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Two area arts programs receive grants for powwow, out-reach

Local arts programs have become the recipients of financial grants from the Lake Region Arts Council of Fergus Falls.

The DEBWE Youth Organization in Detroit Lakes received $25,590 for use in educating area families and youth about the cultural art and aspects of powwows. In preparation for the DL Powwow on Nov. 30 of this year, education will focus on the creation of dance regalia and instruction on different Native American dances and drumming.

Roxanne Fairbanks, an officer of DEBWE, said classes will focus on “teaching how to make regalia, or outfits that Native American people will wear when they dance in the Powwow.” She added that the classes are open to the entire community. Storytellers will also be present to enrich the lessons on the creation of regalia, and the respect with which the finished pieces must be treated.

Fairbanks also said some funds will be used towards the second annual powwow at the Holmes Theatre, “to help with drums and the people that we need to come help MC.”

She encourages those of all races who are interested in getting involved to check out the DEBWE Facebook page for details about upcoming classes and events, or call Fairbanks at 218-841-4701.

The Historic Holmes Theatre was given $9,400, which will be used to fund programs and out-reach. Among the groups projected to appear at the theatre in the upcoming 2013-14 season are Galactic Cowboy Orchestra, Funkadesi International Performance Group, TU Dance, and a variety of other artists.

Amy Stoller Stearns, executive director of the Historic Holmes Theatre, said “the grant is to help when an artist comes to town to make it a deeper, richer experience,” bringing the outreach to schools, businesses, and other areas of the community. The theater strives to spread outreach within a 30 mile radius, which generates inspiration and interest in the performers.

“Because of this grant we’ll be able to contract with them (the visiting artists) to have a little bit longer stay in Detroit Lakes,” Stearns said. “It’s so enriching to get to know these artists beyond their performance history, who they are. It shows young people you don’t have to be from a certain background to become an artist.”

Becky Mitchell, leader of outreach coordination and events, added that to become involved in the arts, “you really just have to have an interest or a passion.” Remembering the comments from a former resident of the area, she said the outreach into the community “allows people to decide if they like something before they assume they don’t like something.”

Stoller Stearns and Mitchell both expressed enthusiasm and excitement about the opportunity the grant from the Lake Region Arts Council provides for deeper creative exploration and lasting impacts upon the community.

Organizations benefiting from the grants in Ottertail County include a Local Government Legacy Grant for the City of Battle Lake, Brad Wegscheid of Wadena, Minnesota State Community and Technical College of Fergus Falls, New York Mills Cultural Center, and Viking Elementary School of Pelican Rapids.

In all, the arts council provided $160,339 to 17 different organizations in Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Ottertail, Pope, and Stevens counties.

Events supported by this funding will publicize that “this activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota, through grants from the Lake Region Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund,” according to stipulations of the grant.

Article written by Libby Larson of Detroit Lakes Newspapers