Vesterheim Commons – Digital Studio

Vesterheim Commons - Digital Studio

In this behind-the-scenes tour of the Commons building progress, Vesterheim President/CEO Chris Johnson and Director of Folk Art Education Andrew Ellingsen talk about the future digital production studio and how it will connect to online programs and offerings.

This space wasn’t originally envisioned during the early planning phases but grew out of experiences during the COVID pandemic.

In calendar year 2019, we welcomed between 600-700 students for in person programming. This is fantastic and we are committed to continuing to bring students to Decorah to study in person. With the addition of online programming options, in calendar year 2021, the number of students grew to more than 5,000 from all 50 states and 18 countries. The online classes took away the barrier of having to come to Decorah for those who couldn’t and allowed Vesterheim to reach out to them in their own places. The possibilities were transformational to the program.

With these new programs came new needs for technology and space, and we worked with the building designers to incorporate new ideas to address these needs. Vesterheim will use the space to live stream events happening online and in the Commons and throughout campus. We plan to create more content for our YouTube channel and to invite instructors onsite to create instructional videos.

The space doesn’t look like much now, but we’re excited to have the walls roughed in. It was designed to control light and sound by Morrissey Engineering and ARUP Acoustic Engineers. It will house the technology needed to make quality content and offer quiet office space for online programs and video creation.

We’re excited about the possibilities for the future. Thank you everyone who has helped make this project possible!

We invite you to be part of Vesterheim’s bold future now by donating here!

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Need Help Now?

If you want to speak to someone about how you can support Vesterheim’s bold new future, call Diane Wagner or Kim Toussaint.

Diane Wagner: 563-382-9681 x103

Kim Toussaint: 563-382-9681 x105

A Re-imagined, Open, and Accessible Heritage Park

The first major project of the Strong Roots | Bold Future campaign is the re-imagining of Heritage Park, the outdoor exhibit and program space for Vesterheim’s 12 historic buildings. Heritage Park opened in summer 2021. Guided by the Snøhetta master plan, Heritage Park has been designed by Damon Farber Landscape Architects to be an accessible and open public space reminiscent of Norway’s forests and glades. Here, people can connect with one another amidst tangible historic buildings set in nature.

Beginning at the plaza that depicts the 1825 voyage of immigrants on the ship Restauration, meandering pathways will guide visitors around gentle glades, past a community amphitheater, and through the expanded parkwhere history comes alive by experiencing how Norwegian pioneers lived.

Special care has been given to create an environmentally sensitive community park with native plantings and woodlands appropriate to this Driftless Area of America’s Midwest, permeable pavers, and sustainable stormwater management.