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Merger is official: Cornucopia Art Center & Lanesboro Art Council become Lanesboro Arts Center

Mon, Feb 15th, 2010
Posted in Arts & Culture

As of January 1, 2010, the merger of the Cornucopia Art Center and the Lanesboro Art Council is official, creating the newly named Lanesboro Arts Center. Governed by a board of directors made up of representatives from both organizations, the Lanesboro Arts Center will encompass the galleries at 103 Parkway Ave. N. and the St. Mane Theatre building at 206 Parkway Ave. N. in Lanesboro, Minn. The mission of the new, nonprofit organization was created by combining mission statements of the CAC and LAC: The Lanesboro Arts Center serves as a regional catalyst for artistic excellence and educational development in providing diverse art experiences for people of all ages. Year-round arts programming will continue to be a priority.

Executive Director John Davis has been working with staff and board to ensure a smooth transition. "It is exciting to see the merger being finalized and moving into 2010 as the Lanesboro Arts Center," he said. "This process involved two years of joint committee meetings, strategic planning and transition facilitation by both organizations. In these challenging economic times, this merger will help provide the region with greater access to arts programming, increased capacity for developing partnerships and marketing opportunities, as well as helping to streamline operations by more efficiently utilizing staff, volunteers and available resources."

The Lanesboro Arts Center will continue to provide the quality arts programming for which both organizations have produced: Juried Sales Galleries featuring work by 75+ regional artists, exhibition gallery featuring six shows each year, annual Art in the Park Father's Day celebration, St. Mane Theatre events including music, film, literary, improv, and community theater / high school theater; Kids Create family art projects, gallery tours and artist demonstrations, workshops, Lanesboro Residency Program, Picture Parade elementary school program, culinary arts special events, and the Explore Lanesboro Discover Sculpture medallion walking tour.

The Lanesboro Arts Center is thriving. Last year the Juried Sales and Exhibition galleries had a record year with over $135,000 in sales, and the St. Mane Theatre ended the 2009 season with a full house for Dan Chouinard's Holiday Sing-Along. The St. Mane Theatre, a longtime community asset, is benefiting from funds raised at the Sing-Along. Facility manager Bill Swanson said, "We've started renovation of the building beginning with painting and redecorating the lobby and cleaning all the carpets and theater seats. Next on the list is a reorganization of the sound system, all to provide a quality community resource for Lanesboro arts programming."

The two organizations each have a long history of programming in Lanesboro; the Lanesboro Art Council was formed in 1981, and the Cornucopia Art Center in 1994. For many years, the two organizations maintained a strong working relationship, with community projects and collaborative programming at the St. Mane Theatre, including the Livingston Taylor concert, the Garrison Keillor film documentary, and the Cultural Experience: Ojibwe events. In the summer of 2008, the boards of directors and staff of both the Cornucopia Art Center and the Lanesboro Art Council held a facilitated retreat to explore further a partnership between the two organizations. In December 2008, both boards of directors voted approval of the merger in principle. In March 2009, membership of both organizations at their annual meetings voted unanimously to merge, with a vision of 'a single, new, combined arts organization to be named the Lanesboro Arts Center.' Between March and December 2009, board and staff have worked with organizational merger professionals at Leadership Tactics consulting firm (Minnetonka) and MAP for Nonprofits (St. Paul) to complete the organizational merger process.

Upcoming Lanesboro Arts Center events include: The Juried High School show in the galleries through Jan. 30; Five Documentary Films at the St. Mane Theatre Friday-Sunday, Jan. 29-31; Reading by Artist in Residence Sarah Stonich and Writers' Discussion Round-table on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 7:00 p.m. at the galleries; and Exhibit Opening Reception in the galleries with ceramic artist Robin Murphy on Saturday, Feb. 6, 6-8 p.m. Gallery events are free admission. Tickets for the documentary films: 5-Film Pass for $20 / $15 members, or single tickets $5 / $4 members.

For more information, contact John Davis at Lanesboro Arts Center, 507-467-2446 /

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