Lanesboro Arts Center
Arts-filled Lanesboro Even Has Poetry in its Parking Lots
Throughout its 30+ year history, Lanesboro Arts has woven the arts into the fabric of the community by building a vast network of artists and community partnerships. Layers of impact start to compound on each other, building a deeper sense of cultural identity for residents and creating more opportunities for the artists that make this region of southeast Minnesota so incredible.
In 2014, Lanesboro Arts partnered with the City of Lanesboro to create the Poetry Parking Lot, a destination parking lot with regional haiku replacing traditional “park here” signs. By placing art in an underutilized municipal parking lot and connecting it to downtown via walking paths, the partnership addressed the community challenge of limited downtown parking and improved pedestrian safety.
One poem selected for publication in the Poetry Parking Lot was by local teacher JoAnne Agrimson. After participating in the celebration for the project and getting to know Lanesboro Arts staff, she reconnected with the organization last January to bring the organization’s current artist-in-resident Michael Lee (a spoken word artist from Minneapolis) to work with her 7th grade students —demonstrating how access to arts opportunities in a small town can be a powerful tool in community building and connecting diverse groups of people.
Lanesboro Arts has been fulfilling its mission to serve as a regional catalyst for artistic excellence and educational development in providing diverse art experiences for people of all ages since its founding in 1980. Programming ranges from performing arts at the St. Mane Theatre, to visual arts at the gallery, to public art education programs, and, most recently, to a community and economic development initiative called the Lanesboro Arts Campus which aims to make Lanesboro (pop. 754) a more vibrant, livable place.