The Northfield Arts Guild, a community arts organization founded in 1959, has hired two new staff members as a result of a three-year, capacity-building grant from the Ames Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation.
We invite the public to a “Meet and Greet” on Wednesday, April 12 from 4:30-6:30 pm to welcome Megan Proft, our new Education and Volunteer Manager, and Bridget Novak, our new Resident Teaching Artist and Education Coordinator. This gathering will be held at the Northfield Arts Guild (304 Division St. S). Light refreshments will be served. Both Proft and Novak will begin on Monday, April 3.
As Education and Volunteer Manager, Megan Proft will oversee all education programs at the Arts Guild; coordinate volunteer efforts, including recruitment, training, and retention, across the Guild’s various programs; and spearhead social media engagement. Proft is “thrilled to join the staff” in this position as her passion is nonprofit arts work. An Owatonna native, Proft has a B.A. in Arts Management and B.A. in English from University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. Prior to coming to the Arts Guild, Proft gained wide-ranging nonprofit experience as the Community Engagement Coordinator at Rice County Habitat for Humanity, Executive Director of the Owatonna Arts Center, and Enrichment Coordinator for the Northfield Public Schools Community Services Division. She has been involved as an artist with the Arts Guild, though, for almost 15 years, first getting involved through the 2002 production of Honk! and most recently made her directorial debut with the Arts Guild this past fall by co-directing The Rocky Horror Show. Outside her work, Proft is a worship leader at her church, and a local actress, singer, dancer and choreographer. Proft says, “I look forward to bringing my best to the Arts Guild and can’t wait to meet everyone involved in this great organization!”
As the Resident Teaching Artist and Education Coordinator, Bridget Novak will lead classes and arts making experiences out in the community in various places, assist with administration for Arts Guild classes, work on strengthening our community partnerships and collaborations, and help coordinate social media engagement for the Arts Guild. Novak, an Iowa native, graduated from St. Olaf College with degrees in Studio Art and Sociology/Anthropology. During college she spent her summers leading art programming for families at a YMCA camp in northern Minnesota. As a Fifth Year Emerging Artist at St. Olaf, Novak explored community-based interactive art, including a roaming couch discussion series that took place around Northfield. Novak shares, “I love to create opportunities for people of all ages to find their inner artist, and I am excited to make art and connections with the Northfield community.”
Alyssa Herzog Melby, Executive Director at the Arts Guild, shares that “the job search process was eye-opening. We have amazing talent, energy, and passion for the arts in our region! We were fortunate to have incredibly stellar candidates across the board.” Melby elaborates that the positions that Proft and Novak were hired for were not the positions that were initially posted. “What happened was we had candidates who brought amazing skill sets above and beyond the positions that we had initially posted for (Education Manager and Resident Teaching Artist, and Volunteer and Community Engagement Coordinator). We took a look at the job tasks and decided that, based on the best interests of the organization and our strategic direction in reaching more people in our community, revising the positions to match the skills the candidates were bringing to the table would be the right thing to do.”
Melby wishes to especially thank the staff and community members who assisted on the search committees for these two positions for their time and dedication. Melby explained, “Having outside community members involved in the search process was incredibly important to us as we are a community-based organization. We want to honor the valuable experience and feedback of our participants as we embark upon this new chapter in the organization’s history.”
For more than 100 years, The Minneapolis Foundation has connected people, resources, and ideas to improve lives in Minnesota and beyond. The Foundation manages nearly $700 million in assets, providing customized and tax-smart giving solutions that result in the average annual distribution of more than $50 million in grants. The Foundation brings people together to unite behind common goals and spark positive change in our community. www.minneapolisfoundation.org