Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON

The Central Minnesota Arts Board (CMAB) will be hosting two public forums to help identify regional arts needs and priorities, which will help in developing the 2016 – 2017 fiscal year programs and services.

The CMAB serves Benton, Sherburne, Stearns, and Wright counties. CMAB Executive Director Leslie LeCuyer says all of the programs provided in service to the arts are based on needs assessments like the one being held now. There are three ways to participate in the assessment. You can attend one of the two forums, or you can fill out an online survey.

LeCuyer says the forums are open to anyone who wants to attend.

We want input from anyone interested in the arts, so it’s open to whoever would like to attend, whoever identifies themselves as artist or art enthusiasts. To make people aware we are providing these public forums, and the needs assessment surveys, that are located on our website, and they can provide us with input on what they identify as needs related to the arts in their community.

This first forum is being held tonight (Monday) from 4:15 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. at the Big Lake Great River Regional Library in the Cargill Room.  The second forum will be in St. Joseph this Thursday from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at The Local Blend.

You can take the survey online by going to the CMAB website.

First of all we want people to identify who they are, it’s all anonymous, but who they are in relation to the arts, whether they’re an artist, or whether they’re an arts organization, a community, or just a resident that’s an arts enthusiast. Then we’ll ask them a series of questions as to the priorities related to the arts.

After the results of the surveys are gathered, LeCuyer says the next step is to identify whether or not the current programs offered by the CMAB are delivering the services for the needs, or if there are gaps in the current programs.

We will develop the biennium plan. There will be draft of the plan available on our website. We will also conduct two public hearings; one in St. Cloud, and one in Buffalo. People can attend the public hearing, and listen to what we are proposing for the service for the two year biennium. The final plan will be adopted in May, and delivered to the Minnesota States Arts Board by May 15th.