Arts Midwest is the leading regional arts organization in the nation funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, private foundations and individuals. The agency's programs not only have a positive impact on the member nine state region but expand throughout the entire nation with projects like The Big Read and Shakespeare in American Communities. I am delighted to serve on the board of this outstanding organization with an impressive and hard working staff. It's a great nonprofit headquarter in Minneapolis.
Arts Midwest is the nation's finest regional arts organization funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, nine member state arts agencies and private funds. As the former director of the SD Arts Council, the most unique aspect of Arts Midwest programming is the wealth of expeceptional talent it helps to tour to rural areas of the Midwest. It's World Fest program tours outstanding performers from foreign cultures in multi-day residency situations.In many cases, audiences experience unique, global performing arts that they otherwise would never have the opportunity to see. Supporting Arts Midwest is highly encouraged.
Top Notch Professionals at Arts Midwest were assigned to The Big Read, and for that we are most grateful. They made the grant experience understandable, and of the greatest value possible for our community.
As the development officer for a library district in New York State, I have worked with Arts Midwest for four years in connection with The Big Read. I have been extremely impressed by the level of expertise demonstrated by their staff and also very appreciative of their friendliness, patience and willingness to do all they can to support a client organization such as ours.
I had the pleasure of working with Arts Midwest on The Big Read 2009. I serve as the public information officer for the Poughkeepsie Public Library District and it was my first experience with The Big Read so I definitely had a lot of questions and concerns. I found that Christine, Birdie, Angharad and the entire Arts Midwest staff to be extremely helpful and responsive. I was very impressed with how smoothly the initial Big Read Orientation event went, as there were close to 1,000 people in attendance, and it became obvious from the way we were greeted at the airport to the time we departed that a "well-oiled machine" was running the show. Their obvious enthusiasm for promoting literature through community involvement is contagious, and there was never a question too obvious or a concern too small for them, they were a wonderful partner in what turned out to be an unforgettable experience for me and the community I serve.
Arts Midwest is an outstanding organization. I have been engaged in numerous ways-- and have been personally and professionally enriched at every intersection with both their programs and their staff. Arts Midwest has given me industry connections that allowed a job transition across state lines (from Nebraska to Minnesota)to be much easier. I'm grateful for Arts Midwest and all it's programs and membership activities.
Arts Midwest provides many services to audiences, arts organizations and artists, through programs such as Arts Midwest World Fest, the Performing Arts Fund, the Midwest Arts Conference, The Big Read, the Arts Learning Exchange and many others. Services vary among programs and may include providing educational support to teachers and students; supporting arts services organizational staff through professional development; providing opportunities for regional arts and artists to step beyond where they are today. Most important is the collaborative leadership role taken by each member of the extraordinary staff at Arts Midwest in approaching their constituents, their work and new challenges. As Executive Director, David Fraher brings vision, creativity and compassion to his work and always thinks beyond...even when the next step is to confront the impact of today's economics on state arts agencies. "Beyond" keeps the focus on the new opportunities for the arts, artists and audiences. I have experienced Arts Midwest as an employee, a retiree, a volunteer and now, as a member of the board.
I was asked to join this board a few years ago. I am very inspired by this organization and what they have done for the Arts in a nine state region. I have been very impressed by the professionalism of each and every staff member. They are small in numbers but mighty in delivering great services and programs to many artists and art organizations.
We are a grantee under the Shakespeare for a New Generation program. I have found Arts Midwest responsvie, friendly, interested in all program results-not just the rave reviews. Reminders are friendly, materials very professional and timely.
We have benefitted great from Arts Midwest and their work with the Performing Arts Fund and with The Big Read Program. We have been a part of the Big Read program for four years in a row. We're hoping for a fifth.
I found out about Arts Midwest because of their annual conference. What a beautiful thing! - both the conference and my serendipitous discovery of it. It seems like an oxymoron, but Arts Midwest has this arts conference thing down to a science. They are efficient and organized. They listen to feedback and adjust as (or if) appropriate. Being my first arts conference experience, they spoiled me. Subsequent conferences hosted by similar organizations have not met the benchmarks set by Arts Midwest in terms of organization, information sharing, caliber of participants, etc. By their cooperation with and connection to both artists and presenters, I can only guess at the thousands of dollars saved by communities throughout their nine-state region. With Arts Midwest as the catalyst, fine and performing arts centers in communities large and small can bring the highest caliber of talent to their audiences. This is accomplished perhaps most immediately through the funding programs made available through AM. Also important, though less direct, are the educational workshops, seminars and round-table discussions at the conference. AM invests in career development for those willing souls who work at keeping the arts alive for the rest of the community. And then, by the showcases at the annual conference, they allow presenters to catch a 15-minute live audition by some amazingly talented artists which they might otherwise never get to see. Sure, they receive press kits all the time, and they might occasionally make a talent scouting trip to some other venue to assess one performer or performance. But the Midwest Arts Conference lets them scout dozens of performers in one extended trip. These are just the obvious strengths of Arts Midwest's annual conference. I haven't even begun to mine the wealth of knowledge and cooperative spirit that I'm sure they bring to all their other programs. I'm sure that it takes a substantial budget to maintain the programs and to retain the knowledgeable staff. But when I think of how they help the community theaters and restored opera houses and other shoestring budget places bring world-class talent to their stages, I know that the world is getting a bargain in the Arts Midwest states. Please support Arts Midwest with whatever time, effort, funding or skill you can, because especially in times like these, "the show MUST go on."