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The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council (NWMAC) is one of eleven regional arts councils in Minnesota. It was established in 1976 to distribute State of Minnesota funds and provide direct services for arts activities. Arts activities include performing, visual and creative writing.

The NWMAC is a non-profit organization and has a governing board made up of artists, arts educators, volunteers with community arts organizations and arts advocates. The service area includes the Minnesota counties of Kittson, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake and Roseau.  

The NWMAC prides itself on promoting growth for artists while encouraging access and participation in the arts throughout our area. To see a list of projects funded see our website or request a list from our office (218) 745-9111.  


Director Mara Hanel is available to come to your community to speak about the programs and services offered, provide a training in completing our grant forms and to brainstorm possible arts activities that improves the quality of life in your community. Arts can bring beauty, provide a voice to handle issues, improve overall quality of life as people grow and age and offer entertainment. 

Funding Partners

MN State Arts Board & The McKnight Foundation

Grant Programs

Arts Legacy Grants

Regular, School Residency and General Operating

Arts Project Grants

Regular and Arts Equipment for Schools

Grants to Adult Individuals

Fellowship; Artist, Quick Turn Around

Student Artist Training Grant

Service Programs
  • Annual Spring Northwest Minnesota Art Exhibition

  • Bi-monthly exhibits at the Northland Community & Technical College in Thief River Falls

  • Artists of Northwest Minnesota booklet featuring 35-40 artists and arts sites, printed 

  • every three years and posted to our website, 3,000 copies distributed locally

  • Northwest Arts E-newsletter bi-monthly

  • Website

  • Weekly radio interview on Pioneer 90.1 featuring local artists, arts leaders and our staff

  • Podcast of Radio show posted to website 

  • Facebook, Twitter, etc. 

  • Workshops, Advice and Consulting

  • Regional Arts Plan


Arts Councils were established in 1976 as a vehicle to distribute funds and provide direct services for arts activities. With region-wide membership comprised of professional artists, arts educators, volunteers with community arts organizations, and arts enthusiasts, the Council encourages all the arts.

The Arts Council is made up of two representatives from each of the seven counties served plus three members serving in at-large positions.  Each member serves a three year term with up to two consecutive terms.

Mara Hanel Headshot
 Mara Hanel 

NWMAC Director  |  (218) 745-9111

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