Category Archives: Chat Topics

Virtual Arts Advocacy Day February 16-19, 2021

Why Virtual Arts Advocacy Day?


Minnesota’s premiere arts gathering has moved online! You are needed to help “rally the troupes,” recognize this community’s resilience, and make our voice heard at the State Capitol.

With your action – online and as part of Zoom calls with legislators –  we can help legislators understand the importance of the arts to guarantee funding at this critical time. We may be at our own computers this year, but we can still connect and work together to advance our community. (And hey, we won’t need to worry about the annual Advocacy Day snowstorm!)

MCA is a recognized national leader is arts advocacy. Arts Action Week helps to preserve our Legacy Amendment and state grant funds.

Attend Arts Advocacy Day and help protect the arts funding you love.

What is Arts Advocacy Day/Week?

Minnesota Citizens for the Arts works to increase arts funding by bringing arts advocates together with their legislators about the importance of the arts to our lives and our economy. Every year about 500-1000 arts advocates join together for a rally at the Minnesota History Center Auditorium in the morning, split up into teams with experienced leaders and walk together to legislator offices to educate them about the arts in their communities and ask them to support arts funding. Because of Covid, we are expanding the day to a week (to give us more time to set up zooms) and will be completely online with a short rally, brief trainings, and then zoom meetings with legislators.

Who Goes to Arts Advocacy Day?

Attendees include painters, tenors, dancers, cellists, French horn players and other artists of all kinds, arts administrators and representatives from every arts organization statewide from the big organizations to the smallest all volunteer choir on the northern border, joining together to show the strength of Minnesota’s arts community. Where else could you go to be with 500-1,000 people who agree with you?

Why Should I Go?

Through this big day, we show the strength of Minnesota’s statewide arts community. Previous Arts Advocacy Days have resulted in significant increases in state arts funding (that goes out in grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and Regional Arts Councils). The Legacy Amendment, which tripled arts funding in 2008, was passed on Arts Advocacy Day! Past participants have repeatedly shared their favorite parts of the day:

  1. They feel empowered by gathering together with like-minded people.
  2. They say that Arts Advocacy Day is the best arts networking event of the year, as it’s the only time that arts lovers of all kinds come together in one place.

What are the Important Issues This Year?

Covid has hit the arts harder than almost every other sector. At the same time the state of MN has a budget deficit so we will be fighting off cuts to arts funding.

Legislators need to hear about the importance of the arts to their districts and the impact the MSAB and RAC grants are having in their hometowns.

Minnesotans overwhelmingly approved the Legacy Amendment in 2008, passing it by 56%, which created four new dedicated funds for land, water, parks and arts. In the last several years arts advocates and supportive legislators had to fight off legislative suggestions that the Legacy Arts & Culture Fund be diverted away from the arts. With this uncertain political climate and increased polarization, we need to show a unified front to ensure that arts funding continues to be protected.

What is the Typical Arts Advocacy Day Like?

Watch a video from a previous Arts Advocacy Day.

Watch the video from the Lakes Regional Arts Council about their experiences at Arts Advocacy Day.

How do I join this year?

  1. Sign Up for Arts Action Week Here
  2. Attend/Watch the Opening Rally Webinar. (Info to watch live or on-demand will be emailed to you closer to the event.
  3. Attend meetings with your legislators. (Info for those meetings will be sent to you the week of the event.)

Can’t attend this year? Send your legislator a message about the importance of arts funding.

Arts Action Week Schedule:

Download Last Year’s (2020) Arts Advocacy Day Handbook

Opportunity to influence arts programming in NW Minnesota — We are updating our Biennial Plan

It is time for the NWMAC to create our Biennial Plan for FY22-23. We need your feedback on our programs and services.

From July 2021 – June 2023 we will be focusing on five priorities. Grants, promotions, showcases, trainings, and leadership. We strive to provide professional staff, office space and Board members. These next two years will continue to focus on listening to our residents and striving towards equity and inclusion.

At the end of this post are the pages of our plan that relate to our five priority areas. Read them over and provide feedback in a couple ways.

  1. Attend our public meeting on February 17 at 5:00 within our monthly Tending the Creative Soul: Rise out of the Phoenix online networking session. Those attending, from our region, will become a focus group to talk about our biennial plan. We will give all regional participants a gift in the mail, and one lucky participant will win the art door prize that night!
  2. Attend our virtual public meeting on February 19 at Noon on Zoom while you eat your lunch. Please only attend if you live within our service region. Those attending will become a focus group to talk about our biennial plan. We will give all participants a gift in the mail, and one lucky participant will win the art door prize that day!
  3. Click into this link to comment and become registered for our door prize. We hope you think that we are on the right track with our programs and services! If so you can easily say “Keep up the good work” under each priority area, and then register to receive (in the mail) a participation gift and for a chance to win the third art door prize! Survey link will stay open throughout all of February 2021. Only respond to the survey if you live within our service area and are an advocate for arts programs and services.

Three chances to win a door prize of an original piece of art!!

  • Planning Timeline:
    • Dec 16, 2020 NWMAC Board Meeting with planning focus
    • Jan 13, 2021 NWMAC Staff Meeting with planning focus
    • Jan 27, 2021 NWMAC Planning Committee Meeting
    • Feb 3, 2021 Draft plan posted to website and available for comment
    • Feb 10, 2021 NWMAC Staff Meeting with planning focus
    • Feb 17, 2021 Public Meeting at 5:00
    • Feb 19, 2021 Public Meeting at 12:00
    • Feb 28, 2021 Public comment closes
    • March 12, 2021 NWMAC Planning Committee deadline for changes
    • March 25, 2021 NWMAC Board Meeting
    • April 1, 2021 NWMAC Biennial Plan Submission deadline

The Planning committee will review and consider all the comments and make revisions to the plan by March 12, 2021. Each public meeting will be recorded and the recording will be kept for one year. All written comments will be kept for one year.

The NWMAC Board of Directors will meet on March 25, 2021 to approve the Biennial Plan for FY 2022-23. Staff will submit the plan to the Minnesota State Arts Board on April 1, 2021.

Can’t make the meeting? Can’t get the survey to open? We also welcome emails or other forms of communication that work best for you during the month of February 2021.

Our full draft plan is available on our website in the About Us section and can be mailed or emailed to residents in our service region.

Please reach out to Mara (at or 218-745-8886 with questions or comments.


NWMAC BIENNIAL PLAN FY 2022-2023 Priority Section


Priority 1: Re-grant funds for arts activity in our northwestern region with state funds in five categories. 

GOALS: Award fourteen Arts Legacy grants to arts organizations, schools, and communities. Award eight Arts Project Grants to arts organizations and communities with general funds. Award eight Arts Equipment Grants to schools with general funds.

 Measurable Outcome: The variety and diversity of applicants and participants increases, as they enrich the ways they connect to their communities through the arts. 

Plan for measuring results: Evaluation will occur through asking needs assessment and demographic questions to all applicants, grantees, focus groups, and panelists.

Success will be measured by an increased percentage of people stating that they were enriched through arts in community, and our office documenting at least four different types of applicants including nonprofit arts organizations, schools, cities, and other nonprofit organizations.


Priority 2:  Provide professional stewardship through executive and contract staffing, board orientation and equity training, and accessible office space. 

GOAL: Provide Arts Council Director staffing to the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council in FY 2022 and FY 2023 to ensure work functions related to planning and procedure are met and progress is made on equity training within board and staff.

Measurable Outcome: Regional residents experience increased access to the arts via a reduction in cultural and/or physical barriers. 

Plan for measuring results: Evaluation will occur through our needs assessment and focus groups.   

Success will be measured by Board, staff, and volunteer personnel reflecting the demographic of our area in terms of age distribution and race.  Respondents say that they are highly satisfied with service and our office/showcase spaces.


Priority 3:  Showcasing artists and arts organizations from our northwest region primarily through our annual NW Art Exhibt and our gallery exhibits.  

GOALS: Organize and implement the Northwest Minnesota Art Exhibition in 2022 and 2023 funding the Student portions with State Funds. Schedule four exhibits with McKnight funds including one featuring artists of color, and two exhibits with State funding.

Measurable Outcome: Minnesotans participate in the arts as creators and those interested gain inspiration, support, and encouragement to create new pieces of art and sell their art.  (percentage increases)

Plan for measuring results: Evaluation form completed by artists who display work in our gallery and evaluation on-line by artists who show pieces in our annual exhibit.

Artists state in the form that our showcasing opportunities stimulate an increase of atleast 10% in new creations and report sales occurring during our showcases. 


Priority 4: Promotion and marketing of artists and arts activities in northwest Minnesota primarily through our e-newsletter, website, and podcast interviews. 

GOALS: Focus on podcasts, website posts, and e-newsletters that feature 1/3 artists, 1/3 arts organizational leaders, and 1/3 staff and board members within our various promotional activities.

Measurable Outcome: Minnesotans value and view participation in our promotion and marketing efforts as enhancing their organization and individual careers.  Featured Arts involved public report having used or knowledge of our programs and services. 

Plan for measuring results: Survey participants in our booklet and podcasts to chart both the facet of community life and the population that they represent.     

Success will show different facets of community life and diverse populations participating at an increased rate from last biennium.        


Priority 5: Training and networking of creative people, artists, and arts leaders in our northwest region through in person and online workshops. 

GOALS: Provide monthly training and networking experiences that appeal to and are attended by a diverse group of creative people.    

Measurable Outcome: Minnesotans study/develop skills in the arts and make connections through networking that increase their ability to create freely with less self-judgement while not losing any quality to their work. 

Plan for measuring results: Survey all participants who are involved in workshops, trainings, and networking with demographic questions and feedback on their ability to create freely, their growth in skills, and their increased connections in the arts community.

At least 80% of participants will say they had specific growth as they participated in our NWMAC training or networking session. 

Tending the Creative Soul “the connection between Kindness and Creativity” Wednesday Jan 13

This month’s Tending the Creative Soul topic is “the connection between kindness and creativity. “

When? Wednesday, January 13 from 5:00 to 6:00 pm

We will be discussing and exploring how kindness to ourselves releases creativity. Your own experience how kindness has impacted you and or your creativity are welcome. If interested, let Trey know by email and he will send you a Zoom invite a few minutes before the meeting.  Bring a snack and drink if you would like.

This is a friendly informal gathering. Questions? Email Trey at

Online Poetry Class — Triggering Poetic Inspiration

Where do poem ideas come from? Finding a way to sustain poetry writing beyond those first emotion-driven poems that we just have to write is often the challenge facing poets who have been writing for awhile. Using Richard Hugo’s The Triggering Town as inspiration, poets will come out of this class with eight new poems, as well as some new tools for generating inspiration and ideas.

Triggering Poetic Inspiration (8 weeks):

January 11-March 4, 2021— $280

Registration deadlines: January 5. Ten spots available, first-come, first served.

Email to register or visit the website for more information at

The class will be following along in The Triggering Town, by Richard Hugo. It is necessary that you have the book in order to take the class.

Topics covered in this 8-week course include:

Chapter 1: Writing off the Subject
Chapter 2: The Triggering Town
Chapter 3: Assumptions
Chapter 4: Teaching and Roethke
Chapter 5: Nuts and Bolts
Chapter 6: In Defense of Creative Writing Classes
Chapter 7: Statements of Faith
Chapter 8: Ci Vediamo (We See)