Board Opportunities

Grand Marais Art Colony

Strategic Priorities and Organizational Goals:

We offer classes and residencies in: printmaking, ceramics, painting, drawing, book arts, literary arts, mixed media, sculpture and intensive mentorships. We serve youth and adults, both in Cook County as well as persons whose permanent place of residence is outside of the Arrowhead Region. Additionally, we sponsor the Grand Marais Arts Festival every July and the North Shore Readers and Writers Festival every other October. Cumulatively, we serve approximately 25,000 people every year.

The Grand Marais Art Colony embarked on a capital expansion project with great energy in 2019 and into early 2020. This effort entailed growing our studio / instruction space to meet the programming needs of the organization. While 2019 was a surge year for the organization with its purchase of Studio 21 and Studio 17, the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic halted those efforts and necessitated that we temporarily mothball that expansion and focus on ensuring the stability and survival of the organization during a period of closure mandated by the State of Minnesota.

Despite the difficulties resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Art Colony embraced this opportunity to improve and evolve its work. In 2020, our Board of Directors conducted an intensive organizational self-assessment on two fronts: finances and programming. With regard to the former, the Art Colony has created a more standard tuition framework along with concordant policies and also updated its tuition rates to reflect parity with peer organizations as well as ensuring true costs are covered. With regard to the latter, the Art Colony has moved to a 5-7 model where classes are held from May to September and residencies and exhibitions are held from October to April. This shift will better reflect the realities of our seasonal economy here in Cook County. These changes have been approved by the Board of Directors and are in the process of being implemented in 2021 and into 2022.

While Studio 21 is largely functional for meeting program needs, we still have significant work to do on Studio 17. This project is a priority for the Board of Directors who have instructed the Executive Director to expedite sourcing funds to renovate the building so it is a viable rental property for the organization. This reality means that fundraising efforts are coalesced around Studio 17 to move it forward while at the same time the Art Colony needs to ensure that its ongoing programs are functional and continuing to thrive.

Our goal is to continue implementing the new tuition framework and new program calendar and invest in the stability of the organization. Arts organizations have been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and the Grand Marais Art Colony is no exception. We are fortunate to have made it through the past year, but there remains much hard work to ensure that the Art Colony will continue through its 75th anniversary in 2022. We will offer classes from May to September 2022 and again from May to September 2023. From October to April, we offer exhibitions and residencies.

Background and history: The Art Colony was established in 1947 as an extension of the Minnesota College of Art and Design, became a private school in 1953 until 1983 and was incorporated as a 501(c)3 in 1984.

Year Founded: 1947

Annual budget: $500,000 – Earned Income, Foundations, Individual Contributions


Grand Marais Art Colony is seeking board members with skills in the following areas:

  • Board Governance
  • Financial Management
  • Fundraising
  • Legal

There are no geographical restrictions for board members – we welcome candidates from throughout Minnesota, the greater Midwest and elsewhere.

More information can be found:


  • Number of board members needed: 6
  • Number of members currently: 11
  • Meeting time and frequency:  6 meetings annually
  • Meeting location: Virtual


  • Time Expectation: Up to 5 hours/month
  • Financial Contribution Required: Yes
  • Service on Committee Required: Yes
    • Standing Board Committees: Executive, Other
  • Length of Term: 3 Years
  • Renewable: Yes
  • Does nonprofit carry liability insurance? Yes

Questions about this board opportunity?



120 3rd Ave. West Grand Marais, MN 55604


The Grand Marais Art Colony serves as a catalyst for the arts in the Great Lakes region, supporting artists through residencies, intensive and mentoring classes, and signature events.