Arts summit Wednesday at M State [UPDATED]Published 9:13am Monday, June 6, 2011 Updated 12:15pm Monday, June 6, 2011
The arts organizations of Otter Tail County are gearing up and getting excited for the Rural Arts and Culture Summit, an arts gathering unprecedented in Fergus Falls.
The summit, which takes place this week from Wednesday through Saturday at M State, is a conference that will bring together art supporters, organizers and creators in Fergus Falls for three days of education, connection and enjoyment.
“My overarching goal is to get people together who an talk about shared (art and culture) experiences in rural communities,” said Rebecca Petersen, executive director for A Center for the Arts and one of the event organizers. She said that many rural communities often have a vibrant arts culture and don’t even realize it, forgetting that things like libraries, museums, church choirs and more can fall under that banner.
“All of those things are arts and culture,” she said.
While artists, organizers, or people who view the arts as a driver for economic development will have plenty to do at the summit, the organizers have also made sure that there is room for participants from all walks of life.
The summit will be anchored by three keynote speakers. Bill Cleveland, a long-time arts advocate, will speak about community building in relation to arts and culture. Anne Kaatz, executive director of Arts Wisconsin, will talk about how to speak out in favor of the arts, and Donna Walker-Kuhne, an acclaimed researcher on how to reach target audiences, will talk about how to make art events accessible and inviting to the public.
“They are some really fabulous keynote speakers that really get you thinking about things, not only about the arts but just about the culture we live in,” Petersen commented.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will end with concerts that are open to the public. On Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., guitarist Chuck Suchy will perform at A Center for the Arts; on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra will perform at A Center for the Arts; and on Friday at 8 p.m., the band Zeitgeist, along with humorist Kevin Kling, will perform a show at the James Mann Center for the Performing Arts in New York Mills (a bus will be provided from Fergus Falls). On Saturday, another bus heads to New York Mills for the New York Mills Cultural Center’s Great American Think-Off. Each event costs $12 in advance. Fergus Falls shows are $14 at the door, and New York Mills shows are $15 at the door.
“(People) should buy their tickets ahead of time to get a better price,” said Petersen, adding that some shows could sell out.
Besides the keynotes and the concerts, the summit will consist of several breakout sessions, consisting of everything from a film screening to a chance to create with an artist to talks on connecting with other arts organizers. There will also be bus tours to other arts organizations in surrounding communities.
Organizers are expecting about 200, a turnout they’re very happy with for a first-year event.
“A lot of (the attendees) are from Minnesota, but they’re from places all over,” said Petersen.
The price for the conference is $125 for those registering before Wednesday and $150 for those registering Wednesday or later. Petersen said it’s a bargain, as many similar conferences can cost $500 or more.
Petersen encouraged Fergus Falls residents to come out and participate in the discussions at the summit.
“When we talk about … culture in Midwest communities, the arts are at the core,” she said.
For more information, check out www.ruralartsandculturesummit.com.Tags: A Center for the Arts, New York Mills Regional Cultural Center, Rural Arts and Culture Summit