Southwest Minnesota Arts Council Awards $66,295 to local students and arts organizations 

SMAC awarded $2,500 to local students through Art Study Opportunity for Youth Grants
Art Study Opportunity for Youth Grants Provide up to $500 to allow young artists entering grades 5 – 12 to attend an enrichment camp or specialty study in Minnesota. Standard weekly lessons (such as piano or voice lessons) are allowed only for those students who qualify for the federal free or reduced lunch program. No match requirements.
Addison Kainz, Tracy, $500 for attending Prairie Dance Alliance Dance Camp. This is a four-day dance camp in June. According to the applicant: "The camp is open to anyone who loves to dance and is between six to twenty-one years of age. The Prairie Dance Alliance is bringing in four professional dancers that teach in a variety of dance genres. The camp promotes the education of dance and is well structured with high energy sessions." The camp takes place at Southwest Minnesota University in Marshall. At the end of the camp each student receives critiques from each teacher. Funding will go towards three days of dance camp, four master classes, and private lessons for choreography and ballet techniques.

David Rabaey, Marshall, $500 for attending the All State Orchestra camp in Duluth. This is a one week long camp for string, wind and horn players from across the state. Students will spend seven to eight hours a day in intensive practice and sectionals, wrapping up with a recording session and concert.

Georgia Rabaey, Marshall, $500 for attending Upper Midwest String Camp, which is jointly sponsored by The College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph and MNSOTA, and will be held in July. Rabaey says, "this is a week-long summer camp coached by college professors and other professional musicians. At this camp, I will play in both an orchestra and a quartet or quintet. I will attend concerts in the evenings and spend hours practicing each day."
Kayden Cavaness, Clara City, $500 for taking visual arts classes through the Minnetonka Center for the Arts. Cavaness plans to take courses titled Kenetic Sculpture, Sketch to Masterpiece, and Fantastic Art, which will total nine days of study. The student hopes to learn more about sculpture techniques and respresenting light perception and shading. Funding will go towards class registration, membership, and required art supplies.

Left: Kayden Cavaness sculpture.

Parker Steinke, Dawson, $500 for attending the Upper Midwest String Camp, which is jointly sponsored by The College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph and MNSOTA, and will be held in July. According to the applicant, "this is the ideal summer program for 7th through 12th grade students eager to develop their string playing through chamber music, string orchestra, and technique classes." Steinke says this is an opportunity for him to be "challenged, learn from professional musicians and play cello with other string students who love music". Funds will go towards camp deposit, tuition, dormitory room and meals.

SMAC awarded $42,276 to local arts organizations for Art Project Grants
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. 20% cash match required.
AMP (Arts & Mentoring Project) , Pipestone, $6,829 to offer a summer arts program for middle school aged youth, centered on the "Lion King Jr." show. The program will teach a foundation in theater, practical application of the basics in an audition/rehearsal process, and a 60 minute musical performance. The Lion King Jr. Experience will provide eighteen short, hands on sessions teaching theater basics as part of the curriculum, and also the royalties to perform the shortened version of the musical "The Lion King". The arts program will take place in Jasper, MN at the Quartziter Community Center with a dress rehearsal open to the public. The actual three performances will be outside in the natural setting of the Pipestone Hiawatha Pageant Park in August, 2019. 

Blue Mound Area Theatre , Luverne, $7,000 for a concert project they are calling, "Coming Home", which will feature four professional artists who grew up in Luverne and are now pursuing musical careers in metropolitan areas. The concert is set for September 14, 7:30 pm at the Historic Palace Theatre in Luverne. Aside from the concert, two workshops will be offered for area students through Luverne Street Music to expose local musicians to the possibilities of musical arts careers. The theatre will also be hiring a sound and lighting expert to set up the performance and continue to educate the theatre's technicians on lighting techniques. Featured artists will include: John Paquette: John David and the Jerks, (American Indie Rock Band); Rebekah & Chris Bartels: Bora York (Indie Pop); Ali and the Scoundrels: Shame On Me; and BIll Keitel (Bluegrass).

Crow River Singers , Hutchinson, $4,077 for their 2019-2020 concert series, which will feature four concerts. Two winter concerts will be presented in December 2019 and will feature traditional holiday music. The two spring concerts will take place in April 2020. Music selections will include classical and sacred music, as well as secular, popular and familiar tunes. All four concerts will be performed in Hutchinson MN.

FungusAmongus Players , Dassel, $7,000 for the theatre group to produce and perform six public performances of the musical, "Man of La Mancha". This is the first large scale musical the FungusAmongus Players will be producing independently. The group has a goal of involving a large number of community members to participate as actors, musicians, and crew. The group will also be coordinating transportation for senior citizens as an important piece of their outreach.
IFTIIN Somali Youth Center , Willmar, $6,450 to invite two dance instructors and two additional dancers from the Somali Museum Dance Troupe (pictured right) to give lessons to local members of the IFTIIN Dance Troupe in Willmar. The final dance session will be an event open to the entire community. Until now, the Willmar dance troupe has been working on their own, but the Somail Museum Dance Troupe will work with them to teach four dance styles. The finale event will be made up of performances and the IFTIIN Dance Troupe teaching dance steps to community members, with help from the Somali Museum instructors. The performances will have six dancers from the Somali Museum of Dance Troupe present.

Marshall Area Farmers Market , Marshall, $3,920 for performances at the local area farmer's market. Performances are meant to provide community access to professional performers on a weekly basis during a ten week period from July 20th through September 21st at the market. The selected performances were chosen to expose a diverse cross-section of area residents to a variety of performance art. The applicants said that the addition of music, dance and cultural traditions creates "an atmosphere of togetherness, promotes arts appreciation and assists in creating a vibrant weekend destination for the citizens of the Marshall area."

Rhythm of the River , Jackson, $7,000 for their thirteenth annual festival, which will be held during the late afternoon and evening of Friday July 12 and Saturday July 13, 2019 at the historic site of Fort Belmont, Jackson. Two stages allow for continuous activity as well as diversity in musical and artistic styles. Local and regional artisans are invited to set up booths in the park grounds during the festival. This multi-generational event is meant to promote songwriters, creativity, and community in SW Minnesota.
SMAC awarded $21,519 to local organization for Art Legacy Project Grant
Art Legacy Project Grants Provide organizations in the SMAC region with up to $25,000 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.

Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership (SWMHP) , Slayton, $21,519 to work with zAmya Theater Company on a three-phase artist-led process exploring rural homelessness in three communities in Southwestern Minnesota: Willmar, Worthington and Marshall. There are multiple phases to this project, SMAC funding would go towards the third phase (listed below) as funding has already been secured for the other phases from ArtPlace. Phase 1 was to do the research – conducting interviews and story circles, exploring existing research and data, and working with partner organizations. Phase 2 dealt with development, writing an original play and rehearsals with local actors. Phase 3 is the performance & evaluation portion: Touring the production around the region, evaluating the impact, and providing recommendations for how to use this process to provide awareness and education of rural homelessness. The title of the project is "A Prairie Homeless Companion."
SMAC's Annual Arts Organization Summit

Tuesday, May 21 • 3:30 – 7:30pm
Held at Marshall Lyon Co Library – Community Room
FREE to Arts Organizations in the SMAC Region
Supper provided

This is SMAC’s annual FREE learning opportunity provided to arts organizations in the Southwest Minnesota region and we sincerely hope to see you and/or your arts organization represented. Join arts organizations of all types -- theater, music, visual, arts councils and more -- for an afternoon of learning & networking.

Focus for 2019: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)
“Serving the Underserved”: What does that mean for your rural arts organization?

We will be learning to address DEI through the Cultural Community Benefits Principles (CCBP) Toolkit developed by ArtChangeUS. The goal of the principles is to offer a values-driven and pragmatic approach to building equitable relationships by shifting our institutional practices. Every organization operates in its own context; the lessons, practices, and information contained in this toolkit should be used to spur reflection, conversation and creative thinking around DEI.

Principle 1: Build Inclusive Organizations
Principle 2: Honor Indigenous Peoples and Lands
Principle 3: Commit to Cultural Equity
Principle 4: Create Local Economic Benefits and Value
Principle 5: Contribute to Fieldwide Change

A Session with DeeDee LeMier

"Owning Who We Are: Strategies for Assessing and Communicating Equity in Rural Organizations"
DeeDee LeMier is a passionate rural advocate, intent on breaking barriers to communication, understanding, and community across the state. She serves as the engagement and outreach manager for Charities Review Council and is deeply involved with rural advocacy in Pine County where she resides.

Registration deadline is May 17 th , 2019.
((You can even register multiple people from your arts organization!))

It’s FREE , It’s easy to register:
1)  Click the link below
2) Call the SMAC office toll-free at 800-622-5284 (or 507-537-1471) or email with the following information:

  • Name of attendee(s)
  • Organization representing

THANK YOU for your support and encouragement of the arts in the Southwest Minnesota region!
In the gallery: Elisabeth Fondell
Elisabeth Fondell of Dawson will be exhibiting a creative partnership of her photography and writing. Fondell received a SMAC Individual Developing Artist grant in 2018. She says "I developed a body of work celebrating the emotion and story in food by exploring the intersection of food and culture through photographs and essays."

Please join us for Fondell's artist reception on Thursday, May 9th from 5-7 pm . Enjoy live music from Michael Cosentino (pictured right) from 5:30-6:30 pm. Fondell's exhibit will run May 9th-June 28, 2019. SMAC gallery hours are M-F 8am-12 pm & 1-4:30 pm.

More about this exhibit:
"This exhibit is a collection of photographs and essays celebrating the richness of food. As I explore the vast intersection of food and culture using vibrant images captured in places ranging from the fish markets of Lithuania to pizza shops in Sweden to the midway of the county fair, my goal is to foster awareness of the natural beauty found in the food around us. As you take in my images and essays, I encourage you to think about the food surrounding you. Think of its color and character, the way it looks on the plate, how it makes you feel, and what stories you would add to your own culinary biography."

Elisabeth Fondell is an emerging writer and potter living in the rural Midwest. Her work is published in Image Good Letters, Cosumnes River Journal, The Book Ends Review and more. She was recently awarded a grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council to develop a body of work exploring the intersection of food and culture through a collection of photos and essays covering topics such as the fish markets of Lithuania, the immigrant-owned kebab pizza shops in Sweden, and the shared community found in eating corndogs side by side on the midway at the county fair. See this work and more at
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.
The 2020 Fiscal Grant Calendar is HERE!
Changes to SW MN Arts Council grant programs for Fiscal Year 2020
Start dates
  • Earliest allowed start dates for each round have been moved up to the 1st of the month following the funding decision (rather than the 15th), allowing applicants to start their projects earlier.

  • A clarification has been added to grant guidelines that no paid advertising by the organization can take place before the start date.                                  
Additional project option for Art Study Opportunity for Youth grants
Possible projects for Art Study Opportunity for Youth grants now include arts supplies for students attending a Minnesota public arts high school.
Grant outcome evaluation
Instead of writing their own goals, applicants will now choose outcomes/goals from a list of MN Arts Outcomes. For each outcome chosen, applicants will describe a related change that will take place as a result of their project and who will be affected by that change. As before, applicants will then detail their plans for measuring or proving that their goals have been met. 
Online grant system updates
  • When starting a new application, applicants will now be able to automatically copy from a previous grant application. Answers to any questions that are in both applications will be copied over.

  • Applicants can now invite a collaborator to view, edit, or submit their application.

  • Applicants can select the language in which they would like to view the grant system and applications, by choosing a language from the new Google Translate button.
Panelist stipends
Individuals serving on a grant review panel will receive a stipend of $75 in addition to their mileage reimbursement.
Southwest Minnesota Arts Council to offer grant information sessions in multiple locations
This June, SW MN Arts Council (SMAC) will be offering free grant information sessions in several locations around the SW MN region. The sessions will include an overview of all SMAC grant programs for our new year, which starts July 1, 2019. We will introduce you to our grant opportunities for organizations, schools, and individuals, walk you through our grant application process, and answer any questions you may have.
There are three opportunities for you to attend this information session:
Monday, June 3
5:30-7:30 pm
323 West Schlieman Ave, Appleton
Wednesday, June 5
7:00-9:00 pm
640 Dogwood Ave, Bird Island
Wednesday, June 12
5:30-7:30 pm
113 Main St, Luverne
Although these sessions are free, registration is required.
Registration is easy! To register online, click on the above links. You may also register by calling the SMAC office at 800-622-5284 or emailing your contact information, along with which session you plan to attend, to:
We look forward to seeing you!
Be sure to save the date for an evening of networking and opportunities for artists of all disciplines!

SMAC recipient artists on featured image, from left to right: David KelseyBassett, Lois Haak, Cole Behrends, and Tammy Grubbs.
You are invited to join us in celebration of the arts and artists of our 18 county region! This annual celebration will include entertainment, local cuisine, the award ceremony for this years SMAC Prairie Disciple, a review of what SMAC has done in this past year and more! We hope to see you there!
Save the date to attend the Rural Arts & Culture Summit, taking place in Grant Rapids this year! SMAC finds this summit valuable to artists and arts organizations in our region, because of this we plan to supply a limited number of scholarships towards the registration fee and lodging. IF YOU PLAN TO APPLY FOR A SMAC SCHOLARSHIP, DO NOT REGISTER FOR THE SUMMIT BEFORE GETTING THE RESULTS OF YOUR APPLICATION. SMAC WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH A CODE TO USE DURING REGISTRATION. Applications will be available through our grants system by May 15th, 2019--please check back on our website after that time. Application deadline for scholarships is July 15, 2019. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact SMAC staff at 800-622-5284, 507-537-1471 or .
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 .
Above: Friends of the Arts in Renville received a SMAC Art Project grant to
bring in Prairie Fire Children's Theatre to work with students for their production, "The Wizard of Oz".
Continue to keep up with news about the arts in our region!

Click the links below to read about:
We will highlight our new features in more detail in the future, but for now, take a look around! For the calendar and the artist & arts org registries to work how they're intended, we need YOU !

  • For our calendar, please submit your arts events and classes to us HERE, we can't know unless you tell us! :)

  • In order for the registry pages to function how they're meant to, we'll need artists and organizations to start adding their own profiles-which you can do now! Once it's built up, people will be able to search the artist registry when they are looking for artists who specialize in what they're looking for: performances, instructors, commissions, artist residencies in schools and more. Likewise, people will be able to search out arts organizations when they're looking for space rental, performances, exhibit space, classes offered and more. Both registries are limited only to individuals and organizations within our 18 counties.
Check it out:
In early April two members of SMAC Staff attended a meeting held by the Tyler Area Arts Council who were seeking input and support for current and future arts initiatives. If you would like SMAC staff to attend your arts organizations meeting for guidance, input, or outreach of our services, please contact us at 800-622-5284, 507-537-1471 or .
The monthly segment where you can hear from SMAC grantees, participants, and members about their experiences! When asked why they values the arts and why they are a supporter through their membership, this was the response from one of our members who wishes to remain anonymous. If you would like to be a contributing member of SMAC, please visit:
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:
From March 26 to April 22
Contributors: YME Friends of Music, Granite Falls RiverSong Music Festival, Hutchinson Dusan Milanovic, Marshall • Kris Swanson, Willmar • Worthington Area Symphony Orchestra, Worthington •
Supporters: Erica Volkir, Pipestone • Georgette Jones, Watson • Suzanne Napgezek, Willmar • Craig and Karen Pfeifer, Worthington •
Sustainers: Becky & Jerry Parker, Ortonville Tricia Mikle, Worthington
Benefactor : Chippewa County Commission, Montevideo •
Big Stone - John White
Jackson - Kristen Kuipers
Lincoln - OPEN
Meeker - OPEN
Pipestone - Erica Volkir
Rock - Scott Wessels
Chippewa - Georgette Jones
Kandiyohi - Janet Olney
Lyon - Michele Knife Sterner
Murray - Emily Petersen
Redwood - David KelseyBassett
Swift - Alison Nelson &
Lynette Swenson
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