Classes in the Arts

Register for these programs: by phone (507-664-3700), in person at FiftyNorth, or by clicking on the title of the class
Please pre-register and check-in for all classes no matter your membership levels. It is also important to check-in at the front desk when you arrive for your class.  We use attendance data for grant applications, insurance reimbursement, space planning and determining whether or not to cancel a class.
Scholarships are available to help defray the cost of classes for those who find the cost a financial hardship

Writing Your Holiday Memories

Wednesdays, October 4, 11, 18, 25

A personal story crafted from childhood memories makes a special and lasting gift to family and friends during the holiday season. Join award-winning author and FiftyNorth member, Jeff Sauve, as he guides participants through four 90-minute writing sessions that will rekindle joyful recollections and inspire attendees to put pen to paper.
This class is open to all levels of writers. As a celebration at the conclusion of the four sessions, we will hold an evening event where those who choose to can read one of their stories.
*Bring your own pen, paper or electronic device.

Presenter: Jeff Sauve
Capacity: 6 min, 16 max
Cost: $54 nonmbr, $42 mbr, $0 platinum
Space: room 102
Registration deadline: October 2

NOTE: Jeff Sauve has been featured in the Minneapolis StarTribune, Minnesota Historical Society’s MNopedia, MinnPost, MPR Radio, and TPT television. An award-winning author and historian, Sauve has written eight books and scores of articles for local and regional publications. After serving 20 years as an archivist at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., he pursued a successful writing career. In 2023, his book, Murder at Minnesota Point, was awarded a bronze IPPY (Independent Publisher Book Award) medallion for Midwest non-fiction.

Other titles by Sauve include: Pioneer Women: Voices of Northfield’s Frontier (2009); Dear Santa, Mama Wants Hat Pins, Papa, One Mule: A Compilation of Letters from the Northfield News,1902–1945 (2012); Milestones and Memories of the St. Olaf Band, 1891–2018 (2019), of which he was co-author; and St. Olaf Theater: A Centennial Celebration,1921–2021 (2021).

Fused Glass Christmas Ornaments

Tuesday, October 10

Looking to try fused glass? Here is your chance. In this class you will make three ornaments, a Christmas tree, a snowman and a Christmas ball.  The ornaments will make great gifts.  Materials provided.

Instructor: Geralyn Thelen
Capacity: 10
Cost: $35 nonmbr, $30 mbr, $15 platinum
Space: 104
Registration deadline: October 7

Two options for Basics of Woodcarving Class. Choose a morning or afternoon class, or perhaps you will want to participate in both.

Basics of Woodcarving

Tuesday, October 17

Basics of Woodcarving

Tuesday, October 17

Learn the basics of woodcarving including use of tools, wood selection, safety and more. Students will work on a variety of small hand-held projects.
Ages 14 to 114, tools available for use and/or purchase. All materials provided.

Chris Whillock is from Faribault and teaches woodcarving throughout the USA. His father is nationally-known artist, carver Ivan Whillock. Chris was editor of CARVING Magazine for 7 years and runs a tool & supply business out of his downtown Faribault Studio.

Instructor: Chris Whillock
Capacity: 12
Cost: $60 nonmbr, $50 mbr, $30 platinum (each class)
Space: room 102
Registration deadline: October 15


Wednesday, October 18

Echoes & Shadows
“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance”
Carl Sandburg

FiftyNorth is excited to announce an upcoming Poetry & Art Collaboration Event. Artists and Photographers will create artwork or photos inspired by a poem that has been submitted. Poems and artwork and photography will be displayed side-by-side in the gallery in March and April of 2024.

  • Poets, artists and photographers do not have to be members of FiftyNorth to submit an entry.
  • Poems, artwork and photography do not have to be created in a class at FiftyNorth
  • Art pieces and photographs must be inspired by a poem that has been submitted.
  • Art pieces can be created using any medium in any style.
  • No entry fee
  • Poets will have an opportunity to read their poems on April 4th•
  • Artists and photographers will be encouraged to comment on their work April 4th.
  • Please do not submit a poem and artwork as a pair. The purpose of the exhibit is to create collaboration.
  • Artwork or photography must be framed and ready to hang.
  • Poems should not be more than one page.

All people interested in writing poetry and those interested in creating artwork or photography inspired by a piece of submitted poetry are invited to attend this session. The process for this event will be explained, a guideline and a timeline will be handed out. Please register online, by phone or in person. If you are unable to attend but are interested in participating, please contact Michelle Loken at [email protected].

Instructors: Pat Jorstad, Kate Douglas, Marie Gery
Cost: Free
Space: Room 102

Paper Embroidery Holiday Cards

Thursday, October 19

Paper embroidery is a fun, easy-to learn way to create wonderful holiday or other occasion cards. You don’t need to have any experience with embroidery. In this class you’ll learn at least three simple stitches to make festive 3D designs on cards.

You’ll learn how to use a template and needle or awl to punch the needed holes for your pattern. You can choose one of the holiday designs we’ll have available. Pick your threads from the many colors we’ll have and then start embroidering. We’ll also explore some of the many ways you can finish your cards.

We’ll provide supplies for you to complete up to 3 cards in the class and the ideas to inspire you to make many more at home.  NOTE: No experience with embroidery on fabric or paper is necessary. Come and have fun! Materials provided.

Instructor: Pat Jorstad assisted by Lyn Margulies
Capacity: 12
Cost: $28 nonmbr, $24 mbr, $10 platinum
Space: 102
Registration deadline: October 17


Friday, November 3

“All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players and one man in his time plays many parts” Shakespeare.   As we work with one another it has been said “We don’t stop playing because we grow old.  We grow old because we stop playing.”  GB Shaw.  

Come play with us…no scripts necessary!  Just your good selves and a desire to see…hear…listen to one another and as we play…we shall find….”we are such stuff as dreams are made on…”Shakespeare.

Instructor: Sylvia Langworthy
Capacity: 15
Cost:  $15 nonmbr, $11 mbr, $0 platinum
Space:  103
Registration deadline: November 1


Monday, November 6

This is not the usual poetry class.  Why?  For one thing, nobody is a usual poet.  Each one who writes poetry comes with their own outlook, set of skills, creativity, patience, and limited time.  Looking ahead to the Poetry/Art plan for the Gallery at FiftyNorth for March and April, we’ll be looking at various ways to put a poem together:  ballad, villanelle, cinquain, haiku, ghazal, and a couple of light verse forms: limerick and double dactyl.  Now a bit about sonnets:
A young man named Will
Often took up a new quill
Wrote a sonnet every day
Love offered a lot to say

Bring your own pen and paper.

Instructor: Marie Gery
Capacity: 15
Cost:  $18 nonmbr, $14 mbr, $0 platinum
Registration deadline: November 4

West African Drum Class

Tuesdays, November 7, 14, 21, 28

Join David Miller in exploring the rhythms of West Africa! You will learn some common drum patterns (and maybe a song!) from the nations of Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Guinea, played on djembes and other West African percussion instruments. Instruments will be provided.
(4 sessions)

Instructor: David Miller
Capacity: 8
Cost: $36 nonmbr, $28 mbr, $0 platinum
Space: 103
Registration deadline: November 5


Wednesday, November 8

Learn basic weaving techniques using a peg loom. During class you will learn how to determine the length of warp needed for your project, how to warp the peg loom and how to weave on a peg loom. By the end of class you will have completed a welcome mat sized rug. All supplies for the class will be provided.

Instructor: Wendi Piller
Capacity:  12
Cost:  $101 nonmbr, $93 mbr, $65 platinum
Space:  102
Registration deadline: November 6


Wednesday, November 8

The Story of a Vietnam Vet

The story of Galen A. Brown, Vietnam U.S. Marine veteran, Purple Heart recipient and artist will be presented in two parts at the Fifty North Gallery. The first part is a gallery show exhibiting a collection of Galen’s art and the second will be his Vietnam story shared by Kay A. Brown.
Spanning 40-yearsof work, the show centers around the theme of “Shapes and Shadows.” Whether it was the shapes related to war and peace, the shapes of justice and injustice, shapes behind other artist’s works, shapes in landscapes, and even the shapes related to his own cancer, he challenges the viewer to think.
Galen served two tours of duty as a sniper in Vietnam. His piece from his Viet Nam Series, “Always Just Under the Surface” shows the shapes of his insignias under a dark surface. Those insignias reappear in many forms throughout the entire collection.  His journey as an artist began after returning from war and ended in 2013 with his passing.
Galen’s work has been shown in numerous galleries across the United States and in Europe, including the Smithsonian’s Exhibit, “New Works on Paper.” His art is in many private collections. Galen was a Northfield resident for a number of years and served on the Northfield Arts Guild gallery committee.
Kay A. Brown, curator of the exhibit was featured in the Minnesota Public Television’s series “Vietnam Remembered.” She currently is involved in FiftyNorth’s history group.
A reception will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 5:30, followed at 6:30 by Kay A. Brown sharing Galen’s story through letters written from Vietnam and memories of his children, Melissa Sullivan and Jessica Brown. The gallery show will run from Nov.6 through Veteran’s Day.

Presenter: Kay Brown
Capacity: 30
Cost: Free
Space: Room 103
Registration deadline: November 6

Obituary Writing

Monday, Thursday, November 13, 16

When a death is reported in the newspaper, accompanied by an obituary for the deceased, how does that obituary happen?  In many cases, stressed family members scramble to meet a deadline set by a funeral home or other site for a service, hoping to capture the essence of the deceased person as well as important information about memorials. Much of the anguish associated with this task can be eliminated by advance planning.  This two-session course will give participants a chance to determine the key elements of an obituary and prepare a draft.  We will meet on a Monday morning from 9-11 to map out the necessary features of an obituary and resume on Thursday at the same time to work in pairs on provisional drafts. The goal: preparation of a reasonable draft for someone, perhaps yourself, as well as appreciating the details of this written form.

Presenter: Carol Rutz
Capacity: 16
Cost: $18 nonmbr, $14 mbr, $0 platimum
Space: room 102

Fused Glass Christmas Tree Cheese Tray

Tuesday, November 14

Try your hand at an adorable fused glass Christmas tree cheese tray. This will make a great holiday gift. Materials provided.

Instructor: Geralyn Thelen
Capacity: 10
Cost: $40 nonmbr, $35 mbr, $20 platinum
Space: 104