Gardner Trust community survey results are in, 30-year celebration to be held Aug. 3

In May of this year, the Donald G. Gardner Humanities Trust conducted a community survey.
“As the Trust celebrates 30 years of arts funding in our community this year, it’s a good time to reflect on how we are doing and what to look forward to in the next 3-6 years,” said Keiko Williams, executive director.
“One of the questions people could respond to was to rate what grant programs are most important in the community. The Trust wants to be responsive to what the community feels is most important.”
Individual artist grants again came up as the most important grant program with nearly 37% of the votes (the last community survey was completed in 2012). Individual artist grants are awarded for unique, short-term opportunities that will impact an artist’s career and can be awarded for up to $1,000.
The community survey had two grant programs tied for second; organization project grants and youth grants.
The Trust’s project grant program supports activities in the fine arts and is intended to make possible presentations or productions.
Examples of project grants this year were the Ely Winter Festival’s Snow Sculpture Symposium, Ely ArtWalk, Mesabi Symphony Orchestra’s February concert in Ely and school outreach, and the Boundary Water Choral Festival.
The Youth Grant program helps meet the needs of students who demonstrate a high motivation in the fine arts and can help a student afford training opportunities through workshops, classes, lessons or mentorships.
The youth grant program is for students in grades six to 12 attending Ely schools or homeschool students.
Remaining grant program priorities are for college scholarships and organization operational funding grants. The Ely Public Library is also allotted funds each year.
Overall, the people that responded to the community survey seemed to be aware of the Trust grant programs, have attended events and are generally supportive of the arts, artists and art organizations in Ely.
The public had an opportunity in the survey to give feedback on any ideas or concerns, as well as, provide ideas for community giving grants as extra dollars are available.
Overall, people were very appreciative of the Trust’s community grants that have brought the LOON opera to the Ely elementary school children.
Most people have also been enjoying the outdoor music instruments installed in Whiteside Park in collaboration with the City of Ely.
People would like to see more instruments installed in town, maybe at Semer’s Park in the future.
There was mention of enjoying the current outdoor murals, many which received some support from the Trust as project grant awards. Other ideas will be considered as funding allows.
The Trust thanks the community for their input and help in forming priorities and ideas for the future.
The public is invited to join the Trust on Saturday, August 3 at Whiteside Park from 10 a.m. to noon to celebrate 30 years of enriching life in Ely!
Art projects will be available for kids and adults to enjoy with light refreshments.
The 2019 Board of Directors are: Laura Moberly, Beth Ohlhauser, Cade Thibodeaux, Becky Zientek, Andrea Strom, Jill Swanson, Andy Messerschmidt and Angela Campbell. Keiko Williams, executive director, who can be reached at 365-2639 or info@gardnertrust.org with any questions regarding the community survey or the Trust grant programs.