Lake Region Arts Council (LRAC), located in downtown Fergus Falls, has faced the challenges of COVID-19 with a creative flair that is becoming increasingly common in order to keep businesses running as smoothly as possible.
The staff at LRAC has been operating in a different capacity since March 2020, moving their work to home offices as opposed to being primarily onsite. Maxine Adams, executive director of LRAC, has been working in the downtown office at least once a week while her teammates come in either once weekly or monthly. The transition to working from home presented challenges in keeping the gallery open, so the decision was made to close the gallery to the public on March 16, 2020.
“We are hanging in there and waiting to see when and how to come back. The whole world has changed since last March,” shared Adams. “We’re holding that space at the moment and looking at opportunities for it. It may come back a little differently.”
One thing that has not changed with the gallery is its hosting of the Section 8A High School Art Competition Exhibit, which will take place in March 2021. “We love that exhibit! It is so exciting to see what these teenagers have produced,” exclaimed Adams, explaining that while the exhibit will take place as usual, viewing options will be different. LRAC will create a video exhibit, which will be posted on its Facebook page. The exhibit itself will not be open to the public, though looking through the windows is encouraged.
An important item to note is that grant programs are operating quid pro quo. As the largest art funder in the region, LRAC will soon be awarding over $100,000 in grants to artists and art organizations and are in the process of having conversations regarding how they can best support recipients during this time, providing as much flexibility as they are able.
Remote work, board meetings and grant reviews have all been conducted virtually since last March, and LRAC will continue to hold virtual gatherings through the end of June 2021, at the earliest.