About Us


Arts Midwest promotes creativity, nurtures cultural leadership, and engages people in meaningful arts experiences, bringing vitality to Midwest communities and enriching people’s lives.

Our Programs and Services

A non-profit regional arts organization headquartered in Minneapolis, Arts Midwest serves audiences, arts organizations, and artists throughout the nine states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and beyond. Formed through the merger of the Affiliated State Arts Agencies of the Upper Midwest and the Great Lakes Arts Alliance, our history spans more than 25 years.

Over the years, Arts Midwest’s portfolio of programs has evolved to include performing, visual, and literary arts and leadership development initiatives that provide opportunities for communities large and small to engage with arts and culture.

Recognizing the value of global activities to Midwest communities, Arts Midwest has worked with foreign governments and arts organizations on an array of international projects in Argentina, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Slovakia, and Turkey.

Our management of NEA National Initiatives extends the opportunities available to audiences in the Midwest while providing learning and networking opportunities to the entire United States.

Values We Uphold

Arts Midwest firmly believes that:

  • Creativity is essential;
  • All communities deserve meaningful creative experiences;
  • All people have the capacity for creative expression;
  • Midwest creativity shapes our nation’s culture and vitality; and,
  • The exchange of ideas and creative experiences inspires curiosity and understanding.

Arts Midwest strives to:

  • Be a dynamic and flexible leader in collaborations on behalf of the arts.
  • Work with integrity, high standards, and innovation, balancing risk and stability, and capitalizing on our extensive pools of knowledge.
  • Conduct business in an environmentally-friendly manner, reducing, reusing, and recycling resources.
  • Create a working environment of mutual respect among colleagues.
  • Fairly support staff’s professional and personal needs.

Strategic Plan

In 2013, Arts Midwest engaged our Board of Directors, our nine State Arts Agency Executive Directors, senior staff, and Arts Midwest constituents in a review of our strategic direction. Our process acknowledged our myriad operations and programming efforts over the past few years, which have successfully resulted in stronger approaches to delivering high-quality arts programs; managing our financial, communications, and technological systems; serving our member state arts agencies; and engaging audiences across the Midwest. The following 2015–2017 strategic plan outlines a blueprint for our programs, operations, and evaluation processes for the next four years.


Arts Midwest’s partners and supporters include the National Endowment for the Arts, foundations, corporations, individual supporters, and our nine member state arts agencies — Illinois Arts Council Agency, Indiana Arts Commission, Iowa Arts Council, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Minnesota State Arts Board, North Dakota Council on the Arts, Ohio Arts Council, South Dakota Arts Council, and Wisconsin Arts Board.