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As a Final Curtain Call, Northern Lake County Arts Board Makes Donation to William Kelley Schools

William Kelley Principal, Dan Johnson, accepts a generous donation from the Northern Lake County Arts Board. Pictured (L-R): Dan Johnson, Tracy Tiboni, Jill Hansen, Morris Manning and Sandy Manning. Submitted by Morris Manning

The Northern Lake County Arts Board, which has sponsored arts programs at William Kel­ley Schools and community concerts since the year 2000, has closed its doors. As its concluding act, Jill Hansen, President, presented a check to Dan Johnson, William Kelley Schools Principal, for $20,000 and donated 33 digital cameras in support of arts programs for students.

According to Morris Man­ning, Secretary, closing down was not an easy decision for the board. However, health and other personal circumstances left no real choice given the absence of new leadership step­ping forward to take on the ad­ministrative management of the organization.

Manning noted that the Arts Board has always had a faithful core of members, including stu­dents. “We’ve had a good run and provided significant ben­efit to the community. We en­joyed a great partnership with William Kelley Schools and with funders and artists. We are proud of what we accomplished for students and community members.”

Since 2012, the Northern Lake County Arts Board has raised $200,000 in grants and donations. It sponsored more than ninety residencies and field trips,as well as at least thirty-three community concerts and special events. Many volunteers participated in the Masterpiece Arts Program which was pioneered by Mary Jo Taintor.

COVOD significantly curtailed Arts Board pro­grams for several years, but Manning reported that the Arts Board had a very successful post-COVID 2022-23 school year. The Arts Board hosted a communi­ty concert featuring Jack Sand­ers from the Piatigorsky Foun­dation, provided sketchbooks for all students to encourage self-expression, sponsored a field trip for fifth-grade students to the Tweed Museum and Planetarium, a nature photogra­phy residency for fourth-grade students, a Little Lyric Opera of the North performance and a hip-hop Dance residency for elementary students, three the­ater experiences for students including Hamilton at the Or­pheum Theater in Minneapolis and several productions at the Duluth Playhouse.

Also sponsored were a spoken word residency for upper grade English students, a jewelry res­idency and The Every Person’s Guide to Opera residency and community concert. One stu­dent received a scholarship to attend the UMD Summer Mu­sic Camp. It was an exciting, fulfilling and exhausting year, but the Arts Board ended its twenty-three-year run the way the organization began, with a commitment to elevating the value of the arts in education and the community. Many thanks to volunteers and artists who shared their talents with stu­dents and thanks to all those who supported the Northern Lake County Arts Board.

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