Changes because of the Bush Prize:
The BP provided an opportunity for the Lanesboro Arts Center, now Lanesboro Arts (LA), to grow as an organization. LA began a creative placemaking initiative to reimagine the entire town as the Lanesboro Arts Campus (LAC) – the grant provided this initiative an opportunity to flourish and continue to grow. LA was able to increase visibility with people, creating more engagement with the organization. This prominence of media and marketing led to increased support from funders, organizational partnerships, new members, and volunteers. With the new buzz around the LAC, LA needed, and was able to, create cross-sectoral partnerships locally, regionally, & nationally. These partnerships helped build relationships with the Commonweal Theatre in Lanesboro, Art of the Rural in Winona, and the Smithsonian Institute in D.C. This was done through key staff hires & implementing new systems such as an efficient budget chart and an integrated work plan with goals for each staff member. LA was able to continue to be innovative with ideas that further the LAC mission. LA used the BP to shape capacity, the strategic goal of creating long-term sustainability for programs, HR & capital assets of LA.
Impact on your field:
The BP has helped LA immensely by showcasing a town of 754 people as a rural model for arts in America. This press led to increased local, regional, national, and international partnerships with LA, expanding cross-sector relationships and promoting the Lanesboro Arts Campus. The funding allowed staff members to share the innovative strategies LA uses to enrich the community. Executive Director John Davis spoke in New Brunswick, Canada at The 2015 Forum on the Arts and Rural Transformation, and at the 2016 Next Generation Rural Creative Placemaking Summit in Iowa City, Iowa. During both events, LA was nationally praised for being a catalyst for advancing solutions to weave the arts into the city infrastructure. Through the Prize, LA was able to network with other non-profits and arts communities. These connections afforded LA the change to see how other innovative organizations work. LA was selected by the Smithsonian Institution to host two ‘Museum on Main Street’ programs: the Water/Ways exhibit and the Youth Access Technology Project. These, and other, honors and opportunities would not have been possible without the exposure and recognition that was a direct result of the BP.
Leveraging the Bush Prize:
Lanesboro Arts is re-imagining the sustainability of rural towns by using the arts as a change agent and an economic driver. Utilizing an asset-based, collaborative strategy for gaining community acceptance and partnership, the Lanesboro Arts Campus project seeks to become an innovative national model for small towns around the country. The ultimate goal for the Lanesboro Arts Campus is to inspire, empower, and collaborate with others throughout the region and the country to build more inclusive, sustainable rural communities. In the future, Lanesboro Arts has goals to leverage Bush Prize funding to continue to build capacity and develop platforms for the dissemination of the Lanesboro Arts Campus history, goals, and model strategies. Sincere thanks and gratitude to the Bush Foundation, for the doors they’ve helped open and the new innovations their support has pollinated. Lasting change takes time and persistence. With the instrumental spark of the Bush Prize, Lanesboro Arts has cultivated a shared long-term vision that the organization will use to both leverage creative community solutions and incubate new innovations and ideas for the future.