Skip to main content

Boreal Community Media

Call for letters of intent to use Grand Marais elm wood

Feb 10, 2020 12:37PM ● By Editor
Submitted photo

From the Creative Economy Collaborative - February 10, 2020

In the fall of 2019 elm trees were removed from the Highway 61 corridor in Grand Marais in preparation for upcoming road and infrastructure construction through the City.  Several of the tree trunks have been stored for public and private projects.  There will be no charge for the use of the wood. 

The Creative Economy Collaborative (CEC), is the Advisory Council to the Grand Marais City Council on arts-related projects and is calling for Letters of Intent (LOI) to gauge interest.  Your interest may include:

- Creating an object(s) working directly with the wood, or 

- Creating and/or funding an opportunity for a local artist or craftsperson.

Available is 5 – 6 cords, 12 – 30 inches in diameter, up to 9-foot lengths.  Could be 1000 board feet of usable wood, depending on how it is milled.    See attached photo.  The trees were cut in the fall when the sap was down.  The wood is in outdoor storage through the winter.  We anticipate some loss from checking at the ends of the logs but most of it will be usable.  Applicants can request any amount – truly!

Anticipated timeline for this process:

February 10 - Open Call for Letters of Intent

March 24 - Deadline for submission of Letters of Intent

April 2 - Review of Letters of Intent begins

May 7 - On or about this date, CEC will respond to applicants 

After snow melt-down, wood will be available for pick-up.  It is not accessible for viewing through the winter. After project completion, photo documentation and report due to CEC.

Understanding the Process - FAQs

1.    Is there payment?

No, but we are soliciting ideas for commissions so there may be some opportunity.  Artists and crafts persons are encouraged to apply for grants.  

There is no charge for the wood.

2.     How will I get the wood?

After the snow melt-down, arrangements will be made for pick-up of the wood.  Details to be determined.

3.    Who will mill and dry the wood? 

As this is urban wood, it is likely there are nails in it.  Hedstrom Lumber cannot bring this wood into their sawmill due to the embedded metal.   

There are  other local sawmills with equipment more appropriate for milling this wood.  It is possible that successful applicants may coordinate with these mills.   It could be helpful to your project if you reach out to these mills while you prepare your LOI to learn what is possible.

Successful applicants will also have to make their own arrangements for drying the wood, as needed.

4.     Do I need to be an artist or artisan to submit a LOI?

You don’t!  All ideas and projects are eligible to apply.

5.    What kinds of projects are acceptable? 

Do your research if you are not familiar with elm wood.  It is not ideal for outdoor projects, unless there is a commitment to provide continuing maintenance.  Please make sure your project is appropriate for the integrity of the elm. 

6.    What kind of reporting will be required?

The CEC will ask successful applicants to provide photos and a written description at project completion.  We will document this work in a format yet to be determined.  It is possible that an opportunity will come to participate in a thematic exhibit that will feature the elm wood.

7.    What if I have questions?

The Cook County/Grand Marais EDA provides staff support to the CEC.   Contact  Mary Somnis, Executive Director
Email:  [email protected]
Phone:  218-387-3112

8.    Where do I submit my LOI?

Submit by post office or email no later than March 24, 2020 to
Cook County/Grand Marais EDA
PO Box 597
15 N Broadway
Grand Marais MN 55604
[email protected]

Use this format to submit a Letter of Intent. 

Include all information requested on this page.





1.    Project Description, including visuals (sketch, photo) if available, and proposed timeline for completion of project.

2.    What will the use be?



_____For Sale



3.    Is there a story about yourself in relation to the trees/wood?

4.    Are you an individual or business owner interested in commissioning an artist or craftsperson?  What is your project?  What are you looking to commission an artist or craftsperson to do?

5.    If the time came to participate in a thematic exhibition that will feature the elm wood, would you lend the piece for an exhibition in Grand Marais?



Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here