Seward Neighborhood Group

Seward Makes featured in Growing Minneapolis Newsletter

Seward Makes is a shared commercial kitchen at 2211 East Franklin Avenue, in the heart of Minneapolis’ Seward neighborhood. Local food makers rent time and space needed for production, to grow their business and thrive as entrepreneurs. But that’s not all. The owners, Iman Mefleh and Joe Silberschmidt (seasoned makers themselves, producing locally sourced kimchi called You Betcha Kimchi), designed the space in Seward Makes for small businesses to easily produce and sell larger quantities of their product, as well as a retail space to bring the community together.

Seward Makes has a retail space for people to enjoy local food artisans’ offerings, as well as discover locally made home goods. In spring of 2020, Seward Makes will also have house made soft serve, which will feature ingredients and menu add-ons sourced directly from the Seward Makes kitchen users.

Seward Makes received guidance on opening the space from Seward Redesign, a partner supported by the City’s Business Technical Assistance Program (B-TAP). The City’s Small Business Team also helped Iman and Joe with navigating City policies and processes. Seward Makes is receiving a grant through the City’s Great Streets Facade Improvement program to rebrand this prominent storefront on Franklin Avenue.

The owners of Seward Makes, Iman Mefleh and Joe Silberschmidt, celebrate the opening of their business in August, 2019. (Source: The City of Minneapolis)

Welcoming Week Celebration 9/20 at Powderhorn Park

This year’s Welcoming Week celebration will be on September 20, 2019 from 2-6:30 p.m. at Powderhorn Park in partnership with the City of Minneapolis Neighborhood and Community Relations Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, Wellstone International High School and Community Action Partnership of Hennepin County.

The Welcoming Week celebration includes:

Share the Welcoming Week Celebration with others

About Welcoming Week Minneapolis

Welcoming Week is an opportunity to recognize the contributions and importance of immigrants to our communities and to demonstrate that Minneapolis is a Welcoming City. Get-togethers, readings, potlucks and sporting events are some ways that municipalities choose to celebrate and show welcome to our immigrant and refugee community members.
Minneapolis is part of Welcoming America, a network of cities and counties that foster an inclusive community and believe that, when everyone feels like they belong, communities prosper. Welcoming Cities believe that all people, including immigrants, are valuable contributors to society, vital to the success of our communities and to our shared future.



Milwaukee Avenue’s Peace Pole Dedication and Celebration: The Story

By Caren Stelson

What is peace?

What does peace look like?

Where can we find it?

How can we generate more of it?

Neighbors on Milwaukee Avenue in Seward have been asking these three questions and more–and trying to come up with some “answers.” Why these questions and why now? We are living in an extraordinary time of growing division, disconnection, inequality, and violence. What can one neighborhood do to make a positive difference? Living in a historically immigrant neighborhood, Milwaukee Avenue residents wanted to make a visual statement of welcome to everyone who walked through the neighborhood, one that would inspire all of us to reach out in peace.

The result?

Milwaukee Avenue  will celebrate the completion and installation of a one-of-a-kind peace pole on the event’s rain date, Sunday, September 22 during the “Twin Cities Ten Days of No Violence” ( ). Everyone—friends and neighbors on Milwaukee Avenue and the greater Seward neighborhood—are invited to a day of peace celebration and peace pole dedication. Here’s what’s happening.

10:00 am – peace chalk art on the mall led by chalk artist Tessie Bundick.  Kids, families, everyone are welcome. Meet at the Milwaukee Avenue park benches.

4:00-5:00 pm – peace pole dedication and celebration. Come for our gathering, music, food, and friends. Guest speaker: Jaylani Hussein, Executive Director of CAIR-MN (Council on American-Islamic Relations) Meet at the Milwaukee Avenue park benches.

           (This event was originally scheduled for Saturday, September 21st.)

The Story Behind Milwaukee Avenue’s Peace Park

The Milwaukee Avenue’s peace park did not begin with a peace pole. It began with a tree—a true peace tree. If you walk by the Milwaukee Avenue’s playground, you may spot a sapling protected and happily growing taller each year. It’s a ginkgo tree grown from a seed of a ginkgo that survived the 1945 Hiroshima atomic bombing. We planted the tree near the playground so we could share the gingko’s story of resilience, hope and green peace with the community, especially the children.

Milwaukee Avenue gingko tree planting, 2017

The next idea was to install a peace pole along the Milwaukee Avenue pedestrian mall. No doubt, you’ve seen white peace poles in gardens and parks around the city with the words, “May peace prevail on earth.” Milwaukee Avenue neighbors believe in the statement, but we wanted to engage our neighbors to create a one-of-a-kind, artist-designed peace pole. We hoped that everyone who walked by the peace pole would slow down, appreciate and be inspired by the design, and think about what peace meant to them.

Left to right: Bob Roscoe, Milwaukee Ave. architectural preservationist, Tom Guelcher, peace pole woodcutter, Emily Goldberg, Milwaukee Ave. peace committee member, Denise Rouleau, peace committee member and peace pole ceramist, in Denise’s art studio.

As a neighborhood project, friends, kids, and neighbors gathered at various “pop-up peace parties” and made pencil-drawn sketches to represent what peace meant to them. Working together, our own neighborhood dedicated artist-ceramist Denise Rouleau turned the sketches into beautiful terra cotta tiles. Expert woodcutter Tom Guelcher turned a six-foot cedar pole into a carefully carved peace pole with frames for each tile. Each step of creation, from brainstorming, to sketching designs, to etching clay tiles, to bringing all the pieces together took patience, time, inclusion, care, mistakes, revisions, understanding, thoughtfulness, kindness, empathy—all the elements of peace making.

Tiles designed by Milwaukee Avenue artists, children and adults.
Peace pole in Tom Guelcher’s workshop.

As we gather together on Sunday, Sept. 22 on the Milwaukee Avenue mall, we will open our hearts to neighborliness, music, food, and fun. We also look forward to collectively coming closer to answering those three questions: What is peace? What does peace look like? Where can we find it? How can we generate more of it? Please come join us.

Milwaukee Avenue peace committee members:

Emily Goldberg

Denise Rouleau

Caren Stelson

Study Buddy Volunteer Opportunity at Seward Towers

Join Study Buddies and be matched with a student to strengthen their academic skills while building a positive and lasting relationship.

CommonBond  Communities provide tailored curriculum and activities to structure your time with your buddy, as well as tutor trainings and on-site staff support, to ensure you have the tools you need to make an impact.

Time commitment:

  • 90 minutes weekly (Weekly attendance is important for this program for create positive outcomes)
  • Programming typically occurs sometime in the late-afternoon to early-evening, Mondays through Thursdays
  • Volunteers commit to the length of a school-year

Check out the flyer for more information.

Seward History Display at Minneapolis Central Library


Seward Neighborhood, A People’s History

In 2017 Seward Neighborhood was named one of the top five neighborhoods in the U.S. by the American Planning Association. Long known for its liberal politics and community activism, the neighborhood has a rich history which has contributed to its place at the top. Learn more about what makes Seward special–from its roots as a space for community and spiritual gathering, to its working-class homes for immigrants, from its loose liquor laws in the Hub of Hell, to its efforts to develop and maintain affordable housing–Seward is the people’s neighborhood of Minneapolis.

The display Seward Neighborhood, A People’s History is on view through January 2020 in the Special Collections department at Minneapolis Central Library. Or, check out the recently published book A People’s History of the Seward Neighborhood.

See the link HERE.

SNG Board Meeting September 25

Join us for the SNG Board Meeting scheduled for September 25, 6:30 pm. at Matthews Park Recreation Center, 2318 29th Ave S.

The People’s History of Seward Book in the National Spotlight!

SNG’s book A People’s History of the Seward Neighborhood has won a national award from the American Association for State and Local History. The award ceremony as held in Philadelphia on August 28. Rick Musser, as one of the editors of the book and a member of the Seward History Committee, elected to go and accept the award on behalf of SNG and the History Committee. Here are some photos from the event.

Each year, more than a thousand public history professionals and volunteers gather at the convention for four days of workshops, networking, and inspiration.

The AASLH’s 2019 meeting in Philadelphia was held in partnership with the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.

The AASLH has given Leadership in History Awards for more than seventy years. The awards are non-competitive, but entries are rigorously evaluated to encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history. Award winners come from all over the country, from organizations of all kinds, sizes, and budgets.

A People’s History of the Seward Neighborhood has been an ongoing project of the History Committee of the Seward Neighborhood Group for almost a decade, with contributions by twenty neighborhood writers and researchers. The book was finally completed under the auspices of project manager Marilyn Matheny, editor Wendy Epstein, and Nodin Press editor and designer John Toren. Publication was made possible, in part, by the people of Minnesota through a grant funded by an appropriation to the Minnesota Historical Society from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

History Book Award Rick Musser
Editor and major contributor Rick Musser at the AASLH convention.


Community Development Committee Meeting September 10

The next scheduled Community Development Committee meeting will be September 10, 7:00 pm at Matthews Center. 2318 29thAve. S. FFI, contact Sam Graf at

King’s Fair is Coming! Save the Date!

Event details coming soon!

Kings Fair Registration: Sign up to exhibit today!

King’s Fair takes place on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 12-5 at Matthews Park in the heart of the Seward neighborhood. This celebration of all the diverse, quirky, and creative qualities of our community brings together music, arts, vendors, and activities for the whole family.

Every other year the Seward Neighborhood Group makes space for the over 1500 people who attend to purchase from local artists and makers, connect and hear information from community orgs and causes, and engage with the many small businesses that together keep our neighborhood vibrant.

Get Your Spot Here .
Put in your exhibitor application today to reserve your spot.  For more information – please reach out to Sam Graf at


SNG Board Meeting August 28

Join us for the SNG Board Meeting scheduled for August 28, 6:30 pm. Please note: we are meeting at Pizza Luce for the August meeting.  2200 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404