Five Proposals for the Duluth Art Institute

These proposals are meant to increase membership and increase impact in the community by cultivating regional artists and connecting artist/artwork/economics.

By Lee Zimmerman

1) Fundraiser Contract

2) Art Leasing Program

3) Modified CSA (Community Shares for Art)

4) City Artist Royalty

5) Artist in the Window


The Duluth Art Institute is leaving much of its power on the table - not taking advantage of its own membership to both extend its reach as well as using members to increase their interaction with the Duluth community. If the Duluth Art Institute could shift its role, becoming more of a conduit for the art and artists (less of a monastery of art), they could harness some of the power that they are missing.

I would guess that 90 percent of all of the members of the Duluth Art Institute are artists. They are people who have created art and through that process have developed a deep connections and appreciation. This would be similar to the Symphony season ticket holders, most of whom have played instruments or Theater patrons, most of whom have performed in a play.

The Duluth Art Institute is over a hundred years old. It is the only institution in the region that can speak for the regional artists. If it could take this on as its primary goal it would expand its membership and increase its impact, artistically and economically, in the regional community.

The five different proposals (here is an additional sixth) outlined above would help the Duluth Art Institute strengthen the regional artistic community, but by far, the strongest step that the Institute could make is to examine all of their programs with respect to how each program cultivates the fine arts in Duluth and how each program helps the growth of regional artists. Emphasize those programs that lead you closer to your goals and minimize or extinguish programs that do not.

Here is a good analogy, "When you are boating on the lake, you can feel the power in the wind but you cannot harness it until you hoist the sail." In Duluth, you can feel the power of the local artist. The Duluth Art Institute is uniquely placed to create a structure that harnesses that power.

Rough Analysis of Present DAI Programs