SMAC calendar published May 19, 2021

Southwest Minnesota Arts Council events in the next month



The workshops are free of charge, but advance registration is required. Call 800-622-5284, or email Check the website for more information.

Artist talk: May 20, 5:30 p.m., join our monthly virtual conversations for artists, makers and creators. The guest artist will be Nicole Zempel on her current exhibit in the SMAC Gallery. Check website for log-in details. Third Thursday of the month.

Copyright workshop: May 26, 7 to 9 p.m., via Zoom or by audio only using a phone. When arts organizations record and post musical and theatrical performances online, whether as videos or streaming, there are a wide variety of legal issues involved beyond what you might need to consider for a live, in-person performance. An attorney from Springboard’s Minnesota Lawyers for the Arts program will cover copyright basics, music licensing, rights clearance and other legal aspects of online performances, for both presenting organizations and for individual artists. The same content was also covered in the April 27 workshop.

Annual Artist Retreat

Since the annual Artist Retreat still isn't possible this year, Southwest Minnesota Arts Council will be holding a series of smaller art classes taught by artists from the region for artists in the region. Each class will be taught in three locations within our region. The cost is $15 per class and the class size is limited to 10 participants. Registration links found on the website.

Poetry: May 22 at SMAC offices in Marshall, June 5 at The Barn Theatre in Willmar, June 19 at Pipestone Performing Arts Center; 1 to 3 p.m., instructor is Saara Myrene Raappana.


Native Art, Beaded Medicine Bags: May 18 at The New London Little Theatre, May 25 at Milan Village Arts School, June 23 at Pipestone Performing Arts Center; 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., instructor Fern Cloud.

Plein Air Painting: June 5 at Camden State Park in Lynd, June 12 at Shetek State Park in Currie; July 31 at Camden State park in Lynd; noon to 3 p.m.; instructor John Sterner.

Watercolor: June 17 at the Makers on the Minnesota in Granite Falls, 6 to 8 p.m.; June 18 at the Greenwater Garage in New London, 1 to 3 p.m.; third class has not been set; instructor Tamara Isfeld.

Art Project Grants

Receiving Art Project Grants of up to $7,000 in matching funds to stimulate and encourage the creation, performance and appreciation of the arts recently were:

City of Granite Falls: $6,500, to compensate artists working with the city on its "Creative Crosswalks" project.

Department of Public Transformation: Granite Falls, $7,000, for its pilot year of the "WE CAN!" event series.

Greater Milan Initiative: $7,000, to hire The Defrost Project, a group of artists that use theater and storytelling to cultivate connection, explore local issues and celebrate rural communities.

Kerkhoven Arts Council: $7,000, to create a summer youth theater program that culminates in an outdoor production of “High School Musical Jr.” during the Kerkhoven Town and Country Days festival.


City of Sunburg: $6,720, for its Sunburg Heritage Arts Initiative which will aim to preserve traditional arts including fiddling, hardanger embroidery, rosemaling, community singing and dancing through workshops, performances and community events.

Grants for Facilities

The Equipment and Facilities grants provide up to $10,000 in matching funds for the purchase of equipment items and facilities improvements that will improve the organization’s capacity to serve the arts needs. No cash match this year.

Crow River Players, New London, $10,000, to purchase equipment to retrofit their 100-year-old stage to facilitate professional level audio and video recording of performances with the ultimate goal of offering this service to play productions, bands, musicians and performers.

Department of Public Transformation, Granite Falls, $10,000, to create a "dynamic and engaging" media lab and maker space at The YES! House in Granite Falls.

Granite Area Arts Council, $9,817, to purchase an art bike with a customized vinyl wrap logo, a tablet, hanging equipment for the gallery, a TV monitor, radiator covers for more efficient use of gallery space, awnings and radio equipment for summer monthly Makers Market events, new classroom flooring that will be more efficient than current carpeting, and other small items/supplies that will improve gallery and classroom space.

Greater Litchfield Opera House Association, $9,840, for purchasing stage, sound and lighting enhancement equipment.

Willmar Community Theatre/The Barn Theatre, $8,255, for replacing/upgrading its current website and to add a curtain track for high-quality curtains that were donated.

Grants for Arts Organizations

The Arts Organization Development grants program provides up to $2,500 to increase long-term stability and capacity through organizational development and management projects. There is no cash match required in fiscal year 2021. These grants are still open for applications, deadlines are the first of the month by 4:30 pm for April and May or until funds run out.


Department of Public Transformation, Granite Falls, $2,500, to hire a contracted capital campaign expert who will work with their staff, board, Capital Campaign Committee and Development Committee to take their work and campaign to the next level.

New London Arts & Culture Alliance, $2,500, to work with a consultant from Propel for NonProfits on strategic planning and board development. The local board has had a 100% turnover in the last year and the consultant will facilitate them in establishing a clear vision.

Youth grants

Art Study Opportunity for Youth grants up to $500 in funding for students in grades 5-12 for an enrichment camp or specialty study.

Maggie Setrum, of Raymond, $500, for violin lessons with Lisa Zeller, an orchestra teacher at Willmar Public Schools, as well as a member of the Willmar Area Symphonic Orchestra. Setrum has been taking violin lessons previously, but says her instructors have been more casual and she is looking to expand into more formal instruction from Zeller.

Brooke Schlegel, of Lake Lillian, $500, to study watercolor with artist Michele Steffen. Schlegel says this experience will help her to build on current strengths and help identify and improve weaknesses as an art student. She plans to explore new techniques and experiment with her abilities.

Grant program changes for fiscal year 2022

The Southwest Minnesota Arts Council has made changes to the grant programs for Fiscal Year 2022 (July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022). Once again, no cash match will be required of organization applicants in any grant program. The funding period for all grantees will run from Jan. 1 through Dec. 30, rather than following each organization’s fiscal year.

A number of changes were made to the application process. Organizations no longer need to provide their 501(c)(3) status letter. SMAC will verify nonprofit status using the organization’s EIN. Organizations need to provide less information about their annual financials – only a total of annual expenses is required. Equipment bids are no longer required. More work sample upload fields are available for artist applicants. Questions about impact and outcomes have been consolidated and simplified. Accommodations are available for those needing help with the application process by contacting SMAC.

Quick Support Monthly grants: Apply by the first of the month, and if awarded, begin your project on the first of the following month. Available August through April while funding remains.

Quick Support for Organizations: Request up to $2,500 for Art Legacy project planning, arts organization development (board training, strategic planning, etc.), arts organization startup (creating bylaws, filing for 501(c)(3) status, etc.), small equipment purchases, and small art projects.

For arts organizations requesting startup funds, the requirement for at least two years of programming before applying has been eliminated.

Previous grant programs for Art Legacy Project Planning, Arts Organization Development, and Arts Organization Start-Up have been discontinued.

Operating Support grants: Arts organizations with current 501(c)(3) status and at least two completed years of financials and programming may apply. Previously, applicants were required to have 501(c)(3) status for at least three years.

During the pre-application process, arts organizations may use any two recent consecutive years of financial information to calculate their average expenses, omitting 2020 if they choose.

Quick Support for Artists: Artists at any stage of their career may request up to $1,000 for supplies, classes, etc. and small artist-led community projects.

Related Topics: ART
Donna Middleton started working at the West Central Tribune in 1975 and has been the news assistant since 1992. She compiles the arts, health, farm and community page calendars, as well as rewrites and works on the special sections.
She can be contacted at or phone 320-214-4341.
What To Read Next
The museum showcases a wide variety of people, places and things from the 150 years of the county's past.
Exhibits on display in the next month
Fine arts and student performances at area colleges
Southwest Minnesota Arts Council events in the next month