Southwest Minnesota Arts Council Awards $49,516 to local organizations and individual artists

SMAC awarded $8,574 to local organizations

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.

52 Wing Restoration Committee, Appleton, $3,264 to support music at their fall festival, called Applefest. This year the committee scheduled for an artist that was originally from Appleton: Doug Woolverton. The applicant says that Doug has become one of the top trumpet players in the country. Doug also brought his band based out of Los Angeles, CA. They performed at the 52 Wing auditorium on Saturday, September 21st. Other intended events were a brass clinic for all ages at the Lac qui Parle Valley High School on the Friday before the concert, as well as an improvisational jam session.

Arts Organization Development grants provide arts organization in the SMAC region up to $5,000 in matching funds to increase their long-term stability and capacity through organizational development and management projects. 20% cash match required.

Department of Public Transformation , Granite Falls, $4,700 to work with Propel Nonprofit to set up the Department of Public Transformation's online QuickBooks accounts to match their increasingly complex accounting needs as the nonprofit grows. Grant funding will also support the Director, Treasurer, and members of the Executive and Development Committees with training on the new account system.

Willmar Area Arts Council , Willmar, $610 to support the printing of new brochures, designed by a volunteer board member who has recently retired from a successful career in marketing. The applicant said that new brochures were needed since the last one was created in 2013 and many new activities have been added for the arts organization, as well as a new logo and website. The applicant said they felt it was time to "get the word out" again about their organization, and a brochure is a good first step. Funding will also go towards mailing the brochures. More brochures will be placed throughout the community at informational spaces and gathering places. The organization hopes this will revitalize membership retention efforts.
SMAC awarded $40,942 to local individual artists

Individual Artist Community Collaboration grants provides up to $10,000 to artists to create a major new work, while collaborating with the community, introducing community members to the arts in a new way.
Tamara Isfeld, Granite Falls, $10,000 to support the community of Renville in producing a community mural. The applicant, Tamara, said "t his will be the only exterior community mural to date in the town and is an important first step in furthering public art in Renville. The owner of a highly visible property on Renville's downtown main street, Main Street Bar and Grill, is providing wall space for a mural on the exterior of her long-standing business and the Lions Club of Renville, a 501 (c)(3) desires to be my community collaborator in the project." The design of the mural will depend highly on community gatherings over what makes Renville special and unique to various groups of the community. These will be open attendance events. Tamara also said the information-gathering process will have fun arts-based activities allowing citizens to get their hands into the process of creating. Tamara has taught art in Renville public schools in the past and said she hopes to provide the community with a "new asset that is creatively inspirational, nurturing the idea that art can transform a space within this town. Working with the Lions Clubs, I see input being gathered from various age, denominational and cultural groups within Renville over the winter to produce a cohesive design representing the spirit of the community for implementation in spring 2020." Tamara also plans to contract an additional community engagement focused artist to aid in this process. The image above is a mural that Tamara designed and executed in Granite Falls along the Riverfront.

Individual Established Career Artist grants provide up to $7,000 to aid established career artists in the advanced stage of their career development with projects that will advance their career. 

Dayrl Hrdlicka , Westbrook, $7,000 to support the making of his film, Pale Dawn. This will be a sequel to a short movie that he was involved in making in the summer of 2018, called Pale Luna. Daryl's new film will be longer than the first and an original story, where as the first was adapted from a previously written story. Daryl says he will be involved with all aspects of the film making process, from writing the screenplay, casting, location scouting and movie production. He says, "Pale Dawn will be a tense thriller, one that grabs the audience at the beginning and keeps their attention for the entire film. They'll follow the protagonist as he tries to discover what is really going on and how it ties into his past. The ending will shock the audience and leave them wanting to know more, setting up a third, feature-length film."

Zachary Ploeger , Pipestone, $7,000 to support making recordings of works within the standard repertoire, or works that are familiar to most trumpet players . He will play trumpet as the soloist on the album and work with a collaborative pianist. Zachary says "by having high quality recordings of these works, I will be able to start a career as a trumpet soloist, something that at present is extremely difficult to do without this first step. Having the ability to complete this project would help me take my artistic career to the next level by opening the door to be a trumpet soloist by having the recordings act as something that people can look to for credibility before booking me as an artist." Zachary says he plans to do performances of these works in various locations throughout the SMAC region with pre-concert talks before each performance. The project will be promoted by Zachary on his website and social media accounts.
Kari Weber , $7,000 to create a series of oil paintings that focus on themes of water in rural spaces. Kari says she is planning to experiment with a new art practice that involves themes, colors, and techniques that she hasn't used before. Funding will go towards painting and framing supplies and artist time. Kari plans to make small trips to a variety of lakes and rivers for inspiration and plans to have two gallery shows with the new series: The Art Center in New York Mills and the Ridgewater College Gallery in Willmar. Kari says, "My artistic vision has always been to call attention to the rural and agricultural places in Minnesota. I feel that the work I do should remind people about the largeness of the natural environment and our role in it. This new project will continue to do this, but it will depart from the agricultural themes I've previously worked with and focus more on the natural landscapes found in isolated or undeveloped areas in our state, especially those near lakes and rivers." Above Left: Kari Weber, Interstate, Oil 20x20" 2018

Individual Emerging Artist grants provide up to $2,500 to aid emerging artists at an early stage of their career development with projects that will advance their career.
Nicholas Hendriks, Olivia, $2,500 for a photography project he calls "Family Portrait Revival". He explains today's technology eliminates the once important practice of printing out family photos to share histories with future generations. Nicholas plans to work with five or six families to photograph them at four different times of the year. The setting will be based on the individual family, and what would best help them tell their story at this time and season in their lives. He says the families would receive at least one framed print, with the option of purchasing more if they so choose, at cost. Funding from the grant will all go towards a high quality camera device for the project. Nicholas says the photos he takes for this project will be combined as an art exhibit that tells the story of rural Minnesota families. Above right: Lake Olivia Mist by Nicholas Hendriks.

Breanne Howerton, New London, $2,442 to write the first draft of her novel focusing on a family of rural Minnesotans at the beginning of the 20th century, with a female protagonist's role in the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party before it’s merger with the Democratic party. A portion of the funding will go towards research, which will include viewing historical documents that are only available in person through the Minnesota Historical Society's Gale Family Library. Research will also include interviewing a history professor and author, Elizabeth Faue, at Wayne State University. Breanne plans to attend an 8-week writing course at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. She says the class will not only help her develop an outline for her ideas and provide her with the building blocks to start her first novel, it will provide a community of writers with whom she can share her work and gain feedback. Once finished with the first draft, Breanne plans to host an open mic reading where she will share excerpts of the draft and invite feedback from attendees. She says that the open mic reading will help her engage with her community, broaden her audience as a writer, further her public speaking skills, and give a platform for other people to share artistic ventures they are working on. 

Mary La Patka, Willmar, $2,500 to develop a portfolio of new watercolor pieces focused around "The Beauty and the Science of Botanical Art and Illustration". Mary will attend six classes at the Minnesota School of Botanical Art. Classes will consist of botanical species choice, composition and drawing of the specimen, education on the painting techniques needed to complete the painting, painting time in and out of class, critique and discussion. Mary hopes to explore exhibit options of her finished works with the Willmar Area Arts Council. Funding will go towards class registration, partial mileage to classes, and professional scanning and printing of the artworks produced.
Shelly Bluestone Zeller, Morgan, $2,500 to illustrate an original story written by her father, John Bluestone. Shelly says the story is about a Native family struggling to survive and their relationship with the wolves. The applicant explained that Mr. Bluestone was a member of Lower Sioux Indian Community and as part of his legacy he left a box of unpublished fictional stories that chronicle Dakota and Native life from the past through the twentieth century. His daughter, Shelly, was given these stories and wants to help bring them to life for readers of all ages. Through this grant, Shelly plants to illustrate at least 5 original drawings to accompany her father’s wolf story. Dakota author Diane Wilson will assist Shelly by transcribing and editing Mr. Bluestone’s wolf story. Copies of the final illustrations and story will be shared with audiences through 1) a donation to the Lower Sioux tribal archive; 2) a reading at the Redwood Falls Public Library; and 3) a reading at Lower Sioux. Shelly also plans to meet with the publishers of Black Bears and Blueberries, a Native non-profit children’s book publishing company that is actively seeking children’s stories and illustrations produced by Native artists like Shelly, to work toward publishing the book so that the story and illustrations can reach wider audiences. Upper Left: "Family of Wolves", painted on pottery by artist Shelly Bluestone Zeller, 2018.
In the gallery: Robyn Sand Anderson

Robyn's exhibit will run from September 19 through October 23, 2019.

Robyn (pictured middle left in the photo above at her opening reception) received an Individual Established Career Artist grant in 2018 to explore interpreting music with color, movement and texture. She traveled to Bergen, Norway to study Edvard Greig's music and environment that informed his choral/orchestral musical compositions. She then studied with abstract artist Jane Davies in Vermont to learn more about acrylic abstract painting and created a body of work interpreting Grige's music of a century ago with contemporary abstract expressionist painting. To learn more, visit:
Next in the gallery: Kerry Kolke-Bonk

Kerry Kolke-Bond of Appleton received a SMAC Individual Developing Artist Grant (now called our Emerging Artist Grant) in 2017 to support showing her pieces in a solo show, which included the framing of her recent water color pieces. She has since shown her solo exhibit in multiple galleries, including the Willmar Education & Arts Center (WEAC) and Marshall Area Fine Arts Council (MAFAC) gallery. After the grant and her show, Kerry said "I now feel more comfortable in saying that my occupation is art and that I am a professional artist." Please join us in welcoming Kerry to our gallery at her artist reception on Thursday, November 7th from 5-7 pm.
legacy logo

These activities are made possible by the voters of Minnesota thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. Additional funding provided by the McKnight Foundation. Minnesota thrives when its artists thrive. The McKnight Foundation supports working artists to create and contribute to vibrant communities.
This fall, 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 the current year (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020). 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:
Tuesday, October 29
5:30-7:30 pm
509 S Lincoln St, Redwood Falls

Wednesday, October 30
5:30-7:30 pm
812 4 th Ave, Windom

Thursday, November 7
5:30-7:30 pm
15 Franklin St SW, Hutchinson

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

October 9, 4:30 pm, 2019: Arts in the Schools Grant Applications Due
Arts in the Schools Grants provide grants to schools for artist residencies or field trips that include educator training and community involvement, juried student art exhibits, and prepackaged theatre experiences. Up to $2,500 (field trips, juried exhibits, or prepackaged theatre), or $4,000 (artist residencies). The Grantwriting webinar happened on August 29, 2019. For more information click here.

October 16, 4:30 pm, 2019: Operating Support Grant Deadline
Operating Support Grants are two-year grants for arts organizations that have been designated by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) for a minimum of three years. For organizations with an average operating budget of less than $25,000, this grant provides up to 35% of the organization's average operating budget each of the two years. For organizations with an average budget more than $25,000, the grant provides up to 15% of the organization's average operating budget for each of the two years. Required Pre-Application Deadline: September 18, 2019 (Submit financial information to determine your request amount.) The Grantwriting webinar happened on July 16, 2019. For more information click here.

December 11, 4:30 pm, 2019: Art Project & Art Legacy Project Grants Deadline
Art Project Grants provide organizations in the SMAC region with up to $7,000 in matching funds to stimulate and encourage the creation, performance and appreciation of the arts (pre-packaged theater residencies limited to $2,500). 20% cash match required . Grantwriting webinar: October 29, 2019, for more information click here

Art Legacy Project Grants provide organizations in the SMAC region with up to $25,000 in matching funds to stimulate and encourage the creation, performance and appreciation of the arts through large-scale projects that will leave an arts legacy in southwest Minnesota. 20% cash match required. Grantwriting webinar: October 29, 2019, for more information click here.

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

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

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

Click on the links for more information
Southwest Minnesota Arts Council seeks panelists to review grants 2019-2020

For grant programs in fiscal year 2020 (July 2019 - June 2020), the SMAC Board of Directors seeks panels of artists, arts administrators, arts volunteers, and arts appreciators representing multiple artistic disciplines from throughout the SMAC geographic region.

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

Grant review panel dates for 2019-2020

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

Round I: October 12, 2019
Round II: March 7, 2020

November 9, 2019

Arts in the Schools Round I: November 2, 2019
Arts in the Schools Round II: February 15, 2020
Art Study Opportunity for Youth: April 21 (Tuesday Evening)

Round II: February 1, 2020

  1. Please read the Grant Panel Responsibilities.
  2. Read and sign our Conflict of Interest policy.
  3. Download, print, or fill out a copy of the Grant Review Panelist Application (pdf) or word document (you can also fill out an online form here).
  4. Email your completed application, resume, and signed Conflict of Interest document to or use the submit button below, or mail to SW MN Arts Council, PO Box 55, Marshall, MN 56258.
The monthly segment where you can hear from SMAC grantees, participants, and members about their experiences. Thank you, Dody! We loved hearing from you and getting these images from the brochure you included with your membership. If you're interested in becoming a member, visit:
Southwest Minnesota Arts Council Seeks Board Representatives

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

Give to the Max Day 2019 is scheduled for Thursday, November 14. Plan to join GiveMN and thousands of Minnesota nonprofits and schools as we raise millions of dollars together for the organizations which make our communities stronger.

What is Give to the Max Day? Click here to read more about it and learn how you or your organization can become involved.

Stay tuned for more updates about how you can help your favorite nonprofits on Give to the Max Day!
Remember to check out our regional arts calendar!
Click here to see the many arts events happening in our community! 
If you would like your arts event to be listed on our calendar, submit here .

Left: Exhibit at the Bird Island Cultural Center gallery, which was supported by a SMAC Art Project grant. The next deadline for Art Project and Art Legacy Project Grants is December 11, 2019 with a webinar on October 29, register or find more information here .
Continue to keep up with news about the arts in our region!
Click the links below to read about:

Above, f rom left to right: Teresa Peterson, Jordan Rodgers, and Tom Peacock. Teresa received a SMAC Emerging Artist Grant to work on promoting her children's book, "Grasshopper Girl", with a book tour. Jordan illustrated the book and Tom is the publisher. The next deadline for Individual Artists grants is January 8th, 2020, with a grant webinar workshop on November 26th. For more information, or to register, click here .
Make sure your organization is receiving grant report reminder emails
Has your organization had some turnover among its grant writers or board officers? Do you have a grant writer who is not the project director or authorizing official for your project? If so, you may not be receiving the reminder emails that our grant system sends out when you have a grant contract or final report due.
In the grant system that SW MN Arts Council uses, those automatic reminder emails (along with submission verification emails) are sent to the email address for the user account under which the application was started. Also, these emails are only sent to one address per application.   
If you’ve had some turnover in your organization, it’s best to create new user account with the email address of a current grant writer or project director when applying for grants. Once your new user account is connected with your organization profile, you should be able view all previous grants for your organization. Also, check to see if any past grants have final reports still pending. If you let us know, we can reassign those reports to a current user within your organization.
If someone other than your grant writer needs to receive reminder emails instead, we can reassign a report or a whole request (application, contract, etc.) to another user in your organization. This person will need to have an account in the system, so they must create an account first if they don’t already have one. Just let us know when you need to have a contract or final report reassigned to another user, and we can make that change for you.
If you’re a first-time applicant considering which email address to use when creating an account for your organization, think about who will be writing the application and who may need to sign a contract or fill out a final report.
Contact us by email ( or phone (507-537-1471 or 800-622-5284) if there are any reports that you need reassigned or if you are not sure how to best set up your organization’s user accounts.
A member of SMAC staff attended "A Safe Space to Talk about Safe Space" presentation from Southwest Minnesota State University's Professor Julie Walker, hosted by New Horizons Crisis Center. This session addressed the LGBTQQIAA2S+ community alphabet, assisting LGBTQ+ Individuals, and how to adjust after making a mistake that might have been unintentionally harmful. SMAC's outreach efforts help us to know how to better serve the communities within our 18 county region by gaining knowledge, making connections, and evolving to be an inclusive organization.
From August 30 to September 26, 2019
Contributors: Alison Nelson, Kerkhoven Loralee A. Miller, Minneota Mary Jo Boots, Redwood Falls Carisa Clarke, Slayton • Bonnie Smith, Willmar • Anna Johannsen, Windom •

Supporters : Green Earth Players, Luverne Anne O’keefe-Jackson, Morton • Carla C. Skjong, Tyler •

Sustainer:  Luverne Chamber of Commerce

Would you like to become a contributing member of SMAC or renew your membership?
You can do so online or by mail, for an individual membership, business membership, or organizational membership. For more information, visit:
Big Stone - John White
Jackson - Kristen Kuipers
Lincoln - OPEN
Meeker - OPEN
Pipestone - Erica Volkir
Rock - OPEN
Yellow Medicine - Claire Swanson
Chippewa - Georgette Jones
Kandiyohi - Janet Olney
Lyon - Michele Knife Sterner
Murray - Carisa Clarke
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
SW MN Arts Council STAFF
Executive Director - Nicole DeBoer
Grants/Financial Administrator - Caroline Koska
Marketing Coordinator/Receptionist - Krystl Louwagie