Advocating on behalf of the arts in our community is a key component of our vision of a community that wholeheartedly embraces and supports the arts as a valuable element of our social and economic success.

Our advocacy efforts occur at the city and state levels, including our work with government, business, educational and service club sectors in our region. This page serves as a designated spot for advocacy columns written by our President and CEO Dayna Del Val.


August 31, 2021

The Art of Placemaking: Ana Rusness-Peterson

By Brandi MalarkeyTAP Member and Community Contributor While many artists work with brushes, blowtorches, or musical instruments, for local artist […]
July 27, 2021

Choice Bank partners with TAP to create Choice Bank Arts Partnership Grant for qualifying artists and organizations

For many people, art is not just a nice-to-have, it’s a need-to-have. Not only does it enhance our lives, but […]
April 29, 2021

It’s not too late to show your support for local art, free swag with donation

Check out our final campaign conversation from today, Friday, April 30. Dayna is joined by Karen Stoker and Joe Burgum […]
April 6, 2021

‘But I don’t want to get out of my sweatpants’ and other stories we are telling ourselves

We are more than a year into COVID, or put another way, we are slowly starting to climb out of […]
January 7, 2021

From the Forum: The art of sharing positivity through a pandemic

The Arts Partnership’s contributing writer to the Fargo Forum reflects on sharing stories from the community during 2020 and gaining […]
December 17, 2020

TAP’s Top 10: Arts programming made possible by ten-plus business supporters

What a year it’s been…for everyone! At The Arts Partnership, we have been incredibly fortunate to all stay healthy and […]
November 19, 2020

When giving pays dividends beyond expectations, announcing additional support for local artists

I’m a big believer in the Biblical principle that to whom much is given, much is expected. I believe it […]
November 10, 2020

We made it a party! Now bundle up and experience the FENCE for yourself

My birthday is just a few days past Christmas, and I always throw myself a birthday party for about 30 […]
November 5, 2020

Does public art have to be made by local artists?

Last week, I wrote about my perspective around the new public art selection for the water tower in Fargo. But […]
October 26, 2020

Some perspective on the importance of public art amidst criticism

Last week, the Forum reported that the City of Fargo Arts and Culture Commission selected the new Fargo water tower […]
October 8, 2020

Here’s why we donate to support local art

Earlier this week we met up as a staff under the Fargo Theatre marquee to mark a special milestone – […]
October 1, 2020

VIDEO: Dayna announces Salon Party and more ways to support local art this fall

We’re celebrating 50 years – join us! We have a surprise thank you for when you donate to #supportlocalart It’s […]
September 23, 2020

My time away was time well spent

Many of you may know I was recently on a two-week writing retreat as part of the North Dakota Museum of Art’s […]
August 25, 2020

Making time for my artistic side

When I interviewed for my job at The Arts Partnership ten years ago, I told the hiring committee I thought […]
July 5, 2020

When art turns history on its head, it can show us the way forward

It’s said that when Handel finished “The Hallelujah Chorus,” the skies opened up and he heard the Heavenly Chorus singing […]
July 2, 2020

Looking ahead with a fresh perspective: State of the Arts 2020 address from President and CEO Dayna Del Val

The following video message was presented by President and CEO Dayna Del Val during The State of the Arts 2020 […]
June 24, 2020

TAP is 50, and I’m starting year 10!

I remember walking in to The Arts Partnership’s office the morning of July 1, 2010, and sitting down in a […]
June 11, 2020

VIDEO: Where we are and where we’re going at The Arts Partnership

  This is the most honest video I have ever posted in my nearly 10 years at The Arts Partnership. […]
June 3, 2020

When the arts intersect, resonate and drive change

From Dayna Del Val: I’ve done very little reading during this sheltering in place period, which is extremely odd for […]
May 28, 2020

City Commission candidates join us for TAPpy Hour

Have you voted in the Metro yet? If you haven’t, I invite you to join us today at 3:44 to […]
May 21, 2020

For the arts, there is no “no-win” scenario

From CEO Dayna Del Val This morning, I was reading this article in Forbes by Michael C. Wenderoth, and I […]
May 14, 2020

Being nimble in this uncertain time

The Arts Partnership, as you may already know, is celebrating our 50th year in 2020. We had lots of ideas […]
May 7, 2020

Commencing with Graduation

I have been doing a lot of thinking these past few weeks about the disrupted patterns of spring that we’ve […]
April 23, 2020

Saving the arts at MSUM

I’m posting the letter I wrote to President Anne Blackhurst and her administration because, in so many ways, it sums […]
April 16, 2020

A candid talk about what we learned in the theatre department at MSUM

Two days ago, faculty from MSUM started getting zoom calls to let them know that their positions were being eliminated […]
April 9, 2020

How are the arts doing in the Metro? We are filled with very real fear, gratitude and a hope that people remember what we did when this is over

The Arts Partnership is looking out over the landscape of our Metro from the same vantage point of nearly everyone […]
April 1, 2020

From the desk of Dayna

Here are some links to follow up the video: TAP’s Facebook page (where you can livestream TAPpy Hours on Fridays […]
March 26, 2020

We’re here, and you can join us, too!

Back before the whole world became fixated on our global pandemic (you know, like four weeks ago), we at The […]
March 17, 2020

The Arts Partnership creates an emergency fund for area arts nonprofits

In response to the negative economic effects of Coronavirus/COVID-19 on the local arts nonprofit sector, The Arts Partnership (TAP) has […]
February 11, 2020

Hundreds of high schoolers explore art careers at MSUM

The sixth annual Art-A-Fair hosted by Minnesota State University Moorhead’s School of Art recently brought around 300 students from 25 […]
January 30, 2020

The Arts Partnership leads the way for Campus FM

The Start of Campus FM In October 2017, CEO Dayna Del Val first heard Deborah Diamond from Campus Philly speak […]
January 9, 2020
dayna 50th columns

We’re 50 and Feeling Fine: Share your stories with us

It’s our birthday, and we’re excited to celebrate all year long with you! Founded in 1970 as the Lake Agassiz Arts […]
January 2, 2020

Looking ahead by looking back: A TAP year in review

You may have read my arts sector wrap up in Monday’s Forum, but I want to take some time to […]
November 27, 2019
shop small Saturday the arts partnership

Small Business Saturday is the perfect time to #supportlocalart

This Saturday, November 30th, is Small Business Saturday–it’s the perfect day for everyone to get out and support local businesses […]
July 31, 2019

Del Val: The only constant is change

Six years ago in June, The Arts Partnership (TAP) entered into a content relationship with Forum Communications Co. to write […]
June 24, 2019

Del Val: Celebrate good times, come on!

These past few weeks and months have been an important time of personal reflection for me. If you read this […]
May 28, 2019

Del Val: The arts are an important differentiator for communities

Last week, we wrapped up our 2019 Arts and Business Breakfast series with PlazaCorp founder and CEO Jeff Nicholson and his wife, […]
April 29, 2019

Del Val: Putting the pedal to the metal with the arts

“Keep your foot on the pedal and keep going. Because you better believe communities all around the Midwest have their […]
March 26, 2019

Del Val: Artists are true change agents — but everyone can support the changes we’re making

“I’d rather lead the change than react to it,” noted David Brown, CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce in […]
February 25, 2019

Del Val: Worried about the employment crunch? Find out how the arts could help businesses.

Every meeting I go to involving the business sector asks the same basic question: What are your biggest concerns for […]
January 28, 2019

Del Val: Building on success

Last year at The Arts Partnership, we implemented another touchpoint in our relationship with the nonprofit arts organizations that receive […]
January 1, 2019

Let’s work with each other in 2019

I recently attended an Americans for the Arts conference in St. Louis, Mo. Among many interesting points at “Artists at […]
November 26, 2018

Thanks giving thanks

I have been thinking about the word “Thanksgiving” lately. Broken down, it is two pretty interesting words in their own […]
October 29, 2018

A specific example of why the arts matter

The arts often get dismissed for not having specific, measurable examples of why they matter. This column couldn’t get any […]
September 24, 2018

Imagine the next level of arts bounty

I meet monthly with a number of local arts leaders for coffee and conversation. It’s a casual affair, and topics […]
August 28, 2018

Let’s value time and expertise in the arts

I had a conversation with an established business leader recently. We were talking about some connections The Arts Partnership could […]
July 30, 2018

Art is the mirror we all need right now

So I’m a few weeks late to the Netflix phenomenon “Hannah Gadsby: Nanette.” I’ve seen various social media posts about […]
June 18, 2018

Come Along for the Ride

One year ago, I was at the Presidio Institute’s Cross Sector Leadership Boot Camp in San Francisco, and I left […]
May 29, 2018

Come, Learn About and Celebrate the Arts

The Arts Partnership operates on a fiscal year, making our year-end June 30th. That means the end of May is […]
April 23, 2018

Disruption and Transformation Require Resources

I read an article recently that had me standing up and shouting, “Yes!” over and over and over again. In […]
March 19, 2018

When National Arts Advocacy Inspires Local Action

Last week I had my first opportunity to practice advocacy at the national level, and I loved it. In January, […]
December 22, 2017

Looking Ahead by Looking Back

I’m declaring 2018 the Year of the Arts in the Metro. 2017 was a huge year for The Arts Partnership […]
November 27, 2017

The Measurable Value of the Arts is Real

Forty-one point six million dollars. That’s a big number by almost any standard. In 2015, the arts nonprofit sector generated […]
November 21, 2017

How are we really helping our Veterans?

I was recently invited to judge an art show for the City of West Fargo. Given my job title, that’s […]
October 20, 2017

Be Part of the Solution

Thirty-two hours. That’s how long it took, from the unveiling of the new piece of public art by Steve Knutson […]
September 18, 2017

Art Makes Us Human and Can Unite Us All

My friend and glass blowing artist extraordinaire, Jon Offutt recently sent me a Huffington Post editorial called “Stop ‘Defending’ Music […]
August 28, 2017

The Arts Are A “Surprisingly Bold Risk” That Work

I’ve adopted a new word lately: audacious. Audacious is defined as “showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks.” Synonyms […]
July 31, 2017

How The Arts Can Play A Quiet, But Vital Role

Last week, I had the rare opportunity to spend an hour with the type of person I don’t normally encounter. […]
June 26, 2017

You May Say I’m A Dreamer

I’m in Hawaii with my husband for (his) work and (our) vacation. This is my second trip to paradise; if […]
June 26, 2017

Using The Arts To Think Bigger

I had the recent good fortune to attend the Presidio Institute’s Cross Sector Leadership Boot Camp in San Francisco, thanks […]
May 31, 2017

What Are We Fighting For? Why Supporting The Arts Matters

It’s Memorial Day. A somber day by many accounts. A day to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for […]
April 17, 2017

Abundant Thanks To Those Who Support The Local Arts

The Arts Partnership was honored to receive the Governor’s Art Award in March and to be added to the illustrious […]
March 27, 2017

Del Val: Doing More With More

I met recently with a longtime donor. I asked him what he liked about The Arts Partnership. He thought for […]
February 21, 2017

Del Val: Vote Yes for Fargo Public Schools on March 7

As you no doubt know, one of the “rules” of being a nonprofit 501(c) 3, of which The Arts Partnership […]
January 30, 2017

Del Val: What Would Sharon Say?

Why did you put on the clothes you are wearing this morning? What did the dishes you ate breakfast on […]
December 27, 2016

Change The Image To Better Support The Arts

“Please, sir, I want some more.” This famous line from Charles Dickens’ novel “Oliver,” connotes the heartbreaking image of a […]
December 21, 2016

Looking Back: 2016 at The Arts Partnership

The end of the year is a time for us all to look back and reflect on the progress we’ve […]
November 21, 2016

With Gratitude For The Arts

It’s the week of Thanksgiving, so let me start off by saying how grateful I am for the art in […]
October 31, 2016

Del Val: It’s Time To Get To Work

The metro is at a pivotal time. There’s so much at stake. So much at stake for the small-business owner […]
September 19, 2016

Del Val: Big Impact Requires Big Support

I met with a board member of the Moorhead Business Association last week to discuss a very cool addition to […]
August 29, 2016

Del Val: Research, Experience Prove What We’ve Known About Art All Along

Sometimes you know something intuitively, but then it’s validated through research; for example, that getting enough sleep makes you feel […]
July 28, 2016

Del Val: Tell The World Why The Arts Matter To You

I firmly believe that we don’t do enough storytelling about why the arts matter to us personally. I’m not just […]
June 21, 2016

Del Val: Calling All Modern-day Patrons of the Arts

If I say the name Michelangelo, just about everyone knows whom I am referencing. Perhaps you are conjuring up an […]
May 30, 2016

Send me an angel

TO: Metro Angel Investors FROM: The Arts Partnership (TAP) RE: Investing in an organization with a proven track record that […]
April 18, 2016

Del Val: Consider How You Can Serve Nonprofits, The Community

It’s spring and, for a lot of nonprofits, that means getting serious about attracting new board members for the upcoming […]
March 23, 2016

“Versus” Doesn’t Cut It When Talking Arts, Sports

I had an interesting exchange recently on social media. I had seen an absolutely incomparable clip of Mikhail Baryshnikov, at […]
February 29, 2016

Public and Private Funding Necessary For Local Arts To Be Effective

Last week, I had the opportunity to debate public funding for the arts with Fargo City Commissioner Tony Gehrig at […]
January 25, 2016

Del Val: Raise Your Hand If You Don’t Hate Art

[sgmb id=”1″] Last week was an interesting week for me at The Arts Partnership. I received a text message early […]
December 29, 2015

Del Val: Highlights From The Metro Arts Scene 2015

I’m sorry to sound like a broken record at the end of every year, but again, in looking back over […]
December 6, 2015

Publicly Funded Art is Good for the Community–All of the Community

Public art is getting a lot of attention in the metro lately. Fargo City Commissioner Tony Gehrig recently wrote an opinion […]
November 23, 2015

Del Val: Small Business Saturday Is Meaningful For Artists And Shop Owners

We’re in it now, the full swing of the holiday season. Thanksgiving is just days away, and then the tidal […]
November 2, 2015

Del Val: Economic Disconnect With The Arts Stymies Growth Potential

I recently attended the North Dakota Governor’s Summit on Economic Growth. Gov. Jack Dalrymple touted many of the lists where […]
October 28, 2015

Unplugged with Dayna Del Val talks economics and dance

The latest episode of Unplugged with Dayna Del Val aired on Saturday, October 24th on KFGO. I talked with Charley Johnson, […]
October 5, 2015

Del Val: Art Is A Language We Can All Speak

I as at an informal gathering recently with the Bush Foundation. We were talking about the issues of access and […]
September 8, 2015

Collective necessary to advocate for work of artists

Labor Day. These two words today are synonymous with the lake, the end of summer and gearing up for the […]
August 26, 2015

Will you Adopt a Legislator?

I’m writing this post as President of Arts North Dakota and as Executive Director of The Arts Partnership, but mostly […]
August 20, 2015

Going Gently into that Good Night

This week, I was so sad to learn that Eddie Gasper, co-founder of the Red River Dance and Performing Company […]
July 27, 2015

Del Val: Why you should care about a chalk-making event

ChalkFest 2015 is nearly upon us. From 1 to 8 p.m. Aug. 6, about 6,000 to 8,000 people—including kids, teenagers, […]
July 8, 2015

Art worth seeing beyond our metro borders

A recurring conversation that I am part of on a relatively regular basis is how to engage the many rural […]
May 26, 2015

Why “all of the above” doesn’t cut it

It’s the end of the school year, and as kids are piling out of classrooms, dreaming about what they will […]
April 27, 2015

Why I bullied my son back into orchestra

I attended my son’s first orchestra concert at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology last weekend, and I […]
April 7, 2015

Letter to the Editor of the Wall Street Journal

Right before I began at The Arts Partnership (July 1, 2010), the “Wall Street Journal’s” Terry Teachout wrote a piece […]
March 30, 2015

Drama of March Madness extends beyond basketball

I come from a basketball family. My grandfather, Mike Del Val, was inducted into the Basketball Coaches Association of New […]
February 23, 2015

The truth behind city funding of the arts

Recently, a variety of local radio and television hosts have criticized the city of Fargo and its funding of the […]
January 15, 2015

Encourage ND legislators to invest in the arts

Last fall, you might remember that the North Dakota Council on the Arts and the North Dakota Humanities Council put […]
January 14, 2015

Christopher Gabriel’s lasting legacy

In my time at The Arts Partnership, I have been fortunate to have an excellent working relationship with many of […]
December 3, 2014

Dennis Walaker: an unlikely advocate who really got the arts

I first met Mayor Walaker in 2010, the week before I actually took over the position of executive director of […]
November 24, 2014

Small Business Saturday a day well spent

Last year, I encouraged you to shop at independently owned shops on Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It’s […]
November 3, 2014

Boldly going where others have gone before

I was fortunate to be invited this fall by Mike Williams, Fargo city commissioner, and Charley Johnson, president/CEO of the […]
September 29, 2014

Del Val: Help keep public art by taking pride, stopping vandals

Public art is a great thing, right? It promotes community, encourages foot traffic, enhances a location and helps to define […]
August 28, 2014

When the arts heal: art therapy succeeds where other therapies might not

Robin Williams’ untimely death has many of us thinking about how and why something like this happens, particularly because depression […]
July 28, 2014

Support local arts

My friend, North Dakota State Sen. Carolyn Nelson, recently had an interesting post on Facebook. “About 18,000 folks from the […]
June 19, 2014

What I learned about the arts from a pre-med teenager

Last summer, The Arts Partnership was privileged to receive an intern through the Philanthropy and Youth program. Anjali Lall was […]
May 27, 2014

Where are all the women? Better representation needed

It’s no secret the nonprofit world is largely run by women. In looking at the nonprofits served by the Impact […]
April 29, 2014

A communal approach to the arts creates an abundance

Do you remember the story of “Stone Soup?” As a child, I had a version where animals played all the […]
April 2, 2014

Cardboard Fear

The Forum published a recent opinion piece reflecting the appropriateness of “a huge (as in an 8-foot-by-6-foot) handgun. A revolver. […]
March 29, 2014

A world premiere in Fargo. Wait, what?!?

Last night, something magical happened here. The FM Opera premiered two, never before seen operas based on the writing of […]
March 25, 2014

Connecting business, the arts

Connections are important in every facet of life – particularly in business. It’s true that who you know is oftentimes […]
February 24, 2014

Where is the A in STEM? Fields suffer without art

Last week I got to share why the arts matter for 21st Century learning to West Fargo School’s Insourced professional […]
January 20, 2014

Public art part of identity of a community

There’s been quite a bit of buzz lately around local public art. Earlier this month, the FMWF Chamber of Commerce’s […]
December 31, 2013

Give a gift that keeps on giving

As shoppers panic on this last full day of gift-buying, convinced there’s nothing out there for that person on their […]
November 4, 2013

Saying goodbye to an arts giant

Sometimes there are giants who tread among us so gently and silently it’s easy to not notice them. We lost […]
October 15, 2013

Arts might be answer for Moorhead

It’s no secret that Moorhead’s downtown has struggled for quite some time to step out from the impressive shadow of […]
September 30, 2013

Cultivate our assets in arts to improve community

FARGO – The old expression, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” is as true […]
September 13, 2013

Friday the 13th is a LUCKY day at TAP

About a month ago, Susie Ekberg Risher became the first person to create a personal granting fund through The Arts […]
August 26, 2013

Creative placemaking is happening right here

Last month, I introduced the idea of creative placemaking, explained in Michael Fallon’s article “An Arts Funding Revolution” as communities […]
July 25, 2013

Why creative placemaking matters in the Red River Valley

FARGO – Based on our geography, climate and population, those of us who live in the southern Red River Valley […]
June 24, 2013

Let the art conversations begin

As the executive director of The Arts Partnership, a nonprofit that serves as the primary communicator of the arts in […]
June 24, 2013

The Arts Partnership and The Forum unite for the arts

We are fairly buzzing at the office with the printing of the article in today’s Forum about some of the […]
July 2, 2012

2012 is The Year of the Partner!

Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe it’s the middle of the calendar year and the beginning of my third […]