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.
Expansion can be uncomfortable, but it should never be unwelcome.
This last month has had a lot of expansion for me. At first, it felt uncomfortable. Mid-December, we all got covid. I’m at high risk for side effects, and up until then, we all managed to avoid it. Inevitably we did eventually get it, and I have been struggling with the symptoms of long covid. This experience has had a tremendous impact on daily life, as it has for anyone who struggled with the many issues of covid. Getting sick has a way of giving pause and reflection on where you are in life. I had to pause and slow down. I was angry at not being able to finish my renovation goals as planned. I was upset at how exhausted I was. I did use those places between naps to make some decisions on what I wanted this new year to look like. I decided that I, in fact, could not do it all and needed to figure out what was the most important for me to focus on. That is solidly placed on my family and creating a community in Astoria. I came up with two very big decisions. The first is to leave my daytime job as a barista at Ad Astra books and coffee house. I will always value my time there. I adored my job. Coffee is an immense love of mine, and that isn’t going anywhere. The community of people I met through my years there are some of the most valuable I have found since I moved to Kansas. But it was time to say goodbye and move on to the next phase of life. My second big decision was to take on schooling to learn to be a meditation and mindfulness coach. Years ago, I was a hypnotherapist, and life with tiny babies put that on hold. I have missed those practices and want to be able to add wellness practices to the things Astoria offers. There are many ways to build community, and better self-awareness is a significant step. I really want to spend my time building Astoria to be the space I envision and I can’t make that happen if I am overbooked and not able to dedicate my personal resources to it.
It’s the time of year that never fails to sneak up on everyone and as we get older seems to happen so much faster than in the past. We made it through the holidays and are looking forward to the new upcoming year. For some, it feels pretty ambivalent and downright scary, and for others, a time for hope. For us, this year is full of hope and promise. The last year has seen so much progress in getting Astoria renovated into a usable space. We have dedicated more personal hours than I even tried to count. In the upcoming months, we are planning on opening the doors to really pulling people together and starting to have classes, events, opportunities, and much more.
Something very dear to my heart and plan for Astoria is the ability to help others achieve their dreams of starting or building their businesses. This goal started a long time ago when my first baby was just a baby. I began a journey to becoming a hypnotherapist. It was a challenge to be a new mom and start a practice. I had a high-need baby and needed to start small to grow. I couldn’t find a space to allow me to have the office I needed for a few hours a month. I decided that I would wait until the timing was better. So now here I am, and I have a goal to help others who want to start their businesses and need a space that they can work in for the time they need without worrying about leases and making rent. The ability to start small and work on a schedule that works for growing families and growing businesses. It’s not an easy to market concept. It doesn’t fit into a simple two-line ad, but I hope to spread the word to the people who want to change their lives.
I hope to provide opportunities to everyone from teachers who want to run their own classes(yoga, arts, dance, crafts), influencers or people on social media platforms who wish to have an easy place to set up and film, people in the healing or helping arts. There are endless possibilities.
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!
I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, December always comes with a heaviness. The feeling that it’s time to slow down and start focusing on home and heart spaces. The time of year for starting projects and planning how to spend the cold winter months. Winter is the time I like to set aside for learning new things and enjoying the slower pace of the world.
With that feeling, we are ecstatic to announce this December, we will be hosting a residency of Anonymous Productions / OPFX. If you happened to stop in or drove by the Electric Sandbox event, you were sure to notice the lights and screens. During the month, they will work on building and planning for future endeavors, recording DJ sets, and running full productions. So if you drive by and it’s all lit up, there is some pretty cool work happening. If you would like to find out more about what each company does, reach out and shoot them a message. You can find their Facebook pages here. https://www.facebook.com/APwichitahttps://www.facebook.com/imopfx
In the meantime, if you want an up-close view of some of what’s happening, stop in this Saturday, December 3rd, for our 80’s / 90’s night. It is $5 at the door, and great music and production inside. See you then!
This week wrapped up a pretty major project for us. We have finished repointing the bathroom wall. This room is a relatively small space, but holy cow, it was a job. I logically knew masonry would be hard work, but I didn’t anticipate how hard it would be. I’m so happy it’s done because now I can start on the next stage. Getting the bathroom installed! It is such a huge step in being able to open up to all the events that I want to have there. I keep envisioning the ideas, and they will soon be the reality. It was a good progress day, and I’m glad the weather was nice, and we could get it done. Extra time this week with the holiday weekend should help us get a good bit of work in. Until next week……
In the meantime, we are looking for artists who want to display/sell during the show. I am looking forward to seeing the walls displaying art. It goes back to that vision. Quite a few years ago, Justin and I were driving around the flint hills and ended up in Matfield Green. This was an old bank building that they turned into a small art gallery and welcome center. When we stopped in, it was incredible. I’ve wanted to share that experience with others closer to home. Giving artists space to share and giving others a way to see what is around them is a dream come true for me. If you would like to display your art shoot us an email and we can get you set up!
The busy holiday season is starting, and we are swept up along with it. This month will herald in finishing the back addition to the building and, with it, the essential feature of a bathroom. Our lovely work in progress. We were able to hold our first meeting there this week. It was a good feeling to bring the Ottawa County Arts Council over. We are pairing with them as often as possible to help our organizations thrive in this community. Part of that meeting was discussing their plans for the future and ways to use the space. I can’t wait to see what this partnership brings!
Our next event is the 80’s/90’s Rock Night. A part of that is opening up the walls for Artists to start displaying their works. I can’t really express how much that part of an event means to me. It’s like watching this thing I’ve dreamt about slowly turning from a vision and a dream into an incredibly wonderful reality!
I just wanted to take a moment to thank each and every person for coming out to our first event at Astoria and BOY was it a big one! We hosted this event, produced by Anonymous Production and OPFX featuring immersive lighting and sound with local artwork displayed by members of Ottawa County Arts & Humanities.
The event was live streamed via Twitch and now the replays are available in their entirety at the links below so you can check out what you missed!
You can also check out the photo gallery below. ALSO – Don’t miss out on our upcoming events! We have 80’s / 90’s Rock Night coming up on December 3, plus the next Electric Sandbox featuring even more DJ’s, lights and lasers coming in late February 2023! We thank you for your support!