In this issue:

  • Update from SMAC Executive Director

  • Looking forward: SMAC's first *Virtual* Annual Celebration


  • Upcoming Grant Deadlines & Workshops

  • SMAC Gallery Update

  • SMAC Outreach

  • SMAC seeks panelists for Fiscal Year 2021 & a Meeker County Board Representative

Pictured: Artist Marjorie Nilssen with her prints. Marjorie received an Individual Career Artist grant in 2019.
Updates from the SMAC Executive Director, Nicole DeBoer
The SW MN Arts Council began its fiscal year on July 1 with much uncertainty. The economic impacts of COVID-19 required that we plan for operating under a reduced budget and to date have received only a partial payment from the State of Minnesota to run our grant programs and services.

This means potential grantees should be aware of some important aspects to our FY21 funding programs:

  • there will be limited dollars available in our organizational grant programs, which are funded with state monies (Art Projects grants & Art Legacy Project grants)

  • grant rounds published on our grant calendar are tentative – and dependent on SMAC receiving the remaining state funding payments (we can’t spend money we don’t have); rounds may be postponed or cancelled all-together; dates and availability may change.

  • the following grant programs have been put on hold:
  • Arts Organization Development
  • Start-Up Grants for Arts Organizations
  • Arts Legacy Planning

  • individual artist grants will continue with committed funding from the McKnight Foundation (thank you!)

  • we applied for and acquired a small amount of money from the MN Disaster Relief Fund (MDRF) that with SMAC Board discussion & approval in August will offer small grants to arts organizations who need assistance with acquiring technology or online subscriptions that will allow them to do virtual programming

  • we have committed funding to create a new “Artist Equity Grant” that is specifically for our artists from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) communities (see more about this grant below)

  • our in-person panels will be held virtually until we feel confident that all risk has been eliminated

  • our educational and networking events may be cut due to lack of funding and, if provided, will be held virtually (Don’t miss out on our ongoing monthly virtual events for arts organizations and separately for artists! Next events: August 18 & 20--more details below)

Stay tuned in to SMAC News throughout this ever-changing year. We do our best to provide updates and opportunities that extend even beyond our 18-county region.
Other general SMAC information concerning recent changes:

The SMAC office is being staffed by only by one staff member at a time (usually for our "normal business hours but there have been exceptions). For this reason, it is important to use our general email ( to communicate or call ahead before a visit: 800-622-5284.

We encourage any grantee that has had to change plans because of COVID-19 to contact us immediately to talk about changing the details of their grant to allow them more flexibility in how they use the funds. We plan to be as flexible as possible in this regard. We will work with any grantee to find appropriate solutions to the extent that the law will allow.

SMAC offers a couple ways to share your art and art-related events. On our website ( we have an ARTS CALENDAR that showcases both in-person and virtual arts events. SMAC also offers an Artist Registry and an Arts Organization Registry that allows artists and organizations to have their own ‘webpage’ for sharing who they are and what they offer. It is free to take advantage of these opportunities and if you have questions, simply contact SMAC staff (
SMAC Annual Celebration 2020: A Virtual Art Experience
Pandemics, state budget crises and national social unrest can’t stop us from honoring and celebrating art; You are invited to join us in a celebration of the arts and artists of our 18 county region! This year our annual celebration will be held virtually – a first in our 46 year history – throughout the afternoon and evening of Saturday, September 26.

As part of this annual meeting and essential fundraiser, we are planning to produce digital performances/exhibits/tours that showcase one artist or arts organization from each of our 18 counties. An exciting line-up of these featured artists & arts organizations will be published soon. Along with each digital showcase we will offer a DONATE NOW button that will ask viewers to help SMAC monetarily. Donations will allow us to recoup celebration expenses and raise funds that we can put back into our budget for grants and services that have been impacted this year.

As a membership-based 501(c)3, there are two required membership interactions that will be solicited via direct mail: (1) an acceptance of 2019 Annual Celebration minutes and (2) election of SMAC Board members. We will mail SMAC members a copy of the 2019 minutes, a list of SMAC Board Members up for election based on their terms, an executive director annual report – and most importantly, a voting slip and self-addressed return address envelope to our current membership list in order to receive these required votes by mail.

*Spirit of the Region” Raffle: A $10 raffle ticket will get you the chance to win a basket of specialty goods made in the SMAC Region (from wine to honey, beer to fudge) and of course, artworks! Raffle tickets available in advance at the SMAC office or through a SMAC Board Member. Winners will be announced the evening of September 26, however winners need not be present to win. *Must be 21 to purchase a ticket/win prizes.
*Awards: Although the method of honoring our 2020 Prairie Star and Prairie Disciple is as yet undetermined, we plan to honor their contributions during the September 26 virtual event. Watch for further details to be revealed soon.
2020 Prairie Star Award: Tom Wirt, Hutchinson
Tom Wirt was nominated by Greg Jodzio, a member of the Hutchinson Center for the Arts Board as well as a member for the Hutchinson Public Arts Commission and the Hutchinson Rotary. Greg writes, “Tom's beautiful, high-fired, hand-thrown functional pottery for everyday use features all-ceramic stoneware, oven cookware, and flameware stove-top pots. His penchant for inventive pots for special uses and recipes has made a name for him around the country.” He also adds, “Not many people have impacted the Minnesota rural art community more than Tom. He has been instrumental creating art and art awareness from Hutchinson in McLeod County and beyond. He brings business acumen to art defining the term ‘artrepreneur’”. Read more about Tom Wirt, SMAC Prairie Star here .
2020 Prairie Disciple Award – Educator: Julia Iverson, New London
Julia Iverson was nominated by Loni Bultman and Bonnie Smith. They gave the following highlights of Julia’s teaching resume: Julia Iverson was born in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, but has been a resident of the New London area for the past 40+ years. During her years in this area, Julia has been active in the community as a teacher, an artist and a promoter of the arts through various organizations. Julia graduated from the University of Minnesota with a master’s degree in Art Education. She has taught every age from kindergarten through college and beyond. Her first teaching job was in Minneapolis Public Schools as an Elementary Art Coordinator. Since then she’s taught in St. Louis Park, the University of Michigan, St. Cloud, and finally in 1980 she began teaching in our region for Willmar Public Schools and Ridgewater College as the Art Teacher and Gifted Program (1980-1985) and then in New London-Spicer Schools in the Elementary Art Gifted Program (1986-1996) In her own words, "I teach my students to appreciate all that is unique, different and interesting in life without making judgments about those sights, sounds and experiences.” Read more about Julia Iverson, SMAC Prairie Disciple Here .
Save the date: September 26, 2020
Schedule Coming Soon!

Mark your calendar to join us through your own digital portal for celebrating art, artists and arts access via grant projects occurring throughout Southwest Minnesota.

Watch our social media channels for more exciting updates! ( Facebook & Instagram, email and our  website)
Artist Equity Grant

SMAC Staff and Board are so proud to announce a new grant program that provides committed funding to aid Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other artists of color with projects that will advance their skills and artistic careers. SMAC acknowledges that systems currently in place have historically marginalized and underserved indigenous people of the Americas and communities of color. We are committed to closing access gaps in the arts, breaking down barriers, and building bridges across communities. It is vital that we support artists in writing their own narratives, and we hope to do so by providing dedicated resources and recognition to artists of color in our region.

Applicants to the Artist Equity grant program may be at any stage of their artistic career. All arts disciplines are accepted.

Projects may include but are not limited to:
  • Creation of cultural or traditional art
  • Purchase of supplies necessary to complete a body of work
  • Compensated time for work on a specific body of work
  • Day care costs while working on a specific body of work
  • One-on-one study with a mentor
  • Attendance at workshops or conferences for professional or artistic development
  • Rental of facilities for presenting work or for studio space
  • Research
  • Portfolio production
  • Framing
  • Recording
  • Editing or other costs related to publishing

Eligibility : The Artist Equity grant program is open to indigenous artists and artists of color, including those who are:
  • Native American
  • Black/African/African American
  • Afro Latino
  • Caribbean
  • Chicano/Mexican
  • Central American
  • South American
  • Middle Eastern/North African
  • Southeast Asian/Asian/Pacific Islander
  • Immigrants
  • Refugees

Applicants must be permanent residents within the eighteen counties of the SMAC service region (Big Stone, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, Rock, Swift, and Yellow Medicine counties) or on tribal lands within our service area. We acknowledge that this region occupies the traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of the Dakota people, who have been stewards of these lands throughout the generations.

Apply today Application deadlines are o ngoing, September 1, 2020 through May 1, 2021 or until funding for the year has been expended. Applications received by the 1 st of the month will be reviewed and acted on by the end of that month.
Artist Equity Grants : Applications accepted September 1, 2020 through May 1, 2021

Art Project Grants : Applications due September 9, 4:30 pm
  • Provides organizations in the SMAC region with up to $7,000 in matching funds to stimulate and encourage the creation, performance and appreciation of the arts (pre-packaged theatre residencies limited to $2,500). No cash match required this year. **Grantwriting webinar: August 6, 12-1 pm.  Register here!**

Arts in the Schools Grants : Applications due October 14, 4:30 pm
  • Grants to schools for artist residencies or field trips that include educator training and community involvement; juried student art exhibits; and prepackaged theater experiences. Up to $4,000 (artist residencies) or $2,500 (field trips, juried exhibits, or prepackaged theatre). No cash match required. **Grantwriting Webinar: September 3, 5:30-6:30 pm. Register here!**
August 6, 12-1 pm: Art Project Grants Webinar
  • Provides organizations in the SMAC region with up to $7,000 in matching funds to stimulate and encourage the creation, performance and appreciation of the arts (pre-packaged theatre residencies limited to $2,500). No cash match required this year. **Grantwriting webinar: August 6, 12-1 pm.  Register here!**

August 20, 12-1 pm: Artist Equity Grants Webinar

September 3, 5:30-6:30 pm: Arts in the Schools Grants Webinar
  • Grants to schools for artist residencies or field trips that include educator training and community involvement; juried student art exhibits; and prepackaged theater experiences. Up to $4,000 (artist residencies) or $2,500 (field trips, juried exhibits, or prepackaged theatre). No cash match required. **Grantwriting Webinar: September 3, 5:30-6:30 pm. Register here!**

October 29, 12-1 pm: Art Project Grants Webinar
  • Provides organizations in the SMAC region with up to $7,000 in matching funds to stimulate and encourage the creation, performance and appreciation of the arts (pre-packaged theatre residencies limited to $2,500). No cash match required this year. **Grantwriting Webinar: October 29, 12-1 pm. Register here!**
For more opportunities and resources be sure to check our the latest news posts (updated DAILY!) on SMAC's website:

Grant Support *Virtual* Open Office:: the second Tuesday of the month

NEXT EVENT:  Tuesday, August 11, 2020
SW MN Arts Council hosts grant support open office hours the second Tuesday of each month. While we continue to take COVID-19 precautions, these open office hours will be virtual via GoToMeeting, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. You can use this time with SW MN Arts Council staff to talk through project ideas or get help with finding the right grant program, filling out your application, preparing work samples or budgets, or completing your final report. Join the virtual meeting here:

As always, feel free to call (800-622-5284) or email us ( ) any time with your questions if this option doesn’t work for you.
Meet With SMAC Staff

We have added a new way for you to reach us! You can easily schedule time to meet with a SMAC staff member by choosing a date and time on their calendar. Just look for the scheduling links on the grants pages of our website, within our grant applications, and in our contact information. Currently, staff members are available to meet by phone or by web conference. We look forward to hearing from you!

Click on the names to check out out availability:
Nicole DeBoer , Executive Director:
General Inquiries and Grant Project Changes

Caroline Koksa, Financial/Grants Administrator: Grant eligibility, using the application system, and/or review application drafts.

Krystl Louwagie, Marketing Coordinator/Receptionist:
Marketing, social media and artist promotion.
In the Gallery: Lynn & Craig Edwards

"All Who Wander are Not Lost."
This show features oil paintings & watercolors from Bali and the Gili Islands in Indonesia by Lynn Edwards and Nature inspired ceramic sculptures by Craig Edwards.

"For the past 3 years we have spent winters in Southeast Asia. The color and beauty of tropical climes and oceans have transformed our winters! While living in Indonesia, a country comprised of thousands of island, we have drawn, painted (watercolor) and made batiks. When home in New London we have created oil paintings and sculptures that reflect these experiences" Pictured: Gili Islands...Sunrise, 16"x16", oil, by Lynn Edwards. ($220)

Craig Edwards is a SW MN Arts Council ' Prairie Star ' -- an award that recognizes an individual artist whose body of work has made a significant contribution to the arts over an extended period of time, who has been recognized by his or her artistic peers, and who has best exemplified the highest quality of work in the SMAC region. Craig was awarded in 2016, and you can read about it here .
In addition, both Lynn and Craig have received individual artist grants from the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council in years past.

We have a virtual video tour of this exhibit! View it here: . If you are interested in purchasing a piece, please contact SMAC staff: *100% of the sales always go to our exhibiting artists!*

The Edwards' exhibit will run through September 4, 2020. Currently the SMAC Gallery and offices are open, usually at our normal hours, but with limited staff. To ensure that we will be here when you visit, please schedule an appointment or call/email ahead. 800-622-5284 or Thank you!
Pictured: Pillar, ceramic, Craig Edwards. ($160).
Next in the Gallery: Jessica Bak
Jessica Bak of Windom will be next in our gallery! Jessica received a Developing Individual Artist grant (now called Emerging Artist grant) in 2017 to prepare for her first exhibit, Hidden Nature, at the Remick Gallery for the Cottonwood County Historical Society in Windom. Jessica's photography focuses on nature. Her show will run from September 17 to October 30, 2020. Watch for more details to come!
legacy logo

These activities are made possible by the voters of Minnesota thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. Additional funding provided by the McKnight Foundation. Minnesota thrives when its artists thrive. The McKnight Foundation supports working artists to create and contribute to vibrant communities.
SMAC has a new feature on our website! See the access button on the left? Click it and it expands to help our website be a little more accessible. Accessibility Tools options it has include:
  • Increase Text
  • Decrease Text
  • Grayscale
  • High Contrast
  • Negative Contrast
  • Light Background
  • Links Underline
  • Readable Font

This is through a free plug-in called OneClick, and it integrated easily into our Wordpress website. If your organization would like to look into this plug-in, visit:
Dakota Community Artist-in-Residence Digital Shareback

Members of SMAC staff joined in watching the digital shareback with The Department of Public Transformation , Racing Magpie and Dakota Wicohan and their three Dakota Community Artists-in-Residence: Fern Cloud, Talon Cavender-Wilson and Lisa Nez. This was a one hour event where the audience was able to hear from each artist about their practice during their "at home" residency and how the artwork created addresses the impacts of COVID-19 in their communities. This project was supported by Southwest Minnesota Arts Council and the Southwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership . The project was also done in partnership with Pioneer PBS . Here's a re-cap!
Ashley Hanson of The Department of Public Transformation introduced the residency as an opportunity for three Dakota artists to work from home for two weeks to create something that represents the impacts of COVID-19 within their lives and communities. The first to speak was Fern Cloud. She said "...this was really a challenge to accomplish in two weeks." Fern created a traditional painting on deer hide called “Kinship” which tells the visual story of how “one must be a good relative because Mitákuye Oyás'iŋ (we are all related).” Fern uses brain-tanned hides, buffalo bones and willow stick brushes and only natural pigments to create her traditional hide paintings. This particular image starts with a star, which signifies the creation story at Bdote. Fern said that one word to describe her residency project is a Dakota word that means “I am needed”. Pictured: Stills from the Digital Shareback .
Talon Cavender-Wilson was next to share. He said it was "...quite a learning experience." He explained that he started the COVID-19 quarantine on a mountain in Sweden studying blacksmithing – and then moved home to Upper Sioux to similar quarantine conditions in his personal forge. He was heavily focused on social justice issues and their effect and heard a quote that truly impacted the basis for this project. The quote was, “If you don’t hear us when we whisper, you’ll hear us when we shout.” This made him consider the sound metal makes when struck. The project involved making a series of metal bowls: 1) a perfect bowl with clear perfect sound 2) an imperfect bowl with holes, cracks and chains and 3) another imperfect bowl with holes, cracks, chains and the addition of marbles. The message is that all three bowls make sound, but the impacts of social inequity put more and more stress on marginalized communities and so polite conversation (the perfect sound of bowl #1) are changed with the additional of holes, cracks, chains of inequity – and the marbles represent the public outpouring of angst in the face of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police. When you strike the third bowl – the sound is short and unpleasant. Talon said that one word to describe his residency project would be “LISTEN”. Pictured: Stills from the Digital Shareback .
Sharing last was Lisa Nez. Lisa made a beautiful pair of infant-sized moccasins showcasing her traditional knowledge and artistic beading talents. She shared that if pushed she could probably make a pair of child mocs in 4-6 hours! An important part of this residency was a video of all the steps involved in making a pair of moccasins. This video will be shared with the community. According to Lisa, “with quarantines and the pandemic, it is a good time to watch this training video and get started on this tradition.” People can get stuck in times of trial and not have the energy to do art. This project may help people get kick-started. Lisa said that one word to describe her residency project would be “COMPLETE”. Pictured: Stills from the Digital Shareback .

There were over 30 participants watching on the live shareback. For those that missed it, want to learn more, or see the artworks in person, there will be an opportunity to view them during the week of August 10th at the Yes! House in Granite Falls. Pioneer PBS will also be showcasing videos that follow these projects, so be watching for more information on when these become available!
SMAC Monthly Virtual Conversations for Organizations, Artists & Creatives dealing with the arts
On July 14th SMAC held an open virtual conversation for organizations dealing with the arts and accessibility. Participants discussed where they are, where they can advance, and how SMAC can help. We also reviewed access resources we currently have on our website (shared below). SMAC has made Access a priority this year (and going forward); plan to see some positive changes and new additions to SMAC's website, services, resources, ADA plans and more.
SMAC encourages your arts organization to check out our Accessibility Resources page, modeled after the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council 's. Other accessibilty resources on our page include:

You are invited to join our next monthly conversations for organizations on Tuesday, August 18 at 3 pm. We will plan our main topic to be Land Acknowledgements , but participants will be free to bring up other topics as well. If you would like to learn a little bit about Land Acknowledgements before the meeting, here are some resources:

Tentative sample agenda:

  • what is a land acknowledgement / history & background
  • why is it important and when to use it
  • who should give a land acknowledgement and how to write one with respect and intention
  • resources and additional readings/articles

See details of how to join below!
Our monthly conversation for individuals will be on Thursday, August 20th at 5:30 pm . Network, share, receive advice, find inspiration, and more through connecting with other area artists. We'd love to "see" you there! Guest artist speaker to be announced.
How to join:

Please join our meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone:

You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (571) 317-3122
– One-touch: tel:+15713173122,,623395245#
Access Code: 623-395-245

New to GoToMeeting? Get the app now and be ready when your first meeting starts:

*If you would like a reminder email to be sent on the morning of the meeting, please let our marketing coordinator know at
What's coming up next for our conversations? Look forward to guest artist speakers and organizations being featured during our conversations:

  • Learn more of what our region has to offer
  • Individual artists processes, current works & services
  • Organization's initiatives, resources & services for our communities
  • Hear advice from previous or current grantees
  • Themes for artists to share on: favorite tools, favorite instructional materials, and more!

Would your organization be interested in sharing and being a part of our conversations as a featured guests? We want to hear from you!
 Contact us: , 800-622-5284
Going Virtual in the Rural: Can SMAC Help?

Do you or your organization need to meet or present virtually but you're not sure how?

If you're interested in knowing how SMAC can assist or host virtual events for you or your organization, please contact us!
For more opportunities and resources be sure to check our the
latest news posts on our website (updated DAILY!):
SMAC Grant Panelists Needed

For grant programs in fiscal year 2021 (July 2020 – June 2021), the SMAC Board of Directors seeks panels of artists, arts administrators, arts volunteers, and arts appreciators representing multiple artistic disciplines from throughout the SMAC geographic region and from all our communities including BIPOC, people with disabilities, and LGBTQIA2S+ individuals.

You may apply to serve on one or more of the following panels:

Grant review panel dates for 2020-2021

  • Conference Calls/Virtual Meetings, 3rd Tuesday of the month, 6 pm. Starting September 2020.

Art Projects Grant Review Panel
  • Round I: Saturday, October 3, 2020, 9 am (Virtual meeting)
  • Round II: Saturday, January 9, 2021, 9 am (In person or virtual, TBD)
  • Round III: Saturday, April 17, 2021, 9 am (In person or virtual, TBD)

  • Saturday, March 20, 2021, 9 am (Virtual meeting)

  • Saturday, March 6, 2021, 9 am (Virtual meeting)

  • Saturday, November 7, 2020, 9 am (Virtual meeting)
  • Saturday, February 21, 2021, 9 am (Virtual meeting)
  • Art Study Opportunity for Youth: Tuesday, April 20, 2021, afternoon (Virtual meeting)

Individual Artists ( Emerging ) ( Career ) Grant Review Panel
  • Saturday, September 12, 9 am (Virtual meeting)
  • Round II: Saturday, October 7, 9 am (Virtual meeting)

  1. Read about Grant Panel Responsibilities below, or download here: Grant Panel Responsibilities.
  2. Read and sign our Conflict of Interest policy.
  3. Download and fill out a copy of the Panelist Application (PDF or Word doc) or fill out the online form at the bottom of this link:
  4. Submit your completed application, resume, and signed Conflict of Interest document by using the submit button on the linked site or by: emailing them to, or mailing them to SW MN Arts Council, PO Box 55, Marshall, MN 56258

Find all information and documents here:
Thank you for supporting the arts in SW MN!
Southwest Minnesota Arts Council Seeks Board Representatives

SMAC is seeking a representative from  Meeker County to serve on it’s Board of Directors. The Board meets monthly on the 4th Tuesday evening, currently virtually, to set policies, make final decisions on grant awards with input from grant review panels, share ideas and information from their representative counties, and to design programs that enable SMAC to best serve our communities. To learn more and to fill out an application, go to

Check out our regional arts calendar!

We are continuing to post virtual arts events in our region on our website calendar. If you have events to let us know about, please email the details to!
From June 24 to July 27, 2020

Contributors: Kylie Rieke, Fairfax • Gene Stukel Photography (Gene & Helen Stukel) • Lac qui Parle County Historical Society, Madison • A to Z Letterpress Printing (Andy Kahmann), Montevideo • Ramona Larson, Redwood Falls • Bryan & Susan Nelson, Redwood Falls • Carisa Clarke, Slayton • 

Supporters: Rock County Fine Arts Association, Luverne • Jamie Struck, Marshall • Anne O’Keefe-Jackson, Morton • Wilder Pageant, Walnut Grove • Hamdi Kosar, Willmar

Would you like to become a contributing member of SMAC or make a donation?
The arts have suffered tremendously since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our arts organizations and individual artists have had to modify, postpone or cancel most, if not all of their projects and events, since March of this year. These closures mean lost income and lost opportunities. Although we will certainly see a reduction of funding from our state funding which comes from sales tax revenues, the SW MN Arts Council will continue working to support and fund arts access for the citizens of your county. We need you to help us support the arts.

You help by contributing online or by mail, for more information, visit:

B ig Stone - John White
Jackson - Kristen Kuipers
Lincoln - Mark Wilmes
Meeker - OPEN
Pipestone - Erica Volkir
Rock - Shawn Kinsinger &
Louella Voigt
Chippewa - Georgette Jones
Kandiyohi - Cheri Buzzeo
Lyon - Michele Knife Sterner
Murray - Carisa Clarke
Redwood - David KelseyBassett
Swift - Alison Nelson
Cottonwood - Anna Johannsen
Lac qui Parle - Lauren Carlson
McLeod - Greg Jodzio
Nobles - Brett Lehman
Renville -Anne O'Keefe-Jackson
Yellow Medicine -Betsy Pardick
SW MN Arts Council STAFF
Executive Director - Nicole DeBoer
Grants/Financial Administrator - Caroline Koska
Marketing Coordinator/Receptionist - Krystl Louwagie