Velkommen to our very first newsletter! I want to share a little bit about myself so you get to know who I am. I accepted the challenge of Executive Director for Norway House six months ago. Previously, I was with the Royal Norwegian Honorary Consulate General in Minnesota. I was born in Oslo, Norway to a diplomatic family: My mother, a beautiful Swede, and my father -- Thor Johansen -- couldn’t be more Norwegian. They met in Romania, my mother working for the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and my father with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
I grew up representing all things Norwegian whether we were in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil or on the Adriatic coast of Italy. Representing Norway and the Nordic way has been a way of life for me. I moved to Minnesota in 2002 and studied at the University of Minnesota. There I found my future husband -- a farm boy from southern Minnesota. We have been married for 11 years and have two boys, Sebastian and Henrik. Today, I am excited to be leading Norway House, a project dating back to 2004 when my father was Consul General for Norway to the Midwest.
Norway House, located in the heart of Minneapolis in a big blue building, is in the location of the original home of the Norwegian immigrant community -- and site of Mindekirken, the Norwegian Luthern Memorial Church. Today, together with Mindekirken, we make up the National Norwegian Center in America. Norway House has a distinct mission to promote the arts, culture, and business of contemporary Norway through our three key programs; The Galleri at Norway House, Edvard Grieg Society of MN, and The Minnesota Peace Initiative.
Our Galleri serves as our living room at Norway House and a place where we hope you as our guests will enjoy and experience many exhibits and programs throughout the year. The coffee shop and gift shop, run by Ingebretsen, serves Peace coffee, Nordic Waffles, lefse, hot dogs, yogurt parfaits, and delicious baked goodies from Deco Catering. If you get a chance to try their Arne Palmerssen, I highly recommend it.
A LOT has happened in the last six months. A quick recap, we received a $5 million-dollar bonding bill matching grant in May from the State of Minnesota to expand our facility. We also had our most successful gala in June. Thanks again to all who came and contributed towards Norway House's future.
This year we have already hosted four exhibits and have had a variety of fun and engaging programs -- over 50 programs -- all centered around different aspects of what it means to be Norwegian today.
On September 29th, we are dedicating the Education Center in honor of Former Governor Al Quie. We are excited for the future and our future expansion plans. Anyone who has attended an event in the past knows how much we have outgrown our space and are excited about the future.
Please consider becoming a member at Norway House or consider making a contribution towards Norway House. Every little bit helps and every little bit counts! We can not thank you enough for all of your support.
Going forward, you will receive an update every season along with upcoming exhibits. Every other week on Tuesdays, a list of events will be sent out to keep you up to speed. I hope to see you at many programs this fall.
Onwards and upwards!
Executive Director, Norway House