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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 30 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 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 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.


Midwestern Art

We believe the Midwest is a unique place with a unique artistic landscape. We champion Midwestern art in all its forms and work to make Midwestern artists and arts organizations more visible, resilient, and sustainable. We participate in Midwestern art and promote it to the world. We show up. We root for our hometeams.


We believe that the world is fascinating. We connect Midwesterners with cultures and ideas from around the globe through artistic programming. We ask questions, take risks, and seek adventure. We see mistakes as an important part of growing. We lean into joy, wonder, and awe.

Creative Community

We believe creativity is important to the well-being and vibrancy of communities and the people in communities. We support the Midwest’s many communities through creating spaces for dialogue, connection, and storytelling. We are good neighbors. We build bridges. We join movements.


We believe we are doing our best work when we listen, hear, and respond with empathy, humility, and authenticity. We approach our partners, communities, and each other with trust and accountability. We seek the best in others and ourselves. When we find injustice or inequity we act to address it.

Strategic Plan

Arts Midwest periodically reviews our strategic direction and develops goals and strategies to guide us in our work. Our process involves staff, board, and our member state arts agencies in a comprehensive review of current programming and long term goals for new ventures across the Midwest. Download our 2018–2020 strategic plan to see a blueprint for our programs, operations, and evaluation processes for the next few 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.