Detroit Lakes get creative: New City OKs commission to put arts and culture front and center – Detroit Lakes Tribune

Do you want to see more murals and other public art in the city? Are you passionate about creating local arts and music opportunities for all ages? Then it’s time to apply for membership in the new Detroit Lakes Arts and Culture Commission.

The idea for a local arts commission came from the executive director of the Historic Holmes Theater, Amy Stoller Stearns, who had participated in a grant-funded program called Art Lab a few years ago.

“One of the key things that came out of this program was to create a sort of local arts commission,” Stearns said, adding that this goal, like many others over the past two years, has been slowed by the restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said the idea behind the creation of this commission was to facilitate the inclusion of arts and cultural programming in the city’s future development projects.

Creating more public murals like this one on the north side of the Main Street restaurant in downtown Detroit Lakes will be one of the responsibilities of the new Arts and Culture Commission. (Nathan Bowe / Tribune)

The commission, which was officially created by action by the Detroit Lakes City Council on Tuesday, Jan. 11, will consist of nine members appointed by Mayor Matt Brenk and approved by the council.

“The mayor can appoint three people outside the city limits and six inside the city limits,” said city administrator Kelcey Klemm. Beyond this restriction, “it is open to anyone who wants to serve,” he added.

The intent, however, is that the membership body “reflect the diversity of the community and of the individuals involved in the arts community,” as stated in the new city ordinance establishing the commission.

Once upon a time.jpg

The “Once Upon a Time” sculpture commissioned by the Detroit Lakes Public Library and created by local sculptor and artist Hans Gilsdorf is another example of the type of public art projects that could be undertaken by the new Arts and Crafts Commission. the culture of the city. (File photo from the gallery)

How long will they serve?

For the first year of its existence, three members of the Arts Commission will be appointed for terms of three years, three to two years and three to one year. After that, all new appointments will be for three-year terms, beginning January 1 of the first year and ending December 31 of the third year.

As stated in the city ordinance, when a seat on the commission becomes vacant before the end of that person’s term, the mayor will appoint someone to fill the seat for the duration of that person’s term. Members who serve three successive terms will not be eligible for reappointment for three years, with one exception: members of the council who are appointed to represent the council on the commission may continue to hold that seat for as long as they continue to sit on the board. .

Objectives and responsibilities

As stated in the order, the purpose of the commission will be “to help Detroit Lakes become a community in which artistic and cultural activities…

  • Are recognized as essential elements of community life that deserve investment and support from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors;
  • Are valued and promoted for their economic benefits and development potential;
  • Represent the diverse cultural traditions of our region;
  • Promote the development of a wider range of collaborative opportunities between community artists and arts organizations;
  • Improve public perception of the Detroit Lakes identity and quality of life to distinguish Detroit Lakes as one of the best communities in which to live, work and visit. »

While there are no plans on the horizon for the new commission yet, Klemm said, “there are all kinds of ideas floating around.”
Some examples of these ideas, Klemm said, are to include some sort of public art in the Washington Park grandstand and baseball field renovation, and to decorate utility boxes around the city with artwork. .

“It’s really just a vehicle to promote artistic and cultural projects, whether physical installations or new programs,” he added, noting that the scope of the commission’s responsibilities will be ” wide enough”.

These responsibilities, as set out in the order, will include the following:

  • Develop, update and recommend to the Board a mission, program and strategic plan for arts and culture in Detroit Lakes;
  • Provide leadership for the implementation and completion of tasks and plans authorized by the City Council;
  • To leverage funding from individuals, corporations, foundations, nonprofits, and the city for arts and cultural activities;
  • Facilitate collaboration and joint planning between public and private organizations in connection with artistic and cultural events and activities;
  • Provide support in the planning, acquisition and/or development of land and facilities by the city, as needed to support arts and cultural activities and organizations;
  • At the request of the City Council, develop and advocate design standards for City facilities, infrastructure, public spaces and/or private amenities that represent a cohesive image of the Detroit Lakes as a place of identity unique aesthetic, architectural and cultural;
  • Plan and advocate for funding the Detroit Lakes public art installation that enhances the city’s appearance and artistic appeal;
  • Foster inclusive and cross-cultural activities to help build community.

Stearns noted that one of the commission’s first tasks would likely be to review the results of a recently completed community arts assessment and determine how best to implement and prioritize suggestions made by participants.
“We have the results of the community assessment that we did and we can use that as a kind of baseline,” she said, adding that the survey had provided “good, solid information, and we seek more”.

Anyone interested in applying for membership in the Arts and Culture Commission, or wanting more information about it, should contact City Clerk Glori French at [email protected] or call 218-847- 5658.

Aurora J. William