Breakout Session C

Saturday, October 5, 9:00am – 10:15am


A Conversation About Rural Arts Advocacy

Sheila Smith (Minnesota Citizens for the Arts / Creative MN), Anne Katz (Arts Wisconsin), Veronica O’Hern (Iowa Arts Council)

Join national leaders for a conversation about successes, challenges, and strategies in statewide approaches to rural arts advocacy. Using examples of studies and reports done in recent years, this session will provide food for thought and useful facts and figures you can use to make the case that the arts have a positive impact in rural communities.


Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority and Creative Economy Collaborative

Mary Somnis, Linda Jurek, Greg Mueller, Ruth Pszwaro

In 2013, community stewards in Cook County came together to create a vision to respond to post-recession challenges and opportunities that the area was facing.    The history and culture of art and craft were identified as key prosperity drivers to diversify the economy and enhance the quality of life. Following that, a Blandin Leadership cohort raised funds to engage Arts Midwest/Arts Lab to develop “Leveraging Creativity – Cook County Cultural Plan. This formalized the commitment of artists, arts organizations, elected officials, local government staff and other leaders to form the Creative Economy Collaborative (CEC), whose focus is threefold: 1) Telling Our Story, 2) Working Together and 3) Placemaking. One of many results of this work has included working with MNDOT to prepare plans for amenities to be included in the reconstruction of Highway 61 through Grand Marais. This panel will share lessons learned about how “Creative People Power” has come together and evolved in Cook County in recent years.


Fighting For Visibility: Cultural Sensitivity Using The Language Of Art

Holly Doll (Native Artists United)

“A Nation where Native art and culture is valued.” That’s the vision of Native Artists United, NAU, which is currently the only Native artist cooperative within North Dakota. NAU President, Holly Doll, will be discussing the structure that has been implemented, why a cooperative mentality mirrors traditional Native values, and the need to increase market value of Native art which in turn will help create economic sustainability for entrepreneurs. Holly will also talk about how Native Artists United offers cultural education and cultural sensitivity training. NAU believes that we can successfully bridge gaps and encourage sensitivity through art and face-to-face storytelling. The session will include time for a Q&A.


Facing Resistance, Bridging Differences

Emily Fuerste Swanson (Oldenburg Arts and Cultural Community), George Marks (NUNU Arts and Culture Collective)

Want to learn more about cultural strategies about working with rural communities?  We’ll be talking about the bridges arts and culture provide to support regional economies and strengthen civil society within rural, working class, and Native American populations. Learn how the individual priorities of artists, arts advocates, farmers and environmentalists can be harnessed together to galvanize progress.


More Than Just a Show: Power, Planning, and Impact

Renae Youngs (Minnesota State Arts Board)

We all know that using arts and cultural activities to spur positive community change takes lots more than just gathering up friends and declaring “let’s put on a show!” like Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. But there are a handful of tools for program and project design that are under-used in the arts and which could make a big difference in planning our work. This workshop will introduce attendees to two powerful planning tools: a project planning worksheet, intended to help us identify all the moving pieces of a project; a guide for clarifying our intended results, and creating a single statement of the outcome we hope to achieve from our work. Both of these tools work at different scales, from an artist’s first community-building open studio event all the way to multi-year local or regional initiatives. Attendees will spend the session working with either or both tools to describe and build on their own current work.


Laomagination: Building An Inclusive Rural Refugee Arts Voice

Bryan Thao Worra (Lao Minnesotan Poet Laureate)

As many Southeast Asian Minnesotan communities mark 45 years in diaspora in 2020, how do we strengthen artistic expression in rural communities with an eye towards our shared traditions and emerging opportunities? In this session we will gain a historical overview of previous efforts and challenges, current directions and resources refugee communities are developing to engage each other at a local, national and international level.


Arts & Culture Development Led by City Government? Yes, it’s Possible.

Sonja Merrild, Tom Pagel, and Kathy Dodge (Grand Rapids Arts & Culture Commission), Ed Zabinski (City of Grand Rapids)

Rural places are full of creative, smart, connected people and Grand Rapids is no different. Our rural places need folks who make a life from creative endeavors, which is why cities need to create structures that help artists and creatives connect and thrive. The City of Grand Rapids Arts & Culture Commission will share its creation story, including how they wrote a ten year arts and culture road map, wrote and presented an arts adoption and management policy to the City, got help creating a formal public art placement plan, managed an artist in residency program, and more. If you care about furthering arts and culture in your community, but you might not be an artist, this session is for you. Well, even if you are an artist, this may be for you. And if you’ve tried a few things to advance the visibility of the arts in your community, and want to learn more from a group of folks who have struggled through lessons and setbacks, this session is also for you.


Creative Marketing Strategies and Tools: A Smörgåsbord!

Kristin Eggerling (Northwest Minnesota Arts Council), Hilary Smith & Marianne Combs (Minnesota Public Radio), Paul M. Gregersen (Reif Performing Arts Center), and Adia Morris Swanger (Springboard for the Arts)

It’s a veritable buffet of marketing tips, tricks, and ideas! After a lightning round of topic introductions, attendees will be invited to break into smaller groups to dig deeper into the conversation of their choosing: “Creating Marketing Content on a Shoestring Budget” with Paul M. Gregersen (Reif Performing Arts Center); “Be a Minnesota Public Radio Art Hound” with Hilary Smith and Marianne Combs (Minnesota Public Radio); “Creating Easy Podcasts” with Kristin Eggerling (Northwest Minnesota Arts Council); “Work of Art: Marketing for Individual Artists” with Adia Morris Swanger (Springboard for the Arts). What’s better than a breakout session? A breakout session with its own breakout sessions, of course!