The Lanesboro Arts Campus is an economic and community development initiative based on the belief that the arts have the power to transform spaces and define communities.
What is the Lanesboro Arts Campus?
The Lanesboro Arts Campus is a city-wide framework for arts-related investment, infrastructure and programming. The Lanesboro Arts Campus initiative was proposed by visionary rural arts advocate, and former Executive Director of Lanesboro Arts, John Davis. The intent is to integrate the arts into the fabric of the community, allowing Lanesboro to be the premier small town arts and culture destination in the Midwest. Based on the principles of creative placemaking, the Lanesboro Arts Campus contributes to a national model for utilizing the arts as an economic driver and as a tool for cultural sustainability. The Lanesboro Arts Campus includes parking areas, walkways, historic buildings, parks, and other public spaces in Lanesboro, MN, and serves as a laboratory for the public art strategies in a rural and historic town. In 2014, the Lanesboro City Council passed a resolution recognizing the entire town of Lanesboro as the Lanesboro Arts Campus. In 2017, the Lanesboro City Council passed a resolution of support for continued planning and promotion of the Lanesboro Arts Campus.
A Community for the Arts
Lanesboro Arts Campus has attracted new arts participants, new ideas, and new activities to Lanesboro, and has helped create a strong and inventive arts and civic culture. The City of Lanesboro’s 2007 strategic plan formalized this civic arts partnership by:
- recognizing “the growth of a strong arts community” as an asset vital to the community’s success;
- “encouraging the vitality of existing arts programming and seeking to develop new artistic venues;” and
- seeking to “implement improvements of infrastructure, and build upon Lanesboro’s walkability and friendly community spirit.”
Through the Lanesboro Arts Campus, Lanesboro Arts has helped to create a shared aesthetic and economic vision, a means to address civic challenges & opportunities and create social change. Civic partnerships enable the arts, with all their creativity, to foster and encourage community dialog. The dialog helps breaks down perceived barriers to change. Grassroots arts strategies provide opportunities to strengthen its roots, embrace its people and history, and find creative ways to change the stereotypical rural narrative and empower the community.
Arts and cultural elements, places, activities and events should strive to be:
- Engaging ̶ Interactive, participatory, stimulating, thoughtful, layered, and year-round.
- Fresh ̶ A mix of temporary and permanent art, physical and performance arts, public and private settings, changing/diverse content, media, and events.
- Local ̶ Art integrated into the fabric of the community, and the community into the arts by encouraging use of local and regional artists, local context-based themes and indigenous materials/forms, local history, people, institutions, schools, businesses, places, products, foods, activities, and stories.
- Natural ̶ Use of natural materials, nature themes, and forms.
- Memorable ̶ Unique, creative, innovative, experiential, distinctive, surprising, and authentic.
- Welcoming ̶ Attractive and inviting to all ages, creating a sense of place and identity.
- Sustainable ̶ Economically and environmentally sustainable, supportive of local business development, attractive to visitors and residents, partnership driven. Events should complement spaces/places and places/spaces should support events. Events should seek synergy with other activities to cross-market to diverse audiences. Events should be durable and low maintenance.
Arts Campus Goals
The Lanesboro Arts Campus will use the arts and creative placemaking to:
- Engage the community and its visitors in the arts
- Stimulate economic growth and improve quality of life
- Attract and retain visitors, residents, businesses, and investment
- Weave the arts into city infrastructure, create spaces for community interaction and construct artful, inviting venues for activities and events
- Expand opportunities for artist to create, display and market their work
- Build on existing assets
- Keep Lanesboro authentic and unique
Public Art Initiatives
- Discover Sculpture Explore Lanesboro walking tour
- Gateway Park
- Poetry Parking Lot
- Lanesboro Welcome Sign
- Surprise Sculpture
- Historic renovation of Lanesboro Arts’ gallery building facade
- The “Colors of Bluff Country” Community Mural
- Artist Residency Program