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The Creative Minnesota study was released on February 25 by East Central Minnesota Regional Arts Council and Minnesota Citizens for the Arts showing that, in addition to contributing to our state's quality of life, the nonprofit arts and culture sector is also a substantial economic factor in East Central Minnesota generating nearly $10 million dollars in total economic impact annually.

We have known for a long time that the arts and culture are important to East Central Minnesota. They enhance our quality of life, bring diverse communities together, and make our area a magnet for jobs and businesses. Mary Minnick-Daniels, Executive Director of the East Central Arts Council states, "The arts in East Central Minnesota have a deep influence on our quality of life! The arts have a measurable impact. When people attend or produce art or arts events, they spend money and support our local economies. In fact, artists here are often small business owners. The arts are truly a business that impacts all of East Central Minnesota. This study shows the impact of people engaged in arts events and art making which leads to vital economic growth and development. Not only do the arts play a critical role in stimulating creativity and in developing vital communities, they also are important for discovery, learning, and achievement."

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Local legislator Senator Tony Lourey of Kerrick was very impressed by the strength of the arts impact on local economies stating, "A thriving arts community makes a thriving town, a thriving region, and a thriving state. Every playwright, actor, potter, guitarist, jeweler, knitter, painter, carver, dancer - as well as every audience member, every customer, and every supplier - give and receive mutual benefits. The arts encourage both work and play, and they promote cultural and economic vitality for our East Central region and all Minnesota."

"There are many art opportunities in our region that add to the economic vitality," said Nancy Hoffman, Executive Director, Chisago County HRA-Economic Development Authority. "The arts attract people to the region that are purchasing art, eating in restaurants, and shopping at our local stores. One event that has a large impact on our local economy is the St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour. The tour consists of seven sites and 54 potters. It brings in thousands of people that are purchasing pottery as well as other local goods and services. Just as important as the economic impact is the culture and quality of life arts provide for the residents."

"The arts are a powerful agent of community change; what was once considered radical in Pine City now has its place in the plans and policies that serve our community," said Nathan Johnson, Community Development Director, City of Pine City. "A part of our pursuit is to enhance our emerging reputation as a small-town arts destination. What the arts do in Pine City is allow us to escape our small town, if but for a moment, without leaving home."

Jolene Foss, Community Development Director of the City of Princeton said, "Beautification, learning opportunities and hometown pride are just three of the uniquely beneficial qualities that can be seen and felt by incorporating the arts into our community...As we continue to foster a strong art presence, we know that this will in turn spur economic development and make this small town an "Art Destination."

Creative Minnesota was developed by a collaborative of arts and culture funders in partnership with Minnesota Citizens for the Arts (MCA). The research was made possible by the state's participation in the Cultural Data Project (CDP), a web-based data system utilized by arts and culture grant makers in thirteen states and the District of Columbia. Most of the CDP data is financial, though it includes information about services provided, numbers of participants, staffing, and volunteers as well. Data in this report was collected from 298 arts nonprofits reported to the CDP.

Additional information came from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Tourism Marketing Council, Explore Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Education, and others.

All of the research developed by the Creative Minnesota team is available at:

East Central Regional Arts Council would like to thank all the Region 7E organizations in East Central Minnesota that helped provide information for the Creative Minnesota study.

Those organizations include:

    • Audubon Center of the North Woods
    • Braham Pie Day
    • Cambridge Center for the Arts
    • Center City Opera Company
    • City of Milaca
    • City of Onamia
    • Depot Studios
    • East Central Minnesota Chorale
    • Elim Oasis Adult Day Health Center
    • Franconia Sculpture Park
    • Isanti County Historical Society
    • Kanabec County Art Association
    • Kanabec History Center
    • Milaca Area Historical Society
    • Milaca Fine Arts Council
    • Mora Comprehensive Arts Planning Program (CAPP)
    • Mora Vasaloppet
    • Northern Exposures Photography Club
    • Old School Arts Center
    • Onamia Area Friends of the Library
    • Onamia Community Education
    • Paradise Community Theatre
    • District 911 Community Education/Performing Arts Committee
    • Pine Center for the Arts
    • Pine City Arts Council
    • Princeton Area Visionary Committee
    • St Croix Valley Potters Tour
    • We-R-Able/St. Croix Regional Education District
    • Wyoming Area Creative Arts Community



East Central Regional Arts CouncilThe East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) is a Minnesota Regional Arts Council. The mission of ECRAC is to increase the arts and this is done primarily through the funding of grants to artists and also to organizations that sponsor arts activities.

This activity is made possible with funds provided by The McKnight Foundation and also thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.