ReVisioning December meeting 12/9/2014

Two Harbors Community Center, Age to Age space “The Place”

5:30 supper, 6-8pm meeting


5:30 Supper discussion:

12 Attendees introduced ourselves over dinner. During the meal, 2 of us summarized feedback and suggestions from folks who could not attend tonight’s meeting. One person sent us feedback on creating clearer press releases to describe our Revisioning project clearly to townfolk. Her suggested copy:

Two Harbors Community Receives Bush Foundation Grant

Citizens of Two Harbors have a chance to voice their opinions about needs and challenges in Two Harbors thanks to a Bush Foundation grant. Through education, training, and organization the grant helps communities move in a direction towards improving the local economy, social structures and cultural offerings. (examples may be necessary.)

While not an art grant, this grant was secured and meetings are hosted by Arts on Superior.

All Two Harbors residents are invited to learn more and be part of the conversation. (Details here; dinner, discussion time, place, date etc. Contact info.)”

Another resident sent her observations that both Grand Marais and Ely in our region have faced similar economic problems to those Two Harbors is facing now: old industries (logging, mining, railroads) ceasing to support residents, cities’ downtowns dwindling, families needing jobs and activities in town to want to remain and raise children there.

Both of these cities came together – merchants, families, and government – around the single idea of promoting tourism for their city’s economic survival. Ely adopted “Really! It’s Ely” as town slogan. Both towns made sure that there were rainy day activities like music in restaurants to entertain tourists no matter what the weather. City councils and merchants united in an effort to beautify and focus commerce in the cities’ centers.


Finally, this person suggested that what Two Harbors lacks is “a gathering place – a coffee shop, preferably by the lake, perhaps with a bookstore attached.” Rachel observed that she has heard this remark from several other people.

The meeting discussion moved to using meeting places already here for future meetings: patronizing restaurants by paying a flat fee to the restaurant for providing some hors d’ourvres or lite fare, and letting those of us who want more to eat order it individually.

Angela shared her vision of a gathering place, perhaps monthly to start, for folks to come and do their various art projects together as they socialize. We talked about the possibility of using The Place for that purpose if someone like Angela would take on organizing and hosting it.

6-8pm meeting:


After dinner we began the evening’s activity of constructing a history of TH innovations. Using post it notes, we all wrote down any innovations we knew of, placing them on a timeline taped to the wall going from 1970 to present day.

As Katya Gordon read each post it on our timeline in chronological order, the writer explained the event. (See separate list of events on our timeline.)

The group then observed which innovations were still going, and which were not sustained. We brainstormed two lists: Challenges that kept innovations from being successful or sustainable, and Success Strategies that worked for sustaining innovations. Here’s what we came up with:


  • Not getting events listed on the TH Liquor Store marquee
  • One-person operation: they burn out or retire, no one mentored to continue
  • Difficulty collaborating with the High School to use their space for events/activities
  • Inability to Collaborate, in general
  • “Politics”

– Knowledge is power

– This is my turf

– Don’t want to change

  • Lack of market
  • Being grant-dependent – when grants dry up; project dies


  • Persistence – respectfully done
  • Building Relationships
  • Begin collaborating
  • Slow & steady
  • Use the back door, e.g. PTO for school entry
  • Sharing power
  • Have a joyful activity that people love
  • Become financially self-sustaining
  • Mountain Stage – a Grand Marias example of creative collaboration
  • Innovation: keep growing
  • MN State Fair – example of group always self-supporting financially
  • Fundraising group/Foundation to address financial sustainability
  • Becoming an innovative community as our calling card? (see book on that subject)

We adjourned at 8pm.



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