On Thursday, July 18, 2019, Twin Rivers Council for the Arts announced at its annual meeting that it will be transitioning its office from the Emy Frentz Arts Guild to the Hubbard Building at 424 N Riverfront Drive, Mankato in October of 2019. In an effort to use funds more efficiently and shift staff responsibilities from building management to innovative programming, the Board of Directors of Twin Rivers made a strategic decision earlier this year to leave the Arts Guild.
In recent years, Twin Rivers program emphasis has shifted to community development work through the lens of creativity. As the arts commission, Twin Rivers is responsible for the development and implementation of a strategic vision for arts and culture in Greater Mankato and facilitates many of the public art and creative placemaking initiatives. “As a small nonprofit of one and a half staff, we need to be strategic in the types of partnerships we take on. We are gaining a lot of momentum and visibility, and in order to serve the creative community better we need to focus on programs that will have the biggest impact and bring the greatest value to our community.” states Noelle Lawton, executive director of Twin Rivers.
Twin Rivers Council for the Arts has been housed in the Emy Frentz Arts Guild since 2006 through a partnership with developer and building owner, Tony Frentz. The Arts Guild is home to the Mankato Symphony Orchestra administration and nine individual artist studios. The building also serves as a meeting space for area cultural nonprofits.
The initial partnership and redevelopment of the former First Church of Christ Scientist was ideal as Twin Rivers advocated for a central space for arts and culture programming to occur and a place for artists to collaborate. Over the past 13 years, Twin Rivers has built a community of over 100 affiliates who have taken part in professional development workshops, art festivals, monthly gallery exhibitions and advocacy efforts to promote the value of arts and culture.
The intention is to maintain the Emy Frentz Arts Guild as a cultural asset and build up the “guild” component, making it a vibrant arts space run by members of the guild. Amanda Wirig, local artist and longtime studio holder at the Arts Guild has been appointed executive director and is in the early planning stages of developing the guild into a non-profit. “The Emy Frentz Arts Guild is transitioning from a location only into its own arts nonprofit, with a focus on bringing together artists of all disciplines in the spirit of community and collaboration. We plan to anchor our programming on gallery exhibitions, music performances, classes, and workshops, as well as making sure that the Arts Guild is a creative space for artists of all ages to gather, connect and form new partnerships.”, states Amanda Wirig.
The new Twin Rivers office will be located in the recently developed suites on the third floor of the Hubbard Building. This location is a natural fit as many of the tenants of the Hubbard Building work in the creative services industry. “I’m excited to see what natural cross-sector partnerships are cultivated simply by being surrounded by creative leaders and thinkers.”, Noelle Lawton.