Project 412 logo

Imagine. Inspire.
Connect.

Encouraging business, delight and joy
through art, music, events, and community
in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota
What we do • #DCS

Do Cool Stuff in Detroit Lakes + the 412 lakes area

Do Cool Stuff
in Detroit Lakes +
the 412 lakes area

Project 412 makes Detroit Lakes and the surrounding 412 lakes area even better! Investing in the community to THRIVE — always striving, innovating, and taking risks to improve.

Project 412 is a catalyst, cheerleader, and connector to encourage start-ups, projects, events, ideas, public art, and more!

You can help! We have various opportunities for you to get involved.
Let’s work together to DO COOL STUFF! #Project412   #DCS

Create DL

Murals, Power Box Wraps, Art Surprises, the Poetry Walk, Sculptures, and more!

Music In DL

Trucks & Tunes, Way North of Nashville, and music collaborations

Trolls DL

Coming in 2024!
Giant Trolls made out of discarded wood by T. Dambo

Develop DL

Deep Dive DL entrepreneurs, business collaboration and resources

Insights & Excitement

Latest News

Featured Upcoming Events

Happenings
in Every Season

Join us for these upcoming events!
We have something for you to enjoy in every season!

07

June 2024

Post-Traumatic Funk Syndrome

PTFS is Fargo’s hottest classic rock horn band.  This 12-piece (6 horns, keyboards, bass, drums, guitar, male & female vocals) performs the best of the classic horn band hits. 

This concert opens up our 2024 Trucks & Tunes Summer Concert Series.

Artists

PTFS • Post Traumatic Funk Syndrome
Post-Traumatic Funk Syndrome

12-piece band

14

June 2024

The Michael Shynes Band

Blending shades of multiple genres over an acoustic and full band landscape, Michael Shynes’ songs are ripe with lyrical depth rarely paired with such mainstream appeal. 

Artist

June 14, 2024 • The Michael Shynes Band
Michae Shynes

21

June 2024

Martin Zellar

Minnesota’s favorite songwriter, Martin Zellar, lead singer for al-country pioneers the Gear Daddies, brings his 3 piece band to DL.

Artist

June 21, 2024 • Martin Zellar
Martin Zellar

28

June 2024

The Fabulous Armadillos

Rock out with us under the stars at Detroit Mountain!
This eight-piece band re-creates “spot on” versions of “best of” songs from many decades and genres. From Country hits to Motown soul and rockin’ Heavy Metal to Soft Rock, this is a night of guaranteed fabulous music.

Opening for the ‘Dillos is local favorite Sagebrush. Bring your favorite lawn chair or blanket.

Artists

The Fabulous Armadillos
Fabulous Armadillos

Eight-piece band

Sagebrush

Rock Band

Make cool stuff possible!

Become a

Project 412 white text logo

Wave Maker

Be part of the group making waves
of growth, opportunity, joy, and delight
in Detroit Lakes and the surrounding lakes area.
Testimonials

Words of Support

We don’t #DCS without the amazing support of others! We are so grateful for those who support our mission and contribute to the success of our mission in so many ways!
Hover to pause the testimonial cards.

FAQ

Popular Questions

Have questions? Find out more here!

Hopefully, you’ve already perused the website,, and you kind of “get” what Project 412 is. Essentially Project 412 is a nonprofit organization that at its core just simply wants to #DCS – yep, Do Cool Stuff. I know you read that elsewhere on this site, and you’re still curious. You wonder if it’s really that simple. Yep. No agendas. No motives other than this...

We were tired of texting each other when we visited a “cool place” and saying “I wish we had THIS or THAT in DL” (insert your favorite thing you wish was in DL). Plus we know life is precious and short. Each year goes faster than the one before and so if not now, when? How much time do we get to make a difference?

We’re going to try a bunch of things as Project 412. Some you will love. Some will make you wonder. And, probably – nay – most definitely – we'll mess up now and then. But...we can promise you, we come at this with some core beliefs:

DL is a GREAT place – the lakes, the countryside, the people! This community does some incredible things, and we want to honor that and stand on the shoulders of those who came before us and had the vision and -- dare we say -- the guts to do scary and even controversial things that have made our community better! We celebrate that, and we want to do that, too!

This is a place for EVERYONE – the world is a bit crazy right now, but at the heart of all of us we all want the same things, right? Good food, comfy homes, great family/friends, good health, and a purpose in life. You are welcome here. Whoever you are. Ignore the myths you’ve heard about life in a small town. Ignore politics. You’re needed and wanted here because you have unique talents that will make DL better.

We believe making a place LOOK GOOD matters. Just like cleaning your house or putting on a new set of clothes makes you feel better about yourself, communities are the same. Let’s take care of this great town we call home. Pick up the trash. Plant some flowers. Add some color with murals and public art. Host great concerts in our beautiful park by the lake. Shop local because those dollars stay in our community. Support entrepreneurs who are daring to dream. #DCS.

So that’s it.

We don’t have painted rose glasses on. We know there are problems. There are so many NEEDS out there, and yet we have this crazy belief that if we come together as a community over something like. ART, MUSIC, COOL BUSINESSES, we can also tackle the much harder, more complicated issues.

Yes, we did not create this idea all on our own. Out in the world what we’re doing is called “Placemaking.” The general idea is to make the spaces we live into places we love. By creating a thriving, equitable, and sustainable world through the convergence of values, passion, and action around our public spaces, we can make positive changes in our community. (Paraphrased from www.placemakingx.org).

Please send Amy Stearns an email at Amy@Project412MN.org. We’d love to have your support for all things Project 412!

Click here to schedule an appointment with Sarah, our Ecosystem Builder, today.

Whether you’re starting from scratch or enhancing your current business, she’ll connect you with the right resources at each stage of your business journey.

Yes, absolutely! We can accept stock or securities. Please email michelle@project412mn.org and we’ll get that set up with you.

We issue a community call for artists as new projects arise. Here, you can find application details, submission details, and deadlines.

Music in DL.com is a website calendar for the purpose of listing all live music events happening in the 412 Lakes Area. Project 412 only manages a handful of live performances.

If you want to be considered for our Trucks & Tunes Free Friday night concert series, please send your website link and info to hello@project412mn.org.

For other performance opportunities, we encourage you to connect with Grace Davidson-Thooft, Performing Arts Director at the Historic Holmes Theatre (www.dlccc.orggrace@dlccc.org) or any of the venues listed on MusicInDL.com as they may be interested in hiring you for a gig.

Absolutely! We pay artists! It makes us a tad crazy when people assume an artist can work for free. Being an artist is a profession just as wonderful and necessary to the world as being a teacher, electrician, or banker. Think about it...we want to DCS and that takes experience, materials, training. Not that much different than when we need plumbing added to our homes; we want someone trained and experienced to do that plumbing and unless it's your Uncle Joe doing a favor, it's worth paying for it (and...sometimes it turns out to be cheaper than fixing Uncle Joe's "free help."!). So, yes, we compensate artists fairly to honor their extraordinary value and contributions to our community. Interested in being considered for public art projects, email us at hello@project412mn.org.

We are so grateful to live in such a giving community, and we accept many types of support. Donations, in-kind sponsorships, volunteering, and more.

Become a Wave Maker: We’re looking for 412 people to pledge All funds raised through our Wave Maker program go directly toward projects in our community. As a bonus, your financial support will be matched dollar to dollar so we can do more to make Detroit Lakes the coolest town in Minnesota!

Foundational Sponsorship: We have a small but mighty team who work very hard to Do Cool Stuff! This sponsorship funds our general operating budget and allows all the other funds we raise (i.e. Wave Maker support or project specific sponsorship) to go directly toward projects in our community.

Volunteers + In-Kind Contributions + Connections + Unique Skills: When you're an organization that brings in things like Giant Trolls, there’s no limit to the volunteers, unusual requests, or connections you might need ☺︎ Know an amazing artist? Have a service you think may come in handy? Build surfboards and moonlight as a puzzle maker? We want to know!

We typically put requests out on our Facebook and Instagram pages and in our Newsletter, though we love to have a list of people and ideas in our back pocket. If you’re interested, please fill out our volunteer form and indicate how you’d like to help.

Angel Investing: We’d love to build an Angel Investment Group to help grow local businesses. This group could potentially be part of a regional network, so you’d see additional opportunities should one spark your interest. If you’re interested in being an Angel Investor, please reach out by email.

You’re wondering who Oz is behind the curtain? Check out our team and our donors . We’d love to add your name to one of those pages!

Yes, absolutely! Project 412 is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our Federal Tax ID is 88-3176887. We do mail tax receipts with each donation, but if yours wasn’t delivered or lost, please email us michelle@project412MN.org and we’ll get a new one off to you!

We’re a very small team and our focus as we begin is on Detroit Lakes, but our name says it all — we are the 412 Lakes Area (a 25-mile radius from the center of Detroit Lakes).

We know what benefits one part of 412 benefits all of our region. This means that as we grow, we do hope to have projects for all of 412, but for these first few years, we are hyper-focused on Detroit Lakes.

No, but our Ecosystem Builder can help you look to see if there are grants that may be a good fit for your business, though sometimes those are limited.

One day, we would love to start an Angel Investor group to help fund start-ups in the area, but we’re not there yet.

Great! Please read through our guidelines and complete an application here.

Years prior to 2022 – The nugget of an idea to “Do Cool Stuff” was bantered about, and then finally, “Let’s do it!”

Summer 2022 – What can we call this thing we want to do? Jon Melgaard, Amy Stearns, and Mark Fritz tossed around a variety of names and then suddenly “Project 412” just felt right as a nod to the 412 lakes within 25 miles of Detroit Lakes, the rich history of Detroit Lakes, and all the cool projects we were dreaming of doing!

September 2022 – Project 412 was formed as a nonprofit. Amy Stearns became the Executive Director. With brainstorming from Mark Knutson, marketing/website creation by Jon Melgaard, logo/branding by Izzy Waite, and countless conversations with so many people in Detroit Lakes, Project 412 launched!

Fall 2022 – Project 412 hosted three “Start Up Series” events. Coordinated and hosted by Jon Melgaard to focus on local entrepreneurs. Our first three highlighted businesses/individuals were Mi Cartagena Coffee Shop and Jonah Hauser Honey; Skye Fingalson and Design2Sell/Allure; Amy Erickson and Bluebird Books.

October 2022 – A Blandin Foundation grant was awarded to Project 412 in partnership with the Historic Holmes Theatre for “Create DL”, an initiative to add murals, utility boxes, art surprises, and color to our community!

December 2022 – Artist Zach Schumack was introduced to Project 412, and we hired Zach and his Leonic Collective artist group to bring Cave People to DL! These “ice creatures” were placed in the City Park and near the Pavilion and really got people talking about art and Project 412 (not to mention the calls to the police wondering about the ”bodies” in the park!). See them HERE!

February 2023 – Zach and the Leonic Collective with help from local artist Hans Gilsdorf created Mashaal the Mammoth at Detroit Mountain. See Mashaal HERE!

Winter/Spring 2023 – Many conversations with people to learn how best to create Create DL and fulfill the Blandin grant opportunity. Much learning from Greg Wright of SparkTowns and other resources around the nation as well as consultation with the Arts & Culture Commission of Detroit Lakes. The DL Public Utilities identified possible power boxes for art.

Project 412 put out a “Wall Call” for walls that needed murals—over 100 wall ideas were submitted! Then, an “Artist Call” was extended for both murals and utility box wraps, with over 80 submissions!

March 2023 – Michelle Maier joined the Project 412 team as VP of Operations. Basically, Michelle keeps us together!

Summer 2023 – After jurying the submitted artwork, five murals, seven power utility boxes, and 10 art surprises were added throughout DL! See them HERE! During this time, Project 412 also contracted with artist Thomas Dambo to build trolls in DL in 2024. Thomas visited DL and selected six sites for the trolls.

January 2024 – Sarah Hofmann joins Project 412 as the Ecosystem Builder to help us fulfill our focus of connecting and elevating entrepreneurs and lifestyle businesses.

Project 412 is presenting an entrepreneurship series called, "Deep Dive DL" the 3rd Thursday of each month starting in April of 2024. Coffee at 8 am | Speaker at 8:15 am. Follow our Facebook page for details!

Thank you for supporting us

Project 412 Foundational Sponsors

These businesses and individuals jumped on board first to support the general operating and administration of Project 412.

Dave & Deb Pratt
Denny & Jeanne Lind
Ken & Helen Foltz
Mark & Cindy Fritz
Matt & Jodie Johnson
Mike Brodsho
Mike & Cheryl Hutchinson
Phil & Dianna Hansen
Ryan & Chelsea Manke
Scott & Susan Busker
Steve & Michelle Daggett
Terry & Michelle Maier

Want to sponsor Project 412?

Bluebird Books, Amy Erickson with interviewer as part of the Start Up Series
Stay in the know

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412 Newsletter List

Be the first to know about events, artist calls, volunteer opportunities, business news, and all upcoming events for Project 412!