Thursday, May 19, 2016

Scott Bartell reflects on The Men's Center's beginnings

One of the joys of my this year serving on the 40th  Anniversary committee of The Twin Cities Men’s Center, is learning from some of the founders of Men’ Work here in the Twin Cities.  Scott Bartell, one of those, as I learned on a very verdant April Monday, visiting his cozy office in south Minneapolis, not far from iconic Powderhorn Park, of May Day fame.  Here is a photo Scott provided to post 

Reminiscing with Scott, I learned he had a pivotal role in steering the course of the mission of the center, to a place of healing and having good boundaries, with trained group facilitators. in the late 1970’s and early 80’s

First location of  “The Men’s Center” after the U of M Lutheran Center Ground Zero - Men’s Awareness Network.  Christus – Room in an old Dominican School Convent

When I asked him about his earliest involvement, he reflected back to the mid 1970's when he served as a volunteer at the U of Minnesota UYW as an adult special student there.   He found the Men’s Awareness Network who in a nutshell decided “let’s support men, set down the weapons and get going on doing the inner work, of being a man in a good way.”

The Men’s Awareness Network focused on facilitation of men’s groups at men’s homes to start out, and after a while some of the men, shared the vision of creating a centralized location and apply for grant money to fund it. 

As an aside, this author, is interested in the history of men's work in the Twin Cities, and in reading the archives of The Men's Center, reflected in back issues of Men Talk and Twin Cities Men's Center News, I found an article by Andy Mickel, on p 10, from Jan 29, 1986, title "Renaissance at the Men' Center"  ;  On December 28, The Men's Center office was moved to it's sixth location by JET Teisberg, Larry Kivens, among others.  Here's a chronological history of locales;  1976-77 1101 SE University Ave (Lutheran Student Ctr),  1978-1980?,  2448 S 18th Ave (Christus), 1980-?, 1980? - 1983-02, S 2222 Park Ave,  1983-03- 1984-03 310 E 38th St. (Sabanthani), 1984-04 - 1985-12, 122 West Franklin Ave. (Minnesota Church Ctr), 1986-01 - present, 3255 S Hennepin Ave, Suite 45.

Yesterday, on May 12, 2016 I decided to visit the locations of The Men' Center starting with the U of M area Lutheran Student Center at 1101 SE, University Ave and I found a new apartment complex on the SE corner of University and 11th...

 View of 1101 SE University Ave looking southeast from the U of M Campus.  Large apartment complex where the Lutheran Campus Center and Chapel stood from 1949 through 2012, according to my online research......
Online i discovered "University Lutheran Chapel- Lutheran church and student center. The church was built in 1949. On September 23, 2011 the Minnesota South District agreed to sell the property to Doran, an apartment developer. The church will likely be demolished in summer 2012 to make way for a new apartment complex. And now the Lutheran community posts a fund raiser to build a new chapel

Scott remembers being “one of many grant-writers”  and working on developing a mission statement.   The original vision was to fund 6 facilitators, and when they realized no one would fund that, the committee of grant writers,  took in feedback from the Bremer Foundation, to describe a ½ time facilitator and start up funds for a center.  This was then funded by the Bremer Foundation and resulted in Scott being  hired as a ½ time community educator starting in 1978.  He remembers that this was during his second year of grad school at the U of M while he also worked at the Walk In Clinic in South Minneapolis.   Here is the June 1978 Men Talk, in an article by Al Oertwig, "Hiring Scott Bartell as community education coordinator was approved by the TMC Board of Directors."

According to Scott, The Christus Center– was "The Men’s Center’s" first space as a center, a room in the old Holy Rosary  Convent – located at 2448 18th Ave SI have added the newsletter Men Talk from Dec 1977

Here are pages from the Dec 1977 Men Talk describing the space that Scott described to me. 
Scott wanted to honor the work of Michael Allen, a carpenter who got the room in shape to house the Men's Center office here early on. Scott also encouraged mention that "the Men’s phone line was started there, that  is now a permanent feature of Crisis Connection 24 -hr phone service (612-379-6366)."

And to satisfy my curiosity, I drove to the location and found the building described still standing, 2448 at the corner of 18th Ave and 25th St in South Minneapolis. Photos by Tom Weaver May 2, 2016

One of the early accomplishments was to publish the Men’s Survival Resource Book -on being a man in today's world in 1978. 

1978 Cover The Men's Survival Resource Book                Summer 1978 flyer for NC Regional Conf, Oct 1978
 Scott remembered the work that went into the MSRB and the in the fall of 1978 ,
a Regional Men's Conference, co-sponsored by the Men's Center, and Metro Community College in Minneapolis: "my partner Kitty Jones, did all the registration work as a volunteer.  Exhausting, and may have helped prompt our move the the Bay Area. "

Funding has always been an issue for non profits, and knowing that Scott reminded me "I do think it important that I instituted the paid annual memberships that have helped the place keeping going, though it was a hotly debated topic".   Back in the early days, as the grant ran out, Scott was exploring Bi Sexuality issues, and his  partner got a grant at UC Santa Cruz.  Thus Scott left Minnesota and the growing local men's community  from 1979- 1982. 

Three Moves of The Men's Center Oct 1980 - Jan 1983

 From old issues of Men Talk, archived in the TCMC office, I have discerned the following:  In Oct 1980, the second location on the 3rd floor of what I learned online as the George Peavey Mansion  at 2222 Park Ave S, in Minneapolis.  In March 1982, the Men's Center moved downstairs, third location?  to the 1st floor at 2222 Park Ave S, and the lease was lost ending Dec 30, 1982, which resulted in look for new quarters. 

 Here is 2222 Park Ave S, Minneapolis in May 2016, the site of the Men's Center from Oct 1980 to Dec of 1982, Today the space serves as a Mosque according to the sign.

According to the Jan 1983 Men Talk, fourth location "The Men's Center has a new home in the Sabathani Community Center at 310 East 38th St in Minneapolis .....TMC has two rooms at the top of the stairs on the 2nd floor, just up from the main entrance  on the east side of the building.

So, when Scott returned from California the Men's Center was in the Park Ave location. When he moved back to Minnesota he and partner got jobs. It was then, in 1982, he described "I asked to rejoin in 1982 the Men's Center, during a time of discouragement, and addressed the board, which at that meeting, was just myself, Larry Kivens, and Don Keys. (there were other elected members but often they just were too discouraged to come)". Scott related that  Bill Cox, was hosting the Men's Center at a place on Park Ave South, still functioning on a shoe string budget… Bill had a counseling  practice there, and he covered the rent and expenses. 
Scott was working on Master’s wanted experience as the volunteer coordinator ,while working on thesis on volunteers. Scott reflects "When I approached Bill Cox I was asking to be “Coordinator of Volunteers”—when he left, the Board (which I don’t believe I was on at the time) told me I was suddenly “Volunteer Coordinator”—in other words, I had my old job back but without pay. " (MenTalkMay1983, Bill resigned effective June 30) and could not pay for the space.

In my research in the Men Talk Issues , the Sabathani Location (the former Bryant Junior High School) housed TMC from Jan 1983 through April 1,1984.  The address of TMC in April 1984 (fifth location) Newsletter was Room 100, 122 West Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, in the Minnesota Council of churches building, and in the "Notes from the Chairman", page 2 by Tim Nelson, Chairman "moved to a new, cheaper, better location' And p3, The Men's Center Moves to New Offices "on April 1, in the Minnesota Church Center Building, 122 West Franklin Avenue..."

Here in Oct of 2016, I visited the place, where I first went to a group, the Gay Issues Grop, which I remember visiting under the overhang of the low building here at Franklin and Pillsbury in 1984- 85
Move in December 1985, to Uptown 33rd and Hennepin 
 And, here in the Dec 1985, Newsletter, I am reading about what occurs to me to be the sixth location, at the corner of Hennepin and 33rd where TMC moved over the month of December, and the formal address in the Feb March 1986 Twin Cities Men's Center NEWS lists the address at Suite 45, 3255 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis 55408....

 JET Teisberg writes about the move from Franklin to Hennepin in Dec 1985, p 1 of 6, the final newsletter from the Franklin location.
According to Scott, who in the Feb March 1986 newletter from the Uptown Office Hennepin Ave location,is listed as publicity chair. He then correctly mused " I moved gradually through being a board member, vice-chair-and then chair , maybe 1987?.......".  I just, discovered this writing from Scott as the newly elected chair writing in the 1987-88 Winter Men Talk in the 11th year of the Men's Center's ARC - trajectory of service to the Twin Cities and surrounding community.....

Men Talk - Letter from the Chair, Winter 1987-88 Men Talk by Scott Bartell 
   At the end of our hour interview in April, Scott remembered that  he completed his tenure as chair in Jan 1988 when Neal Allen Anderson was elected as chair.   He mentioned his work as a social worker at MMC, Metropolitan Medical Center in downtown Minneapolis took more time and he purchased a home and focused on being an active bagpiper, celebrating his Scottish heritage in music. In his final editing suggestion in an email on May 15th "after spending years as a social worker, facilitator and trainer, I became one of the first licensed social workers in Minnesota in 1988, LICSW#582 out of what are now 10,000 licensed social workers in the state!  Having gotten that, I moved to being a domestic abuse therapist and an HIV counselor at the Red Door and Room 111 -  too much going on to keep up an official capacity at TMC.  "

Thanks again Scott for taking the time to be interviewed and reflect on and edit my interview in a good way.  Looking forward to seeing who steps up to leadership for the next decades.  

Here is a link to Scott's website

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