The Grand Marais Art Colony is an anchor institution in Cook County and the Arrowhead Region. It is a key destination for artists and art appreciators, offering programs and services to more than 25,000 people per year through a variety of classes, lectures, events, and festivals. Many participants are repeat participants and evaluation feedback on our programs and services is consistently strong. Demand for programs and services has grown significantly in the past decade and that demand continues to increase among amateur, emerging and professional artists with no sign of abatement.
The Grand Marais Art Colony was founded in 1947 as the Outdoor School of Painting which was a summer program of the Minneapolis School of Art (now the Minneapolis College of Art and Design). In 1959, the Grand Marais Art Colony became a private school under the leadership of Birney Quick and Byron Bradley; this arrangement lasted until 1984 when the Art Colony became a 501(c)3.
With regards to recent accomplishments, our 2018 Annual Report (pdf or hard copy available upon request) highlights that we provided 4,200 total days of studio time, we served nearly 70 artists through professional practice workshops, offered 280 classes, served 500 youth, had over 15,000 visitors to our Annual Arts Fest, hosted nearly 2,700 visitors to our Gallery Store, and raised $15,000 at our first-ever fundraising event that was a combination of a silent and live auction.
The Grand Marais Art Colony has significantly outgrown its current buildings (we operate at 125% of our capacity) and the Board of Directors has determined that in order to continue serving students, working artists and visitors, it needs an additional facility to support the growth of high-quality programs and services for which the organization is known. While the Grand Marais Art Colony has researched and looked at a number of properties in greater Grand Marais over the past five years and also considered a new-build, none has fit the organization’s needs.
We recently purchased the former North Shore Pharmacy and Dog Hus (17 & 21 W Hwy 61, Grand Marais) which satisfies a number of our criteria and adds 5,600 sq. ft. to our resources. It is a proportional expansion.
Through this expansion, the Grand Marais Art Colony seeks to transform its teaching and learning across the visual arts. In particular, we seek to elevate and sustain a powerful maker culture for interdisciplinary learning and innovation, forging connections between the visual arts and the natural environment of the North Shore. This project focuses on the acquisition, renovation and improvement of a key art-making facility (that includes larger, more specialized studios and exhibition space), the acquisition of new equipment, and, potentially, in the future, microgrants to support artist experimentation through independent projects which in turn have the possibility of becoming income-generating streams for individual independent artists.
It is an exciting time to join the Art Colony. In 2020, we are going through a 10-month pro bono strategic planning for rural arts organizations process under the auspices of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland (College Park) and we are launching a capital campaign to support our above-mentioned expansion.
Annual budget: $535,000 – Earned Income, Foundations, Individual Contributions
Grand Marais Art Colony is seeking board members with skills in the following areas:
- Board Governance
- Financial Management
- Marketing and Communications
Residency in Grand Marais or Cook County is not required.
- Number of members currently: 9
- Meeting time and frequency: 6 meetings annually
- Meeting location: Grand Marais, but meetings by phone are an option
- Time Expectation: Up to 5 hours/month
- Financial Contribution Required: Yes, at a level meaningful to the board member.
- Service on Committee Required: Yes
- Length of Term: 3 Years
- Renewable: Yes
- Does nonprofit carry liability insurance? Yes