In this issue:

  • SMAC Office Updates

  • SMAC Equity Statement

  • NEW ARTIST EQUITY OPPORTUNITY coming!

  • SMAC Gallery Updates

  • Save the Date: SMAC Annual Celebration

  • General SMAC Grant Updates

  • SMAC Outreach & Resources for the Arts


Pictured: Oil painting by Kari Weber of New London. Kari received an Individual Artist: Established Career grant from SMAC.
General Updates from the SMAC Office
The SMAC office is being staffed but only by one staff member at a time and with varying hours. For this reason, it is important to use our general email ( info@swmnarts.org) to communicate and, if needed, set up time for an in-person visit or phone call to discuss your needs.

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 ( swmnarts.org) 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 ( info@swmnarts.org).
SMAC will continue to communicate about our own changes and updates through social media channels (  Facebook  and  Instagram  ), email and our  website  .

We encourage you to utilize the the  Springboard for the Arts Resource  page at:  https://springboardforthearts.org/coronavirus/Lists of helpful online resources for the Minnesota arts community can also be found on our webpage as well as by searching "  Resources  " or "  Opportunities  " on our  News & Events  posts on our website:  https://swmnarts.org/category/resources/.
For more opportunities and resources be sure to check our the latest news posts
(updated DAILY!) on SMAC's website:

SMAC Equity Statement

Southwest Minnesota Arts Council mourns the loss of George Floyd and are keeping his family and community at the forefront of our thoughts. We are outraged that another black person has been killed by the police and we are grieving with the community over this tragedy. The racial inequities and disparities in access to resources are even more illuminated during this time. We are committed to increasing access to the arts because we believe it improves quality of life. It is vital that we support our artists, organizations, and communities in writing their own narratives. We know that we cannot do this work effectively if we do not address racism within our systems.

In 2019 SMAC developed an equity statement to make it clear for ourselves and our constituents what we believe. We would like to remind ourselves and our audiences of that statement at this time, as its relevance is vital now.

Tackling the issues of equity and inclusion requires commitment, respect, patience, determination, and flexibility. SMAC understands that there is no one single way to achieve equitable results, however we are committed to a sustained effort in breaking down barriers and building bridges across communities. To review our equity statement in its entirety, please continue here.
Thank you for supporting the arts.
Please join us in working towards developing equity in all our systems.
Coming Soon: Artist Equity Grant

This grant will provide up to $4,000 to aid Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other artists of color with projects that will advance their skills and/or artistic aspirations. No match requirements. This grant will have an open rolling deadline and an option for paper application as well as digital. The application questions will be similar to our Emerging Artist grant program. Applications will become available before September. Please watch social media channels for updates. ( Facebook & Instagram, email and our  website)
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: Danielle Wedeking

Danielle received a SMAC Developing Individual Artist Grant (now called an Emerging Individual Artist Grant) to professionally frame her multimedia drawings. Danielle's exhibit, titled Personal Magic , runs until July 3rd. We have posted a virtual video tour of Danielle's exhibit here: https://youtu.be/8U6B1h2jtqA. If you are interested in purchasing a piece, please contact SMAC staff: info@swmnarts.org. *100% of the sales always go to the artist!*

On June 11th SMAC did a virtual video artist reception with Danielle, which can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/ubpuFU5i8xc
Next in the Gallery: Lynn & Craig Edwards

On July 13th the SMAC gallery will have it's new exhibit, this time featuring two artists! Craig and Lynn Edwards of New London will have a joint show. Craig's work focuses on pottery and sculpture, while Lynn's is on painting.

Due to safety concerns, we will not be hosting an artist reception for this exhibit. However, we will post a virtual video tour of their exhibit, along with information on buying the pieces. Look for this release on the 13th of July. If you are interested in purchasing a piece, please contact SMAC staff: info@swmnarts.org. *100% of the sales always go to our exhibiting artists!*

The Edwards' exhibit will run from July 13 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 info@swmnarts.org . Thank you!
Craig Edwards has received multiple SMAC grants, most recently an Individual Artist: Established Career grant in 2018 to create a new body of work. Craig was also the recipient of SMAC's Prairie Star award in 2016, which you can read more about here .

Craig says, "I have been making art for 49 years, primarily working with clay. I work at my studio two to four hours almost every day, usually in the morning. I divide the time up between functional pottery, sculpture and watercolor. I like my functional pottery to work well and anticipate the users needs. Sculpture should be thought provoking. I make art because I like to."
Lynn Edwards received a Developing Individual Artist (now called Emerging Artist) grant in 2017 for studio improvements and art supplies.

Lynn says: "My recent artwork has been based on my travels.

For the past three winters my husband, Craig, and I have spent several months in Indonesia. While living there , a country comprised of thousands of islands, I have drawn, painted in watercolor and created batiks. The color and beauty of tropical climes and oceans have transformed our winters!

I love sketching and painting things that move me. I find that this seems to capture the time and place where I created it. I take many photos, but if I have also taken time to observe and draw the scene, it lasts in my memory.
Two very different Indonesian islands, Bali and Gili Tarwangan inspired me!

  • Bali is a tropical paradise that is filled with natural beauty and rich and colorful cultural traditions and lovely people. Bananas, coconuts and rice and volcanoes!
  • On the small non-motorized Island of Gili Tarwangan, the inspiration comes from the ever changing ocean, coral reefs and majestic clouds and views of volcanoes on distant islands.

When home, in New London, I have painted, with oil paint on canvas...from the travel sketches, photos & watercolors .

I am so grateful that l have had the opportunity to travel and create art! I firmly believe that travel and art create positive energy on this earth."
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.
Join Southwest Minnesota Arts Council for our first Virtual Celebration of Southwest Minnesota Arts & Artists! We know it's different, but that doesn't have to be bad. We are excited about the possibilities of switching the format up this year. Try something new with us in making the celebration accessible to a wider audience through virtual offerings. Watch our social media channels for more exciting updates! ( Facebook & Instagram, email and our  website)
Reaching out to SMAC staff for assistance during the grants process is confidential. Panelists score grant applications and make recommendations, after which the SMAC board approves the final decisions for grant awards. Staff does not score any applications and doesn't decide which applications are awarded. We compile past grant history reports for recent years and allow panelists to view that, but any other information staff knows about applicants is not discussed. Please do no hesitate to contact our staff about setting up a meeting to discuss your grant concerns or ideas through phone, e-mail, or a virtual meeting. 800-622-5284 or info@swmnarts.org.
Grant Support *Virtual* Open Office:: the second Tuesday of the month

NEXT EVENT:  Tuesday, July 14, 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: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/834770973

As always, feel free to call (800-622-5284) or email us ( info@swmnarts.org ) any time with your questions if this option doesn’t work for you.
Our 2021 fiscal year starts in July; grants are currently "live" which means you can start the application process. A few important things to note about this year:

**All grant programs are tentative depending on funding**

We have done our best to plan for what we believe are realistic timelines and we will continue to communicate any changes via email, social media, and our website.

Since we don’t yet know what funding will be available to us from the State of Minnesota and the Arts & Cultural Heritage (Legacy) fund, we have delayed and/or consolidated several grant rounds:

  • The deadline for the first round of Art Project applications is usually in late July, but for this year has been moved to September 9, 2020, with an earliest project start date of November 1, 2020.

  • There will only be one round (instead of two) of Equipment & Facilities Improvement grants, with a deadline date of February 10, 2021.

  • There will only be one round (instead of two) of Individual Artist: Community Collaboration grants with a deadline date of January 13, 2021.

  • Grants with monthly deadlines normally starting August 1 – including Art Legacy Project Planning, Arts Organization Development, and Arts Organization Start-Up – are on hold until further notice.
SMAC Monthly Virtual Conversations for Organizations, Artists & Creatives dealing with the arts
On June 16th SMAC held an open virtual conversation for organizations dealing with the arts and on June 18th for individuals dealing with the arts. On one of these calls, Mark Wilmes of the Lake Benton Opera House , brought up the idea of arts organizations that deal with live theatre and performances looking into new streaming platforms for licensing, ticketing and content creation designed to help schools and community theatres celebrate live theatre. One possible platform to check out is hosted by ShowTix4U and in partnership with MTI and Broadway Media Distribution, which you can learn more about by clicking here . Mark also mentioned that the Opera House is looking into virtual options of sharing their content, starting with sharing a 20-30 minute video of " Stage Stories with George & Stu ", an entertaining conversation with George Jorgensen and  Stuart Melby  about their memories of being on the Opera House stage. 

If you're thinking about digital platforms to host online concerts or events, click here for some options. If you are looking to buy a subscription or new software, check out www.techsoup.org, which supports discounts on technology for nonprofits, charities, and libraries. If you are looking at ways to reopen, you can check out some resources from the Association of Performing Arts Professionals here: https://swmnarts.org/opportunities/reopening-resources/. The  National Endowment for the Arts has also put together a guidance tip sheet for arts organizations re-engaging with audiences or visitors, based on a review and compilation of promising measures that arts organizations are taking to address COVID-19. Get the tip sheet:
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! info@swmnarts.org
You are invited to join our next monthly conversations for organizations on Tuesday, July 14 at 3 pm. We will plan our main topic to be accessibility in the arts , but participants will be free to bring up other topics as well.

Our monthly conversation for individuals will be on Thursday, July 16th at 5:30 pm . We'd love to "see" you there!
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: https://global.gotomeeting.com/install/623395245

*If you would like a reminder email to be sent on the morning of the meeting, please let our marketing coordinator know at krystl@swmnwarts.org
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

Would you as an artist or organization be interested in sharing and being a part of our conversations as a featured guest? We want to hear from you! Contact us: info@swmnarts.org , 800-622-5284
For more opportunities and resources be sure to check our the
latest news posts on our website (updated DAILY!):
General Tips for Virtual Meetings

These tips can help with access to information on virtual meetings for everyone!

  • Mute your mic unless speaking

  • When in larger groups or groups with poor connections suggest participants turn off video unless speaking

  • Switch your video off if you feel your activities will be distracting to the group (eating, speaking with others in your household, moving locations, etc.)

  • Encourage participants to use "chat" features for side discussions, asking a question, asking for a specific resource, a repeat/clarification of something a speaker mentioned, or agreeing or liking with statements being made

  • Encourage participants to use the "raise hand" feature (if available) to indicate wanting to speak

  • Be aware that you can private message others in the group through the chat feature if the subject doesn't pertain to the whole group

  • On some video apps the host can create "break out" rooms for smaller discussions when in large groups that make discussions difficult

  • If you are the host of the meeting, you can share your screen with all other participants if documents, websites or slideshows need to be shown

  • Scheduling practice sessions with other people in your organization or friends is a great way to test out new features and make sure everything will go smoothly when you decide to go live

  • If the host has asked a question/s for participants to answer, post the question in the chat so that members can reference it when it comes to their turn to answer

  • Consider having an extra staff member (other then the main speaker) that is responsible for checking and posting in the chat function, as well as relying questions to the speaker

If SMAC can assist you in learning more or getting ready for you or your organization to go virtual, please contact us! info@swmnarts.org
Virtual Meetings Attended by SMAC Staff

All meetings attended by staff this month had free options. Please take advantage of signing up for such meetings if a member of your organization is able. Keep an eye out for opportunities we post (updated daily) at: https://swmnarts.org/category/opportunities/
Arts Going Virtual & Greater MN Networking
SMAC staff members attended the " Arts Going Virtual & Greater MN Networking" free webinar, put on by Terri Allred of Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and the Lake Region Arts Council. Some resources to share with our constituents from that meeting:


  • U.S. Department of Arts & Culture's When Art Became the Oxygen: An Artistic Response Guide. A Guide for Artists, Emergency Management Agencies, Funders, Policy-Makers, and Communities Responding to Natural and Civil Emergencies. As natural disasters and social emergencies multiply, the need has grown for ethical, creative, and effective artistic response—arts-based work responding to disaster or other community-wide emergency, much of it created in collaboration with community members directly affected. Art Became The Oxygen was created to engage readers who share the intention of offering care and compassion and helping to create possibility in the midst or wake of crisis. This guide incorporates first-person experience and guidance from respected voices deeply engaged in artistic response from Katrina to Ferguson, from Sandy to Standing Rock. It includes hundreds of links to powerful arts projects, official emergency resources, and detailed accounts for those who want to go even deeper. https://usdac.us/artisticresponse

  • Terri encouraged organizations to identify and focus on the answer to the question: "What is your superpower?" What is your organization's source of strength; What does it have, what does it do, what does it know? How can your organization leverage those assets to better help the lives of the people in your community? Grounding yourself in the value of art, how can you position your organization with your unique strengths to make positive impacts in your community and shift or highlight its' relevancy during times of crisis?

  • Terri gave examples of ways organizations are adapting with successes, including adapting performances to complete audio versions, like radio dramas or museums and galleries doing virtual tours of exhibits. National parks have even been doing tours of their spaces and monuments. These are all relatively low-budget ways to continue to get the community to interact and engage with your organization. With technology now, it's pretty easy to do live streaming or video from your phone. It doesn't have to be the highest quality or of professional quality to be valuable. But a good tip is to use a tripod setup, even if if the recording equipment is just your phone!

  • Remember that with virtual arts, you can also reach a wider audience! There are other ways than just "the stage" of reaching your audiences. Consider doing a "Meet the Artists" series of posts or video and other strategies for engagement that your organization can keep long after it returns to in-person events.

  • Terri also reminded organizations that we are now entering the time of recovery; your organization should start to offer content that needs to be paid for, or suggested donations, not exclusively free content. When deciding what to charge, take into account what your organization is still spending for the performance or event and what is is saving. Be deliberate with the prices you are charging and be transparent with your audience why it's at that amount.
Using Social Media to Maintain Your Online Presence During Covid

At the end of May a member of SMAC staff attended this presentation hosted by the Minnesota Theatre Alliance with presenters Ted Kozlowski & Brad Larson of Prairie Pixel Co. This webinar focused on talking about how we can use social media to keep organizations at the front of the public's mind during shut downs and limitations due to the pandemic so that audiences will be ready to purchase tickets and attend events in the near future. People have been using social media to connect and stay informed during Covid-19, with Facebook seeing a 27% increase in visitors and YouTube seeing a 15% increase. (The good news is that the cost of advertising through these platforms has become more efficient because of this.)

The presenters urged us to use creativity to stand out on these platforms and to take this time to restructure social media advertising. The most important highlight of this webinar was to not just "shut down" when your organization can't operate as normal. Studies have repeatedly shown that in a down economy the organizations that go dark get forgotten but the ones that stay in the spotlight rebound more quickly when things return to “normal”. Don’t let your organization get left in the dark by going dark!

Things to consider with performances: We will be seeing more outside performances with social distancing set up so look at being creative and thinking outside of the box. Talk to city officials and ask questions on what you are allowed to do. They will likely be just as excited to support you as you are to share content with your community! Have a plan ready to re-open: don’t be behind when you can use this "quiet" time to prepare. Venues that offered food can still offer take-out options, theatres with costume departments can make and donate masks for public relations and exposure, as well as making gowns for the medical community. Your organization can continue to be present even though their core mission might be on hold.

Re-Opening: When we think about relaunching, it’s almost like starting over. How should one utilize different social media to open? Some combination in every type of media is best, but overall, promotional video is the best place to put your money right now. Production value isn’t the most important thing. Getting something up is better than nothing: use a phone or a tablet if you have to. Search for an affordable "light ring" on Amazon for decent lighting. Practice & play with the technology at your fingertips-if you’re not comfortable with it, look to your kids or younger members of your organization and let them lead you. The presenters also suggested DaVinci Resolve 16 as a good video editing tool, which has a free option to start out with (and a paid upgraded version).

Things to consider with fundraising: Organizations have been supporting unique content through the pandemic: virtual or small class sized camps and trainings for kids. Smaller nonprofits make it hard to give money sometimes; think about your mechanisms for fundraising: can people donate online? Through texting ? Make it as easy as possible to spend: use auto fill forms, make small monthly deposits from a credit card or bank/savings account possible. Paypal can make it really easy for non profits to do sustaining memberships--$10 a month equals $120 a year; it's easy to get someone to commit to smaller amounts. Look at those sustaining practices—people sign up and never think about it again. DonorBox and GivemMN are both organizations that allow recurring donations to be easily set up as well. Researching and putting these types of practices into action during this downtime will have very impactful long-term outcomes. The impacts of this pandemic may stay with us longer than we’d think.

Organic posts during the pandemic versus paid posts: If you are doing organic posts, get out in front of events far enough so that the Facebook algorithms cycle long enough before the event happens. If you have a solid website, make sure you’re also sending people there through links on social media for updates and more information instead of only using social media platforms to convey information, this has more long term benefits. Social media posts should be short teasers, leading the audience to more in depth posts on your website. Do research on the best ways to use advertising dollars in Facebook and other social media outlets; they can be very rewarding, but not if you don't understand the types of ads you're doing and who you are targeting (they recommended not just "boosting" posts). Keep your eyes open for webinars and trainings on these topics and stay updated; trends in social media marketing can change quickly. Right now, Facebook advertising is the cheapest option to reach the widest audiences if you're looking at a limited budget.

Remember to be creative with organic posts! People are on social more now, it's the best time to be experimental with how you are reaching them. Try highlighting past productions to generate interest. Post pieces on the history of your organization. You can even recycle past posts. If possible, tag people in your posts (especially ones in your organization or artists you've worked with) and encourage them to share the post on their own Facebook page. Posts on personal pages will have much more success being seen with Facebook algorithms. Create a list of influences—your community, town, and other partners; getting someone else to post your message on your behalf gives you a bigger chance to be seen and lends a personal credibility to your organization.

A member of SMAC staff attended this webinar at the end of May. Arts Midwest and The Alliance of Performing Arts Conferences (APAC*) gathered voices across the performing arts field for a conversation about how they’re innovating during disruption. We learned how these leaders have adapted to online fundraising, experimented with new dance class models, and moved performances online. The webinar focused in on the goals and strategies that made each project successful. A full recording can be found here: https://youtu.be/cID6mhl9S_g . They also compiled a resource guide which can be found by clicking here . This resource guide is intended to help you navigate disruption. Part one walks through the specific technology used by each featured project in the webinar, part two is a worksheet intended to help you or your organization connect your “why” and “what’s next” in order to help you innovate creatively, and part three is a curated list of resources that might be helpful in this moment.

Featured guests on this webinar included: Ashley Hanson (Moderator) –  Department of Public Transformation , Kelly Turpin of Cantus , Amy Levinson of the Geffen Playhouse , and Katherine Disenhof of  Dancing Alone Together .

*APAC is Arts Midwest, Arts Northwest, ArtsReady, Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP), Folk Alliance International (FAI), North American Performing Arts Managers and Agents (NAPAMA), North Carolina Presenters Consortium (NCPC), International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY), South Arts and Western Arts Alliance (WAA).
(Virtual) Access on A Shoestring

Members of SMAC staff also attended the Metro Regional Arts Council (MRAC)'s workshop (Virtual) Access on A Shoestring. Slides from the presentation can be accessed here. This was a workshop for groups that have a limited budget, but want to be more accessible. The virtual workshop focused on strategies for ensuring virtual activities are accessible to people with disabilities. Scott Artley, MRAC’s Accessibility Program Director was the presenter with special guest Julie Guidry ( Upstream Arts ), who shared a framework for accessibility, and how her organization is reimagining its activities virtually. Participants were invited to share the challenges of, and solutions for, digital inclusion. The framework is called SMILE and can be accessed here . It helps organizations to see events and/or spaces through a different lenses. SMILE stands stands for Sensory , Movement , Identity & Intersectionality , Language , and Experience and the linked document provides helpful examples in each category. Also, be sure to check out and share information on Upsteam Arts' Summer Arts Collective, which provides week-long online classes (July 6-17th) for kids, teens and adults with disabilities. Also check out Upstream Arts' Studio Access Video library , which features virtual programming of short arts-learning videos from Upstream's teaching artists.

The presenters urged arts organizations to ask themselves "What will we carry forward when we return to 'normal'?"
SMAC encourages your arts organization to check out our Accessibility Resources page, modeled after MRAC's. Other accessibilty resources on our page include:

Accessibility & Inclusion in the Arts and your Digital Space

Members of SMAC staff attended the Minnesota Theatre Alliance and Prairie Pixel Co. workshop on digital accessibility. We heard from digital leaders on accessibility best practices for online presence, and why this is important. Presenters examined accessibility from an arts perspective to paint a clearer picture of why it is important to have a digital space that is inclusive to everyone. Presenters were Joe Barsness & Brad Larson of Prairie Pixel Co. During this presentation, these presenters reminded us that we are a community of many different needs: 20% of Americans have disabilities. That means that 20% of Americans will use tools to help with accessibility when dealing with web/devices. Especially now, it is expected that individuals will be able to use common technical devices in their day-to-day life. As we go through this pandemic and protests, so many people have been forced into the internet to provide the products and services they need on a daily basis, so it's vitally important to be able to present these options in ways that are accessible to everyone.

Why make the effort to comply?
  1. It's the right thing to do: Inclusion for all. We want everyone to be able to navigate our content, take in our content, and have access to our services.
  2. If you cannot serve this population, it is likely a loss of revenue.
  3. Accessible websites are great for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This means that when search engines are being used, they too can easily navigate your website, making it easier for the people that want to find your website through a search to do so.
  4. Legal: The law that comes from the Americans for Disabilities Act requires you to have an accessible website.

How do you make sure your website is meeting these standards? The best way is to make sure that accessibility is a factor when your site is being designed. If you are setting up a new website, or a complete redesign, make sure this is a priority from the start; communicate with your web builders. If this is not an option, you'll have to asses your page for accessibility and make changes. You can do this manually (hire a person or team specifically trained to navigate/audit your site), use a Content Management System (CMS) (digital plug-in's and tools that can possibly help the user fix some accessibility issues on your site), use a fully automated web accessibility tool (of which there are *many*) which will run reports on your website at intervals and give reports on issues-these will likely only find 40% of your accessibility issues/errors. If you want to check one of these programs out, one of the most commonly used is SiteImprove Accessibility Checker. The best approach is to use a combination of these manual and automated tools.

Other things you'll want to consider: You'll want to create an Accessibility Statement for your organization. You can find many examples online, there are even accessibility statement "generators". Click here for some more information on creating an accessibility statement. This statement will basically state where your organization is, a stated commitment for improvement, and the plans to do so. You will also want to include on your website and Accessibility Statement a phrase that reads something like, "If you have an accessibility issue on our site, contact us and we will resolve it as quickly as we can"; show that there is an invitation for feedback and solutions.

The easiest step to start with: Make sure all images used on your site have Alt Text . What is Alt Text? Also called "alt tags" and "alt descriptions," alt text is the written copy that appears in place of an image on a webpage if the image fails to load on a user's screen. This text helps screen-reading tools describe images to visually impaired readers and allows search engines navigate your website. Most webpages will give you an option to add Alt Text when uploading an image (or to add them to images already in your media library). This will take some time if you've never done it, but if you add the text every time you upload a new image, you'll barely notice and it will be a BIG improvement to the accessibility of your site. Remember that ALL images need this--if you have a "button" on your webpage that says "Buy Now!", someone who can't see will have no way of knowing that "image" is an important one. Click here for some tips on Alt Text best practices .

What's next? Continue to educate yourself and attend workshops and webinars! See what solutions other's have found. Make sure to do your research. There are a number of businesses that are offering quick and cheap sells; if it's too simple or low cost, it's likely not going to help very many of your problems. Find a trusted partner to work with; simply installing something is very unlikely to solve your issues.
For more opportunities and resources be sure to check our the
latest news posts on our website (updated DAILY!):


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 info@swmnarts.org!
  Memberships
From May 21 to June 23, 2020

Contributors: Lac qui Parle Broadcasting KLQP-FM, Madison Old National Bancorp (Greg Monson), Marshall Sandra Saulsbury, New London • Lance & Laural Otto, Redwood Falls • Carisa Clarke, Slayton Jon & Ruth Hoyme, Slayton • 

Supporters: Buffalo Ridge Chorale, Ivanhoe • Nicole DeBoer, Marshall •Anne O’Keefe-Jackson, Renville • Worthington Federal Savings Bank, Worthington •

Sustainers: Bob Schwoch, Lynd Craig & Lynn Edwards, New London Becky Parker, Ortonville

Patron: Tim & Carol Ceynowa, Luverne •

Benefactors: Swift County Commission, Benson • Lincoln County Commission, Ivanhoe • Rock County Commission, Luverne • Cottonwood County Commission, Windom •

Donations given in Memory of Bill Gossman: The City of New London • Glenn & Eunice Buchanan, Fulshear, TX • Martha & Randy Alsleben, New London • Janne Gossman, New London • Mark & Amanda Peterson, New London • Mary & Timothy Pieh, New London • Jerry Deuschle, Luverne • Michael Egan, Roseville • Margaret Carlson & A. Eric Anderson, Spicer • John & Eileen Hanson, Spicer • Susan Jones, St. Paul • Nancy McCaskey, Wautoma, WI • Margaret Karsten, Willmar •

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:
2020 SW MN Arts Council BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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