More about Southwest Minnesota Arts Council
MISSION STATEMENT: The mission of the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council is to promote and encourage the development of the arts in the 18 counties of Southwest Minnesota.
The Southwest Minnesota Arts Council serves as a source of funds and technical services which enable local organizations, educational institutions and individuals to sponsor and/or create and promote the arts in their communities.
VALUES: We value creativity, diversity, accessibility, integrity, learning, artistic quality, participation and advocacy.
VISION: Artists, arts organizations and arts activities thrive. Public value of the arts is understood and acted upon by community members, leaders and policy makers. The creative spirit is integrated into the social fabric of every community.
ORGANIZATIONAL OVERVIEW: The Southwest Minnesota Arts & Humanities Council (SMAHC) was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 1974. In September 2013 the SMAHC membership, at its annual meeting, approved a name change to Southwest Minnesota Arts Council (SMAC). This change was made to facilitate better communication about who we are and what we do with our constituents. At this point in our history the majority of our funding sources are restricted to the arts. Having humanities in our name and mission sent a confusing message since we were not able to support humanities programming. We also adopted a new logo, a new and more accessible website and increased our marketing efforts.
SMAC has a proud history of promoting artists and arts activities throughout its eighteen-county region. Since its inception, SMAC has been supported by membership donations from individuals, businesses, organizations, schools, cities and counties, in addition to funding from the McKnight Foundation and the State of Minnesota through allocations from the general fund and arts & cultural heritage fund. Our membership revenue allows us to expand our budget beyond our State and McKnight allocations. Budget deficits can be covered with our unrestricted fund balance which is made up of unexpended membership revenue from previous years. It also allows us to address needs as they arise. The organization is governed by an eighteen member board of directors (one representative for each of the 18 counties served) elected from the membership. The board is advised by grant review panels made up of knowledgeable volunteer experts from the region. SMAC board members and panelists help spread the word about SMAC’s resources, advocate for the arts, and serve as a conduit of information from their counties to the SMAC office. SMAC has three full-time and one part-time staff positions.
SMAC’s 18 county service area includes Big Stone, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Meeker, McLeod, Murray, Pipestone, Nobles, Redwood, Renville, Rock, Swift and Yellow Medicine counties. The SMAC region is the second largest regional arts council covering 12,066 square miles in the southwest corner of the state, bordering Iowa on the south and South Dakota on the west. The 2010 total population of the region was 282,681. The largest towns are Willmar (pop. 19,610), Hutchinson (14,178), Marshall (13,680) and Worthington (12,764). Medium size towns include Litchfield (6726), Glencoe (5,631), Montevideo (5,383) and Redwood Falls (5,226), Windom (4,646) and Pipestone (4,317). Of 151 towns 138 have a population of less than 3,000. 73% are smaller than 1,000; 58% are smaller than 500. The Upper Sioux (pop. 982) and Lower Sioux (pop. 453) reservations reside within our region. Ethnic diversity is increasing in our region. 37.8% of Worthington’s residents are nonwhite. 35% of Walnut Grove (pop. 871) is Asian and 28% of Milan (pop. 369) is Micronesian. 13% of Willmar is nonwhite. Much of the region’s business is agriculture based. Health care institutions and schools are the largest employers in most of the region.
The Southwest Minnesota Arts Council (SMAC) is a non-profit organization committed to supporting the development and diversity of the arts in the eighteen county region of southwest Minnesota (Big Stone, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, Rock, Swift and Yellow Medicine counties) through work designed to increase access to the arts. SMAC achieves its mission in three ways:
- As a grant maker for arts activities initiated by individual artists, and organizations and government entities within the 18 county region,
- as a source of non-grant programs and training services, and
- as an advocate for the arts.
Funding from the Minnesota Legislature, the Arts and Cultural Heritage Funds of Minnesota and the McKnight Foundation are the primary sources of SMAC funds. Additional funding comes from membership contributions to SMAC from individuals, businesses, organizations, schools, cities and counties.