around. Spend the night in Northfield at one of its conveniently-located lodging options and get two days of fantastic art adventures.