Archive | NEWS


Prior Crossing at 25% of funding goal

Posted on 08 April 2014 by robwas66


A $9 million development, including 44 residential units, is planned at 1949-1953 University Ave. The project will house young people who would otherwise be homeless, and also provide support services toward reaching work and educational goals. (Rendering courtesy of the architectural firm of Cermak Rhoades)


Something is missing in the area of University and Prior avenues. A century-old, two-story commercial building at 1949-1953 University Ave. W. came down last month. Its basement will be filled in this month as fundraising and planning continue for its replacement, the 44-unit Prior Crossing development.

The $9 million development is planned to house young people who would otherwise be homeless. Many young people who turn 18 and age out of foster care find themselves with no place to live. Prior Crossings’ planned studio apartments and life skills training are seen as a way to help those young people make a successful transition into adult life. Residents would be age 18 into their early 20s.

The development is led by Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, with St. Paul’s House of Hope Presbyterian Church as a major partner. When the housing is up and occupied, Wilder Foundation will provide on-site support services for the young residents.

Although area neighborhoods do have shelters and other supportive housing for young people, there is still a great need. According to Beacon, there are an estimated 2,500 homeless young adults in Minnesota on any given night. Many have had a difficult life, facing exploitation, hunger, fear, mental health issues, or abuse. They may have left home because their family life was unsafe or unwelcoming.

Prior Crossing is meant to provide a safe space for homeless young people, providing them with support toward reaching work and educational goals and providing a community of support.

“When we can actually start construction depends on our success in fundraising,” said Kris Berggren, Beacon spokesperson. About one-fourth of the funding is now in place, including a $500,000 pledge from Hope Presbyterian and a Metropolitan Council grant of $927,000.

Berggren said that low-income housing tax credit requests are currently pending with the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and with the City of St. Paul. Other funding sources are also being explored.

The building’s location near Central Corridor or Green Line light rail is seen as a huge plus for residents, who will have easy access to education, work and shopping. The building will be only a short walk from the Fairview light rail station.

The new building is designed by the architectural firm of Cermak Rhoades. The building would be five stories tall, with brick and cast elements as part of the preliminary design. The building will include common areas to build a sense of community within the building and will also have a patio and garden area. According to Cermak

Rhoades, the design, which would include some colorful yellow and blue elements, is meant to reflect the youthful energy of its residents, yet also respect the neighborhood’s historic context.

Berggren said Beacon did look at reusing the building that was on the site, but decided new construction would better meet program needs.

The old building, which was built in 1914, housed a number of businesses over the years. For several years Slawik Properties was housed there. The Slawiks were extensively involved in area development in the 20th century, with Spruce Tree Center and Har Mar Mall among their projects.

More recently the building housed several other businesses and nonprofits including the Muslim American Society and Good Samaritan Society. The recent occupants moved to other St. Paul area locations last year. Beacon was required to help building occupants relocate.

The difficulties in insuring an empty building meant having the structure torn down. Filling in of the site took place the first week of April.

Learn more about the project at www.beaconinterfaith.org/what-we-do/housing/prior-crossing.


Comments (0)


Tour local artist studios during St. Paul Art Crawl

Posted on 08 April 2014 by robwas66

Attend artist receptions, view youth poetry reading and live acts, throw a pot and make velvet flowers


Carleton Artist Lofts, 2285 University Ave., will have 20+ artists selling their work, including Joshua W. Murray and this piece titled “Sympathetic to the Aesthetic : Gotcha Journalism.” Mediums include ceramics and pottery, handmade jewelry, journals and stationary, upcycled and vintage clothes and goods, paintings, illustrations, and photography. Visitors can also look forward to healing massages, music and other performances. The Carleton Artist Lofts are a grouping of three former warehouses adapted for reuse as affordable artist live/work space.


Get out after a long winter and meet local artists during the St. Paul Art Crawl Apr. 25, 26 and 27.


Mary Jo Schmith of Front Avenue Pottery designed this marker at Front Ave. and Chatsworth. Try your hands at the potter’s wheel any time during the crawl. Make a clay birdhouse or set of appetizer plates on Saturday from 12-8pm. Work with well known, regionally exhibiting milliner Patti Berg and manipulate fabric into simple shapes such as velvet flowers on Sunday at noon. Meet the nine participating artists during a reception on Friday from 6-10pm.

Five buildings in the Midtown area will be part of a city-wide event that features hundreds of artists and thousands of visitors: Carleton Place Lofts (2285 University Ave. W.), Bindery Building (708 Vandalia), Hancock Recreation Center/Canvas Teen Art Program (1610 Hubbard Ave.), Front Avenue Pottery (895 Front Ave.) and Midway Pottery and Studios (1708 University Ave.).

“We’ve chosen to be part of the Art Crawl because we value our work and we value our community,” stated Jeff Dahlin, owner of E & L Bindery, who will be one of at least four artists showcasing their work at that location. “Participation in this event promotes our artists’ talents while spotlighting the varied culture of our area. It’s a good opportunity to share our creativity and a drink with friends—old and new!”

At Front Avenue Pottery you can try your hands at the potter’s wheel any time during the crawl. Make a clay birdhouse or set of appetizer plates on Saturday from 12-8pm. Work with well-known, regionally exhibiting milliner Patti Berg and manipulate fabric into simple shapes such as velvet flowers on Sunday at noon. Meet the nine participating artists during a reception on Friday from 6-10pm, including locals Mary Jo Schmith, Jason Trebs and Jim Gindorff.

“The St. Paul Art Coalition creates a fabulous opportunity for us all to share expenses, such as marketing and media, and to also share the excitement of an entire city on exhibit!” observed Schmith, owner of Front Avenue Pottery & Tile Co.

She enjoys finding out that there are so many interesting, thoughtful, and talented working artists in St. Paul. “Every year there’s new work,” Schmith pointed out. On top of that, it is fun meeting new patrons, revelling in the support of friends and neighbors, and finding out St. Paul is genuinely interested in its artists.

Twenty-four artists will be displaying work during The Canvas Teen Art Show at the Hancock Recreation Center. Their mediums include: photography, painting, sculpture, poetry, pastels, pen and ink, and singing. “We are a teen art program and think it’s important youth have the opportunity to publicly display their creative accomplishments,” explained The Canvas Program Coordinator Megan Mueller.


Over 24 teen artists will be showcasing their work at The Canvas this year. “We are a teen art program and think it’s important youth have the opportunity to publicly display their creative accomplishments,” said Program Coordinator Megan Mueller. “Participating in the Art Crawl the last four years and curating a Teen Art Show has been a great way to give youth a space to do just that.”

The Canvas teen art program uses the arts to develop talent, build community, and improve the lives of youth. The Canvas serves youth grades 7-12, providing events, workshops, and studio space.

“I hear from student artist it’s exciting to have their work on display, and they always enjoy the artist lanyards they receive for being part of the show,” said Mueller. Don’t miss the artist reception at 4pm on Saturday that includes prose and live acts.

Art Crawl show hours are Friday 6–10pm, Saturday 12–8pm, and Sunday 12–5pm. Find out more at www.stpaulartcrawl.org.

Area Participants

Bindery Building
(708 Vandalia St.)
Open Fri. evening and Sat.

- Jeff Dahlin: Bookbinding, elbindery.com
- Theresa Angelo: Book Arts
- Carol Strait: Animal Paintings
- Mark Puariea: Photography, markpuarieaphotography.com

The Canvas Teen
Art Program
Hancock Recreation Center
(1610 W. Hubbard)

Canvas Teen Art Program develops talent, builds community to improve life for youth. The Youth Art Show is April 26, 5pm; artwork, prose, and live acts.
canvas651@gmail.com, 651-298-4393

Carleton Place Lofts
(2285 University Ave. – Bldg. A, B & C)

- A102 Mickey Jurewicz: Handmade bead and ceramic jewelry; mickey.jurewicz7@gmail.com, 612-759-2996
- A307 PaperThick Ink: Stationery, Art Prints, Handmade Goods; paperthinker@paperthickink.com, paperthickink.com
- B101 Junk Love: Repurposed | Vintage | Antique | Unique, junklovemsp@gmail.com, junk-love.com
- B412 Violent Iris: Photography, Journals, Cards, Illustration; info@violentiris.com, 651-434-9434, violentiris.com
- C155 The Studio Project: Handmade Journals, Monsters, and Pottery; angela@thestudioproject.org, thestudioproject.org
- C158 Celestienne Jewelry: hand-crafted artisan jewelry; studiocelestienne@gmail.com, 612-594-2479
- C159 Reiki Laughter: Stress Reduction, Healing, and Relaxation; info@reikilaughter.com, reikilaughter.com
- C160 Earth Angel Jewelry: Earthy, eclectic jewelry; angelteske@gmail.com, etsy.angelteske.com
- C160 Erik Pearson: Figurative, expressionistic paintings; erik@ erikpearsonart.com, erikpearsonart.com
- C351 Matthew Krousey Ceramics: Functional stoneware and porcelain; mkrouseyceramics @gmail.com, 320-232-9135, mkrouseyceramics.com
- C460 Jessica Potts: Contemporary leather cuff bracelets; jmpottsfashion@gmail.com, 651-726-4096
- C462 Malia’s Fabulous Closet: Vintage. Upcycle. Handmade.
- 113 Jessica Hansen: Paintings, Zines, Art-Books; Jessica.m. hansen@gmail.com, jessica-hansen-art.tumblr.com
- 201 Ricardo Bennett: Photography; rbennett2012@gmail.com, 915 996-5470, ricardobennett .zenfolio.com
- 302 Emblom Studios: Cigar Box Guitars | TC Acrylics; emblomstudios@gmail.com, 612-275-5691, emblomstudios.com
- 404 Owen McBride Platt: drawing, painting, fiber; owenmcbrideplatt@gmail.com, 651-795-8048, owenmcbrideplatt.net
- 562 Aunt Lottie’s Voodoo: Handmade art dolls and jewelry; Auntlottiesvoodoo@gmail.com,facebook.com/AuntLottie


Front Avenue Pottery owner Mary Jo Schmith creates playfully decorative stoneware dinnerware, serving ware and tile. She is hosting eight other artists at her studio. “We are a clayworks so most of the focus is on fine quality functional ceramics,” said Schmith. “Silver, fiber and photography also represented.”

Front Avenue Pottery
(895 Front Ave.)

Make the pot of your dreams at this hands-on art event and sale. Artist reception Friday from 6-10pm. Find event details at Front Avenue Pottery’s facebook page.
MjSchmith@comcast.net, 651-489-4374

- Mary Jo Schmith: (Como resident and owner of Front Avenue Pottery) playfully decorative stoneware dinnerware, serving ware and tile; FrontAvenuePotteryandTile.com
- Jason Trebs: (South Como resident) clay artist with beautiful function, strong forms & quality, beautifully textured or unexpectedly smooth mat glazes
- Susan Warner: functional and beautifully decorated porcelain pottery including sculptural purses, irons and shoes.
- Bell & Frank Barr: ceramic artists who are regionally famous for their creative and whimsical Fairie es
- Steve Wicklund: functional porcelain finished with luscious, creamy
- Luci Haas: (clay artist & current Front Ave. Pottery studio Assistant) functional stoneware and atmospheric firings such as wood and soda
- Jim Gindorff: photograph artist living in Como Park whose camera endlessly records our region’s changing natural world
- Jenny Levernier: Exquisitely crafted silver & stone jewelry
- Patti Berg: milliner who combines old & new techniques to craft heirloom quality & classic head ware.

Midway Pottery & Studios
(1708 University Ave.)

A show of functional and sculptural ceramic pieces, as well as paintings and jewelry. Their work is intended to warm and enhance your everyday life.
GMpots@CorazonDigno.net, 612-229-1249

- Randal Anderson: clay, roguepotters.com
- Jenn Brandel: clay, roguepotters.com
- Elizabeth & John Clay: painting, riverhousearts.net
- Gary Crawford: clay, midwaypottery.wordpress.com
- Sheryl Grassie: clay, fireonthegreenway.com
- Mark Johnson: clay roguepotters.com
- George Moore: clay, facebook .com/GeorgeMoore.pots
- Fred Yerich: clay, roguepotters.com

Comments (0)


Teachers file whistleblower lawsuit against Community School of Excellence

Posted on 08 April 2014 by robwas66

Allegations include misconduct during school trip to Thailand last spring and diversion of federal money for unlawful purposes


Mo Chang, Superintendent of the Community of School of Excellence has been named in a whistleblower lawsuit against the school brought by a current and a former teacher.


A teacher and a former teacher have filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the Community School of Excellence (CSE), a K-8 Hmong Language and Culture charter school in St. Paul.

Current teacher Megan Christine Deutschman and former teacher Ana Brooks Panone allege that eighth graders at the school were endangered during a school trip to Thailand last spring. According to an article in the Pioneer Press, the lawsuit alleges that superintendent Mo Chang “grossly mismanaged” the trip and that chaperones’ concerns were rejected as “Western thinking.”

Panone was allegedly fired in retaliation for reporting suspected abuse cases, a practice Chang is accused of hampering that has also been the subject of an investigation by the Department of Education. Meanwhile Deutschman took a family and medical leave as a result of a condition worsened by “the atmosphere of retaliation and fear created at the school.”

The suit seeks injunctions against the school to change the leadership, and seeks unspecified damages and attorney’s fees.

Controversy at the school has made headlines for over a year, and much of it has centered around CSE’s founder and director, Mo Chang, a longtime education who served as a charter school liaison for the St. Paul Public Schools. She has been accused of threatening staff for disagreeing with her, and contributing to a high level of turnover among the staff.

Last year, the Department of Education directed Concordia University, the charter school’s authorizer, to investigate allegations that the school has misused federal free- and reduced-price lunch funds, including having students punch in for meals they do not consume. Previously, CSE had been required to repay over $200,000 of misused food and nutrition (FNS) funds for similar issues.

CSE opened in 2007 with 176 students, and since has seen its population grow to nearly 1,000 students, according to its website. The K-8 Hmong Language & Culture and IB World School is housed in the former home of St. Bernard’s Catholic school at 170 Rose Ave W.

Comments (0)


Prevention chore list as spring arrives can be important advance work for home, garage and limited budget

Posted on 08 April 2014 by robwas66




Gutters and Downspouts

• Remove debris from gutters and downspouts and patch any holes. Make sure the downspouts direct water at least 5 feet away from your foundation walls.

• Reattach gutters that have pulled away from the house.

• Run a hose on the roof and check for proper drainage. If leaks exist, dry the area and use caulking or epoxy to seal the leak.

Windows and Doors

• Inspect/replace caulk on windows, doors, and other penetrations, such as dryer vents and cable wire holes.

• Clean screening and check for holes. If holes are bigger than a quarter, that is plenty of room for bugs to climb in.

• Patch holes or replace the screen. Save bad screen to patch holes next year.

• Tighten or repair any loose or damaged frames and repaint.

• Replace broken, worn, or missing hardware.

• Wind can ruin screens and frames if they are allowed to flap and move so make sure they are securely fastened.

• Tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.


• Replace or clean your furnace filter. It should be checked once a month and replaced or cleaned as needed.

• Have a professional air conditioning contractor inspect and maintain your system as recommended by the manufacturer.

Hot Water Heater

• Check your water heater. If you have a gas-fired water heater, make sure it is venting properly.

• Check around the base of your water heater for evidence of leaks. If water leakage or rust is found, the water heater should be replaced.


• Check the shutoff valve at each plumbing fixture to make sure they function.

• Know the location of all valves and what equipment and water lines they serve.

Siding, Fascia and Trim

• Clean siding with a pressure washer to keep mold from growing. Check all wood surfaces for weathering and paint failure.

• Examine fascia or soffit boards. Replace if they are soft or rotting because they may allow rain in your attic.


• Check foundation walls, floors, concrete, and masonry for cracking, heaving or deterioration.


• Inspect roof surface flashing, eaves, and soffits. Check flashings around all surface projections and sidewalls.

• Inspect the roof for damaged, loose or blistered shingles.


Lawn Care

• It is important that you wait until the soil temperatures rise and you get some growth before attempting any renovation program on your lawn.

• Rake to remove leaves and to control thatch.

• If you have a moss problem, apply a product called lawn sand to your lawn.

• Aerate your lawn in the spring to help encourage root growth, relieve compaction, and dry out any wet areas on the lawn.

• If your lawn is riddled with bare patches due to dog spots, heavy traffic or neglect, apply grass seed to fill in those bare patches. The solution is called “over seeding.”

• Lawns can be fertilized organically by using compost and mulching mowers or with chemical fertilizers.

Trees & Shrubs

• Cut back and trim all vegetation and overgrown bushes from structures.

• Clean up fallen limbs, branches and other debris around the home to discourage the proliferation of wood-eating insects such as termites.

Comments (0)


Central Lutheran begins national funding campaign

Posted on 08 April 2014 by robwas66


Choir students gather for practice with music teacher Elizabeth Wegner. Central Lutheran School students are multi-cultural, including coming from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Myanmar and Laos. That diversity extends into their educational programing, with choir, band, visual arts program, and an outdoor education unit. (Photo by Jan Willms)


The belief that a Christian education was essential for a child was so strong in many early Lutheran communities that they built schools before they even built their churches.

One of those early schools, started in 1861, has developed into the current Central Lutheran School (CLS) at 775 Lexington Pkwy. It opened its doors as Trinity Lutheran School at 659 Wabasha. A branch school later opened a few miles west, and this school was the nucleus around which St. Stephanus Congregation was organized in 1890.

Around 1942 the Central Lutheran School Association was incorporated, and CLS was built at its present site in 1951.

“One of the custodians recalled when the students marched over from their previous schools on the day CLS opened,” said Steve Schrader, interim principal at CLS. “He said it was quite an exciting day.”

Schrader said his wife, who attended another local Lutheran school, said she remembered how excited everyone was about the gym that was part of CLS.

“It’s a very ordinary-sized gym by today’s standards,” Schrader said, “but back then it was a very big deal.”

Over the past 130 years, CLS has seen many changes. It has become a multi-cultural school, with students from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Myanmar and Laos.

“Many of our students serve as interpreters for their parents,” he said. “There is not the total support our kids have had in the past.”

According to Schrader, two-thirds of the school’s students receive financial aid and over 50 per cent qualify for free or reduced lunches.

The school is facing challenges, both in population and financially.

Schrader said that in 1968, the school had 594 students. Today, there are 108 students in K-8, and the preschool program fluctuates.

“We have added 20 students to the preschool population, and we should be seeing that number reach the low 40s,” he said. The school also provides extended care to early childhood and school-age children.

The school is currently supported by four local Lutheran congregations: St. Stephanus, Jehovah, Bethel and Emmaus.

The school also started charging tuition in 1990, on a gradual basis. But with the economic downturn and a change in demographics, CLS cannot rely that much on tuition and has become a mission-based school. Churches also are struggling to maintain their numbers, and that trickles down to the schools.

With that in mind, CLS has begun a fund-raising program with a goal of $450,000.

A video of the school has been created, initially with the work being donated by a cable TV station and now with the assistance of two parents. The video describes the school, its students and the many programs it has to offer, and it requests funds to make it all work.

“The video is being sent out to Lutheran churches around the country,” Schrader said. “And all four pastors in our supporting congregations are distributing it in a more personal way.”

“It’s an ambitious goal,” he admitted. “A lot of Lutheran schools and churches are struggling right now. But we believe God can do great things.”

He said that obtaining $450,000 from all sources would totally stabilize things for awhile to come.

The school’s first donation came from an alumnus who lives in Kalamazoo, MI. She saw the video on Facebook and donated $600.

“We’ve received up to $20,000 in matching funds from donors who gave $1,000 or more,” Schrader noted. He said it is too early to measure the success of the fundraiser, but he has high hopes.

“We are unabashedly a Christian school,” Schrader continued, “and we do whatever we can to make it possible for anyone looking for a Christian education to attend.”

He said that the school wants to provide a quality education, adding that the standardized test scores for CLS have been very competitive.

“We offer such a great variety of programs,” he said. “Our choir goes on tour, and we have a band and athletic program throughout the year. We have a good visual arts program, and our 7th and 8th graders have an outdoor education unit. Our kids really get a full exposure to a broad educational program.”

He said some people have stepped forward and pledged to help the school roll over its curriculum in the next three years.

“We hope to expand our technology through the use of iPads and equip our teachers to make good use of them,” Schrader said.

Schrader, who stepped in as interim principal last July when the former administrator left, said the process has started to find a new principal. He previously served CLS as principal earlier for several years, leaving in 2001.

He said his experience at CLS has been the best of his 39 years of service in Lutheran education, emphasizing the great sense of community within the school.

He said CLS is not a place that is sitting still. “Our goal is to thrive, not just survive,” he declared. “And we are doing everything we can to make that a reality.”

For more information, visit Central Lutheran School online at: http://www.clssp.org/give.cfm

Comments (0)


Development Updates

Posted on 08 April 2014 by robwas66

Goodwill variance issue resolved; project moving forward


Bike lanes will be added to the Marshall Ave. street repair project beginning in May. That will tie into the neighborhood north/south bike routes including Raymond, Prior, Aldine, Pascal and Griggs. Other area bike routes are also on this year’s list of projects.



A dispute over Goodwill/ Easter Seals’ new retail/office building has been resolved. With agreements on travel demand management and potential shared parking, Hamline Midway Coalition withdrew its appeal of a variance for the new store at 1221-1253 University Ave. The St. Paul City Council then canceled a public hearing. Ward Four Council Member Russ Stark said he was glad that the two parties were able to reach an agreement.

The project had won a conditional use permit and variance for more than 60 feet of off-street parking along University Ave., but the district council appealed that decision. The objections were withdrawn after Good­will/Easter Seals agreed to added conditions on its plan. One condition calls for the nonprofit to seek a way to share its off-street parking in the future, as University Ave. properties continue to be redeveloped. Another calls for Goodwill/Easter Seals to plan for what is called TDM or travel demand management. This is a strategy that could potentially reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips to a development.

Goodwill/Easter Seals plans to tear down the former Whitaker Buick building and erect a two-story retail store and office building. The old auto dealership will be replaced with a two-story building with 20,000 retail space, 5,000 square feet for donations processing and 3,500 square feet for offices. The store would replace the existing store at Charles and Fairview. Goodwill/Easter Seals would retain that building for offices, training space and storage.


Whether your bicycle is your main mode of transportation or a source of fun and exercise, you’ll have more options in area neighborhoods. Several area bikeway projects will be completed this year, including one east-west connection that taps into the Midway’s north-south routes.

Bicycling is getting more attention in St. Paul as the city continues to seek comments in April on a long-range plan for bicycle improvements. While those plans could take 20 to 30 years to take shape, several projects are on the drawing board now.

One of the newest projects is Marshall Ave. between Snelling Ave. and Lexington Pkwy., which gets underway in May. The bike lanes will be added as part of a street mill and overlay project. For area cyclists it will provide better connections to current and planned north-south routes including Raymond, Prior, Aldine, Pascal and Griggs, and provide a route reaching from Minneapolis and Lake St. to downtown St. Paul.

Marshall Ave. is a county road. St. Paul’s Department of Public Works decided to add the bike lanes while Ramsey County’s Department of Public Works did the project.

Yet another project slotted for this year is bike connections for the Pierce Butler-Lexington Pkwy. area, to complete a system of trails and a bridge built in past years.

Residents of Hamline-Midway and Frogtown will see the Charles Ave. bike boulevard completed. Work on Snelling Ave. began last fall. Charles Ave. will provide an east-west bicycle connection from Park Ave. to Aldine St. It includes signage, street markings, corner bumpouts and pedestrian refuses along the route.

According to St. Paul Public Works, higher-than-anticipated bids pushed the Griggs and Jefferson Ave. projects back to this construction season from 2013. The Jefferson and Griggs projects are being rebid as a package, to be completed this spring. The combined costs are estimated at $1.3 million, but bids came in $300,000 to almost $700,000 higher last year.

The Griggs project extends from Minnehaha Ave. to Selby Ave. and includes street markings, signals at University Ave., bumpouts and a traffic circle.


Look for opportunities to weigh in soon on the proposed redevelopment of property south of Midway Center. The so-called Snelling site redevelopment, which has been discussed by Metropolitan Council, Metro Transit and the City of St. Paul since 2012, moves to a new phase this spring.

At issue is how to redevelop the former bus barn property and a site to the east, which total 14.7 acres. This could also tie to longer-term-term redevelopment of the Midway Center block. That would mean redeveloping a total of 34.5 acres. The development partners have hired consultant and are working on recommendations including steps toward bringing in denser, transit-oriented development that is more in keeping with the city’s adopted Snelling Station Area Plan. The consultants are to wrap up their work in April. Then the city, regional agencies and shopping center owner RK Midway must decide next steps.

The public can get involved soon on the city’s Open St. Paul feature of the city’s website, at www.stpaul.gov. Once the topic is posted everyone can weigh in on what they’d like to see happen to the property. Union Park District Council and its Land Use Committee are leading community discussion and are reaching out to Hamline-Midway residents to the north. You can follow up at www.updc.org.



Comments (0)


Hamline University’s Arts in Health class uses art as therapy

Posted on 13 March 2014 by robwas66


A hospital can be a scary place for children, as they wonder what might happen to them or whether a treatment will hurt. But by introducing art into the picture, some of those anxieties can evaporate as the children concentrate on creating a picture or a shape from clay or a painting. The above artwork was created by Hamline student Kate Monson.


A hospital can be a scary place for children, as they wonder what might happen to them or whether a treatment will hurt. But by introducing art into the picture, some of those anxieties can evaporate as the children concentrate on creating a picture or a shape from clay or a painting.

Hamline University’s Arts in Health class and internship is providing an opportunity this spring for Hamline students to interact with children who are facing chronic or serious illness, as well as their parents, siblings, and medical professionals. Students are doing internships at Children’s Hospital and Clinics and at Shriners Hospitals for Children.

“The class is being offered by the Department of Studio Arts and Art History in collaboration with the Public Health Sciences program at Hamline,” said Professor Nicola Demonte, who is teaching the class. “This program would not have happened without the support of Dr. Lisa Stegall, Dr. Aida Audeh and Dr. Sharon Preves, who have all been instrumental in making sure the Arts and Health class was offered,” added Demonte.

Demonte, who has spent 17 years as an art therapist at hospitals, mental health clinics and educational institutions, said that students from various majors are participating in the class. “We have students from art history, public health sciences, biology and premed,” he said.

There has been a strong interest in the class, with 16 students enrolled.

Lacy Koss, a junior in public health science, said she is looking into going into occupational therapy. “I have done research at Children’s Hospital, in music and art therapy. This seemed like a perfect opportunity for an internship there,” she said.

Koss said she goes to Children’s Hospital two times a week, spending one day with siblings of the patient in a big area where there are games and art projects they can work on. The other day she works directly with patients on a specific art project. “It’s usually just me and the patient,” she said.


Hamline University’s Arts in Health class and internship is providing an opportunity this spring for Hamline students to interact with children who are facing chronic or serious illness, as well as their parents, siblings, and medical professionals. Above, student Lacy Koss meets with Prof. Nicola Demonte to discuss her internship at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics. (Photo by Jan Willms)

Koss said the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, in partnership with Hennepin County Library, has donated “Art Out of the Box” to Children’s Hospital. The box contains images of artwork, supplies and mediums that the child can keep.

“This gives us some sort of image to talk about,” Koss said. “We start talking about the images, and it helps the kids to relax.” She said the art serves as a conduit to start a conversation.

“It’s really fun to work with Art Out of the Box,” Koss added. “It gives us a chance to work with clay, and we can paint on that clay.” Some of the art the children produce is put up in a gallery in the hospital, or in a window sill in their room, or even hung on their IV.

“As long as you go in being excited, the kids want to participate,” Koss said. She said she also enjoyed very much working with the patient’s siblings.

“It’s great that we get to give them an experience in the hospital as well, when the parents are mostly focused on the child who is sick,” Koss said.

Koss said she and her fellow students have become big believers in realizing how art and meditation really complement one another during the course of the class. The lecture and classroom work started in January as a prerequisite to the internship.

“We had guest speakers, art projects and videos,” Koss said. The class ran Monday through Thursday, three hours a day.

One of the guest lecturers was Dr. Robert Fisch, a professor emeritus from the University of Minnesota and a mentor of Demonte.

“Dr. Fisch is a holocaust survivor,” Demonte said. “He is a doctor and an artist and has unique experiences to share. The kids loved him.”

“One of the reasons why I am inspired by Dr. Fisch is that he has been working in oncology for many years, and he has so much faith in art as an integral part of medicine,” Demonte continued.

He explained that studies have shown the positive effects of the use of art in stressful situations.

“Arts intervention can lower the heart rate, reduce blood pressure, reduce pain and psychologically lower someone’s stress,” Demonte said.

The art activities the interns share provide comfort to children and teens as they adjust to their medical experiences, according to Demonte.

“The experience gained by the internship will help facilitate a deep understanding of the relationship of creativity to health using the elements and principles of art,” Demonte said.

Demonte, who has used art therapy to work with clients with mental illness, developmental disabilities, cancer, dementia and Alzheimer’s, said the Arts and Health class is a natural extension of what he has been practicing.

He said the curriculum includes information on behavior therapy, psychoanalysis, mindfulness and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).

“The Arts and Health focus, adding to the human side of medicine, draws insights from across the social sciences and arts,” he explained. He noted that the art experience not only brings relief from pain, fatigue and anxiety, but also a respite from boredom. “It provides a safe outlet for emotions as well,” he added.

The students who are serving as interns in the Arts and Health class will have an opportunity to display their artwork at an exhibition that will run in the lobby of Hamline University’s Fine Arts Department Apr. 1-18.

“This exhibit will give the students a chance to emphasize the connection they are making with the community,” Demonte said. “We’re really proud of this program. The interns are providing a safe, relaxing and creative experience for patients who are undergoing a serious and life-threatening illness.”

Comments (0)


From Hogwarts writing workshop to becoming Huck Finn, there’s a summer camp for everyone

Posted on 13 March 2014 by robwas66

Popular local options include St. Paul Academy, Friends School of Minnesota, Leonardo’s Basement, Como Park



There’s no excuse to be bored this summer. Check out the multitude of classes and camps offered through your local parks board, YMCA/YWCA, school and well-known organizations such as the Minneapolis Arts Institute, MacPhail Center for Music, and Minnesota Children’s Museum.

Browse below for highlights of the many camps offered in the Twin Cities:

In The Neighborhood



Blackhawks offer several exciting half- and full-day camps for players ages 5-18 that encompass a wide variety of activities and skills. (Photo by Kirk Gaburo)


Blackhawks offer several exciting half- and full-day camps for players ages 5-18 that encompass a wide variety of activities and skills. Specialty camps focus on specific skills such as ball control, shooting, and goalkeeping. Cost: $75-175. 651-894-3527. http://blackhawksoccer.org/


Spend some time Monkeying Around with your primate pals; discover your creative side with Adventures in Art; take an African Adventure right at Como; or try on the hat of a zookeeper or gardener in Behind-the-Scenes! Como’s camps include “behind-the-scenes” experiences and meeting Como’s plant and animal ambassadors up-close! Five-day, half-day sessions. Extended care available. In partnership with the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM), Como also offers summer camp opportunities for youth, ages 8-18, with autism. Cost: $130-150. 651-487-8272. http://www.tinyurl.com/ p3u4lqv.



Young artists show the face masks they made for their flower dance in “Imagine That” at the Friends School Summer Camp.

From junior sleuths to budding lawyers to young artists, there are five weeks of adventures and summer fun planned for grades 2-12 at the Friends School of Minnesota. Weekdays, half- and full-day. Cost: $100 to $280. 651-621-8941.


High school students ages 15-18 can explore the craft, prepare for college, and connect with other young writers in the Twin Cities, while working closely with Hamline Creative Writing faculty and published authors. Register by April 15. Cost: $400. 651-523-2476. http://www.hamline.edu/gls/youngwriters/



Girls and boys ages 6 to 17 can design and build their creative ideas, mixing art, science and technology during partial-day, weekday camps at Leonardo’s Basement, in St. Paul (1188 Hubbard Ave.) and also in Minneapolis.

Girls and boys ages 6 to 17 can design and build their creative ideas, mixing art, science and technology during partial-day, weekday camps. Cost: $25-185. 612-824-4394. http://leonardosbasement.org


A variety of athletic, academic and enrichment programs are offered, including woodworking, Lego robotics, rocket science, geocaching, fencing, sailing, painting, microelectronics, guitar, and more. Half- and full-day, one- to three-week weekday sessions. Camp Minnehaha, a full day camp for pre-k to grade 8, includes daily devotions, games, indoor and outdoor activities, daily swimming lessons and a weekly off-campus activity. Cost: $175-750. 612-728-7745, ext. 1. http://www.minnehahaacademy.net


Take a writing workshop entitled: “A Week at Hogwarts.” Learn about journalism and movie-making. Play chess, take competitive math, debate, or work on your college admission essay. Ten options at SPA cover a wide range of academic, arts, and enrichment activities for grades 2-12. ¡Verano Divertido! offers an engaging opportunity for children ages 5-10 to learn Spanish during the summer. The Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth offers the ExplorSchool for students in grades 4-6.

Cost: $159-379. 651-698-2451. http://www.spa.edu/about_spa/ summer_programs_2014

In The Twin Cities


Construct giant castles, get lost in colossal mazes, build suits of armor and more during these five-day, full-day sessions for ages 8-14 offered July 7-11 and July 14-18 at Fort Snelling in Minneapolis. Other locations in Arden Hills and Eden Prairie with bus service offered from Powderhorn Park. Cost: $299. 612-532-6764. http://julianmcfaul.com


Half-day, three- and five-day French language day camps for beginners and experienced students from age three through high school offering hands-on and artistic expression in an immersion setting. Cost: $95 to $175. 612-332-0436. http://www.afmsp.org


Unleashed campers entering grades 3-10 spend a full week immersed in animal learning and fun. Camp sessions are held in St. Paul and Golden Valley (as well as three other location). Cost: $295. 763-489-2220. http://wwwanimalhumanesociety.org/camps


A variety of art disciplines and mediums with themes like Claymation, theater or food as art offered for ages 4-18. Five-day, half- and full-day sessions available. Cost: $115-260. 612-729-5151. http://www.articulture.org


Solve mysteries of the past in this three-day History Detective Camp for ages 11-13. Or, young ladies ages 9-12 can step back in time in a unique Finishing School for Young Ladies day camp. Cost: $190-$220. 612-341-7555. http://www.mnhs.org/summercamps


Camp and canoe while learning leadership and teamwork skills in a seven-day resident camp for youths age 13-18 who live within the city limits of Minneapolis or St. Paul. Held on the St. Croix River in Rush City and organized by YouthCARE. Cost: free. 612-338-1233. http://www.youthcaremn.org


Explore international circus arts during the 20th anniversary year of Circus Juventas. Five-day, full-day sessions offered for ages 6-18. Cost: $395. 651-699-8229. http://www.circusjuventas.org


Experience cultural and language immersion with 15 languages to choose from. Resident camp for ages 7-18 and half-day programs offered. Cost: $870-$4,570. 1-800-222-4750. http://www.concordialanguagevillages.org


Learn kitchen skills and safety along with basic techniques to get cooking, with an international flavor. Three-day, half-day sessions for ages 8-13 in Edina, Stillwater and St. Paul. Cost: $195. 651-228-1333. http://www.cooksofcrocushill.com


Explore prairies, wetlands and woodland trails during full- and half-day, four-day camps offered for students entering 1-8 grades. Shorter sessions available for ages 3-6. Cost: $80-225. 651-455-4531. http://www.dodgenaturecenter.org


Be a soldier for a day. Explore like Huck Finn. Experience the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Be an adventurer like Davy Crockett. Or, try out what life as an archeologist is like. Camps range from one day to one week. $50-$225. 612-341-7555. http://www.mnhs.org/summercamps


Travel back in time and learn about life in the 1800s. Three- and five-day, half-day camps with shorter sessions available for ages 6-11. Cost $100-240. 651-646-8629. http://www.rchs.com


Learn about history while creating models of period armor, examining real medieval artifacts and more. Five-day, full- and half-day sessions for ages 7-14. Cost: $170-325. 612-719-1954. http://www.oakeshott.org


Bring your imagination to life by creating characters and inventing new worlds. Five-day, full-day camp for ages 6-11. Cost: $250-275. 612-215-2520. http://www.mnbookarts.org


Campers aged 9-11 will spend each morning at Mill City Museum exploring a different museum theme through a variety of activities. Create a photographic history of the area. Bake bread. Tour St. Anthony Falls lock and dam. And more. $225-$250. 612-341-7555. http:// www.mnhs.org/summercamps


Half-day or full-day weeklong camps are offered in a variety of themes (from teapots and dog bowls to spaceships and garden gnomes) for ages 6 and up. Cost: $170-$305. 612-339-8007. http:// www.northernclaycenter.org/education/summer-clay-camps


Explore careers in health with hands-on sessions for grades 9-12. Full-day five-day session in Minneapolis or four-day session in St. Paul. Cost: $355-475.

(Editor’s Note: This is not a comprehensive list of every camp in the Twin Cities. If you would like to be included in next year’s guide, please send us detailed information on the camp by Jan. 15, 2015 and we’ll try to include as many as we can.)

Comments (0)