2017-18 Minnesota Peer Learning Community

Leveraging Creativity in Community through integrated and placed-based community development

In partnership with Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, Arts Midwest is providing a 2017-18 learning experience for twelve Minnesota communities. Communities will bring teams comprised of representatives from across sectors, anchored by their nonprofit arts council, community gathering center serving the arts, or public arts commission—the organization serving as an arts anchor within their rural geographic community or region. This cohort, offered by ArtsLab, a core program of Arts Midwest, focuses on the growing importance of arts and culture as key drivers in building a rural America that can flourish.

Virtual Office for Participants:

Please click here to enter the Virtual Office

Course Description:

Over the course of four weekend retreats, participants will explore key questions relevant to their common community development needs. The program will invite the cross-fertilization of ideas among participants, and will feature guest thought leaders in the field, assignments, and virtual workshops between retreats. Learning within practice, participants will create new habits, deepen relationships, and identify strategic goals for immediate application. Teams will create a brief document outlining major priorities, objectives, and steps towards implementation.

  •  What is the confluence in my community among arts and culture, community, and civic life?
  •  What is the impact of arts and culture on the economy and quality of life of our community?
  •  Can we find a common vision, common cause, and common language for a collective community future?
  •  What is our path into the future that engages the broader community?
  •  How can we accomplish our goals and nurture our vision toward reality? What is our best business strategy?

Program Components:

This peer learning community will include retreats, virtual workshops, and mentorship. 1-2 nights of overnight stay is expected with each retreat.

Retreat Dates:

  • September 17-18, Sunday, 1-9 p.m.–Monday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Koinonia Retreat Center, Annandale, MN (lodging provided)
  • November 10-11, Friday 1-9 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Hopkins Center for the Arts, Hopkins, MN (hotel provided)
  • January 12-13, Friday 1-9 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Richardson Nature Center, Bloomington, MN (hotel provided)
  • March 9-11, Friday 1 p.m.–Sunday 1 p.m., Arrowwood Resort, Alexandria, MN (hotel provided)


Contact Sharon Rodning Bash ([email protected]) or Erin Brueggemann ([email protected]) at 612.341.0755 with any questions about the program.


This peer learning community is made possible through the generous support of the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council and our current programmatic funders.