October always comes like a ton of bricks. It is always the busiest month for us. This year, I officiated my first wedding. It was an incredible experience. I loved being there to send two people in love to the beginning of a new chapter of their lives. Every month, on the second Monday of the month, the Ottawa County Arts and Humanities Council has its monthly public meeting here at 7:00 p.m. After that, I was allowed to attend a symposium for all the Arts Councils in the state on October 11th & 12th. It was an incredible experience that will bring more opportunities to Ottawa County. It was enlightening to know how much tourism money the arts bring in. I would love to do more to bring people into the county.
Immediately following the symposium, we began getting the 8th annual Art in the Park event ready on the 14th. If anyone has ever been the head of an event run by a small group of volunteers, you will know that it is an insane amount of running around. On the day of the event, though, everything always comes together. It was a chilly event this year, but it turned out lovely! The Card Collector Corner met as well. This group is so passionate and dedicated to their hobby. They are a super fun bunch! If you are a sports fan, stop in and check it out.
This month, we have some inspiring events happening. Our first Holiday vendor market will occur on November 11th from 10 am to 3 pm. This was created and organized by Merry’s Boutique. There will be a whole afternoon of snacks and holiday shopping! I am so excited about this event. I hope it’s a fantastic success for all the vendors. There is no better way to support small local businesses than to attend these events. You can get holiday shopping in and not have to leave town. I’m always happy not to add an extra trip to Salina or Concordia.
The other event we have is a partnership with several nonprofits to provide a Friendsgiving potluck! Smokyhill Equality Coalition, LgbtqKS, and Salt City Pride are coming together to host a potluck dinner for anyone in the community who may not have a family to spend the day with. We plan on an enjoyable day with food, games, music, a hot cocoa bar, and a chance to enjoy the day and not be alone. Everyone deserves a loving space on the holidays, and we are happy to be able to provide one!
Starting this month, we will seek artists and crafters to create an open gallery and art market for December. If you would like more information, please email or message us! We will kick off the month on December 2nd for a full day of shopping and events in downtown Minneapolis. Astoria will have both the Artist Market and The Ottawa County Arts & Humanities Council will have ornament decorating.
We have some pretty exciting news. We want to add to our wedding options and ways to help the community. We made the decision to become a retailer for Jim’s Formal Wear. We have the ability to help you rent a tuxedo for any special event. Through us, you will be able to rent or buy your event tuxes and not have to leave town for fittings or pick up and return. Having this as an in-town option, we can help by eliminating shipping fees and ensuring we can keep prices low! We will have more information coming soon in the wedding section of our menu.
This summer has been brutal between the heat and being just being busy. We hosted the first Artist Reception and Fundraiser Preview for the Ottawa County Arts and Humanities Council. The event went amazingly well! I can’t wait to see these remarkable and unique art pieces hung downtown. The Arts Council had the space looking grand, with Art on the walls and a beautiful charcuterie table. The live music really brought it all together. I wish I could really express how joyful it was to see Astoria lit up and filled with people having a good time. Here are some photos from the event.
We are so excited to be able to give the Ottawa County Arts & Humanities Council a place to host their first Artist Reception & Fundraiser Preview. The Downtown Banner fundraiser is tied into their Annual Art in the Park Event. The Banners are a way to highlight local artists’ work, raise money for the council, and create a visual space for people to enjoy during the month of September. To find out more about the Banner Project, Art in the Park, and The Ottawa County Arts & Humanities Council, visit their Facebook page at the link below.
The last month and a half have flown by. Here at Astoria, May was pretty quiet. We focused on Arts Council projects and had an enjoyable Game night. We played Magical Kitties Save the Day. This is a tabletop RPG that got its start through Kick Starter. It’s a really great game for starting kids into the world of gaming. We had a small group that was a mix of kids and adults. It was a fantastic time.
Art was another big focus for the month. Ottawa County Arts and Humanities Council has been busy with projects like Down Town Rain Walk, Painting Banners for their yearly fundraiser, monthly meetings, and planning for new projects. The last Sunday of the month is always open studio. It’s where Astoria and the Arts Council come together to create a meeting and collaboration space for the community. This time is open to the public to bring their own art/crafting projects so we can meet and work in a group setting. If you would like access to art materials, it’s $10. This gives anyone access to the Arts Council supplies.
June was an absolute blast at Disco Night! Everyone that attended had a great time. We start the nights earlier than most and quieter so parents with kids can attend and bring their families. Nobody dances harder than our youngest attendees. We want everyone in the community to have an opportunity to come out and attend. *I remember the days when my kids were little, and I was missing that going out social life. I wanted to ensure that nobody in our community would miss out on being able to do something fun. -Karen*
June also kicked off our collaboration with The Card Collector Corner. This has been an awesome weekly event. This group was created to share the love of sports card collecting. A fun place to share your PC (Personal Collection) and learn more about the hobby: they have a desire for this to be kid/family-friendly, which aligns with Astoria’s values so well. We have been excited to have Jarid and all the collectors. This event runs on Sundays from 3:00 pm-6:30. With a small break for Father’s Day and vacations. We appreciate them coming in and transforming the space for their event!
We hope everyone is having a great summer so far!
April is a wonderful month. It’s filled with all the springtime things. It starts to feel like we can all get out of winter mode and back into doing things. We have spent this month having a blast being busy. We brought our themed event with Emo night. It was really heartening to see so many people come in, enjoy time with friends and get into the vibe of things. It was an all ages event and I think the littlest community members have some of the most fun. Part of having events is knowing that people have families and being able to go out with everyone is so important. That same weekend we hosted our first monthly open Game Night. We all learned how to play new games and met new people. It was a nice way to unwind after Emo Night. This month also hosted a private party, monthly Arts Council Meeting and After School Youth arts program. For that we chalked the front sidewalk to welcome students. We are ending the month with Open studio time for artists to come and create together. We have added a screen in the front window so we can show everyone what all we have going on.
In our personal lives we have had a really busy month. The Arts Council has some really exciting projects on the way and that has been taking up a lot my time. We also rescued a family of cats in need. For a while three baby kittens were needing extra feedings while their momma cat was cared for and recovering. Being up every two hours day and night is an endeavor. The family is doing pretty well, recovering, and growing. Justin and the kids started an online radio station project and they have been having a great time being busy with that. I’ve also been working hard on getting through my own schooling so I can bring a much needed service to the area.
All in all April has been a great month with a lot to be grateful for.
I wanted to make a quick post about our first regularly scheduled event. Game Night!
I adore games! Board games, tabletop RPG, card games, dice games, any games that are fun to play. With the amount of game stores and game creators out there, I know I’m not the only one. With that in mind we are bringing Game Night as a regular event for people. Bring a game and some friends or just come in and we will have something to play. If you don’t know the game we will teach you. For groups that already have the games and want a space we have that too. We will have snacks and drinks for sale but if you are looking for something more Minneapolis offers baked goods, coffee/teas, beer and wine at The Farm. We have restaurants, Pizza Hut, Papa’s burger mill and Fajitas.
I keep hearing my fellow adults ask, “how do you make friends as an adult?” Science says you just consistently show up to anything that you enjoy. It takes time and consistency. It also takes having something that is open and available. My dream is for Astoria to be that place. Where friends are made and the community comes together.
Right now the other regular event is Open Studio time brought to us by the Ottawa County Arts and Humanities Council. This is a way for people to come together to create with other artists. If you bring your own projects, it’s free to just stop in and hang out. If you would like access to art supplies it’s $10 a session.
In sociology, the third place refers to the social surroundings that are separate from the two usual social environments, which are home and work. Common third space churches, libraries, gyms, front porches, cafes, and bookstores. Any place where we meet and hold other social interactions. Third places are where we commune and hopefully create the social ties that unite a community. I spend a lot of time observing life around me. It’s a substantial part of my introverted nature. A few pretty significant observations that most of us as adults feel profoundly about is how much harder it is to make and keep friends and the time and energy (also moneconnect with other adults meaningfully. We also seem to hold onto wanting to have a reliable community of people to rely on. There is this saying regarding parenthood about how it takes a village, but often we no longer feel like the village exists for us. Those villages and friendships of the past were built in third spaces.
In Minneapolis, there is a surprising amount of third spaces that are pretty underutilized for helping people hold onto those connections. We have an abundance of churches, and our excellent library staff putting together ways to connect people in the community. With the Farm, we have a place to meet and enjoy coffee or a brew while we spend time with friends or attend one of their many events. This weekend we hosted the Arts Council for open studio time, and the group met to cut and sew the banners that are painted and displayed downtown. Sitting back and observing how we as a community can come together and laugh, share, cry, and connect was almost indescribable. It’s a feeling of community and support. I think that is something that so many people are missing.
The feeling of the village. That village is created by the community’s people coming together and getting to know each other, helping each other. Having the ability to reach out because they know the people around them. I’m not from Minneapolis, and it has been a challenge to find a place in a community of people who many have been here for generations. I now have children who I want to know what it feels like to grow up in a village, looking at how they can contribute to their communities and have their community create a place for them. I want that for all of us that live here. For us to grow and connect. To be a place that people want to both visit and come back to. Where we can know our neighbors and share a community, that is why our third spaces are so important. They allow us to get to know each other and connect within our communities.
Upcoming plans for events. Some are solid and waiting on deciding dates, and some are things I’m still looking into how to implement. I am always looking for ideas from people with what they would like to see.
A blessing box and community fridge
Meditation classes and regular events
Monthly game night
Cultural speakers and events (music/arts)
Creating a barter and odd job board area
In just over a week we hope you’ll join us for Dave’s Birthday Rave. Our good friend David Lockhart turns 46 and we’re celebrating with an evening of music, dance, friends and food! This event is potluck style drink and snacks, BYOB allowed, music provided by Homer Spinsome and Justin Reed. Admission is by donation which will cover the costs of our expenses. See you there!