Contributed photo
A new exhibit featuring photographs from a recent New York Mills Cultural Center trip to Finland will be unveiled on Wednesday and go through the end of the month at the local facility.

The New York Mills Regional Cultural Center will unveil a new gallery exhibit on Wednesday. The new exhibit will go from Dec. 7-31 and feature pictures from Finland. An open house reception is planned for Friday, Dec. 16 from 4-6 p.m.

“Window to the World” is a travel experience program offered by the NY Mills Regional Cultural Center that encourages people to learn and explore the art and culture of other countries through travel and/or learning experiences right here at home.

The Cultural Center’s “Window to the World” program began as an idea to embrace a portion of our vision statement, which states that the work “celebrates the local and provides a window to the world.” That work happens all year long in NY Mills and the surrounding region through the Cultural Center’s wide variety of programs. 

However, one day, board and staff members started to dream… What if we provided a hands-on way to view the world through a travel experience? And, in addition to the trip itself, the Cultural Center could provide learning opportunities for all (whether a person actually took the trip or not) to learn about the culture they planned to travel to. Thus, our “Window to the World” program was born.

In July 2019, a group of 18 traveled to Italy. The Cultural Center’s next destination was announced shortly after: Finland 2021. However, due to COVID travel restrictions, the trip was delayed a year. During the summer months of 2022, several workshops were held at the Cultural Center to learn more about the Finnish language, food, and culture.

Then, in September 2022, 11 travelers spent 12 days in Finland learning about the people, food, architecture and design, culture, and life in Finland. The group started their trip in Helsinki, where they visited the Temppeliaukio Church, which is carved into a rocky hillside, Sibelius Memorial Park, enjoyed a gourmet cooking class and visited Suomenlinna Sea Fortress.  

The group then traveled to Turku, with a stop in the artisan town of Teijo, a visit to Finland’s smallest church, and a stop in the ironworks village of Mathidedel. In Turku, sightseeing included Turku Castle, Turku Cathedral, and time to enjoy the Market Square. Next, the group stopped in Noormarku where they enjoyed visiting Villa Mairea, an amazing example of Finnish architecture by Aino and Alto Alvar. En route to Pori, they enjoyed the beautiful scenery of Bothnian Sea National Park and a walk along Vyteri beach.  

The adventurers then traveled east to the Finnish Lakeland area, stopping at the Iittala Village along the way and getting a tour of the Iittala factory and witnessing the creation of the world-famous glassware. Time at the Sahanlahti Resort on Lake Saimaa allowed the group time to bike, hike, sauna, and visit the towns of Puumala and the Unesco-listed historic mill town of Verla.

The photographs taken by the Window to the World travelers give visitors a glimpse of this wonderful trip and the connection they made to Finland. Photographs show the beauty of the land, sea, lakes, and historic sites along the way. Included in the show are some treasures some of the travelers acquired along their journey through Finland.  

Everyone is invited to the reception on Friday, Dec. 16 from 4-6 p.m. to view the photos, visit with the photographers, hear stories from the trip, celebrate the holiday season, and visit with friends and neighbors while enjoying light refreshments.

The NY Mills Regional Cultural Center Gallery is free and open to the public.  Gallery hours are Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Private viewings can be arranged anytime by calling Cheryl Bannes at 385-3339 or emailing

  These activities are made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through an operating support grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

  Visit or call the Cultural Center at 385-3339 with any questions.