Gifts help make Austin a home for the arts

Published 7:01 am Sunday, December 13, 2015

We at the Austin Area Commission for the Arts are proud to be part of Austin, and believe that the arts are the heart and soul that makes our community a great place to be. Whether it is at the Historic Paramount Theatre, the Austin ArtWorks Center or the Austin ArtWorks Festival, we bring neighbors together by providing shared and meaningful experiences that both honor our rich history and openly embrace our changing culture.

Please help us fulfill this vision by giving a gift at any level and help us sustain our presence in the community and to provide access to the arts for all.

This year was an exciting one for the Austin Area Commission for the Arts. We served over 1,000 artists with our programs (one of whom was Austin native and New York City-based artist Paula Elliott, who commented that the ArtWorks Festival makes her “proud to be from Austin,” and 17,000 people attended our events. The Austin ArtWorks Center also celebrated its first anniversary. In the past year we organized 100 unique classes, started selling artwork for over 60 artists and have become an important part of making downtown Austin a destination. In addition to the success of the Austin ArtWorks Center, we hosted 11 outreach activities in the public schools and several senior centers in conjunction with performances at the Historic Paramount Theatre, ultimately serving 1,057 students and adults through this programming. The feedback we received as a result of these outreach efforts was tremendous.

For example, high school student Ashley Harrington, described the outreach with The New Standards as truly memorable.

“I think bringing bands like that into the high school and Austin reminds us that music is truly powerful,” she said. “It inspires me to continue with music as I grow older.”

We are planning on even greater success in 2016 and want you to be a part of it. Our goals for 2016 include re-engaging architects to help us work with the community in developing final plans for the Historic Paramount Theatre Expansion, as well as expanding our educational outreach opportunities at both the ArtWorks Center and Paramount Theatre to include more students and community members.

And we are already brainstorming new ideas to enhance the 2016 Austin ArtWorks Festival, with plans to announce details next spring.

Only by your generosity are we able to continue making such a positive impact on our community. Because our ticket, artwork and concession sales and class registrations only cover 20 percent of our costs, we rely completely on members, donations, and grants to cover the rest of our expenses. Given our high aims for the coming year, we appreciate every gift, no matter the amount; it takes all of us to make the art work!

Donate today online at or mail a check made out to the AACA to 300 N Main St, Austin, MN 55912.

We look forward to having you join us in 2016.