2023 State of the Arts: change creates opportunity

Leaders from the local arts sector celebrate at the 2023 State of the Arts on June 28 at TAK Events Center in Dilworth. Contributed photo / Scott Seiler

By Tania Blanich
The Arts Partnership Executive Director

Tania Blanich - Director of Operations - The Arts Partnership

When I think of the local arts community, two words come to mind: transition and stability.

They may seem disparate terms, but to me they are two sides of the same coin. Their one-two combination gives me hope, a sentiment echoed by members of our arts sector at The Arts Partnership’s annual State of the Arts celebration  on June 28. 

It was the first in-person annual meeting we’ve had since before COVID-19 hit, which made it extra special. We caught up with colleagues, met new ones and breathed a collective sigh of relief that we’re not toiling alone in this sector.

The Metro’s arts sector is in transition mode, and that’s good news

With seven of our larger nonprofit arts organizations transitioning to new leadership, we are confident that new perspectives will find new opportunities. 

Local arts organizations that have or will be changing leadership in 2023:

Despite all the transition, the local arts sector could also be described as pretty darn stable. Yes, the arts are still transitioning from COVID, with audiences remaining below pre-pandemic levels. However, federal and state funding made sure that none of our arts organizations closed their doors permanently or even lost staff positions.

But even without federal and state support, the sector was stable which allowed it to be nimble, to adjust, to not just survive but to thrive. COVID-induced innovations have permanently changed the way some of our arts organizations deliver their product. Others now know that they can turn on a programming dime if necessary.  

There’s plenty of reason to be hopeful for local arts

Transition is good. Messy, yes. Scary, to be sure, and maybe a little ambiguous, too. But ultimately change is good. Transition asks us to explore new precedents, new boundaries and new frontiers.  

But transition can’t happen well or easily without stability. 

The Metro’s arts sector has been the poster child for stability these past three years—reliable, strong and dependable.  

Hope arises when transition and stability dovetail

We know that the arts sector in our community has a solid foundation, even in the face of much change, but it’s always a good idea to make absolutely sure that the foundation could withstand an earthquake.

That’s why, as the Metro’s arts council, our goal is to provide a steady presence for arts organizations and artists. We are here to help the arts sector take advantage of opportunities and face the challenges that come their way. 

That means making certain we do our work as efficiently, effectively and impactfully as possible, and that we reach deeper, more broadly and certainly more inclusively.

The year ahead is bound to be eventful for the arts community. Whether our transitions are big or small, whether stability means staying the course (that’s a win for many) or doing the hard work to build an even more solid foundation.

Support local art

Of course, the sector’s stability  is possible only with the support of our community members — those of you who donate to TAP or other arts organizations, attend concerts, sign up for classes, purchase local art, tour museums and catch a play or two. If any of this sounds like you—thank you. You are appreciated by so many of us.

A special thanks to Bell Bank for their continued support of The Arts Partnership and this year’s State of the Arts event.

Finally, there are many ways to support local art. Please visit theartspartnership.net for more information.


Photo: Steve Wallevand, left, and Max Johnk, right, perform at the 2023 State of the Arts celebration on June 18 at TAK Events Center in Dilworth. Contributed photo / Scott Seiler

About the author

Tania Blanich - Director of Operations - The Arts Partnership

Tania Blanich is the Executive Director of The Arts Partnership. She leads efforts to cultivate community through the arts by supporting, advocating and promoting artists and arts organizations in the Fargo, Moorhead, and West Fargo communities. 

To contact Tania, please email her at tania@theartspartnership.net.




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Tania Blanich is the Arts Partnership’s Director of Operations


Tania Blanich - Director of Operations - The Arts Partnership