EDITORIAL: Arts New Carnegie plan advances engagement

·2 min read

Aug. 3—Art is for everyone. Young, old, rich, poor. And a new plan to re-energize the Carnegie Arts Center aims to bring that idea to fruition.

A new board of directors will be leading the way after the art center had a long hiatus due to COVID concerns. Exhibits have been scheduled a year out, and the new board will focus on raising community engagement, upgrading its website and establishing partnerships with other groups.

The art center recently partnered with Cultivate Mankato child care center to display art by the children along with constructing a life-size "Giving Tree" in the exhibit space.

The board, which includes longtime artists as well as businesspeople, is looking to raise the profile of the center housed in the historic building constructed through a Carnegie foundation grant in 1901. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980. The board also will seek a new director to replace longtime director Hope Cook who died earlier this year.

The Carnegie building is a Mankato landmark and worthy to be the center of Mankato arts activity. The Arts Center of St. Peter has developed into an important center of arts programming and community engagement, and Executive Director Ann Rosenquist Fee has been working with the Mankato group. The groups are likely to collaborate as a way to boost exposure of regional arts.

Art centers can be significant community amenities and economic engines that draw people locally and from outside the area.

A 2016 study called Creative Minnesota showed the nonprofit arts and culture sector of the regional economy created $13.6 million in total economic impact, and some 89 arts organizations supported 348 full-time jobs in the nine county area around Mankato.

And 358,000 people attend nonprofit arts and cultural events annually in the area that includes Mankato, New Ulm, St. Peter and Waseca.

The revamping of the Carnegie Arts Center as a cultural meeting place in Mankato is an exciting development in the local arts scene and worthy of community support.