North Country Women's Coffeehouse records, 1981-2008
The North Country Women’s Coffeehouse held its first performance on May 1, 1981 in Duluth, Minnesota. The Coffeehouse was founded to create a “safe space” for women to gather, visit, hear music, and build community. Articles of Incorporation for the Coffeehouse were signed in December, 1981; it was recognized as a non-profit, tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization in 1982. The Coffeehouse was originally held in the Unitarian Church building, 1802 East First, and then moved to the Building for Women, 32 East First Street, in the fall of 1994.
The articles of incorporation describe the purpose of the organization as “(1) Cultural. To provide a forum for women artists and musician; and to provide entertainment by and for women. (2) Educational and Consciousness-Raising. To provide intellectual stimulation on issues of concern to women; to provide a setting conducive to the discussion of feminist or alternative ideologies; to raise a sense of responsibility of women to women; to raise a sense of women’s collective power; to facilitate an acceptance of women’s sexuality, i.e., heterosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality and asexuality; and to facilitate a sense of lesbian identity and power. (3) Social. To provide a meeting place for women; and to promote an acceptance of the diversity of women’s lifestyles.”
Performers included women musicians and poets from Duluth and the surrounding area, from the Twin Cities area, and musicians of national stature. Many of the performers were a part of the women’s music movement. Women’s music presented women-identified lyrics, encouraged women to pursue careers in all aspects of the music industry by providing hands on experience, and served as a catalyst for building community among women. The Coffeehouse also showed films of interest to women, presented speakers on various topics , and held an annual holiday talent show. Events at the coffeehouse were open to women and men.