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Carnegie Cultural Center
Carnegie Connection
Fall/Winter 2015

20 IN 2015
It passed without any great fanfare, but the Carnegie Cultural Center celebrated its 20th anniversary in June of this year. When I look back, a number of thoughts and reflections come to mind.  For one, 20 years is about the same amount of time that it took to get my two kids out the door (so to speak.) There are days when I think that both projects (the kids and the CCC) also took about the same amount of work, although one involved a bit more angst at times. One project involved emptying out a space (the “nest”) and the other most definitely involved filling a space (the CCC REALLY needs more storage and activity space). I also feel that, in the end, both projects were pretty much successful. That’s enough of that analogy ... but it does segue nicely into my next point.
During a recent Iowa Public Radio program focusing on the state of small towns in Iowa, Charity Nebbe interviewed representatives from several municipalities that have bucked the trend toward decline experienced by many comparable communities. I was struck by one mayor’s statement that “amenities”...the extras: parks, libraries, cultural institutions, recreational facilities etc....really do make a difference in a community’s vitality and viability. 
I reiterate this insight as an affirmation for all of our donors and volunteers that you really do make a difference not only in the quality of life for individuals, but in the quality of the community as a whole.
Thank you.
I often share the frustration that I feel that the CCC is only scratching the surface of its potential for creating unique opportunities in the community. In 2015, it’s fair to say that we at least scratched the surface a little harder in terms of programming. Early in the year, a memoir writing workshop was launched with Linda Kennedy and me serving as facilitators. Our fiscal year ended with a great day-long workshop for the writer’s group conducted by author, Mary Kay Shanley. In June, a performance of “Map of My Kingdom” by Iowa Poet Laureate, Mary Swander, was held at the neat old barn on the Blazek farm north of Lawler. (Thanks Irene & Tom Frantzen for your time and effort to make this event a great success.) Our new Lego Club continued to meet on “early out” Wednesdays both last spring and this fall. I mention these events first because they all required sponsorship in order to take place.  Most of the sponsors for these events were annual donors to the CCC, but were willing to go over and above their annual donation to make these things happen. 
THANK YOU, sponsors, for your broader vision and strong community spirit.
Not all of the CCCs programs require sponsorship, of course. Some pro-grams like ARTSAFARI, our annual summer arts camp for kids, have fees that cover the expenses. Others, like our annual “Farewell to Summer” bandshell concert, that this year featured the Cedar Harmony Chorus of Sweet Adelines, are a line item in the CCC’s general budget.  Still others, such as the “Saude, Jerico-ites Confab” that was held last spring, or the book event featuring “Fallen Far from the Tree” author, Cecelia Eichenberger, or the special showing of a dvd by New Hampton native, Gene Hrdlicka, which featured local history along with his family history are “low-cost” enough that they can be paid for “in-house” without specifically budgeting for them. And then, of course, there are the regular school and group presentations on a wide range of topics.
It wasn’t a program per se, but for the first time in its 20 year history, the CCC served as a site for a culturally themed child’s birthday party in 2015! Mom and Dad had a lot of it planned, but the CCC provided a unique setting that allowed for artistic activities and we planned an in-house scavenger hunt to round things out.
Definitely a fun afternoon!
All of 2015’s Temporary Exhibits had strong local connections, but held something of interest for everyone. “Frugal Beauty” told the story of Depression glass and featured examples loaned by local collectors. Becoming EDUCATED enhanced everyone appreciation for this nostalgic art form and helped open their eyes to the piece or two they may have inherited from a previous generation.
“Cassandra Bormann: Printmaker, Studio Artist” provided us with the opportunity to SHOWCASE the original art work of a Chickasaw County native and remind us that even kids from this small rural county can and do go on to be accomplished, talented and successful members of society. There’s plenty to bust your buttons about around here.
“Remembering Vietnam,” had a completely different tenor, of course. Hopefully, the process of looking back at a very difficult time in our relatively recent history leads to better understanding. This exhibit promoted a very important ethic: It behooves us all to HONOR those who serve us all.
Every year the CCC sponsors four or five temporary exhibits with a duration of eight to ten weeks and subject matter that varies as widely as the interests of area residents. One goal of the Temporary Exhibits agenda is to give you a reason to COME BACK to the Center. Another goal is to encourage you to CONNECT because that is what community is about. The exact definition of who or what you are connecting with is, again, widely variable. (Isn’t life rich?)
The current Temporary Exhibit, “In the Presence of Angels” connects us with well- known community figures, Marsha and Tim Angel. Most of us know Tim as the City sewage treatment guy. (So, what’s angelic about THAT?) Most of us know Marsha as a prolific craftswoman who produces home décor items with a rustic, home-spun appeal. (more angelic than Tim, anyway.) Most of us also know that Tim and Marsha are also avid collectors of many things, and with a last name like Angel...well you get the idea. The image of Tim and Marsha that I’d like you to connect with, however, is that they live always in the presence of...are surrounded by... angels.
As children, many of us are introduced to the idea that we each have a guardian angel who serves as a constant, caring custodian of our body and soul.  With that image in mind, it would seem that we all live in the presence of...are surrounded by...angels. In Tim and Marsha’s case, they are literally surrounded by angels as the walls of their home are covered with vintage lithographs and prints depicting angels. The pieces on display at the Carnegie present are traditional representations of angels leading children away from danger, watching over slumbering little ones, or whisking them away to a safe, heavenly home.  Other pieces are more religious depictions of angels with saints and saviors.
Marsha and Tim are sharing their angels with us until the end of Dec., so be sure to COME BACK to the Carnegie and take a look. You just might CONNECT with a bit of your inner self!
We are in the process of setting the agenda of Temporary Exhibits for 2016 and for a couple of them we’re counting on YOU to help us out.  
Next year is an “Olympics year” and we’re planning a Temporary Exhibit with a twist to celebrate. With an exhibit entitled “The Games People Play”, we will present a fun mix of facts about Olympics history tied to a look back at the history of some popular children’s games and board games for all ages. We also hope to put together a weekend or two of game com-petitions for local folks.  Would you be up for a Scrabble tournament? How about chess, or checkers, or Monopoly? What about marbles or jacks? Medals will be awarded!
THIS IS WHERE WE NEED YOUR HELP! Look in your game closet and see if you still have any of those oldies but goodies that we could borrow. Know anyone who actually knows how to play chess? Do you recall how to play marbles...and would you be willing to pass your love of the game on to some of today’s youngsters? What games did you love as a kid...or as an adult for that matter? I think I could pass on a few tips on playing jacks...IF I could down on and then up off the floor that is! I’ve heard that you a fun sort of person, so I’m counting on hearing from you...and it would be even BETTER if you’d get involved in helping organize our own special brand of Olympics. 
And while you’re in the closet looking for games, keep your eyes trained for things to include in another Temporary Exhibit entitled “What’s In YOUR Closet?” This idea was inspired by a TV commercial that asks “What’s in YOUR wallet?” One thing that most people have at least one of in their wallet is a photograph. For “What’s In Your Closet?” we hope you will dig around and find photos, snapshots, certificates, documents, etc. that define a little of your personal or family history. Your things displayed along-side those of other people will help create a captivating and compelling community time capsule of sorts. Everything will be returned to you at the end of the exhibit, so please dig a bit...”What’s in your closet?”
The Carnegie Cultural Center is all about YOU, so let’s hear from you...
Phone: 641-394-2354     email:
What better way is there to promote the local cultural heritage than to put it right “out there” in the community? A couple years ago, we received a nice product display hutch from the former Soy Basics plant. Then, plexi-glass, hardware and lighting was purchased using funds from a NH Area United Fund grant and Roger Johnson put everything together to create an attractive, new-to- us, enclosed display case. After the first of the year, the case will be placed in the waiting area at Mercy Medical Center and used to display rotating mini-exhibits using artifacts from our Permanent Collection. I’ve been telling everyone it will be just like the cultural ambiance at the Mayo Clinic...minus the grand piano!
Just in case you didn’t know, it’s official. For the first time in its 20 year history, the CCC is accepting applications for director-administrator as a PAID position. This really is a milestone for a small, non-profit such as we are and it is a development that will help ensure that the Carnegie Cultural Center will continue to exist as a quality, public-service institution for a long time. Applications are being accepted through Dec. 5. Check out the job description on our website:   and spread the word. 
For whatever it’s worth, I’ll still be around, acclimating the new director to the job and whipping a bunch of volunteers into shape as archives’ll see ya’ around!
CCC Volunteer Administrator

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