Weather Forecast


GUEST COLUMN: Arts opportunities are important

The current Little Falls High School Senior Art Show at the Great River Arts Association in downtown Little Falls is a wondrous example of promoting the talent of young people in a professional setting. At the recent opening, the building was buzzing with young people and their friends, proud parents, grandparents, and siblings. It’s opportunities like these that make central Minnesota’s communities worth living in, where a downtown building on a weekend has its lights on, activity inside, lively conversation, music and more.  

The art work ran the gamut, with themes ranging from religion, current events, musical icons and more. As I got to observe from afar, with no “horse in the race” so to speak, I just watched and listened, and saw teen-age girls dressed up and beaming with pride. I listened to friends laughing appropriately at hilarious art work — an oversize Oreo cookie and taco — which brought many smiles. I saw a grandfather gingerly taking in the painting done by his granddaughter — his face showing a “hmmm, what is that?” look, yet clearly proud. I saw a group of boys with their friend who was explaining what his piece was about. This is an exceptional example of partnership that includes and highlights young people. I realized that there’s a lot of artistic talent that could be further honed, and partnerships developed that would be long-lasting and productive. 

As chair of the Five Wings Arts Council — a regional arts council encouraging and promoting arts creation, appreciation, and education through grant programs and technical assistance in Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties, it is my intent to ensure that our region is aware of, and benefits, from FWAC’s grants and programs. As a recipient of funding from the passage of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in 2008, arts, artists, organizations and schools in any community in these five counties can benefit tremendously from nine grant programs. While the Legacy Amendment has its proponents and opponents, the reality is that there is money available for the arts in our region, and artists and organizations can benefit greatly from the array of opportunities briefly described here.

Community Arts Access Project Grants are available to community groups and nonprofit organizations to produce their own arts activities or sponsor a touring artist / activity. 

School Arts Project Grants are available to public schools to supplement non-curriculum arts education already being provided to area students. (no awards for core arts teaching and / or curriculum.  

General Operating Support provides unrestricted operating and capital grants to well-established nonprofits arts organizations to help strengthen and stabilize

Project Incorporate grants are available for emerging arts-focused organizations to pay for fees associated with incorporating as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. 

Student Artist Mentor Grant serves to augment the arts education in our region’s schools by providing high school students with the opportunity to study one-on-one with a practicing artist. 

Staff and Board Professional Development grants are available to regional nonprofit arts organization staff, board, volunteers, etc. to take advantage of professional development opportunities 

Small Community Arts Grants are designed for first-time applicants and groups wishing to take advantage of a late breaking opportunity. 

Individual Artist Grants  are for artists (at least 18 years of age) working in the visual, literary, or performing arts, who are requesting support for short term opportunities (not routine work in progress). 

Public Art Partnerships Grants are available to artists and local communities for research and development of potential public art installations or activities. 

For more information about the FWAC or any programs, go to or call Mark or Nancy at 877-654-2166.

CATHERINE STOCH is chair of the Five Wings Arts Council and a resident of Little Falls.