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Community Foundation invests nearly $260,000 in local arts organizations

Funding for 14 groups will support arts education and experiences to enhance quality of life in this region

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Becca Baumbach is the executive director of the Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Region
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GRAND FORKS – The Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Region has awarded nearly $260,000 in grant funding to 14 local organizations through the 2022 Arts Regrant Program, the executive director, Becca Baumbach, has announced.

The foundation administers the program, which offers financial support for local arts and culture organizations that educate, entertain and inspire the community with their creative vision, Baumbach said in a news release.

This year’s grant program consisted of funding from two sources: the National Endowment for the Arts, which provided $135,000 through the American Rescue Plan to help the arts and cultural sector recover from the pandemic, and the city of Grand Forks, which has invested $122,999.94 to support nonprofit arts- and culture-based organizations with principal operations, Baumbach said.

The organizations that have received funding through the Arts Regrant Program are: Arts for Vets, ArtWise, Empire Arts Center, Grand Cities Children’s Choir, Grand Forks Chorales, Greater Grand Forks Community Theatre, Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, North Dakota-Manitoba Met Opera Auditions, North Dakota Ballet Company, North Dakota Museum of Art, North Dakota Shakespeare Festival, Northern Valley Youth Orchestras, Summer Performing Arts Company and UND Writers Conference.

“The Arts Regrant Program works diligently to support programs that offer low-cost educational and artistic experiences to Grand Forks families, to increase access for both artists and diverse audiences, and to encourage the growth of our community’s creative and cultural sectors,” Baumbach said.

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The program’s investments “have created ripples of hope across the community, especially given that the arts sector was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic,” she said. Leaders of arts organizations “had to think critically and creatively to survive, and many are rebuilding capacity as audiences have begun to return.”

In their grant application, representatives of ArtWise, an organization that saw dramatic change in their funding levels from 2020 to 2022, said receiving Arts Regrant funding allowed them to restructure their programming and open a new facility in the Columbia Mall, taking on gallery shows and educational opportunities to support local artists and families, Baumbach said.

The North Dakota Ballet Company’s executive director, Laura Arneson, also emphasized the positive impact of the arts both during the pandemic and as restrictions continue to life.

“The positive influence of our programming over the past two years has been most prominent on our artists as these uncertain times have created increased isolation and depression. It was important for the North Dakota Ballet Company to continue to provide this outlet for our dancers, as well as encourage the community as they ease back into in-person experiences.”

With the return to some normalcy and the availability of additional funding, many applicants to the Arts Regrant Program shared their enthusiasm to return to pre-pandemic audience numbers while implementing the lessons learned and the new ideas generated over the past two years, Baumbach said.

“The Arts Regrant Program supports so much of the quality of life we enjoy in Grand Forks,” she said. “From artists receiving professional opportunities, to children thriving because of creative outlets, to audiences and visitors supporting our economy, this grant program has a huge impact.”

Over the next 12 months, it is projected that grantees will offer opportunities to 6,440 professional artists and aspiring creatives and will welcome more than 60,800 visitors and audience members to their facilities, Baumbach said.

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Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at pknudson@gfherald.com or (701) 780-1107.
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