April is Poetry Month!

We are jumping on board with poetry month and opening up our space for The Ottawa County Arts & Humanities Council to host their project Immersion. This will be an evening of readings, open mic, and live music. Snacks and refreshments. From poets.org

National Poetry Month

Launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, National Poetry Month is a special occasion that celebrates poets’ integral role in our culture and that poetry matters. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K–12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, families, and—of course—poets, marking poetry’s important place in our lives. 

The Busy Season Begins!

I am so happy that I can feel spring in the air. Even on cold days and the random snow, there is a little green, a few flowers,  the sun just feels warmer. That means we are getting ramped back up for spring events! We are kicking things off by opening up our formal wear! As a venue, we want to ensure that even if you aren’t having an event here, we can have you looking amazing wherever you go. We can get you fitted and set up with a suit or tux from Jim’s Formal Wear for your wedding, prom, or other event. We don’t want you to have to leave town if you don’t have to. We provide flexible by appointment hours to fit your schedule. We also give all Ottawa County Residents a 10% discount off the retail price! And book Astoria now for your graduation parties before that week is completely full!

Upcoming events

April 6th—Merry’s Boutique hosts a Spring Shopping Pop-up and Ladies’ Night! She will have daytime shopping and ladies’ night with FREE lingerie (FCFS), drinks, snacks, and even more SHOPPING!

April 26th—Immersion: Poetry, Open Mic, Live Music. Presented by The Ottawa County Arts & Humanities Council. Join us for an evening where we explore the world through immersive poetry readings, unleash your creativity on the open mic, and explore the harmony of poetry and rhythms together with live music. A suggested donation of $5 is requested.

May 18th – State Of Punk: Presented by Oak Grove Radio. Five Bands from across the state and across the genre. $10 suggested donation. All Ages. Byob

And November is upon us!

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. 

Follow-up Artist Reception

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.

Artist Reception & Fundraiser Preview

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.


I had Chat GPT write a blog post!

Do you ever have those times when you have a million things on your plate, and it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day? That’s been me for the last month. I have had an abundance of things on my mind and not enough time to do them all. So with that in mind, I took my scattered thoughts and asked ChatGPT to write them out for me. So here is the collaboration between my mind and an AI regarding the importance of the Arts in Rural Communities. It’s a lot more than anyone realizes. 

Title: The Vital Role of Art in Rural Communities: Cultivating Creativity and Connection

Introduction: In our bustling world, where technology dominates and urban areas flourish, it’s easy to overlook the quiet beauty and cultural significance of rural communities. While rural areas may not always be in the spotlight, they are home to rich traditions, heritage, and a deep sense of community. Art, in its various forms, plays a critical role in preserving and enhancing the vibrancy of rural communities. In this blog, we will explore how art is not only a source of aesthetic pleasure but also a catalyst for social, economic, and personal growth in rural areas.

  1. Preserving Cultural Heritage: Art serves as a vessel for preserving and celebrating the unique cultural heritage of rural communities. Traditional crafts, folk music, dance, storytelling, and visual arts are deeply rooted in rural traditions and reflect the identity and history of the people who inhabit these areas. By supporting and promoting local artists and artisans, rural communities ensure the continuation of their cultural legacy for future generations.
  2. Building Community Identity: Art fosters a sense of pride and identity within rural communities. Local art initiatives, such as community art projects, mural paintings, and public sculptures, not only beautify the surroundings but also contribute to a shared sense of ownership and belonging. The process of creating and appreciating art brings people together, fostering social connections and strengthening community bonds.
  3. Economic Development: Art can be an engine for economic development in rural areas. By establishing galleries, studios, and art-related businesses, rural communities create opportunities for artists to showcase and sell their work. Art festivals, craft markets, and studio tours attract tourists, generating revenue and boosting local businesses. In this way, art not only enriches the cultural fabric of rural areas but also provides livelihoods and contributes to economic sustainability.
  4. Enhancing Quality of Life: Art has a transformative effect on the quality of life in rural communities. Access to artistic experiences, such as theater performances, music concerts, and art exhibitions, promotes personal growth, intellectual stimulation, and emotional well-being. Art has the power to inspire, provoke thought, and evoke emotions, providing an avenue for expression and reflection in rural areas that may otherwise lack diverse entertainment and cultural opportunities.
  5. Inspiring Creativity and Innovation: Art nurtures creativity, and rural communities can benefit greatly from this aspect. By encouraging artistic expression, rural areas foster an environment that embraces innovation and problem-solving. Art education programs in schools and community centers cultivate the creative potential of young minds, empowering them to think critically, explore new ideas, and develop skills that can be applied to various fields beyond the arts.
  6. Attracting Tourism and Cultural Exchange: Art can be a powerful magnet for tourists, drawing visitors from far and wide to experience the unique cultural offerings of rural communities. Festivals, exhibitions, and artistic events become opportunities for cultural exchange, enabling residents to share their stories, traditions, and talents with visitors. Through tourism, art opens doors to new perspectives, ideas, and economic opportunities, creating a positive ripple effect for the entire community.

Conclusion: Art is not a luxury but an essential thread that weaves the fabric of rural communities together. It preserves cultural heritage, strengthens community identity, stimulates economic growth, enhances the quality of life, inspires innovation, and fosters cultural exchange. By recognizing and supporting the critical role of art, we can ensure the sustained vitality and prosperity of rural areas, celebrating their unique creativity and fostering connections between people, places, and traditions.