Southwest Minnesota Arts Council Awards $106,770 to local schools and arts organizations

Arts in the Schools grants provide funds 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 $2,500 (field trips, juried exhibits, or prepackaged theater) or $4,000 (residencies). No cash match required.

  • Appleton-Milan Elementary School, $4,000 for bringing in dance artist Karla Nweje to work with students in Kindergarten through 4th grade on interpretive dance tied to learning about the life cycle of a plant. Karla will spend two weeks with students in two different school buildings. The applicant said, "Having this artist in residence will provide our students with additional knowledge and experiences they would not normally receive. Getting exposure to a practicing artist and both observing and experiencing the thinking skills required to create performance works of art are a valuable part of art education."
  • Bert Raney Elementary, Granite Falls, $2,394 for a residency with teaching artsit Ross Sutter, who will teach 4th grade students how to build and play one-stringed dulcimers. Ross will instruct the students for one week, and at the end of that week students will have a "jam session" with 5th grade students from Lakeview schools (who will also have had a residency with Ross). The applicant said, "Because the dulcimer is an instrument students created, there is more ownership and responsibility than with the regular classroom instruments." After the residency, students will perform for "The Golden Grands," a group of retired community members who meet weekly at the Kilowatt Community Center in Granite Falls. There will also be opportunities for students to perform for other students within the elementary school. Pictured below: Ross Sutter at a past residency with Lakeview school.
  • Lakeview Public School, Cottonwood, $2,376 for a residency with Ross Sutter, who will come to Lakeview Elementary to help 5th grade students build and learn to play a one-stringed dulcimer. At the end of the week, students from both Bert Raney elementary and Lakeview elementary schools will gather together to play, sing, and dance to folk music. The applicant says, "Students will host a concert during the school day for other classes, teachers, and parents to watch and listen to what they have learned. We will also try to Livestream the event so community members that can't make it into the school will have an opportunity to watch their performance. In addition, students will perform for residents at Fieldcrest, an assisted living facility in Cottonwood, and the Clarkfield Care Center. At these visits, students will perform using their instruments and will interact with residents by allowing them an opportunity to learn and play their dulcimers."

  • Southwest Minnesota State University, Marshall, $4,000 for trombonist William Huber to complete a residency with the SMSU Jazz Ensemble that includes four hours of rehearsal time and two performances with the Jazz Ensemble. The residency also includes clinics with the jazz bands of Springfield high school and Marshall high school (with performances at those schools in the evening as well). The community will be invited to attend rehearsals, clinics, and performances free of charge. Pictured above is a past Jazz artist residency with Denis DiBlasio at Southwest State University.

  • Yellow Medicine East, Granite Falls, $4,000 to use digital camera equipment to tell cultural Dakota stories using video media arts. The students will be working with artist John Aakre to create video productions of Iktomi the Trickster and/or other Dakota stories. First the students will conduct research for the video: the students will work the the Native community, such as elders, teachers, spiritual leaders, and other members of the Native community who are familiar with the stories, to learn the stories significance for their culture. Next, the production portion will include still and video shoots while following a developed storyboard. Images will be taken of the local area landscapes and Dakota people, recordings will be done, and animated of parts of the story will be included, adding music and voice recordings to the video in editing. Some of the production will likely be done at the Pioneer Public Television studio located in Granite Falls. Patrick Moore at the studio will help students to use the Green Screen and give advice on the production. The goal is to create three video shorts lasting about 3-5 minutes each.
Operating Support grants are two-year grants for arts organizations that have been designated by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) for a minimum of three years. For organizations with an average operating budget of less than $25,000, this grant provides up to 35% of the organization’s average operating budget each of the two years. For organizations with an average operating budget more than $25,000, the grant provides up to 15% of the organization’s average operating budget each of the two years. The following arts organizations were awarded Operating Support grants:

  • Crow River Players, New London, $3,655
  • Dawson-Boyd Arts Association, Dawson, $8,044
  • Hucthinson Center for the Arts, Hutchinson, $14,761
  • Jackson Center for the Arts, Jackson, $3,257
  • Lake Benton Opera House, Lake Benton, $4,801
  • Marshall Area Fine Arts Council, Marshall, $9,466
  • Milan Village Arts School, Milan, $8,827
  • Pipestone Performing Arts Center, Pipestone, $10,106
  • Prairie Arts Chorale, Marshall, $3,355
  • Wilder Pageant Committee, Walnut Grove, $11,043
  • Willmar Area Arts Council, Willmar, $6,784
  • Winsted Arts Council, Winsted, $5,901
Southwest Minnesota Arts Council seeks panelists to review grants

For grant programs in fiscal year 2020 (July 2019 - June 2020), 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.

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

Remaining Grant review panel dates for FY2020

Round II: January 4, 2020
Round III: April 18, 2020

Round II: March 7, 2020

Arts in the Schools Round II: February 15, 2020
Art Study Opportunity for Youth: April 21 (Tuesday Evening)

Round II: February 1, 2020
  1. Please read the Grant Panel Responsibilities.
  2. Read and sign our Conflict of Interest policy.
  3. Download, print, or fill out a copy of the Grant Review Panelist Application (pdf) or word document (you can also fill out an online form here).
  4. Email your completed application, resume, and signed Conflict of Interest document to or use the submit button below, or mail to SW MN Arts Council, PO Box 55, Marshall, MN 56258.
In the gallery: Kerry Kolke-Bonk

Kerry Kolke-Bonk of Appleton received a SMAC Individual Developing Artist Grant (now called our Emerging Artist Grant) in 2017 to support exhibiting her pieces in a solo show, which included framing her recent water color pieces. She has since shown her solo exhibit in multiple galleries, including the Willmar Education & Arts Center (WEAC) and Marshall Area Fine Arts Council (MAFAC) gallery. To learn more about Kerry and this exhibit, continue reading here.
Next in the gallery: Kylie Rieke

Kylie Rieke of Fairfax will be exhibiting in the SMAC Gallery January 16th through February 28th, 2020. Kylie received a SMAC Individual Artist Grant to work on her pottery skills through funded time and materials. Since the grant, she has held multiple solo exhibitions. Save the date: Opening artist reception on Thursday, January 16th from 5-7 pm.
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.
Caroline Koska, SW MN Arts Council's financial and grants Administrator, has been teaching free grant information sessions in multiple locations. On October 29th she was in Redwood at the public library, on October 30th she did a session in Windom at the Cottonwood County Historical Society, and on November 7 th she visited the Hutchinson Center for the Arts ( pictured above). These sessions included an overview of all SMAC grant programs for the current year, July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020. Caroline introduced attendees to SMAC grant opportunities for organizations, schools, and individuals. She also walked attendees through our grant application process and answered questions attendees had. To learn more about our grants, visit:
Upcoming Grant Webinars

  • December 10, 2019: Webinar – Arts in the Schools, 5:30-6:30 pm REGISTER HERE

  • January 2, 2020: Webinar – Equipment & Facilities Improvement, 12:00-1:00 pm REGISTER HERE

To see the Webinars for the rest of our fiscal year 2020, visit:
The Fiscal Year 2020 Grant Calendar is HERE!
January 1, February 1, March 1, April 1, 4:30 pm, 2020: Monthly Arts Organization Grants (Art Legacy Project Planning Grants, Arts Organization Development Grants & Arts Organization Start Up Grants) Applications Due  
Monthly Arts Organization grants are on a first-come, first served monthly deadline until all funds have been expended. Deadline is the 1st of each month, 4:30 pm, August-November 2018 & January-April 2019. Earliest project start date is the first day of the following month after board action.
Art Legacy Project Planning grants provide organizations with up to $2,500 to plan for a specific large-scale project or activity that will create or advance a strong arts legacy in Minnesota.
Arts Organization Development grants provide arts organization in the SMAC region with up to $5,000 in matching funds to increase their long-term stability and capacity through organizational development and management projects.
Arts Organization Start Up grants provide arts organizations with at least two years of programming up to $2,000 to develop articles of incorporation, by-laws, and apply for their 501(c)(3) status.

December 11, 4:30 pm, 2019: Art Project & Art Legacy Project Grants Deadline
Art Project Grants provide 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 theater residencies limited to $2,500). 20% cash match required .

Art Legacy Project Grants provide organizations in the SMAC region with up to $25,000 in matching funds to stimulate and encourage the creation, performance and appreciation of the arts through large-scale projects that will leave an arts legacy in southwest Minnesota. 20% cash match required.

January 8, 4:30 pm, 2020: Individual Emerging Artist Grants & Individual Established Career Artist Grants
Individual Artist grants for Emerging Artists provide up to $2,500 to aid emerging artists at an early stage of their career development with projects that will advance their career. Grantwriting webinar: November 26, 2019, for more information click here
Individual Artist grants for Established Artists provide up to $7,000 to aid established career artists with the advanced stage of their career development with projects that will advance their career. Grantwriting webinar: November 26, 2019, for more information click here

January 22, 4:30 pm, 2020: Arts in the Schools Grant Applications Due
Arts in the Schools Grants provide grants to schools for artist residencies or field trips that include educator training and community involvement, juried student art exhibits, and prepackaged theatre experiences. Up to $2,500 (field trips, juried exhibits, or prepackaged theatre), or $4,000 (artist residencies). Grantwriting webinar: December 10, 2019, for more information click here

February 12, 4:30 pm, 2020: Equipment/Facilities Improvement Grant Applications Due
Equipment/Facilities grants provide arts organizations with up to $10,000 in matching funds for the purchase of equipment items and specific improvement that will strengthen the organization's capacity to serve the arts needs of the SMAC region. Grantwriting webinar: January 2, 2020, for more information click here

Click on the links for more information
The monthly segment where you can hear from SMAC grantees, participants, and members about their experiences. This is what Lillian answered when asked why she supports SMAC with their organization's membership. If you are interested in becoming a supporting member of SMAC, please click here .
Southwest Minnesota Arts Council Seeks Board Representatives

SMAC is seeking representatives from Meeker County, Rock County, and Lincoln County to serve on it’s Board of Directors. The Board meets monthly on the 4th Tuesday evening at the SMAC office in Marshall 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
Remember to check out our regional arts calendar!
Click here to see the many arts events happening in our community! 
If you would like your arts event to be listed on our calendar, submit here .

Left: Activity from the 2019 Rhythm of the River festival in Jackson, which was supported by a SMAC Art Project grant. The next deadline for Art Project and Art Legacy Project Grants is December 11, 2019.
Continue to keep up with news about the arts in our region!
Click the links below to read about:

Above: Performance project "A Prairie Homeless Companion" from The Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership (SWMHP) and zAmya Theater Company, which was supported by a SMAC Art Legacy Project grant . The next deadline for Art Project and Art Legacy Project Grants is December 11, 2019.
From October 25 through November 24, 2019

Contributors: Anonymous Donor • Employer Donation match from The Toro Foundation & Lynn Peterson, Bloomington • Kathleen Anderson, Granite Falls • MN Pottery Festival, Hutchinson • Andrea Fox Jensen, Litchfield • Ray & Alice Thull, Lucan • Prairie Arts Chorale, Marshall • Robert Dorlac, Marshall • Margery Haaland, Marshall • Marilyn Leach, Marshall • Krystl Louwagie, Marshall • Paula Nemes, Marshall • Judi Bohm, Milan • Linda Wing, Slayton • 

Supporters: Anonymous Donor • Donation in memory of Edna & Floyd Minnick • Luanne Fondell, Dawson • Karen Odden, Granite Falls • Betty & Greg Jodzio, Hutchinson • Richard Hauck, Madison • John White, Ortonville • Bill & Tina Richards, Walnut Grove • Johanna Berghuis, Sioux Falls • Kristina Swanson, Willmar •

Sustainers: Chuck Freiss & Catherine Schlagel, Marshall • Joan M. Olson, Canby • Marie & Tim Ostby, Spicer • Brett Lehman, Worthington •

Would you like to become a contributing member of SMAC or renew your membership?
You can do so online or by mail, for an individual membership, business membership, or organizational membership. For more information, visit:
Big Stone - John White
Jackson - Kristen Kuipers
Lincoln - OPEN
Meeker - OPEN
Pipestone - Erica Volkir
Rock - OPEN
Chippewa - Georgette Jones
Kandiyohi - Janet Olney
Lyon - Michele Knife Sterner
Murray - Carisa Clarke
Redwood - David KelseyBassett
Swift - Alison Nelson
Cottonwood - Anna Johannsen
Lac qui Parle - Joyce Meyer
McLeod - Lisa Hill
Nobles - Brett Lehman
Renville - Anne O'Keefe-Jackson
Yellow Medicine - Claire Swanson
SW MN Arts Council STAFF
Executive Director - Nicole DeBoer
Grants/Financial Administrator - Caroline Koska
Marketing Coordinator/Receptionist - Krystl Louwagie