EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. — The East Grand Forks Arts & Crafts Council has held an annual crafts festival to raise scholarship money for nearly 50 years, but the future of the organization is uncertain.
The arts council puts on a show that brings 5,000 people to the Grand Forks area each fall, but in the face of a retiring board and dwindling funds, the organization and the scholarship it funds could soon disappear. Presently, the council has only two people left to manage more than 100 vendors.
Its leadership is making a plea for help, asking the community it serves to become involved and volunteer to keep the scholarship and festival alive. The council is holding a meeting at East Grand Forks' Sacred Heart Church Social Hall Monday night, Jan. 21 in a last push to get more members.
"It's kind of our D-Day," said board member Lorraine O’Shea. "If we don't get enough members who will commit to the council, at least for the next several years, then we are going to disband."
The council has raised more than half a million dollars in the last 46 years, and most of it goes to college sophomores studying the arts or art education.
In the past, the council has also helped music students buy instruments.
Many of the board members are retired and want to stop volunteering. Only three members remain.
"We're looking for not just people to show up at our meeting ... but to commit to helping with the show for the next several years," O’Shea said.
They need at least a dozen members to stay in business.
If the council cant find enough people to commit, it will donate remaining money until it runs out of funds and will cancel the craft show.
"It's a big loss to the community," said O’Shea.