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Arts Center offers new programming to bring more people in

The Arts Center offers programming for children and adults.

The Arts Center mindy 021722.jpg
Mindi Schmitz, executive director of The Arts Center, sits in the classroom where children work on lessons. Children's programming includes classes after school during the school year and summer camps.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun
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In the three years that Mindi Schmitz, executive director of The Arts Center , has led the nonprofit, her work has not only mattered professionally but personally as well.

“I never turn down a chance to speak to a group about The Arts Center,” she said. “Or talk to people about supporting The Arts Center. It’s a passion of mine. I think it’s important to the community, and my philosophy is to try and make my community the best place it can be for me and my family, and I think The Arts Center is part of that. So it’s an easy story to tell.”

The Arts Center offers a range of programming experiences. That includes an art gallery, pottery studio, adult and family classes, youth art programs, community theater, the Downtown Arts Market and the Art for Life program with Ave Maria and the Heritage Centre.

“You couldn’t get the things we offer anywhere else in town,” Schmitz said. “We just have such a variety of programming. Our audiences range from every age to every social demographic to economic demographic and everything. The arts just has no limits.”

New programming

Schmitz said her goal is to get more people to come to The Arts Center.

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“And so one of the things that we’re doing now is that in conjunction with (the) opening of an art exhibit, we have what we call Perfectly Paired, which is wine and cheese,” she said. “For folks to come, you have to buy a ticket and then you learn about wine and cheese pairings and then we also invite the artists to come and talk about their art and their inspiration for their art, and that’s been great. This is our second season and those are sold out, too.”

The art gallery seeks out the work of high-quality artists and is a draw for residents and visitors alike, she said. There’s no admission charge to view the exhibits.

“Every five to six weeks, that exhibit changes,” Schmitz said.

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Paul Noots' artwork, "For the good of water," was among art pieces on exhibit at The Arts Center's gallery in February.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

Schmitz said The Arts Center is also starting to offer different kinds of art classes for adults. One of those recent classes was a charcuterie board class, held twice with the maximum number of participants.

You couldn’t get the things we offer anywhere else in town.
Mindi Schmitz, executive director, The Arts Center

Pottery is also being offered on a regular basis.

Children’s programming

Schmitz said about 15 kids take part in each Arts After School Program session, which runs for two to three weeks through the school year for students in grades 3-6.

“We have consistently full Arts After School classes and we use local artists,” she said. “We even have an artist that teaches via Zoom from Maine so kids get professional art classes after school.”

Topics for the sessions range from color theory to paper mache to hand-building ceramics to creating robots, Schmitz said.

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Children's classes are offered at The Arts Center through the school year along with summer camps.
Contributed / The Arts Center

“One thing that’s kind of fun is the University of Jamestown approached us and we’re going to do a class … (a) Jimmy Wonka class where the UJ folks are going to come in here and work with our Arts After School kids to create decorations for their Dine and Bid,” she said.

The Arts Center I will glow like a bison Dakota Noot 021722.jpg
"I will glow like a bison," created by Dakota Noot, was part of a featured exhibit recently at The Arts Center in Jamestown. Art exhibits are changed out every five to six weeks, says Mindi Schmitz, executive director. Admission to the gallery is free.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

Tara Kapp, director of development for the Booster Club and annual giving at the University of Jamestown, said she brought the idea of The Arts Center helping with decorations for the Dine and Bid to the committee working on the event. The committee liked the idea.

“I think in Jamestown alone, partnerships are big,” Kapp said. “We’re a small community and it’s always great to work with other organizations and the university certainly likes to do that as well.”

The children helping with that project will feel great pride in knowing they are helping with that event, Schmitz said.

“We were excited that they’re going to be able to help us with some fun stuff that people will be able to see at Dine and Bid,” Kapp said.

Another program that is offered for children is the Artist in Residence Program. The Arts Center contracts with Jamestown Public Schools to provide an arts education teacher in the elementary schools. That artist also works with students at St. John’s Academy, and the program expanded this year to include Pingree-Buchanan Public School students as well. This year, Linda Roesch is teaching those classes.

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“It’s providing those students with quality art education that a lot of time teachers don’t have the time to do,” Schmitz said. “And they’re getting quality art education from an artist.”

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A few pieces of abstract art by Gackle, N.D., native Matthew Anderson are on display at The Arts Center in downtown Jamestown.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

Recent fundraising events, The Arts Center’s gala along with Giving Hearts Day, surpassed the center’s fundraising goals. Those goals are key to the nonprofit providing programming, helping to offset the costs for the Arts After School Program as well as summer camps and operations.

“Our Arts After School (program), it’s very low tuition because we do a lot of fundraising for scholarships,” she said. “And that provides low tuition and transportation from school and to home if they live in town.”

The Arts Center also relies on membership for a “significant portion” of its funding, she said.

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The Arts Center

115 2nd St. SW

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

Kathy Steiner has been the editor of The Jamestown Sun since 1995. She graduated from Valley City State College with a bachelor's degree in English and studied mass communications at North Dakota State University, Fargo. She reports on business, government and community topics in the Jamestown area. Reach her at 701-952-8449 or ksteiner@jamestownsun.com.
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