Sign-up to recieve free news & event informationfrom the Carnegie Cultural Center.

Gregg's Grandiose Miniatures Joins The Carnegie

Posted: Sun, June 7, 2015
When deciding what to do with his collection of hand-crafted model circus wagons, Gregg Kruse of Iowa City became acquainted with New Hampton's Carnegie Cultural Center. The Center is known for its fine permanent exhibits of historic 1/16 inch scale circus models crafted by New Hampton native, Richard Natvig, as well as other artisans. Mr. Kruse's work, which he fashioned in HO scale, adds another dimension to the Carnegie's circus displays.  The smaller scale made it possible to present dioramas of a circus parade, a menagerie show, a big top and back lot layout as well as interpretive arrangements of different wagons and equipment in a relatively small space. 
 
Gregg Kruse traces his fascination with circus wagons to the 1940s and 50s when his grandfather took him to see the Ringling Brothers Circus in Mankato, MN.  The sight of all the different wagons and paraphernalia being unloaded from the train's flatbeds and boxcars and then parade to the circus grounds on the edge of town was permanently etched in his memory. Gregg's enthusiasm for all things circus endured into adult-hood. Inspired by articles in its publication, The Little Circus Wagon, Kruse enrolled as a member of the International Society of Circus Model Builders and embarked on his model-making avocation.  Gregg crafted most of his models following retirement from a medical laboratory career at the Veteran's Hospital in Iowa City.
 
An unveiling of the new display was held on Saturday, May 30 with many members of Mr. Kruse's family and friends in attendance. His work will now be on permanent exhibit at the Carnegie.
 
The Cultural Center's summer hours are: noon - 6 pm Wed. through Fri.; 10am - 4 pm Sat.; 1 - 4 pm Sunday or any time by appointment. For more information, contact the Carnegie by phone at 641.394-2354, by email at carnegiecc@yahoo.com or visit the website www.carnegieculturalcenter.org
 
PHOTO: Permanent Exhibits chair, Bill Riley (R), is shown with Gregg Kruse at the unveiling of Gregg's Grandiose Miniatures now on permanent exhibit at the Carnegie Cultural Center.

A Looming Farm Crisis

Posted: Thu, May 28, 2015
You might say it's a new kind of farm crisis. At the time of Iowa State University's "Farmland Ownership and Tenure Report in Iowa, 2012", fifty six percent of Iowa farmland was owned by people over the age of 65 and thirty percent was owned by those more than 75 years old. During the past 55 years the number of Iowa farms has decreased from 206,000 to 89,000. Iowa farmland prices doubled between 2007-2012 making it very difficult for farmers to get started or for renters to purchase land when land lords die. Seen together, these startling statistics point to the now present and growing farm crisis- the challenge of land transfer.
 
Map of My Kingdom, a one-man play commissioned by Practical Farmers of Iowa and written by Iowa Poet Laureate, Mary Swander, highlights this new farm crisis and serves as a catalyst for discussion and action. A performance of Swander's play has been organized by the Carnegie Cultural Center and is being presented for area residents through generous sponsorships from Humanities Iowa; Bank Iowa: Lawler, New Hampton, Waucoma & Fredericksburg; Insurance Associates of Lawler; Bob and Phyllis Boeding, Kennedy & Kennedy law firm of New Hampton, David E. Burns: Lawler Farm Center & Blue River Hybrids, Good Shepherd Catholic parishes as well as the Cultural Center. The play will be performed on Sunday, June 14, at 2:00 pm in the restored barn on the Ed and Eleanora Blazek farm,   1755 Ridgeway Avenue in Chickasaw County ( 3 miles north of Lawler). Refreshments will be served following the performance and audience members will be invited to join in a discussion and share their own challenges, successes and resolutions regarding property transfer. Since the issues to be addressed are common to anyone dealing with property or estate issues, the event will be also relevant for non-farmers. There is no admission charge.
 
In conducting interviews and doing research for writing the play, Swander found that some families had given thoughtful attention to the issue of land transfer. Others tried to push it from their minds..."The kids (or "my heirs") will have to figure it out." Still others who thought they had a solution found it didn't work out the way they had hoped. It is a difficult issue all around. The older generation is forced to face their own mortality and conflict and tension are inherent in decision-making for the next generation.
 
Mary Swander herself experienced the conflict when, years ago, she and her two brothers inherited the family farm. Her brothers wanted to cash out and take the money while she did not. Sadly for Mary, the farm was sold to a corporation without a trace of its homesteading past preserved. 
 
If you own farmland, now is a good time to think through what you value most. Do your heirs know your long-term goals for your land? Do you want your children to continue the farming operation? Do you want the farm kept together and continue as farmland? Is future conservation of your land important to you? Would you like your church or another organization to benefit from your farmland?
 
Persons from all generations are encourage to start thinking and be participants in resolving these important issues on their own personal level by attending the Map of My Kingdom event.
 
For more information, contact the Carnegie Cultural Center at 641-394-2354 or visit the website www.carnegieculturalcenter.org
 
 
Photo: Iowa Poet Laureate, Mary Swander, incorporates the real-life stories of farm families' experiences with land transfer issues into her play Map of My Kingdom, including that of Chickasaw County farmers, Tom and Irene Frantzen.

Cassandra Bormann: Print Maker, Studio Artist

Posted: Thu, May 7, 2015
The straightforward title of Carnegie Cultural Center's current temporary exhibit , Cassandra Bormann: Printmaker, Studio Artist, belies the depth of her artwork. On display through June 14, the one-man show includes prints, collages and three-dimensional works that are both universal and highly personal in nature.

Originally from Ionia and a New Hampton High School graduate, Cassie earned a bachelor degree in Studio Arts from Luther College in 2012. Presently, she lives in Iowa City where she is a member of the Zenic Press. Most recently Cassie was the state coordinator for The Art of Revolution's One Million Bones project to raise awareness of genocides that have occured in different parts of the globe. Students, educators, and members of the public from across the country, including New Hampton students, were involved in fabricating bone facsimiles from a variety of materials from clay to yarn. In June of 2013. Thousands of volunteers cooperated to arrange 1,000,000 bones on the National Mall in Washington D.C. in a display of collaborative consciousness of the magnitude of the deaths resulting from genocide in relatively recent history.
Some pieces from the project are displayed in the Carnegie exhibit.

Bormann is inspired by the past - stereotypes and remnants of cultures past, the stories of yesterday's children, the world they grew up in and the future that resulted from their experiences and dreams. In much of her work this past is interpreted through collage "sketches" that combine images of her own family with those of the national media.

An artist reception will be held on Sunday, June 7 from 1:30 - 3:30 at the Carnegie Cultural Center, 7 N. Water Avenue in New Hampton. Members of the public are invited to attend, meet the artist and enjoy refreshments.

The Cultural Center's hours are noon to six on Thursdays; 10 am to 4 pm on Saturdays 1 to, 4 pm on Sundays or any time by appointment through the end of May. Summer hours start in June during which Wednesdays and Fridays are added to the open hours. For more information contact the Carnegie at 641.394.23534 or visit the website www.carnegieculturalcenter.org

Photo: Cassandra Bormann stands next to a case at the Carnegie Cultural Center displaying some of the bone facsimiles used in the One Million Bones project.

A Frugal Sort Of Beauty

Posted: Tue, March 3, 2015
It seems a bit ironic that the Great Depression, aptly described as a dismal, gray period in our history, lent its name to a plethora of rainbow-colored, ornate glassware, but that is exactly what happened. At a time when numerous American manufacturers were folding due to the prevailing economic stress, a revolutionary machine that raised production rates from one item per minute to upwards of thirty items per minute proved to be the saving grace for many glass producers. Just as consumers were forced to tighten their purse strings, mass production translated to lower prices for glassware.
 
Some manufacturers used this new, inexpensive glassware as an incentive to purchase their products. Many of today's seniors may recall the excitement of opening boxes of a variety of products from oatmeal to detergent to find a lovely tumbler or dish inside. Filling stations attracted customers with the pretty glassware while movie theaters and other businesses were known to hand out a piece simply for coming in the door. The glassware could also be purchased through mail order catalogs or at the local "five and dime" for, well, a nickel or a dime. The desire to own a complete table setting of a particular pattern inspired home-makers to become astute shoppers and  avid collectors.
 
The current exhibit at the Carnegie Cultural Center in New Hampton, entitled "Frugal Beauty" aims to expand upon the story of and inspire a renewed appreciation for Depression Glass. On display through April 19, the exhibit features many pieces from the large collection of Vi and Darrell Albrecht as well as selected examples provided by others. The glittering colors and charming patterns of the Depression Glass displays will surly lift anyone's spirits at this somewhat gray time of year.
 
An exhibit open house reception is scheduled for Sunday, March 22, from 1:30 - 3:30. Refresh-ments will be served and visitors that day are encouraged to bring in pieces of their own Depression Glass and share the stories associated with them.
 
Admission to the Carnegie Cultural Center is free. It is open Thursdays noon - 6 pm; Saturdays 10 am - 4 pm; Sundays 1 - 4 pm or anytime by appointment. For more information, phone 641.394.2354, email carnegiecc@yahoo.com or visit the Cultural Center's website at www.carnegieculturalcenter.org
 
PHOTO: Darrell (L) and Vi Albrecht pose with some of the pieces included in the Cultural Center
exhibit, "Frugal Beauty."

Welcome To The Carnegie Cultural Center

Welcome To The Carnegie Cultural Center

Movie enthusiasts of "Night at the Museum" have to stop in for a visit to New Hampton's Carnegie Cultural Center. If this place came alive at night it would be a real circus! Kids of all ages will enjoy the 23-foot long diorama "Main Street Circus Parade" where elephants shuffle in brightly colored advertisements and circus wagons parade through New Hampton circa 1910. In the diorama "Under the Big Top" the fun continues with three bustling circus rings and two circus stages. The ringmaster calls to announce the next exotic act while acrobats dangle high above the cheering crowd. Visitors can enjoy the handcrafted models while they learn about real circus companies like the Gollmar Brothers who regularly brought their menagerie wagons to Chickasaw County in the early 1900s.

This eclectic toy museum also has exhibits about steam engines, dollhouses, license plates, tractors, and farms. It is a rich collection of local history, local talent and local hobby. The Doc & Mabel Tunnell Collection, assembled by a New Hampton's optometrist and his wife, features historic eyeglasses with distinguishing pairs for the eskimo, sportsman, and 19th century automobile driver. Downstairs in the Railroad Room a large interpretive model of Chickasaw County has three operating train lines that the visitor can turn on and off. Booklets describe the individual towns and signage teaches about railroad slang, structures and equipment. Ring the railroad crossing bell. Get the Great Western engine up to full speed. Find out the job requirements of gandy dancers, lizard scorchers, air monkeys and car whackers. Read a silly poem by local legend "Blackie." Have fun!

Located in one of the of the original Carnegie libraries, the Carnegie Cultural Center is dedicated to the arts, history and cultural awareness. It is located at 7 North Water Avenue, New Hampton, just off the downtown's main street. Visit www.carnegieculturalcenter.org to find seasonal hours, temporary exhibits and special events.

Photo:Permanent Exhibits chair, Bill Riley (R), is shown with Gregg Kruse at the unveiling of Gregg's Grandiose Miniatures now on permanent exhibit at the Carnegie Cultural Center.