The Fest will look different this time, as have most events through this past year. I am eager to see the amazing artistry that will come from snow sculptors this weekend, although there will be fewer than in past years. Many people are getting out on sleds and dogs are running all over our lakes and trails. Folks are finding safe ways to connect on area ski trails and snowshoe paths. Ely’s retail stores and restaurants have limited indoor space available for patrons.

This week also kicks off the Ely ArtWalk. Local artists display their art in the windows of downtown Ely for a month, creating an outdoor art gallery. Many of the Folk School’s instructors will be featured in prominent windows on Sheridan and Chapman Streets! We are continually impressed by the originality and talent of our instructors and we look forward to sharing more of their craft with you this month and in classes to come. February in the North is cold but not isolating! I have been energized by the efforts of diligent community members to successfully modify Ely winter traditions for this unique year. Art continues to be  shared, even if there may be fewer opportunities to enjoy mugs of hot cocoa amongst strangers.

If you are disappointed about not being able to make it up to Ely this year, don’t let that stop you from taking a look at our online learning courses and join us virtually! If you live in town and are looking for a safe way to interact with your community, we are still offering a few outdoor courses. Wherever you are, we invite you to read our new blog space named “Sisu” – a Finnish concept described as stoic determination, grit, optimism, tenacity of purpose, resilience, and hardiness. Sisu is strong though our community and this blog is dedicated to sharing stories from our neck of the woods. No matter where you may be physically, we hope you are able to find your own inner sisu and can continue to creatively join in craft and community.

-Lucy Soderstorm, Assistant Program Coordinator 

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