In 2014, Arts Midwest brought more than 13 programs to 45 states, reached more than one million individuals and hundreds of thousands of children through performances, visual arts exhibitions, reading programs, and professional development support. This work invested in the future of our region by opening new doors for experiencing and understanding the world around us.
We are ambassadors
Arts Midwest World Fest recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary. With that milestone, we reflect on how ensembles from across the world have been cultural ambassadors to communities across the Midwest...
Yonnie Dror, leader of Israeli ensemble Baladino, completed his fourth Arts Midwest World Fest tour this spring. A thoughtful and passionate advocate for the program, Yonnie is effusive about how Arts Midwest World Fest brought Native and non-Native communities together in new and remarkable ways in Sisseton, South Dakota; how a small gesture like sharing a meal created a lasting friendship in Medina, Ohio; and how performances at The Dakota in Minneapolis and the Chicago World Music Festival have had a life-changing impact on his career.
Yonnie Dror plays the shofar at an elementary school workshop. Photo by Eric Young Smith.
We are builders
After working with 400+ organizations and leaders across Minnesota and North Dakota through ArtsLab, Arts Midwest can safely say we’re in the building business.
How? We’re building new skills for artists and cultural leaders; new business models for arts institutions; and new community understanding through supporting organizations like ArtReach St. Croix, which is collaborating with environmental and business communities to designate a 60-mile span of the St. Croix River into a national arts destination. And we’re nurturing Ananya Dance, a leading center for contemporary Indian dance and a voice for the dreams of women of color. Next up—we’re building a new future for ArtsLab, one filled with hard work and big possibilities.
Participants in ArtsLab attended intensive leadership retreats to increase their organizational capacity. Photo by Ackerman + Gruber.
We are broadcasters
How big is the impact of The Big Read?
When tales about the program emerge from the remote villages of Kodiak Island off the coast of Alaska, we begin to see the depth of our story.
The Baranov Museum in Kodiak, Alaska accomplished quite a bit during its nine-month celebration of Edgar Allan Poe. Their staff’s efforts revived a love of classic literature and brought new populations together. Through fireside readings, teen trivia, and support from local radio stations, the Museum shared Poe’s stories and poems with nearly every corner of their community.
That’s no small feat for Kodiak, as it can be a challenge to reach community members across the Island’s thick wilderness and rocky terrain. It’s also challenging to reach the local fishing population when they’re at sea. So how did the museum overcome that obstacle? They partnered with field technicians from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, who took turns reading Poe’s works over the dispatch radio— broadcasting classics such as “The Raven” and “The Tell-tale Heart” to the fishers casting anchor for halibut and salmon on the North Pacific.
We are curators
Every industry has a conference—a chance for colleagues to come together to share, learn, and grow. And the annual Arts Midwest Conference is that platform for the Midwest performing arts community.
With inspiring performances and presentations, our Conference has become an unparalleled resource for our region—enabling artists and arts leaders to connect, curate new seasons, and shape what audiences across the Midwest will see in 2015 and beyond.
In September 2014, we brought the Conference home to Minneapolis, served 1,000+ arts leaders, and were— once again—uplifted by the incredible power of the arts.
The 2014 Arts Midwest Conference in Minneapolis, MN. Photo by Joshua Feist.
We are tour guides
“You could see the confidence building in the students before your very eyes,” exclaimed Peggy Grandbois, education director at The Arts Partnership of Greater Hancock County in rural Findlay, Ohio. Peggy was remembering an Arts Midwest Touring Fund-supported workshop with magician Kevin Spencer, where Kevin helped local educators engage students through magic and support learning for students of all abilities, including those with additional challenges.
Residencies like Kevin’s are just what Arts Midwest and the Touring Fund were created to do nearly 30 years ago—bring exceptional artists to areas across our region that have limited access to such experiences, and in so doing, reach new, deserving audiences wherever we go.
We are stewards
Arts Midwest continues to present a balanced budget and is proud of the fact that we keep our overhead expenses low, allowing a high percentage of our revenue to support our programs.
We are thankful for all of the individual, government, and corporate donors that help make this happen, year after year.