North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa Peer Learning Community

Facilitated by Arts Midwest, this seven-month peer learning community will explore concepts found within ArtsLab's healthy business model, including relevancy within community, leadership development, financial and resource development, and organizational infrastructure.  Participants will receive a toolkit for use in continuing the learning within their local community and will create: a focused strategy roadmap with the flexibility to adapt to change, and a compelling story of vision, values and clarity of identity to invite engagement and support.

Similar to a 2015 version of this program, this program aims to develop local networks by inviting back some program alumni and extending the opportunity to new organizations.  

Application process

The application deadline has passed, and the three state arts agencies are reaching out to organizations to notify them of their selection status.  For questions about the application process, please contact your state arts agency staff person below:

Rebecca Cruse, South Dakota Arts Council,
Amy Schmidt, North Dakota Arts Council
Jennie Knoebel, Iowa Arts Council

Questions about the program can be addressed to Erin Brueggemann at Arts Midwest: [email protected] or 612-238-8006.

March 1, 2017: Application deadline at 5 p.m. (CST). (South Dakota applications are due March 6)
March 9, 2017: Arts Midwest will contact invited participants with a request to RSVP to attend the retreats.
March 20, 2017: Deadline for selected applicants to confirm their participation and RSVP for the April 26 retreat.

Save the dates!

Two 2.5-day retreats will be held in the spring and fall of 2017—centrally located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  Participants will learn from their teammates, their peers, and ArtsLab's curriculum team as they dig deep to build capacity.

  • Opening retreat:   Thursday, April 27, 2017 (1:00 pm) through Saturday, April 29, 2017 (5:00 pm), Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • Final retreat:   Either Thursday, October 26 (1:00 p.m.) through Saturday, October 28, 2017 (5:00 p.m.), Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Between these retreats, monthly virtual workshops, and facilitated coaching will assist the development of strategy roadmap and identity statements, and will provide technical assistance in areas listed below.  These virtual workshops will take place the 2nd Tuesday of each month from noon - 1 p.m. CST.

  • Operating reserves
  • Dashboards reports and data
  • Building better boards
  • Governance and leadership structures and roles
  • Fundraising
  • Strategies for sustainability

Cost of participation

Registration, meals, and double occupancy rooms are provided, thanks to support from your state arts agency and Arts Midwest (the full program value is $2,500 per person). Private rooms or other travel expenditures may be covered —contact your state arts agency for more information. 

Feedback from participants

ArtsLab and the three state arts agencies offer this series again in 2017 due to highly positive responses to the 2015 cohort.

“This was such a powerful experience and will impact our organization to no end.  Having a board member with me was vital.” 

“I love how all the sessions interweave. I am leaving feeling like it is do-able to combine bits and pieces together.”

Who is eligible to participate?

To be eligible for this opportunity, organizations must meet the following updated criteria:

  1. Is nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt with arts and culture as primary mission;
  2. Is located in and serves Iowa, North Dakota or South Dakota;
  3. Has actively provided arts programming for three or more consecutive years;
  4. Has qualifying expenses of between $20,000 and $400,000 per year (averaged over last two completed fiscal years); (exceptions may apply to this limit, speak with your State Arts Council contact)
  5. Has at least one paid, professional, administrative staff person in a contract or salaried position (could be full or part time, preferred, while there may be exceptions to this criterion)
  6. Has a team committed to full participation in the program, including two 2.5 day retreats, several virtual workshops, and homework in-between sessions (could include administrative or artistic staff, board members, very active volunteers, etc.);
  7. Has not participated in ArtsLab previously (unless there has been a significant change leadership).

For any exceptions to these criteria, please reach out to your State Arts Agency staff.

Additionally, organizations that are seeking ways to be relevant to their community and to develop a resilient plan for capacity development are encouraged to apply.