An arts convergence, on Division Street

Five stunning women – created by acclaimed “Flower Bomber” artist David W. Cook and based on the characters of the Twin Cities hit musical “Lemonade for the Lawnboy”—have arrived in Northfield to celebrate the grand opening of ArtMakers,  a new arts group that develops, supports and features artists with disabilities.

ArtMakers debuts “Read Me a Story,” its first show in its new studio, on Saturday, August 13 at 10:30 am at the Hotspot, 801 Division Street. The one-hour performance combines stories, songs and puppets for a fun, interactive show for the kid in all of us.

Cook’s life-size sculptures grace the display window of ArtMakers’ studio at the Hotspot. ArtMakers’ founding members are Jim Rossow, a theater pro with 30+ years experience in Chicago and beyond, and his son Andrew Rossow, a recent graduate of the MN State Academy for the Blind. Joining them for “Read Me a Story” are musician Helen Forsythe and puppeteer Steve Braker.

Artmakers’ mission: create specialized arts opportunities for artists with disabilities that are accessible, adaptive, sensitive and meaningful to the individual artist, and serve as an advocate and bridge for those artists to the mainstream arts community and the community at large.

This is Cook’s first installation in Northfield. Swag owner Mary Closner introduced Cook to Rossow to help dress ArtMakers’ windows. The studio is set up to host music, storytelling, puppetry and theater projects, with rehearsal and performance space that’s disability-friendly. The org welcomes participants of all abilities.

“We want to bring people together around the shared pleasure of creating art,” Rossow says. “We craft each production around the talents and special needs of each participating artist. Each time a group of artists gathers for a new project, the work is tailored to that specific group. The chemistry of each production springs from the recognition of each individual artist involved. This way, we create a truly authentic artist-centered performance company.” 

“Read Me a Story” is the first performance in Artmakers’ Kidstuff Series, with future projects planned for fall and the holiday season.   

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