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Carnegie To Host Writer Event

Posted: Tue, July 7, 2015
Like many of her classmates from the NHHS class of 1969, Cecilia Eichenberger looked forward to wherever her own path might take her in life. Now, 40 plus years later, that path has provided the basis for a memoir-based novel, Fallen Far from the Tree.  Using the penname Lilith Giardini, the chronicle follows Cecilia's life path through an intentional community in the U.S. where she meets her future husband and several years in Italy before her return to "normal" life in the States where she undertakes the self-imposed challenge of writing her novel.
 
Currently employed as a grants research specialist at Duke University, Cecilia is self-educated when it comes to writing fiction. Fallen Far from the Tree was in the works for about 20 years and went through many re-writes before, as Cecilia notes, she published it "just to be done with it and move onto something new." Her next project is to write the story of her mother, Lois Eichenberger¸ and, at some future date, another book about her love/hate relationship with the art of writing.
 
The Carnegie Cultural Center will host Eichenberger for a book reading and signing on Sunday, July 26 from 1:30 - 3:30 pm. Cecilia will also lead a Q&A discussion about the book as well as the process and rewards of self publishing. Books will be available for purchase at the event or can be found on Amazon.com.  The event is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served.
 
The Carnegie Cultural Center is located at 7 N. Water Ave. in New Hampton. For more information about the event, contact the Carnegie Cultural Center at 641.394.2354 or email: carnegiecc@yahoo.com
 
PHOTO: Cecilia Eichenberger, aka Lilith Giardini, is looking forward to sharing her memoir-based novel with New Hampton area residents, former classmates and friends on June 26 at 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.

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.