Gardner Humanities Trust awards $18,084 to organizations and events

The board of the Donald G. Gardner Humanities Trust voted to award $18,084 to local art organizations and fine arts events at its November 14, 2018 board meeting.
“This was a super competitive grant round due to a strict grants budget this fall,” stated Keiko Williams, executive director for the Trust. “Artists and organizations requested over $27,500 this past month but we had only $18,084 allotted for our fall grant round. Normally the Trust might use some of its operational reserve for grant awards but this summer our Community Giving Grant installed outdoor musical sculptures in Whiteside Park.”
The Trust’s project grant program supports activities in the fine arts and is intended to make possible presentations or productions. Three project grants were awarded this year to the following organizations:
• The Boundary Waters Choral Festival was awarded $2,400 to support high school students in small rural choirs with large ensemble opportunity, a festival clinician and UMD vocal coaches. The choral festival will be celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.
• The Ely ArtWalk was awarded $2,000 to support its 11-day winter art show to be held February 7-17, 2019. This is a wonderful collaboration between artists and the local businesses that open up their storefronts to create the outdoor gallery.
• Northern Lakes Arts Association was awarded $3,280 to support performances of ‘A Tiny Miracle With A Fiberoptic Unicorn.’ While the production is a comedy it will also be a collaboration with Northwoods Partners because the content includes a character with dementia.
• The Ely Winter Festival was awarded $2,700 to help support the festival’s signature Snow Sculpture Symposium. This event is a wonderful collaboration of volunteers and artists that carve the big snow blocks in Whiteside Park.
• The Mesabi Symphony Orchestra was awarded $3,200 to support a concert in Ely in February 2019, ‘Tragedy and Comedy,’ that will engage interest in classical music and the orchestra. The orchestra will also bring a small ensemble to do outreach in Ely and other area schools.
The operational funding grant program is for high-quality, established Ely-area arts organizations that produce or present fine arts activities or provide services to artists. Organizations with an established record of programmatic service and administrative stability may receive funds to help with goals and objectives, rather than specific projects.
• Northern Lakes Arts Association was awarded $2,484 to help set up a membership database, launch a membership drive, advertising, misc.
• Ely Arts & Heritage was awarded $2,000 to support funding to update their website, offset costs for a new arts program, ‘Patchwork, Poetry and Pottery, and for miscellaneous administrative expenses.
The 2018 Donald G. Gardner Humanities Trust board members are: Laura Moberly, Ryan Callen, Becky Zientek, Cade Thibodeaux, Beth Ohlhauser, Andrea Strom, Jill Swanson and Andy Messerschmidt.
Any questions about the grant programs, the Trust or ways to support the arts in Ely can be directed to Keiko Williams, Executive Director at 365-2639 or at
The purpose of the Trust is for the enhancement, growth and improvement of:
1. The Ely Public Library
2. The arts and artisans of Ely and surrounding area, to include the performing arts, the visual arts and literature.
3. The creating and funding of scholarships, educational and artistic grants.
4. The cultural and aesthetic environment of the City of Ely and its surrounding area.