Lanesboro Arts Campus

Lanesboro Arts

Funding Received: 2013
Lanesboro, MN
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
December 20, 2013

Students working on holiday decorations in the St. Mane Theatre, which will be renovated to include a new studio space for classes and artists in residence

As 2013 comes to an end, we are busy planning a number of community engagement events to help shape the vision of the Lanesboro Arts Campus. Just like every part of the project—from budgets to art making to publicity—community engagement has to be strategic and well planned. We've had several meetings with local stakeholders throughout the conceptualization process, and many private conversations too, all of which have informed our artists' approach to creating concepts for the public spaces.

Before we all sit down to eat our holiday feasts, we will have carried out a community meeting in which preliminary concepts for the Poetry Parking Lot, Gateway Sculpture Park, and Wayfinding System were presented to a group of community leaders and resident stakeholders. We will also carry out an in-school workshop with every student in the Lanesboro Public School district to hear their voices and get their ideas for the future of their hometown. This will be a very exciting time for all involved, because from this outreach we hope to take away valuable insight from our constituents and begin the final plans for the public space transformation.

Recent Wins
1) Our lead sculpture artist and native Lanesboro resident Karl Unnasch recently gained national recognition for his "Playtime Jubilee" Christmas tree sculpture in Silver Spring, Maryland (click here for information and images).

2) We recently gave a presentation to the Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce’s retail group, which resulted in a number of meaningful conversations about the sustainability of the business district and how the Lanesboro Arts Campus can support their work. Projects for exterior business improvements as well as recruiting new businesses are becoming more and more important to Lanesboro business owners.

3) We finalized plans for the St. Mane Theatre and Artist Residency Center, with construction to start soon.

As we like to joke in our office, "the art is the easy part." With community projects like ours, our work must meet the criteria of a wide range of people—from the Department of Natural Resources to the city park board to the baseball team. Gaining buy-in from civic leaders and local residents, and working continuously to connect the community to our project consultants and artists, has proved to be a long but fruitful process. We want our entire community to feel invested in this project, and like their hands have created it.