North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa Peer Learning Community – 2015

This cohort of 21 small and midsized arts organizations from Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota brought together 51 artists, administrators and board members from throughout the three states to explore together their common dreams and challenges.

Three-day retreats were held in the spring and fall of 2015—centrally located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  Between these retreats, monthly webinars were held as well as facilitated coaching work exploring their own “healthy” business model and crafting of a strategy roadmap.


Retreat sessions revolved around the ArtsLab healthy business model, exploring topics related to:

  • the development and nurture of relationships within the organization’s marketplace—response to the question, "Who are the people and groups for whom we are creating value?"
  • the development of artistic mission and programs in response to community—response to the question, "What value do we provide to our community?"
  • exploration of infrastructure and the ability to generate resources to meet the needs of the present without compromising the future.
  • probing leadership and governance culture, building a healthy staff/board culture to guide the organization.

Feedback from participants

Part of the reason ArtsLab is considering offering this series again in 2016-2017 is due to the highly positive response to the 2015 cohort.

Final evaluation comments included reflection on the value of board/staff team interaction—“This was such a powerful experience and will impact our organization to no end.  Having a board member with me was vital.” 

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