A former publishing executive turned turned strategy and innovation consultant, Ambassador Lynn Luckow of San Francisco returned to his hometown of Hettinger for the holidays this year. Over breakfast with old friends, the group brainstormed the idea of creating an arts center in Hettinger. That was the end of December and The Crossroads Arts Center and Café is scheduled to open in mid-April!
Lynn credits a conversation with Jason Lindell, a 20-something glass artist who lives and works in an old church in Park River, N.D., for planting the seed for the idea with him. They both attended a North Dakota Business Gathering in Silicon Valley in September 2005 where Jason told Lynn about New Bohemia (see http://www.newbohemiand.com for more information), an artist initiative in North Dakota created to spur economic development in rural areas through the arts.
Lynn reports the Crossroads Arts Center and Café now has more than 20 investors who are mostly from Hettinger, but also from Fargo, Seattle and San Francisco. The vision of the founders is "to create a distinctive community gathering place centered around the energy of the arts, good coffee and conversation, fresh food and friendship." There has already been avid interest from the community, including the Lutheran minister who offered to purchase a kiln and teach ceramics classes.
The Center will house eight artists with studios on site ranging from a basket weaver, a glass artist, a framer, and the local music teacher with a sound proof studio for voice and piano. It will feature gallery space to showcase the work of Dakota born and regional artists and artists using the Dakotas as their source of inspiration, for traveling exhibitions sponsored in collaboration with the North Dakota Museum of Art and other institutions; a private room for lunch parties and community space that will also be used as a classroom or other events. Thanks Ambassador Luckow for giving back by supporting the arts and the local economy in North Dakota!