Since its inception as an arm of the Rural Development Commission in 1977, Lake Region Arts Council (LRAC) has been committed to providing access to quality arts opportunities and programming. In its early years, LRAC offered only one grant program. Over the years we have expanded to our current offerings of seven grant programs, a monthly newsletter, an online arts calendar, two art galleries, workshops and networking meetings, an artist registry, and technical assistance to arts organizations and artists.
Demographics of the Region
Lake Region Arts Council serves the nine counties of west central Minnesota: Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse and Wilkin. This area encompasses 8,073 square miles and has a total population of 221,688. The population density of 27.46 people per square mile characterizes the region as predominantly rural. The programs and services provided by LRAC are especially important to the area's smaller communities. Of eighty-three in the region, only three have a population over 10,000. Seventy- three (88%) have 2,000 or fewer residents.
LRAC is committed to providing access to quality arts events throughout the nine-county area, and supporting artists at all stages of their careers.
Trends that Impact the Region
- Residents of the region cope with the reality of geographical remoteness, which inhibits artists' opportunities to market their work. Other factors are adverse seasonal travel conditions, lack of public transportation and high travel costs.
- The region has a considerably lower family income than metropolitan areas. This impacts an artist's ability to provide for his or her family, and restricts the range of arts events that can be offered.
- There is a scarcity of corporate and foundational presence and consequently of potential sources of support within the region.
- The need for adequate performance and exhibit facilities continues.
When we invest in the arts, we are not supporting a frill or a luxury. The arts are the cornerstone of tourism and economic development. As an industry, the arts sustain jobs, generate government revenue and drive our creativity-based knowledge economy.
In the Lakes Region, the nonprofit arts organizations are a significant industry segment, generating $13.5 million in annual economic activity. This spending - $5.3 million by nonprofit arts organizations and an additional $8.2 million in event-related spending by arts audiences - supports about 450 jobs and delivers more than $1.6 million in government revenue.