May 2023 Newsletter
In this issue:
Star barn quilt done in red, black, ang grey with red handprint in the center
  • SMAC Awards $113,606 to local organizations, artists, and students

  • In the SMAC Gallery: John Sterner

  • Attention City/Tribal Government & Artists! Join us: Intro to Civic Arts Public Session

  • Renville County Arty Party

  • Grant changes for Fiscal year 2024 starting this July

  • SMAC welcomes new Swift County Board Representative & seeks board members from 3 more counties

Pictured: Priscilla Gruendemann's traditional star quilt made to bring awareness to MMIW (Missing and murdered indigenous men and woman). Priscilla received a SMAC Artist Equity grant to make this quilt and a matching ribbon skirt.

SMAC Awards $113,606 to local organizations, artists & students

The SMAC board voted on April 25 to award $113,606 in grant funds to twenty-three organizations, $5,950 to three individual artists and $3,249 to seven students

The following twenty organizations have been awarded SMAC Art Project grants. These grants provide organizations in the SMAC region with up to $7,000 to stimulate and encourage the creation, performance and appreciation of the arts.

  • The City of Slayton was awarded $4,200 for a USO Show Reboot project that will take place at the Murray County Fair. They will bring in Bill Johnson, a Bob Hope impersonator from Las Vegas who shares the History of Hope and the service he provided to the United Service Organization by visiting troops during the war. Additionally, the Fulda Area Big Band will be providing music of the era along with several local vocalists. This will take place in coordination with the Vietnam Traveling Wall that will be in place during the Murray County Fair. The performance is scheduled for Wednesday, August 16th, 2023. The applicant said that the project is intended to recognize the service of veterans but is designed to bring the entire community together at a venue that is free and open to the public to learn about history and celebrate art with local community and musicians.

  • The City of Spicer and the Spicer Beautification committee has been awarded $7,000 for their 2023 Music in the Park series. The applicant said this series brings together talented musicians, an appreciative audience, local artists, and food vendors on six consecutive Sunday afternoons in July and August. The purpose of Spicer's Music in the Park is to interweave the outdoor beauty of Pirotta Park and Green Lake, music and community engagement into the social life of the Spicer community.

  • The Dawson-Boyd Arts Association has been awarded $6,900 to help fund two artistic groups as part of their 2023-24 performing arts season at their Memorial Auditorium: Japanese taiko drumming by Enso Daiko and Irish music and dance by the band Ring of Kerry. In October of 2023 the group Enso Daiko will spend the day in Dawson, first performing for the Dawson-Boyd student body. Following the performance, five members of Enso Daiko will conduct a drumming workshop with high school percussion students. That evening Enso Daiko will perform for the public. On the Friday of St. Patrick's Day weekend in March of 2024, the group Ring of Kerry will perform for the Dawson-Boyd student body. This performance will include the introduction of Celtic instruments, music and dance. Later that afternoon, Ring of Kerry will perform for senior residents at Johnson Memorial Health Services from the Assisted Living Center and Care Center. In the evening, Ring of Kerry will perform for the public.

  • The Department of Public Transformation of Granite Falls was awarded $7,000 for the Yes! House to host a local artist residencies program opportunity for 6 emerging and established artists to dedicate time to their practice, connect with a regional network of creative people and programs, and share their work with the community in a casual "artist salon" public showcase. Each participating artist will spend 1 to 4 weeks at The YES! House in Granite Falls where they will be provided with a living space, studio space, a welcome-to-town meal at a local establishment, a tour of the area, introductions to other artists, community partners, and local residents in the area, and support in promoting and hosting their end-of-residency artist salon event. In addition, each participating artist will receive a $500 weekly stipend to support their cost of living and supply needs during their residency.

  • The FungusAmongus Players of Dassel have been awarded $7,000 for their production of the musical, "The Secret Garden". They will have 6 performances at the end of July.

  • The Granite Falls Historical Society was awarded $7,000 for a community theatre project called Granite Falls Walking Theater: The Divine Feminine and a Shared Future. The content will be driven around key females figures in the history of the Granite Falls area. It will be a walking theater developed along the lines of the Placebase Productions’ model and be presented in conjunction with the opening night of the Meander Art Crawl on Friday, September 29, 2023, in Granite Falls.

  • The Jackson Center for the Arts was awarded $4,150 to turn their beautiful and historic, but no longer functional, piano at the center into community artworks and transport a newly donated Baby Grand piano that was previously owned by Frederick Manfred's (a local well-known author and philanthropist from Luverne, MN) to their center. The center will offer 10 local artists pieces of the old piano to turn into artworks to be displayed at an exhibit in conjunction with the dedication ceremony for the new Baby Grand piano.

  • The Little Theatre Auditorium of New London has been awarded $7,000 to produce and present Episode 1 and 2 of "Clown Bar," a clown noir whodunit series about a former clown named Happy who has returned to the seedy underground crime world to find his brother's killer. Written by Adam Szymkowicz, Clown Bar promises comedy, murder, mystery and mayhem. This immersive, experimental, off-stage presentation will have performances of episode 1 as a lead-in to New London's WaterDays week in July. In participation with this traditional summer celebration, the Clown Bar cast will make special morning appearances in the WaterDays Parade. Clown Bar will continue with Episode 2 in August.

  • The Loose Gravel Music Festival of Walnut Grove has been awarded $6,306 for their 3rd music festival, held at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Outdoor Amphitheater west of Walnut Grove. The festival will take place on July 29th and host four live bands featuring Americana, Roots and Bluegrass music. There will be food and drink on site from 4-11 pm. On-site camping is available and encouraged.

  • The Marshall Area Farmers Market was awarded $3,850 for performances in the Market to provide community access to professional performers on a weekly basis during a 10- week period from July 8th through September 9th adjacent to the Marshall Area Farmer’s Market. The applicant said the performances will expose a diverse cross-section of area residents to a variety of performance art. The addition of musical performances create an atmosphere of uplifting environment, promotes arts appreciation and assists in creating a vibrant weekend destination for the citizens of the Marshall area.

  • The Minnesota Valley Community Concert Association (MVCCA) of Montevideo has been awarded $5,450 for their 60th anniversary concert, which they will make free and open to the public in celebration of 60 years of providing internationally known artists to share their variety of talents with the community of Montevideo and the surrounding area. They will present the Empire Trio's "Hooray for Hollywood" as the Anniversary Concert which will be held on October 2, 2023 at 7 PM. The event will be hosted at the United Methodist Church, 731 North 11th Street in Montevideo.

  • The Murray County Historical Society of Slayton was awarded $3,500 for its annual Front Porch Music Concert Series for three Thursday evenings from July 20 through August 3 in Slayton. The concerts will be held at the historic Dinehart Holt House, the musical acts will perform on the East front porch of the home. The performers include: Kordal Kombat, an acapella group with national appearances and acclaim, Mogen’s Heroes, a 50s and 60s a rock & roll band from South Dakota, and MapleStreet, a folk/bluegrass/rock fusion band from Slayton. 

  • The Pipestone Performing Arts Center (PAC) was awarded $6,750 towards their performance series opener for their 30th season! The PAC will honor those who have given more than 20 years of service to the Arts Center. Content for this production will be taken from past plays, musicals and concerts performed here on our stage, and performed by the local artists who made it all happen during PAC's first 30 years. They will host a social hour in the lobby beforehand (serving complimentary hors d'oeuvres and champagne). The main production will be a multi-media experience for the audience; the PAC will use photographs, video footage and live performances to usher the audience through 30 years of history at the PAC. The main honoree will be Dennis Hansen of Pipestone. The PAC will have Zachary Ploeger of Pipestone compose an original piece of classical music to commemorate the milestone.

  • The Prairie Dance Alliance of Marshall has been awarded $2,605 to host a 3-day intensive dance camp for student dancers up to age 18. They will hire 3 professional dance instructors to lead students in a variety of dance styles and techniques, as well as master classes focusing on a single topic. Camp will take place July 17-19th in Marshall at the high school. Ballet classes will be taught by Casey Juul; Lyrical, Jazz and Hip Hop led by Krystian Fernandez; and Jazz and Tap with Johnette Rutledge.

  • The Prairie Winds Concert Band of New London has been awarded $3,895 for their upcoming concert season of indoor and outdoor concerts. They performs 2 indoor concerts a year, featuring concert band repertoire that includes high school and college level works. These concerts will be performed at the Willmar Education and Arts Center (WEAC). They will also do a concert for the Dawson-Boyd Concert Series and 5 summer concerts at Rice Park in Willmar, featuring lighter (contemporary) musical fare. They plan to add an activity for families with children called "Art, Music and Treats" at a Willmar Park, featuring 3 types of music - a small group of band members playing Dixieland and popular music, an invited Latino group, and a drumming activity. They also perform at the Veterans Tribute Day at the Kandiyohi County Fair.

  • The Rhythm of the River in Jackson was awarded $7,000 for their 16th festival, to be held on July 14-15, at the historic site of Fort Belmont. This multigenerational event promotes songwriters and creativity in SW Minnesota. One main stage will feature primarily regional artists playing 1-2 hour sets. In between sets, there will be songwriter/storytelling sessions and workshops in the historical church of Fort Belmont. Children's activities focused on art, music, and dance will be offered for free throughout the festival. In addition to the musical arts, the Rhythm of River festival features regional artisans of multiple disciplines: pottery, photography, fabric arts, painting, and artisan jewelry. The festival provides a creative atmosphere for these artists to promote and sell their artwork.  

  • The SWWC Foundation for Innovation in Education of Marshall was awarded $7,000 for the annual SWWC Conference for Young Artists. The conference is held in Marshall at Southwest Minnesota State University and is open to students in the 18 counties of southwest and west central MN. The overall goal of the conference is to expand the imagination and build creativity of students by encouraging them to learn new art techniques and broaden their perspective about art. All students attend an opening session featuring a keynote speaker, and then attend three hands-on breakout sessions of their choice offered by approximately 25 artists. These artists expose students to a variety of mediums - visual, fine and performing - which the organizers hope will spark interest in the students and enable them to find hidden talents. Students attend the conference with a group from school or with a parent or other chaperone.

  • The Walnut Grove Family Festival has been awarded $7,000 for their 2023 festival, which is an annual event held in Walnut Grove on Saturdays during the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant weekends. This festival provides visitors with activities and entertainment while they enjoy their time in Walnut Grove. The Festival brings in pioneer demonstrators to share their crafts and art with visitors for free. This year, the festival will take place on the museum grounds. The applicant said they are excited to provide attendees with folk music, author presentations, fiddle music, leather art, weaving, wood carving, and other activities.

  • Willmar Main Street was awarded $3,000 for their Main Street Artist Series, working with local artists and crafters to bring their skills to the downtown community. Through these experienced based art classes they plan to bring different artists and community members to parts of downtown they might not often visit. While visiting new buildings and businesses, they will learn a new skill or craft. Locations to be utilized will be Spurs Bar and Grill, Foxhole Brew House, Azteca, Somali Star, Willmar City Auditorium and more. Artist activities are still being finalized, but they plan to have painting, pottery, Henna art and "Little Art Galleries".

  • Worthington Chamber singers have been awarded $7,000 for a choral commission to be premiered at their 30th Anniversary concert in December. Conductor Eric E. Parrish has reached out to the Minnesota-based Venezuelan composer Reinaldo Moya to create an original, 4-7 minute, bi-lingual, choral piece for the group. The concert will not be ticketed, but will have a free-will offering.

The following three organizations have been awarded SMAC Quick Support for Organizations grants. These grants provide organizations with up to $2,500 for activities such as planning for an Art Legacy project, strategic planning or board training, costs to apply for 501(c)(3) status, small equipment purchases, or small arts projects. 

  • The Palace Theatre of Luverne has been awarded $2,500 to purchase headset microphones for the PA (public address) system and transmitter body pack to replace their current 14-year-old equipment.

  • The City of Tracy was awarded $2,500 to partner with the Tracy Area Community Education and the Tracy Public Library to provide Summer Art Camps for students ages 4-16. The applicant said that "receiving a grant will allow us to reduce the cost per student to $25 (instead of $40), and $15 for those qualifying for free and reduced-price lunches." The cost includes materials, project preparation, and instruction by local artist SammyJo Miller. Class themes this year will have an outdoor theme and be held in Tracy's Central Park.

  • Purpose Artisans of Willmar has been awarded $2,500 for the necessary funds to become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

The following artist was awarded a SMAC Artist Equity grant. These grants provide up to $4,000 to aid Black, Indigenous, and other artists of color with projects that will advance their skills and artistic career.

  • Cheyanne StJohn of Morton has been awarded $4,000 to embark on a one-year project to reinstitute routine practice and study of her traditional Dakota arts. Cheyanne plans to select a tribal master artist to enhance application of traditional techniques in the mediums of quillwork and beadwork. Included in this project will be studying historical Dakota art collections at the Science Museum of MN and MN Historical Society. Cheyanne plans to create up to 6 new traditional Dakota art creations to expand her emerging artist portfolio.

The following two artists were awarded SMAC Quick Support for Individual Artists grants. These grants provide artists with up to $1,000 for activities such as purchasing supplies, attending classes, and small artist-led community projects.

  • Adrienne Herbert of Lakefield has been awarded $950 to purchase supplies for upcoming visual art exhibits, including supplies to make new artworks as well as supplies for framing. Adrienne works with encaustic (wax) enhancements on her art and said that her new works will fall into three categories: photographic, mixed media and direct painting. Pictured right: "Fish"
Lighty fish silhouettes and shapes with muted colors
  • Kari Weber of New London was awarded $1,000 to focus on creating new works for an upcoming exhibit at the Grand Hand Gallery in St. Paul. Funds will go towards compensation for time spent in the "studio" (in this case, a travelling easel and a camper) producing new paintings. Kari said her intent is to create landscape paintings with subject matter relating to outstate Minnesota and she is hoping to make 10 new paintings by her opening reception in September, 2023. 

The following seven students were awarded SMAC Art Study Opportunity for Youth grants. These grants provide up to $500 to allow young artists entering grades 5 – 12 to attend an enrichment camp or specialty study. Costs for standard weekly lessons (such as piano or voice lessons) are allowed for students who qualify for the federal free or reduced lunch program.

  • Teddy Bonnema of Prinsburg was awarded $500 to study drawing, specifically shading of landscapes and animals, with artist Michele Steffen from Spicer. Bird artwork pictured right.

  • Inez Crowdog-StJohn of Morton has been awarded $500 for 6 months of one-on-one piano study with local instructor Mrs. Laufenburger, who has 40+ years of training, experience and skills in performing arts, music and voice training and currently plays as the organist for churches in the Redwood Falls and Morton area.

  • Mazzi Moore of Hills was awarded $500 to study ceramics, under the instruction of Jerry Deuschle, a local potter in Luverne. Mazzi said that Jerry owns a well-equipped, independent ceramics studio where he facilitates private lessons, high school classes, and short camps. The study will be a general exploration of pottery that is intended to advance her current techniques and practice the skills of designing, building, firing, and glazing to achieve a specific outcomes. Pictured right: "Life Underground", coil ceramics.
Colorful bird done in pointillism
Bowl made with coil ridges and swirls
  • Brylee Peterson of Marshall has been awarded $249 to attend the Prairie Dance Alliance summer dance camp. The applicant explained that it is usually held at the campus of Southwest Minnesota State University for 3 days in the summer with classes like ballet, lyrical and hip-hop offered. Professional instructors are brought in to provide a valuable learning experience for the students.

  • Mark Rabaey of Marshall was awarded $500 to study violin performance in an orchestral setting at the 2023 Minnesota All-State Orchestra Summer Camp. This is a week-long camp that takes place in Concordia College in Moorhead, MN in August. The applicant explained that during the camp he will practice, be instructed by professional musicians, and rehearse with a full orchestra. The conductor will be Jennifer Drake, the principal violist of the Boise Baroque Chamber Orchestra.

  • Elizabeth Wendland of Ellsworth has been awarded $500 for continuing lessons and competitions in the discipline of Scottish Highland Dance. Lessons will be conducted via zoom with instructor Rebekah Schaefer because there are no teachers within driving distance for the student.

  • Paityn Wolf of Willmar was awarded $500 to continue one-on-one private piano lessons with instructor Megan Gilles. Paityn says her goal this year is to work towards completion of a Minnesota Music Teachers Association Level 3 Comprehensive Piano Exam. This would incorporate four periods of piano history by having repertoire from all-Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary. She plans to participate in the National Federation of Music Clubs Festival Elementary Level 1, the Minnesota Music Teachers Association Piano Solo Festival Junior B Level, and the MMTA Ensemble Festival.
Lakota man with arms outstretched, from the view we see his back from the waist up. Above him is a large star and clouds parting around it.
Lakota man stands with a circle of feathers around him and a crowd looking up to him from below

In the Gallery: John Sterner's "Let My Prayer Rise Up"

Please help SMAC welcome our next gallery artist, SMAC's 2022 Prairie Disciple John Sterner of Marshall. This exhibit, titled "Let My Prayer Rise Up", will be in the SMAC Gallery in downtown Marshall at 509 West Main Street from May 11th to June 23rd, 2023. In addition to the high honor of being nominated SMAC's most recent Prairie Star award, John also received a SMAC Individual Artist Grant in 2021. This exhibit is comprised of ink and acrylic Lakota imagery on church bulletins. You can follow John's artistic journey on his Instagram @melauha or visit his website at

The SMAC gallery is open weekdays 9 am to 12 pm and 1-4 pm. If you would like to view the exhibit outside of these times, please email [email protected].

Please note: In the last newsletter we reported that Suree Sompamitwong would be exhibiting next in the SMAC Gallery. That gallery exhibit has been postponed due to illness.

Upcoming SMAC Gallery Events with John Sterner

Stylized horses running in black clouds to a large yellow star

In-Person Reception

Thursday, May 11 from 5-7 pm

with special musical guests Kindred Spirits

(Darwin Dyce, Emily Hoffman &

Pete Lothringer)

Light refreshments will be provided.

Virtual Reception & Artist Talk

Thursday, June 1st at 5:30 pm on Zoom

Watch a virtual tour of the gallery, listen to John talk about this project,

with open Q&A time with the artist at the end.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 849 1376 6476

Passcode: 415122

Please let us know of any accommodations needed for you to enjoy any of our events, virtual or in-person: [email protected]. Visit SMAC's Access Page for more information and resources.
These activities are made possible by the voters of Minnesota thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. 

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 Office & Gallery will be closed on the following days in May:

  • May 5th (all staff will be at the Annual SMAC Artist Retreat)

Join SMAC and artists from across Southwest Minnesota for a FREE performance & arts networking session at our Annual Artist Retreat in Tyler, MN!

Childhood photo of 3 children sitting on the grass dressed in traditional Danish outfits

It's that time of year again! Registration for workshops is closed, but you can still join us for the public event on Friday, May 5th at 7 pm in the Danebod gym (address is 140 Danebod Court in Tyler). SMAC will provide a free and interactive performance from Danish Dancers Amanda Drake and Natalie Jerzak! Sisters, Natalie and Amanda were born and raised in Tyler, attending church at Danebod. They grew up celebrating Danish traditions with their family and friends (pictured left). Each summer, at children’s camp, Amanda and Natalie share the tradition of Danish dancing that was passed down to them by their grandparents and the elders of Danebod. Join them, in celebrating the art of Danish dancing!

Intro to Civic Arts Public Session Registration now open

Attention City/Tribal Government & Artists


How can the arts be used to reduce community division? How can art build bridges in your town? Come and learn with us!!

Department of Public Transformation (DoPT), in partnership with Southwest Minnesota Regional Arts Council, will offer an Introduction to Civic Arts Workshop and Networking Event for artists and municipalities interested in learning more about the role of artists working in the civic realm in rural communities. This workshop will include an introduction to Civic Arts Presentation by DoPT staff, feature a conversation with a guest Civic Artist Amanda Lovelee (pictured right) via Zoom, an opportunity to workshop civic arts ideas for your community, access to a Civic Arts Resource Hub and time to network with other folks in the region interested in civic arts.

5-hour session with lunch included | 10am - 3pm on Wednesday, May 10th

Location: Marshall Lyon County Library

Register Now!

This event is FREE, but we request you register so we know how many participants to plan for. Register for the Intro to Civic Arts Public Session Now!

Upcoming SMAC Arty Parties

Renville County Arty Party, Wednesday May 31st

Join SMAC, area artists, arts organizations and general art-loving public together for a networking event in Renville County! This will be an awesome opportunity to network with local arts supporters (and maybe even get creative, do a little shopping, learn, and take a selfie)! The SMAC Arty Party will go from 4-6 pm, but the party will be in conjunction with the first kickoff event for this year's Renville County Farmers & Artisans Market! The market's event goes from 1-7 pm inside and outside of the Bird Island Cultural Centre at 640 Dogwood Ave in Bird Island (again, SMAC will be available only during 4-6 pm of that time, so plan accordingly!).

SMAC's Renville Board Representative, Kylie Rieke, will be leading an arts activity on the outdoor canvas wall (pictured below) at the Centre. This awesome wall was made as a result of funding form a SMAC Equipment & Facilities Improvement grant. Kylie will lead guests in making colorful butterfly selfie stations on the wall with chalk art!

Grey outside chalk wall that has a large lion head and penguins drawn on it

SMAC staff will also have a booth outside near Kylie's activity, we will have information about SMAC, free water bottles, and coupons for cake pops from one of the other vendors!! We might even have another arts activity of our own for you to get creative with. Come visit us and find out!

Other Highlights: The Renville County Farmers & Artisan Market, hosted by the Cultural Centre & Developing Roots, will have many vendors to shop from, including flowers and plants, arts and crafts, and food vendors. There will even be live music from 4-7 pm! Here's the list of participating vendors:

Inside, the Bird Island Cultural Centre will have a Health & Information Fair, hosted by the City of Bird Island and Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging, Inc., and the Bird Island Age Friendly Community Committee. Come and learn about services offered in Renville County. Details will continue to be shared soon on our social media: SMAC Facebook & SMAC Instagram, as well as the SMAC Website.

Murray, Rock, Redwood, Swift

Where will we be next? Look forward to hearing news of our Murray, Rock, Redwood and Swift Arty Parties coming up! To keep up to date on all our upcoming Arty Parties, stay tuned to our social media (SMAC Facebook & SMAC Instagram), as well as the SMAC Website!

View our NEW grants calendar

including descriptions of the grants and funding amounts, deadlines, earliest project start dates, and webinar dates

Changes to SW MN Arts Council grant programs for Fiscal Year 2024 

(July 1, 2023 - June 30, 2024)

Art Legacy Project becomes Public Art 

The Art Legacy Project grant program is changing to a Public Art grant program, with activities limited to physical public art projects. Starting this year, applicants to the Public Art program must again provide a 20% cash match.  

Funding limit for organizations

Organizations will be limited to $20,000 in SMAC grant awards per fiscal year (July through June), excluding Operating Support funds.  

Artist activities outside of MN

Travel and activities outside of Minnesota will be eligible in all individual artist grant programs, including Artist Growth, Artist Equity, Quick Support for Artists, Advanced Artist Fellowship, and Art Study Opportunity for Youth.

Monthly deadlines for Arts in the Schools grants

Arts in the Schools grants will now be available monthly, with deadlines the first of the month, August 2023 through May 2024. The earliest project start date will be the first of the following month. 

Other deadline changes

  • Art Projects: The Round 2 deadline has been moved from December to November, with an earliest project start date of January 1.

  • Public Art: The deadline for the new program will be in December, with an earliest project start date of February 1.

  • Artist EquityThere will be two deadlines during the year (September & February) instead of the previous monthly deadlines, as we try to discover what works best for this relatively new program.

See the SMAC FY24 Grant Program Calendar for all deadline details

Other options for Grant Assistance

SW MN Arts Council grants administrator Caroline Koska is available to meet with you by phone, web conference or in person to answer your questions on grant eligibility and using the application system or to review a draft of your application. Schedule a time with Caroline Koska.

Every month on the 2nd Tuesday of the month we hold "Open Office Hours" for grant support. The office hours are from 10 am to 2 pm and the next one will be Tuesday, May 9th. 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.

Call 800-622-5284 or email us [email protected] with your questions. Please let us know of any accommodations needed for you to attend any of our events, virtual or in-person. View SMAC's Access page for more information.

Would you like to help SMAC review and score grant applications?

The SMAC Board of Directors continually 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. Being a grant panelist is a positive way to strengthen your grantwriting skills by understanding the process as a whole. It's also a great way to learn and support what exciting projects are happening in rural SW MN! Panelists are compensated $75 for a panel. More details on being a SMAC panelist
For more opportunities and resources be sure to check out our latest news posts (updated DAILY!) on SMAC's website
Screenshot of where to find the calendar on our website (right side of home page)
Looking for arts events to attend? Check out our regional arts calendar!

We are continuing to post both in-person and virtual arts events in our region on our website calendar. If you have events to let us know about, please email the details to [email protected]!

Have something that's not an event, but an arts opportunity, like a RFP or call for local artists? We'll add it to our news posts! Send us those, too!
Lets work together to create a robust arts calendar for our region!!
Black and white headshot of Jessica

Help SMAC welcome new Swift County Board Representative, Jessica Mata!

Jessica Mata of Kerkhoven is SMAC's new Swift County Board Representative! Jessica is part of the Kerkhoven Arts Council and enjoys painting (watercolor, oil, acrylic, facepainting) and drawing. She also enjoys dancing for fitness! Jessica has a degree in Interior Design and says her design work focuses mainly on color. When asked why she was interested in serving on the SMAC board, she said she is interested in sharing her culture and involving her community in the arts, and that she looks forward to the fusion of her cultural and traditional arts knowledge with community arts involvement in Swift and southwest Minnesota! Southwest Minnesota Arts Council is so glad to have Jessica on our board to help support our Swift arts community!

SMAC is seeking representatives from four counties to serve on our board of directors: Kandiyohi, McLeod and Yellow Medicine

Do you live or work in one of these counties? Do you want to volunteer in a meaning way? Are you interested in helping your community? Are you passionate about arts awareness & funding and where & how those funds are distributed?
SMAC's Board of Directors currently has three vacant board seats. We are seeking a representative from each of the counties listed above to serve. The Board meets monthly on the 4th Tuesday evening at the SMAC office in Marshall or on Zoom 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.
Other opportunities include serving on several grant panels a year to evaluate applications, attending a yearly board retreat in January, learning opportunities and trainings on Access, Equity, Inclusion & Diversity and more!

To learn more and to fill out an application visit SMAC's Become A Board Member Page. You can also schedule a meeting with our Executive Director, Nicole DeBoer, for further questions.
Big Stone - Judy Beckman
Jackson - Gillian Singler
Lincoln - Mark Wilmes
Meeker - Darlene Kotelnicki
Pipestone - Erica Volkir
Rock - Shawn Kinsinger
Chippewa - M E (Maggie) Fuller
Kandiyohi - OPEN
Lyon - Dr. Erin Kline
Murray - Jessica Welu
Redwood - David KelseyBassett
Swift - Jessica Mata
Cottonwood - Anna Johannsen
Lac qui Parle - Kristine Shelstad
McLeod - OPEN
Nobles - Cheryl Avenel-Navara
Renville - Kylie Rieke
Yellow Medicine - OPEN
SW MN Arts Council Staff
Executive Director - Nicole DeBoer
Grants & Financial Administrator - Caroline Koska
Accessibility & Marketing Coordinator - Krystl Louwagie
Collaged photos from the Pipestone Arty Party

Despite a little bit of inclement weather, the Pipestone County Arty Party was a success in April! A huge Thank You to Ashley Rose Castro of Pipestone for leading the painting activity, Hatfield Roadhouse for the delicious catering and supplying a cash bar, and to the awesome venue! The Hiawatha Lodge was gorgeous, and what a view. And finally, thanks to the guests for spending your evening with us and supporting rural arts. Our next Arty Party will be happening in Renville County on May 31st! See the article earlier in this newsletter for more details.


From March 28 to May 1st, 2023

Contributors: Klein Foods, Marshall • Prairie Arts Chorale, Marshall • Maureen Keimig, Marshall • Carol Purrington, Marshall • Mni Sota Arts, Morton • Dr. WM. F & Mary Ann Yseth, Pipestone

Supporters: Justin Beck, Hutchinson • Lake Benton Opera House, Lake Benton • Audrey Arner & Richard Handeen, Montevideo • Mark & Kathy Wilmes, Tyler • Kris Swanson, Willmar • Tammy Makram, Worthington

Sustainers: Jane & Marvin Link, Milan

Would you like to become a contributing member of SMAC or make a donation?

You can help by contributing online or by mail, for more information, visit Become a SMAC member!

Other donations: Joyce Meyer, Canby • Ashley Hanson, Granite Falls • Erin Kline, Marshall • Paula Nemes, Marshall • Valerie Quist, Tracy • Cheryl Avenel-Navara, Worthington •


The Southwest Minnesota Arts Council (SMAC) is a non-profit organization committed to promoting and encouraging the development of the arts in the eighteen counties of southwestern Minnesota by serving as a source of funds and technical services which enable local organizations, educational institutions, and individuals to sponsor and/or create and promote the arts in their communities.

SMAC receives funding from individuals, businesses, organizations, schools, cities, counties, private foundations including the McKnight Foundation, an allocation from the State of Minnesota, and a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund, made possible by the voters of Minnesota.
Visit our website
Southwest Minnesota Arts Council | 800-622-5284 | [email protected]|
Facebook  Instagram