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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."

Lego Club

Posted: Wed, September 3, 2014
The Carnegie Cultural Center
  Invites 3rd, 4th, and 5th Graders to join our new

LEGO CLUB


The first semester LEGO Club will meet nine times, on "early out" Wednesdays: Oct. 1, 8, 15...Nov. 5, 12, 19...& Dec. 3, 10, 17 (If school is canceled or dismissed early due to inclement weather or other special circumstances, the Club will not meet.)

The Club will meet at the Carnegie Cultural Center,
7 N. Water Avenue, after school until 4:30. Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from the Center.

The goals of the Club are to encourage the development of creativity, technical skills and collaboration.

There is no charge or dues to participate in the Club. The Cultural Center will provide all Club materials.

Students must pre-register to participate. Due to space constraints, membership in the Club is limited to 20.

Phone (394-2354), email carnegiecc@yahoo.com, or mail the Carnegie Cultural Center, P.O. Box 243, New Hampton to register. Please submit the following:

Student name:

Parent/Guardian name(s):

Phone number:

Email address:

Emergency contact:

Grade in School:

Teacher:

Student food allergies or restrictions:

(Registration for the second semester Club will be held in January.)

The History of the Carnegie Cultural Center

The History of the Carnegie Cultural Center


Through the generosity of Andrew Carnegie, Iowa received 101 libraries, 97 of which still grace towns across the state. Here's something you probably did not know. On November 28, 1898, the first Carnegie Library in the country was dedicated in Fairfield. By 1919, the last year Carnegie grants were awarded, the philanthropist had paid for construction of 1,689 libraries, 101 in Iowa.
Born in Scotland in 1835, the lad migrated with his family to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The quintessential American success story, Carnegie began work as a bobbin boy in a textile mill and ended up founding the precursor to U.S. Steel. His 1901 income in today's dollars would be $450,000,000

On his way up he met Colonel James Anderson who had established a library in the Allegheny region for working boys. "That" said Carnegie, "opened the intellectual wealth of the world to me."
Believing that with wealth came a responsibility to enhance the common good; he constructed two libraries for workers in his steel mill towns. Because most libraries then were in homes or stores, people began to see Carnegie as a way to get their own library. He began receiving so many requests that, eventually, the requesting town had to demonstrate need, provide the site, and promise to support the library services and maintenance annually with taxes. The building design was up to each community.

New Hampton voted on the Carnegie Library and had 515 yeas and 194 nays. On March 30, 1909, Carnegie authorized the building of the library. Carnegie gave $10,000 to New Hampton for the library. The lot cost a total of $1,890. The library cost a total of $10,042.58 for the building, plumbing, heating, and electricity. Carnegie donated about $100 million to libraries at the time New Hampton was building their library.