Help us welcome our new staff!

Megan Proft Head Shot

Megan Proft

Bridget Novak 1

Bridget Novak

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.

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Monumental Ames Fund grant coming to the Arts Guild!

The Northfield Arts Guild, a community arts organization founded in 1959, announces that it will receive a capacity-building grant from the Ames Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation in the amount of $178,812.

The grant is payable over the course of three years with the goal of expanding the capacity of the organization by developing and facilitating arts programming that meets the community’s current needs and by expanding the rich network of volunteers and community partnerships to enact these programs. These goals will be met with the hiring of two new full-time positions within the Arts Guild: an Education Manager and Resident Teaching Artist, who will manage all arts education programs at the Guild and will create and deploy arts making experiences in traditional (e.g., afterschool programs, senior centers, libraries) and untraditional spaces (e.g., apartment complexes, farms, medical facilities) in the community; and a Volunteer and Community Engagement Coordinator, who will develop and implement systems for effective volunteer recruitment, training, and retention, as well as manage community partnerships and social media engagement. By offering new programming and maximizing current resources, the Northfield Arts Guild will be able to have a greater impact in Northfield and create access to arts experiences for all community members.

William Sternberg, a philanthropic advisor at The Minneapolis Foundation, said, “The Ames Fund of The Minneapolis Foundation was created to invest in the health, well-being, and vibrancy of the community of Northfield. We know that quality and diverse arts programming contribute greatly to growing a valued place to live. Partnering and investing in the growth of Northfield Arts Guild is one way of realizing that goal.”

Alyssa Herzog Melby, Executive Director of the Northfield Arts Guild, shares that “this grant from the Ames Fund will be life-changing, not only for this organization as we embark upon this new chapter, but for the people we serve. By expanding our team, we can deliver creative experiences to more people and to people for whom the sheer of act of creating or experiencing art might mean the difference between staying in school or dropping out, or seeing a path forward instead of a brick wall, or building connections with others instead of feeling alone. The arts are transformative, uplifting, and community building, and we are grateful to the Ames Fund for this opportunity to do this type of meaningful work that keeps our community vibrant and thriving!”

The Northfield Arts Guild is a 57-year old local community arts organization whose mission is to develop, support, and provide quality inclusive arts experiences. Under the umbrella of the Arts Guild are a five-production community theater season, the Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra, six gallery spaces, a gift shop that displays the work of over 100 local artists, the Riverfront Fine Arts Festival held during the Defeat of Jesse James Days celebration, the 411 Concert Series, other special events, and year-round arts education classes in dance, theater, music, clay, and visual arts. For more information about the Northfield Arts Guild, please visit

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.

The Brighter Other Side community art project

The Northfield Historical Society and the Northfield Arts Guild are collaborating on a joint public art exhibition titled, “The Brighter Other Side.” Starting December 6-December 23, all members of the Northfield area community are welcomed and encouraged to make and submit a small piece of art work that will be displayed mid-January through the end of February in various spaces around town. Details of the project are listed below, including where to find materials and submit your final piece.

“Alyssa Herzog Melby, the Executive Director at the NAG, and I were talking about the divisiveness that the recent election created, “ said Hayes Scriven, Executive Director at the Northfield Historical Society. “As public cultural institutions, we feel we have a responsibility to provide a space that builds community, promotes civil dialogue, and fosters positivity. This project supports this work.”

“The spark for the project was a simple one: we believe that people have more in common than this election showed and that all people genuinely want a brighter future, even if the particulars of how we get there might be different,” explains Melby.

“Our history informs our future,” Scriven says. “Our local history has helped create our community identity as we know it today, but each person in our community also brings their own history to the table as we move forward and envision the future we want to build.” The project involves one side of the paper depicting a person’s history—whatever that means to the person—in black and white. The other side shows their vision of the future in color.  The squares will be strung on a line and hung on the wall with the black and white “history” side facing out. Viewers will be encouraged to then flip the works over to view the other side’s brighter vision of the future.

Melby goes on to say that “the end goal of this project is for people to come together in this creative activity. We hope that this project provides a means for people to begin listening to ‘the other side’ and find a way to move forward.”

NHS and the NAG are working with community partners including the Northfield YMCA, the Northfield Senior Center, the Mayor’s Youth Council, The Key (Northfield Union of Youth), and others to create the pieces.  The exhibition of the collected art work will be displayed at the Northfield Arts Guild Up Gallery, the Archer House Gallery, the City Hall gallery, Northfield Senior Center, and the Northfield YMCA. The exhibition will be up by January 15 and remain up through February 28.


  • Use a heavy cardstock paper that is 6 inches by 6 inches square. Paper will be available for pick up at the Northfield Arts Guild (304 Division St.), Northfield Historical Society (408 Division St. S), the Northfield Area YMCA (1501 Honeylocust Dr), and the Northfield Senior Center (1651 Jefferson Parkway). Each of these locations will also have materials for you to create your art work on the spot.
  • Draw your history on one side in black and white, and draw your vision of the future on the other side in color.
  • Please limit written words to (5) five per side.
  • Submissions may be anonymous.
  • All mediums welcome, including paint, marker, crayon, pencil, macaroni, collage, appliqué, etc.
  • Collection baskets will be available at the Northfield Arts Guild (304 Division St.), Northfield Historical Society (408 Division St. S), the Northfield Area YMCA (1501 Honeylocust Dr), and the Northfield Senior Center (1651 Jefferson Parkway).
  • Only one art work per person please.
  • All submissions are due by 5 pm on December 23, 2016 to one of the collection baskets.

The arts build heARTS

A Letter from the Executive Director

As I reflect on the past few days and my role as the Arts Guild’s Executive Director and a positivity perpetuator within our community, I realize that to say nothing at all about the outcome of the recent election would be a missed opportunity to do what we, as artists and arts supporters, do best: build community, bridge divides, bring about meaningful dialogue and action.

Whether you are shouting for joy or weeping tears or find yourself somewhere in between, perhaps the one thing that we can all agree upon is this: the election this year was different. It was divisive in unprecedented ways.

Now, as we enter a new phase of our nation’s, state’s, and city’s history, we have an opportunity, one that I don’t want us to forget: we have an opportunity to use what we know–the arts–to provide a space and means for civility and for bringing disparate voices to the table. We need to listen to better understand our neighbors’ perspective. The arts are an important social service that help us make connections with each other.

This opportunity will not be easy. It will be fraught with misgivings, likely with even more uncertainties. Because let’s be honest: to engage with diverse viewpoints is uncomfortable at best. To acknowledge that you may not know all the answers–or that someone else’s solution might in fact be better than yours–goes against our natural inclinations. To enter into a dialogue with an open mind–whew. It’s tough. It’s just real tough. I struggle/am struggling with it.

But we must take the opportunity to use the arts to show the beauty that exists in each of us, regardless of whom we supported in this election, and in our larger community; to use the arts to focus on all that we have in common; to use the arts to celebrate this journey of life that we each participate in.

I firmly believe that now, more than ever, the arts are necessary for repairing the divided heart of our great nation, of our great state, of our great town. The arts build our heARTS. This building of heARTS is a process that is ongoing and never complete. Artists and arts supporters who are already contributing so much to this necessary work through what you do each and every day, I thank you.

But we have an opportunity here to do better, be better, and so my challenge to me, to you, to all of us is this: let’s use what we know–the arts–to build even bigger heARTS. Let’s continue to do what we are doing–and more–to better understand all the heARTS we have in our community. Our future as a civilized society depends upon our ability to listen, to understand, and to create anew.

I and the Arts Guild are here to help you and us do this necessary work. Suggestions always welcome :-)

Yours in service, building heARTS one creative moment at a time,
Alyssa Herzog Melby
Executive Director/Positivity Perpetuator

Northfield Hospital Seeks Public Artists

NFLD Hospital gallery space
“Wherever the art of Medicine is loved, there is also a love of Humanity”– Hippocrates

Northfield Hospital & Clinics seeks an Artist to design, fabricate, and install a Recognition Wall that will honor exceptional individuals and long-time employees. (See for information on the organization.)


The project is open to invited artists, age 18 and over, regardless of race, color, religion, gender, age, military status, sexual orientation, marital status, or physical or mental disability.


The project will be funded by Northfield Hospital & Clinics, which has a budget of $10,000 – $17,000 which must cover all associated costs of the installation, including but not limited to, design, fabrication, lighting, materials, labor, transportation, insurance, and installation of the artwork.

Description and Requirements:

The project is an installation which will need to balance the subjective qualities such as “exceptional care” with the objective quantities such as “22 years of service” in an integrated whole.

Subjective: 3-4individuals, changed annually
Objective: 81 names with an additional estimated 10 names each year

The Recognition Wall will demonstrate that Northfield Hospital & Clinics has a culture where people care wholeheartedly, provide exceptional care, and are committed to spending their careers. Exceptional care + Longevity of service (two separate qualities; not the same individuals) Where they intersect: Devotion to the profession of care.

Key Concepts
• Exceptional Care
• Culture of Excellence
• Legacy of Dedication
• Personal Commitment
• Body & Spirit
• Sincerity
• Appreciation
• Kind acknowledgment
• Thematic continuity with Hospital history display (see attached)
• Adaptability – change photo portraits of four honorees annually
• Easy to clean
• Integration of subjective and objective honors

Northfield Hospital & Clinics has selected a location for the Recognition Wall within the Main Entrance Lobby area of Northfield Hospital, adjacent to the Gift Store and Front Desk. The selected wall is roughly 22 feet long with a curved portion of the wall roughly 7 feet high with a ceiling at approximately 11 feet high. There are active office spaces on the other side of the wall, such that the general arrangement of the wall is fixed. The wall has interior windows between the hall and offices. A large south facing window is located at the end of the hall with interior windows to the gift shop on the wall opposite the recognition wall.

Selection Criteria & Process

Selection of a minimum of two finalists will be made by a Committee composed of Northfield Hospital & Clinics staff and a community member from Northfield with Arts expertise. The committee will minimally consider:
-Qualifications Review
-Demonstrated ability to develop a concept and successfully install artwork
-Local or regional artists will be given preference
-Experience with Recognition Walls or similar Public Installations

The finalists will receive a $500 stipend to develop specific proposals for final presentation to the committee for final artist selection. The selected artist will contract with the Northfield Hospital & Clinics to design, fabricate, and install the artwork. The artwork will be owned by Northfield Hospital & Clinics with the Artist retaining copyright to the work. The Artist must grant Northfield Hospital & Clinics permission to use images of the artwork for educational, promotional, and other purposes related to the functioning of Northfield Hospital & Clinics.

Steve Wilmot, Architect, will collaborate with the selected artist to develop architectural lighting improvements to enhance the installation.

Submission Materials

1. Letter of Interest (no more than 2 pages with contact information, artist biography)
2. Letters of Reference (3 letters of reference from past clients including one for a project of similar nature)
3. Relevant project examples (up to 10 projects – photographic and written description of work, process, & installation; may be printed or CD/DVD)

Submission Deadline (delivered) August 1, 2016
Finalists Notified August 18, 2016
Finalist Proposals Due (present in person) September 9, 2016
Artist Selection September 15, 2016
Fabrication & Installation September – November
Dedication Early December 2016

Inquiries to:
Steve Wilmot, AIA
Inquires must be received no later than one week before the submission deadline, so that replies can be made.
Submit Qualifications to:
Wilmot Architecture Office
26 E. Exchange St. #407
St. Paul, MN 55101