Free local music Thursday nights an early hit at big, familiar Chisholm venue

“Art in the Park,” the Thursday night free local music event at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm is a hit, according to sources at the center. More than 350 people attended last week’s event, filling the new main parking lot, and now that people are finding out about it this might become the cool place to be Thursday nights on the Iron Range.

New MDC director Paul Dwyer tells me that the event is part of the Discovery Center’s new mission, to “rediscover community.” He’s pleased with the progress here but acknowledges the place still has a lot of work ahead.

It’s been pointed out to me that I have been slow to shed the Minnesota Discovery Center’s former name when I post about the events there. Well, this is true. The naming of the place has been a rather large controversy over these past 18 months. I won’t say the old name in this post, but I must point out the gag in my headline:

Minnesota Discovery Center=26 letters
Big, familiar Chisholm venue=25 letters

And in the first case never mind that doesn’t include the location (Chisholm), thus adding eight letters plus two more if you use the article “an.” And anyway, who but journalism school grads would care, right? The truth is that even though I am not going to say the Minnesota Discovery Center’s former name in this post, if you are from the Iron Range you will know what I am talking about. You could chop up that old name in your bathtub, pry up your floorboards and stash the pieces. You could set your chair on top of those floorboards and sit there when the police come to ask you about the old name. You could pretend like you didn’t know, but you would know and you would hear the thump thump thump of the old name rattling against the floorboards until you went mad. So I’m just saying, that’s all. This is a process.

But “Art in the Park” is a truly cool deal, an affordable way for people of the area — families and singles alike — to enjoy local, live music. It’s going well, even better than expected, and you should check it out if you can. Members of the Iron Range Original Music Association (IROMA) have been informally involved in the planning process and there continues to be great hope that the more people that get involved the more important this event can become for the arts community of the Iron Range. This is the kind of thing we need more of in this region; it’s not tremendously expensive (or profitable) but it’s stuff like this that makes a community livable and attracts growth, not spec buildings.

I’ll post the music lineup for this Thursday’s show tomorrow.

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