There is no shortage of art events, classes, exhibits, fairs and workshops in our amazing arts community. The hard part is choosing which ones to attend and support.
So, we want to make it easy for you. Here are eight easy ways to support local art — some that cost money and some that are totally free — so that you can enrich your own life with creativity and craft.
Artist Alicia Hauff at her studio in south Fargo. Contributed photo/The Arts Partnership
#1: Buy art created by local artists
One of the greatest compliments you can bestow upon a local artist is by buying a piece of their art. Not only does it validate the work they do, but it also supports them financially.
Our community boasts many skilled ceramicists, glassworkers, singers, poets, painters, photographers and sculptors who call North Dakota and Minnesota home. TAP’s local artist directory is a helpful place to start browsing, or check out Aptitude creative arts studios located in West Acres Shopping Center during open studio days.
Red River Valley Woodcarvers is one of many local clubs and organizations that welcome new and returning members yearound. Contributed/Red River Valley Woodcarvers
#2: Join a local arts club or organization
If you already enjoy activities like painting, photography, knitting or whittling, why not meet some friends with the same interests? Our community has a club for pretty much every craft, and there’s nothing better than talking shop with like-minded craftspeople.
Organizations like Fargo Moorhead Visual Artists (FMVA), Red River Valley Woodcarvers, The Spirit Room, Prairie Fiber Arts, to name a few, always welcome new and returning members through their doors.
Local artists like Tia Permenter offer art classes at various venues throughout the cities. Contributed photo/West Acres
#3: Sign up for a workshop, lecture or class
If you don’t currently have an artistic hobby, perhaps now is the time to explore some ways creative craftworks can enhance your life. Local clubs and organizations offer countless options for workshops and classes in everything from memoir writing to watercolors to quilting. Depending on what you’re looking for, cost is typically minimal or sometimes even free.
Museums like Plains Art Museum offer classes for kids, too, so be on the lookout for special events and workshops that are age-appropriate.
#4: Dine at a locally owned restaurant
Supporting local culinary artists is just as valuable as supporting local theater, painters and writers. Many of our best local bistros and markets boast award-winning chefs and mixologists that are always exploring ways to make food beautiful and memorable on the palate.
No shade to chain restaurants, but if you’ve eaten at one, you’ve eaten at them all. That is decidedly untrue if you choose to dine at a local restaurant where the culinary arts provide an experience in good eating.
Contrary to popular belief, local restaurants are not necessarily more expensive than Applebee’s or other chain restaurants. However, if cost is a concern, we recommend checking out menu prices online no matter where you choose to go.
A scene from FMBallet’s 2014 performance of “Alice in Wonderland.” Contributed photo/Dan Leeaphon
#5: Attend a local exhibit or performance
The Fargo-Moorhead West Fargo communities have a shockingly high rate of local entertainment options for such a small city. Symphony, opera, theater, literary readings, art museums, quilting shows, ceramics exhibits, … you name it, we probably have an event for it.
#6: Volunteer at local arts events or for a local arts group
A no-cost option for supporting local art is by donating your time and talents to volunteer work. Many local arts nonprofits rely on volunteers to make their events, shows and exhibits run smoothly. Whether you want to usher people to their seats at the opera or assist individuals living with dementia in a painting workshop, the level of your contributions is entirely up to — and always appreciated by the organization.
If you’re interested in volunteering for a specific event, we encourage you to reach out by calling, emailing or messaging the host organization for more information. Or if you’re on the fence, reach out to someone who already actively volunteers to get some insight into what it’s like to help out before you sign up.
Community Supported Art (CSA) shareholders enjoy the culinary spread at Rustic Oaks in south Moorhead. Contributed photo/The Arts Partnership
#7: Give tickets to local performances or events as gifts
If you’re nervous about choosing a date that might not work for the recipient, imost groups will exchange them for a different date or performance. Some organizations also offer group shows or even pay-as-you-can ticket fees. Check with their box offices for payment and ticket exchange options.
We’re a little biased because we host it, but a great option is purchasing a share of Community Supported Art (CSA). Each shareholder gets two tickets to three seasonal events that include shares of art, food and performance. The events are so popular that we often sell out when shares go on sale in the fall. (Pro tip: Someone had to return their share so there is a single spot left for the 2023 season!)
#8: Donate to a local arts organization
It can be $5 or $5 a month or $5,000. Trust us when we say that every penny counts to whatever organization and/or art form you may wish to support.
An arts advocacy organization like The Arts Partnership provides donors with one-stop shopping, since it supports a multitude of programs and opportunities that enhance the financial well-being and visibility of our arts institutions, large and small, and artists with grants and stipends, advocacy and promotion. Donors make sure that we can cultivate community through the arts.
Make a tax-deductible sustaining pledge or one-time donation on our website. And please give to other arts organizations that help feed your souls with art, music, performance, literature and so much more,
We’d love to hear from you
Do you have other ideas for ways people can support local art? We want to hear them. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts and insights. We value feedback from the community.
About the author
Lonna Whiting is a freelance writer and owner of lonna.co, a content marketing and communications agency located in Fargo, North Dakota. She is a frequent contributor to The Arts Partnership and also provides strategic communications consultation to the organization.