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Come, learn about and celebrate the arts

Dayna Del Val. Photo courtesy Spotlight Media

The Arts Partnership operates on a fiscal year, making our year-end June 30th. That means the end of May is basically Thanksgiving with the busy holiday season right behind.

While no one is bringing cookies to the office every day and the weather outside is not frightful, these last two months of the fiscal year feel as hectic and busy as the final two months of the calendar year do for everyone else.

End of year financials must be wrapped up, the next budget must be set and approved, new board members must be recruited, staff evaluations must be completed and The State of the Arts must be planned and executed.

The State of the Arts is our annual opportunity to celebrate all things arts. It's our chance to reflect back on the year, to highlight the events, programs and leaders who made a difference in the arts and to award the City Arts Partnership grants to nonprofits making art.

But it's also our moment to challenge the community to do more with the arts, to engage more in the arts and to continue to discover the reciprocity that comes from supporting the arts.

This year, I had the amazing fortune to travel to more than 17 communities on a travel grant from the Consensus Council. Each conversation involved arts, business and economic leaders. Each community is uncovering the value of supporting the arts in different ways, and my takeaways from those conversations have been positively transformational in how I think about the work we do at The Arts Partnership.

For example, in the Quad Cities on the border between Iowa and Illinois, three major businesses created a separate foundation specifically designed to give significant general operating support to the six pillar arts organizations of the region. Quad Cities Cultural Trust has awarded more than $8 million in the 10 years of its existence. And they intend to do more.

In Des Moines, Iowa, and its surrounding communities, Bravo annually awards about 30 arts organizations $4 million, and that money comes from a portion of the lodging tax of all 16 communities in the region.

Kansas City, Mo., hosts an annual business and the arts luncheon to more than 1,200 business leaders. They come because they know that much of their ability to draw employees to the region is because of the culture they have, and they want to be involved in helping to create and support it.

Is any of this piquing your curiosity?

The Arts Partnership is hosting The State of the Arts at 7:30 a.m. June 12th North DAkota State University's downtown Barry Hall, 811 Second Ave. N.. Jodi Duncan, president of Flint Group, is our keynote speaker, and we will be giving arts awards to painter Emily Williams-Wheeler, Moorhead Mayor Del Rae Williams, Gate City Bank and West Acres. The event is sponsored by Bell Bank.

For more information and to get tickets, go here. We hope to see you there!

Dayna Del Val, president and CEO of The Arts Partnership, writes a monthly column for Life. For more information on the arts, go to