Serving our refugee neighbors through the universal language of arts and crafts.

Salem Arts Exchange Sewing exists to be a joyful, creative gathering place for refugee women where friendships are formed, beautiful handicrafts are created, and lives are pointed to Christ.

Salem Arts Exchange Sewing is located in the Phillips Neighborhood of Minneapolis.

Arrive Ministries collaborates with other sewing sites in St. Cloud, Willmar, and Oakdale.


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Handmade Products

Frequently Asked Questions

In 2020 Arrive Ministries welcomed Salem Arts Exchange Sewing as our newest program area in the Twin Cities. Through this partnership, we are committed to serving our refugee neighbors through the universal language of arts and crafts.

“Adding Salem Arts Exchange Sewing into the Arrive Ministries family perfectly aligns with our organization’s work of mobilizing the church to love refugees and immigrants practically, socially and spiritually,” said Mike Bergman, Executive Director of Arrive Ministries. In fact, Salem Arts Exchange helped get sewing programs underway in St. Cloud and Willmar.

Through Salem Arts Exchange we are on a mission of empowering refugee women. They can leave their sometimes difficult and painful histories at the studio door and enjoy their time as a community. Salem Arts Exchange is a joyful, creative gathering space.

“This is a really good fit as both Arrive Ministries and Salem Arts Exchange share very synchronized and parallel missions of empowerment and learning from each other,” said Wendy Meyering, Arrive Ministries’ Church Mobilization Ministries Director.

Under the umbrella of Arrive Ministries’ Church Mobilization Ministries, we intend to expand the impact of Salem Arts Exchange Sewing by creating new sites across the state and reaching out to more refugee neighbors with the love of Jesus.

“In all of our programs at Arrive Ministries, we desire to nurture cross-cultural relationships so that volunteers and refugee participants alike are transformed by the Gospel!” said Bergman.

Salem Arts Exchange started in 2013 from the invitation of New City of Nations Church’s Asset-Based Community Development Program. SAE was founded by Kris Engel, Trudi Whitson and Anna Behnen, and previously operated under the umbrella of Bethlehem Ministry Initiatives.

In May of 2020, Arrive Ministries acquired Salem Arts Exchange to further continue our mutual goal of welcoming refugee and immigrant neighbors in Minnesota.

They are paired with a volunteer teacher who starts to teach beginning sewing skills using a 14-lesson curriculum. A completion of each curriculum takes a variable amount of time, depending on the student attendance and ability to become proficient at skills taught.

At this time, countries throughout Africa and South America

The student works on learning and creating items to be sold. The student is required to master the product before it is sent out to market to sell. After a mastery is achieved, a student will be eligible to apply to the Lydia Program.

The items are sold at “pop-up” shops, church boutiques, coffee shops, and artisan consignment shops. Fifty percent of the proceeds go back to the students and the remainder is used to cover materials, supplies and other expenses incurred to operate Salem Arts Exchange.